Mind your language

Por Elisa Losada

When it comes to learning a foreign language there are several issues which must be faced by the student. Most Spanish speakers who start an English course tell us ‘I write in a decent way and I read in English with no problems. I’ve been studying grammar all my life but speaking? …I can’t speak well and I also have problems understanding native speakers’.

We all agree that English is a difficult language, but not because of its grammar structures or infinite dictionary entries. Even when the student reaches a great level in all the skills of the language, we are afraid of uttering a single sentence because we feel we have a ‘strong’ Spanish accent.

We also trust the stereotype of Northern Europeans speaking English better than us. Notwithstanding this, I must say that every individual can learn to speak English properly, improve their accent and be happy to speak English in front of native speakers.

Our lungs, throat, vocal cords, mouth and tongue are the same as the ones of an English person so what we have to do is be confident and exercise our muscles to produce these new sounds. It’s not easy, but there is nothing we can’t improve through hard work.

I encourage you all to try, experience phonetics, learn and practise different sounds. And don’t forget to laugh. Don’t feel embarrassed when you are corrected but receive the correction with a smile, correct yourself out loud and you’ll assimilate the sound.

To start defeating extremely positive stereotypes, I leave you here this stereotypical series from the 1970s which states clearly that ‘everybody is equal’.

I would be delighted to read your posts regarding the video below.

(Please note that the subtitles are not all correct but they’re helpful when the English Natives speak. )

*Algo sobre Elisa Losada

Elisa Losada was born in Guadalajara (Spain) in 1979. She finished her English Degree in Spain (Universidad de Alcalá de Henares) and lived and studied in Nottingham for two years. She has been teaching English as a Foreign Language since 2001, and holds a title to teach ELE to foreign students, which led her to work as a Spanish Assistant teacher at Nottingham Alderman White School and Language College in 2007. She is the Director of English Connection in the centre of Alcalá de Henares.

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