spanish-speak-english

Why Spanish people don’t speak English?

For Spanish people the English language is one of the pending issues in the educational system. Although the researches indicate that the problem is gradually descending, in terms of level we are still at the bottom of the EU countries in percentage of English speakers. The causes of our failure with the second most spoken language in the world (only Mandarin Chinese is spoken more than English) have already been studied on more than one occasion and our mistakes come from different origins. Discover below each one of them.

It is curious that, although the typical Spanish character is described as assertive and cheerful, at the time of speaking English we are not able to behave in the same way: we are won by the sense of ridicule. On many occasions we have seen how public personalities -particularly politicians- have tried to show off their skills with the language and have been mocked by society, which anticipates how inhibited we feel when speaking another language.

We often justify our bad English saying that there are lots of differences between the two languages, so it’s hard to learn it properly. Also, because of our mother tongue is spoken worldwide, it seems that we feel more relaxed when learning a second language, due to the fact that we don’t live any linguistic isolation with respect of the rest of the world.

However, a neighboring country like Portugal that can be perceived as similar to Spain, stands out positively with English, so it is worth asking: what do they do in other countries that we don’t do in Spain?

In Spain, until a few years ago, English was not taught in early childhood education, while experts encourage starting at an early age to take advantage of the ease of learning process during the first years of life. Also the teaching method used in Spain seems to be inappropriate, since it doesn’t consider the learning of a new language in a natural and spontaneous way, but as a combination of rules.

Moreover Spain has its own historical and cultural circumstances that have complicated our relationship with the English language over the years. In our country, like in a few other European countries, all movies are dubbed and it’s not easy to find a cinema where to see the original versions with subtitles. In the case of Spain it is a legacy of Franco’s dictatorship, when dubbing was mandatory in order to “defend all Spanish features”. For this reason watching a dubbed movie has always been seen as something absolutely normal. Although it would be very positive watching movies in their original version to familiarize with English, lots of people nowadays would feel negatively surprised.

If you speak English as your first or second language, what did you think when you arrived to Spain? Did you find difficult to communicate with Spanish people? Tell Spaneasy your experience speaking English with Spanish people in the section below.

For Spanish people the English language is one of the pending issues in the educational system. Although the researches indicate that the problem is gradually descending, in terms of level we are still at the bottom of the EU countries in percentage of English speakers. The causes of our failure with the second most spoken language in the world (only Mandarin Chinese is spoken more than English) have already been studied on more than one occasion and our mistakes come from different origins. Discover below each one of them.

It is curious that, although the typical Spanish character is described as assertive and cheerful, at the time of speaking English we are not able to behave in the same way: we are won by the sense of ridicule. On many occasions we have seen how public personalities -particularly politicians- have tried to show off their skills with the language and have been mocked by society, which anticipates how inhibited we feel when speaking another language.

We often justify our bad English saying that there are lots of differences between the two languages, so it’s hard to learn it properly. Also, because of our mother tongue is spoken worldwide, it seems that we feel more relaxed when learning a second language, due to the fact that we don’t live any linguistic isolation with respect of the rest of the world.

However, a neighboring country like Portugal that can be perceived as similar to Spain, stands out positively with English, so it is worth asking: what do they do in other countries that we don’t do in Spain?

In Spain, until a few years ago, English was not taught in early childhood education, while experts encourage starting at an early age to take advantage of the ease of learning process during the first years of life. Also the teaching method used in Spain seems to be inappropriate, since it doesn’t consider the learning of a new language in a natural and spontaneous way, but as a combination of rules.

Moreover Spain has its own historical and cultural circumstances that have complicated our relationship with the English language over the years. In our country, like in a few other European countries, all movies are dubbed and it’s not easy to find a cinema where to see the original versions with subtitles. In the case of Spain it is a legacy of Franco’s dictatorship, when dubbing was mandatory in order to “defend all Spanish features”. For this reason watching a dubbed movie has always been seen as something absolutely normal. Although it would be very positive watching movies in their original version to familiarize with English, lots of people nowadays would feel negatively surprised.

If you speak English as your first or second language, what did you think when you arrived to Spain? Did you find difficult to communicate with Spanish people? Tell Spaneasy your experience speaking English with Spanish people in the section below.

 

Student Care Team
studentcareteam@spaneasylearning.com
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