‘The limits of my language mean the limits of my world’

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Sun, sand, sea and sangria – it’s not difficult to understand the reasons behind Irish people’s love for holidaying in Spain. The climate there – generally speaking – is not too rough on our delicate Irish skin, and because it is only a few hours’ flight time away, it feels like the gateway to paradise is always within reach. And it is not just the almost alien pleasure of being able to idle about in good weather with our limbs exposed that appeals to us; Spain does cuisine, landscape, architecture and culture with panache to spare.

All of which goes a long way to explain why Spanish language courses are so popular around this time of year as many holidaymakers busy themselves by making an effort to pick up a few phrases or brush up on those already known before they jet off.

Learning the simple things – such as greeting someone in the morning, or introducing yourself to a stranger, or ordering a meal – can be achieved in just a few lessons. And with some application, time and practice, even those without any prior knowledge of the language may have enough words to talk themselves in to trouble, and out of it too (hopefully).

Not only does having a grasp on the language help ingratiate tourists with the Spanish locals (even badly spoken Spanish is appreciated as it shows that you are at least making an effort), it affords greater mobility and understanding in terms of negotiating your way with people and with places.


Frank Bolger

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