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Thursday, 21 July 2011


Many people here don't pass their exam at the language school, La Escuela Oficial de Idiomas because according to their teachers they speak English like a Spaniard and should aim to speak with an 'English' accent. Which accent I would be intrigued to find out. Many students are unaware thanks to the misguided efforts of the folk at the language school that in Britain there are many ways to pronounce words like 'bus' and someone from the south of England will pronounce 'aunt' different to someone from the north which then puzzles students if the words 'ant' or 'aren't' come into the conversation. My favourite mix up is still 'Alaska' which the student thought I had said when I said 'I'll ask her', never mind that the furthest north I have been was to Norwich for the day. Or the time I worked for a FIFA agent here who repeated the word 'striker' as if I had said it like Arthur Mullard.

A student told me the other day that in the school where she works she had her purse stolen by one of the students there. She said she knew the boy in question and yet felt there was nothing she could do. I couldn't believe this and she then told me that the boy was Ecuadorian and she fears these folk and that many of them are threatening her and her fellow teachers and saying stuff like 'your problem is you don't have kids' or 'you don't get laid'. I told her about my Ecuadorian neighbours and how they don't frighten me with their childish dress sense, lack of taste in music, insults and penchance for knives. Perhaps there should be a paper at exam level 'Ecuadorians, why are they here in Spain?' This is the sort of thing that would have Brits taking the moral high ground and calling you a racist or xenophobe but there's nothing like tapping into that side of the Spanish as immigration is a new thing on them still. During the summer camp this year I could smell burning and asked the receptionist if I should be worried as living in Spain no one cares until the place is burning down before our eyes and she said it was probably 'Los Chinos' who were there at the same time praising the Lord and embracing everything with an Evangelical zeal. One of the little pupils at the camp, a Chinese girl adopted by Spanish parents confessed to me that there 'were too many of them and none of them speak Spanish you know'.

On the subject of exams maybe there should be one with the heading 'Matt Monroe or Principe Gitano?' Discuss. I have only just discovered that Matt Monro belted out a number of songs in Spanish. They are not so bad but I can imagine they are quite painful on the ear for Spanish people but not half as bad as ol' Principe or Rafael singing Aquarius.

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