The Spanish people and languages

Spain was different

Spain was different (Photo credit: . SantiMB .)

Spain is a very funny country. It is by far one of the countries in the world which spends more money regarding languages, and it is by far the last country speaking a foreign language. What’s wrong with Spain?

I wrote an article about the English and languages, and it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t write one about the Spanish people and languages. Because Spain’s situation with languages is probably the worst of the world.


Every Spaniard wants a solution quick and easy, and everyone understands the importance of speaking a foreign language in a tourist country like sunny Spain, but everyone thinks it should be different, easier, better, quicker, cheaper…

Things are what they are

As what I explained about the Britons, having had an overseas empire which forced others to learn the Emperor’s language never helps. All the countries in the world which have had an empire are bad learners of foreign languages.

Spain is not difference. We deny our past, our glorious past when we spoke several languages altogether in Al-Andalus. We deny that in Spain the first school of translation was created in Salamanca, and we deny everything because we discovered America by chance.

Christopher Columbus, who is also claimed by the italians nowadays, was not a fair guy really. Even though he was one of the best explorers in history, he went on the policy of the Spanish Catholic Monarchs to impose a religion and a language.

Don’t impose, open your mind

And Cristian Spain learnt to stop the different. “La Inquisición” did it best to kill the infidel, and the ignorance did it best to stop learning.

And after that, we’ve spent the last four centuries pretending we were better than the rest, and history has put us in our place. However; we’re still to selfish and proud to accept it.

The only pedagogical study ever made in Spain was that of teaching Latin to scholars. The way a dead language is taught has nothing to do with the pedagogy of a living language which must be spoken.

After all the efforts, the Government, teachers and society in general led the same pedagogical method used for latin to be used in teaching French and English at schools.

And I am proud to say that from Primary to High School, a spanish students studies a language for thirteen years. After 13 years they cannot speak in that language. They have a certain knowledge, they understand written form, they get some words… but they cannot speak.

Sad, very sad really…


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  1. Hi Paco, It’s tru what you say, and If I have to blame, I would blame the weather and the beer, these make us lasy cows. I know that this is not an excuse, but It’s my explanation.


    1. Thank you Eva! Your comments are always welcome 🙂

      No worries about mistakes, have a look at this:

      I don’t know if the weather make the people lazy cows, or if the system at schools has stopped everyone from learning. However; I do believe there’s a solution and nobody should be put back because of past problems.


  2. Actually I think that spanish students are able to learn English after having studied for 13 years. I mean, I’m one of those examples, and I’m definitely not the only one around. What the Spain system to teach foreign languages lacks is more spoken exercises, as I was doing now in a academy to learn French. But, the average spanish student after he tries for a month or two to speak in Shakespeare’s language, it is able to easily communicate.

    But we should not just trust in the statistics. I live in a foreign country and it’s not that normal that people speak in English, it is true that a lot of them does and you can find even some among the elderly, that in Spain would not be possible at all. But as youngsters, I’m pretty sure that the situation is not as bad as lot of people suggest compare to other countries.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your valuable comment Demóstenes!

      I’m glad that a Spaniard came up declaring how good he speaks English! I know there are plenty of Spanish people out there who can speak proper English, I am another example of it too.

      However; despite the statistics, I see the opposite on an everyday average, and that’s one of the reasons I wake up every morning with the intention of changing the situation.

      I don’t know the country you’re living now, and the rate of people who can speak another language may differ vastly from one to another, but if we compare most of other countries to Spain, we show we’re losing the battle against the Swiss, the Finnish or the even our closest neighbours the Portuguese. But that doesn’t mean other countries can be as bad learners as we are.

      But it is our duty to change that situation and I am very positive about seeing it coming, otherwise I wouldn’t do this job or you wouldn’t have shouted here!


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