So before we begin, a (relevant) bit about me. For those who might not know, I’m severely disabled, with multiple chronic illnesses that impact me in various way. In the course of time I spent listening to and learning this course of Spanish, I was also diagnosed with Addison’s Disease, and started on the – lifelong – steroid treatment to manage the condition. It’s been an interesting period of time in my life!
I bring this up because on top of already having brain fog, I am now struggling with other neurological side effects. Therefore some of what I have to say may not be relevant if you are reading it as a healthy person. Equally I decided to continue with this blog tou because I thought that my perspective as a disabled, neurologically-impacted person might be useful. And I was having too much fun. Right – now on with the show!
I’ve been book blogging for nearly a year now, and in that time I’ve been lucky to have done a lot of blog tours. No email in the last year, however, has filled me with such terror as the one I recieved inviting me to learn Spanish. Mainly as fifteen years ago, my school attempted to teach me Spanish, thinking I’d be a high flyer, as I was a natural with French. I spent two years wanting to bang my head against a brick wall for several hours a week, and whilst I agreed out of interest, I was anticipating a similar sensation with this course. Once a day, for thirty days, gradual emerson. I could almost feel my school chair and table again.
How wrong I was.
The first episode informed me that even if I was learning Spanish to understand Shakira, that was a valid reason. I knew we’d be alright after that.
The Superpolygotbros are a super team of twins, speaking an amazing amount of languages between them, and are sincere believers that anyone can learn a language. This seems to be an ambitious statement, but, with my declaration above hanging in your ears and eyes, believe me when I say: I think they might be right.
In thirty days, I have not turned into a fluent Spanish speaker, that much is true. I still open my mouth and French comes out. But I now understand a terrific amount. For example, during the course of learning the language, I spent a night in A&E, very unwell and on very strong painkillers. Eyes closed, I still could understand enough Spanish to hear a woman shouting at her grown up son that she “had never liked that motorbike anyway” and “from now on, my house my rules, you hear me”. The man wasn’t seriously injured or I wouldn’t be sharing this anecdote, but it was the first moment that I felt sure that the language was going in, despite the certain curse of the French Fairy.
The course is devised in a very clever way. It takes you on an adventure, teaching you words along the way, relevant to what is happening around you. To begin with, we find out that we need a ticket for the central station, for example, and head to meet our friend José to go to the hotel. During these early steps, we learn basics as well as phrases; “left” and “right”, alongside “how are you” and “where is”. By jumping in like this but following a path, it feels much more natural to be speaking and listening to the language. This was so much more effective than being taught the contents of my pencil case aged twelve.
Somewhere between the curse of constant French and my neurological problems, I couldn’t speak the language aloud, although I could conjure it in my mind, and was surprised how quickly the natural feeling of understanding the language came to me, even with all the barriers in place. This course would make the perfect substitute for an evening course, the ideal companion for studying for a qualifications, wonderful preparation for a holiday, or just for fun; honestly, the options are endless.
Thirty short bursts of intense language did more for me than two years sat in a classroom, with even grammar seeming approachable, and pronunciation coming far more naturally than ever before. It was a great challenge and wonderful fun, with the witty commentary of the brothers keeping me company during my daily learning.
Thank you to The Superpolygotbros, Audible UK, and to Midas for this fantastic and entertaining experience. Language learning has – genuinely – never seemed so possible before.