Calle Lanzarote

Posts Tagged ‘spanish’

Which language to speak

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Visiting Lanzarote is an interesting situation for me linguistically, as I speak all three of the main languages that you hear on the island: English, German and Spanish.

Which language do you speak as a tourist? My rule of thumb is to use Spanish as much as possible – in supermarkets, shops and restaurants. Of course the people serving could speak to me in my mother tongue, but I find it better that way.

It can often be to my advantage as well. Some locals are more welcoming if you make an effort to speak their language. At Teguise market you can often get a better bargain for making the effort and an even better one if you are fluent in Spanish. In restaurants the waiter’s English may only extend to taking your order and presenting you with the bill – it may not extend to sorting out complaints.

Obviously if I’m talking to an English or German national, then I will talk to them in their language. But it gets very interesting when sitting in a restaurant where I talk in Spanish to the waiter, English to my parents and German to my wife! It can confuse the staff as well! 🙂

But it can also be very funny, as being able to read all three versions of the menu I often find translations that have gone wrong.

I just haven’t got round to learning Swedish yet…

Fairy tales in Spanish

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

There is one shop in Arrecife that stands out for me: Librería España (Léon y Castillo 16).  With so many shops aimed at tourists, it can be quite hard to find a “normal” Spanish shop – in this case a book shop.

On my first visit to the island I stocked up on Spanish Harry Potter books and last year’s visit was no exception – I just had to go and browse the books in that shop.  Somehow, if you are looking for authentic Spanish literature (not just a translation), it’s much nicer to go to a proper book shop than search online.

Anyway, last year I found a book of children’s stories – and didn’t buy it, which I later regretted.

So it was nice to hear about a website offering just that: children’s stories in Spanish.  They may not be of Spanish origin, which would make them culturally interesting, but they are traditional stories and fairy tales from authors such as the Brothers Grimm and Hans-Christian Andersen which most people will be able to identify with.

In fact, from a language learning point of view I think that it is very interesting to listen to a story that you already know in your native language as it makes guessing any unknown vocabulary easier.

The stories are available as a podcast.  To listen, visit Cody’s Cuentos.

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