Conversations in Spain: Transcript


01:38 Jonathan: Well this school was set up in 1954 · originally by my father · who came here on holiday · and decided to stay.

02:00 Jonathan: And when he decided to stay · and was looking around for · something he could do here · obviously he got a job · lecturing at the university · which was the obvious thing to do · but then he realised that there · might be a demand · for an English language school. · There were no others in Spain at the time · apart from the British Council · and the British Institute · and certainly there was no language school in Granada. · So umm, they opened the school here · in the centre of... right in the centre of town · and basically just · waited to see what would happen. · And very slowly but surely · all the ... for want of a better word · the cream of Granada society · ehmm, would come through the doors · with the idea of · ehmm..., giving the daughters of the family · ehmm, training, teaching or tuition in English. · It was the fashionable thing · for a young lady to do. · When they left school · university wasn't really an option · because it was eh · in fact until I suppose the late 40's, early 50's · universities were actually closed · to women here... · ehmm, · and so English was sort of a nice thing to do. · So they'd come in and they'd · they'd have their English class · and very soon it built up to um · 150, 200, 250 students ... · and · it really has been going continuously · ever since then. · We're now seeing · second and third generation of those · people who · came to study English here originally.

03:38 Nuria: I'm trying to · pass the First Certificate Exam · and I'm preparing in this academy · for 3 months.

03:50 Laura: In the academy I learn very, very, very much.

03:56 Christina: Yes my teacher in the school is good, · but in the academy is a teacher of England · and she speaks English very well.

04:11 Nuria: I think the key · to speak English fluently is to think in English.

04:17 Sara: I think because in the future · and in the present · I have to, to understand it because I will need · in the future and in my work · and I can to meet · people if I travel to other countries.

04:33 Jonathan: The ... in general I think in Spain · young people have realised · that without English · really they're going nowhere. · Umm ... if you look at the jobpages · in the newspapers · you very quickly see · that you need English ·English is a requirement · for practically anything · any profession or any job ·that you do these days. · I said before that Granada is a tourist city. · There are a lot of hotels · and there's a very big expatriate community · especially down on the coast. · Lawyers need English, · professionals need English · to communicate, and even to work here. · I think also · far-sighted parents have realised · that there are little, very few opportunities · for work in Granada · and that if they want their kids · if the children want to · study, progress and move forward · they really are going to have to go away, · go abroad, travel to different cities · and there again English is essential. · It's become the, the... · it's become much more of a requirement · and the English teaching has become · really, really professional.

06:16 Giulio: My name is Giulio and I'm from Italy. · I'm 28 and this moment we are in Madrid.

06:42 Giulio: I'm here for work. I came here on Saturday · to attend a conference · and today it's fortunately finished · and I'm leaving back to Italy tomorrow. · Tonight's my last night here. It's been a nice time here.

06:56 Daniel: Can you tell me a bit about your · English learning history?

06:59 Giulio: Well... err... yeah · Actually I think I studied English the first time · when I was in primary school · when I was 7 or 8 years old. · That was pretty new thing in Italy · in the 80's, I mean English · as a Foreign Language in primary school. · Then I had English every time · in the further steps of my education, · so in middle school · and high school, of course. · In middle school I had a very, very good · English teacher. · He was, he gave us a big, a very, very ... · how you say, complete and important · grammar basis, · and ahhh ... that was a very important · person in this sense, · for my English, ahh English education. · And then I went to U.S. for 1 year · when I was 17, · so 1997, · and I spent year near Los Angeles, · in Palmdale, · a small city, in a little valley, · and there I actually practised my English.

08:16 Daniel: What aspects of learning English · did you find were most difficult?

08:19 Giulio: Breaking err ... · breaking the shyness at the beginning, so · of course ahhm ... when you try something · new it's always a bit scary, I guess, · for everybody. · And that's the same thing when · speaking a language · when trying to speak a new language, · to try to communicate with people · that know it much better than you. · Which is people from England or U.S. or any other parts. · And that's probably one of the most · erm ... I would say · critical issues about learning a new language. · I admit I was probably a bit shy · at the beginning. · I'm not a shy person in general so ... · but I see it as a very, very, very · important thing to do. To break, to go over this shyness and · and just try to give the best and · and let things come, just come out of that.

09:20 Daniel: How would you be able to · maybe give some advice or some tips · to people to try and overcome that?

09:23 Giulio: Well you just need to do it. Just to start · and think that people are not there · to judge you, of course. You're a foreigner. · You're not supposed to speak English like a, · like a person from England or from U.S., · or nobody's there to judge you · or to make fun of you if you make a mess. · I know many people who are, just ahh, they · they probably don't know grammar so well · but they just don't care. They just speak, · though, one is my mum, for example. · My mum is a mess when she speaks English · but she doesn't care. · She's more, she's not shy at all · and she just speaks and she makes huge, · humongous mistakes · but people are not really ... · I've never seen anybody correcting her · or like making fun of her for ... · for the mistakes. · So just be relaxed and even though you ·make mistakes, mistakes is the way to · improve. · It's just a starting point to improve · if you get corrected, in that sense.

10:55 Beatriz: My name is Beatriz Huelamo · and I'm from Madrid · and now we're in the Retiro. · It's the main park of the city.

11:27 Beatriz: In Spain we have to start English · when we are 6 years old, · but I started when I was 5 · because my parents decided that · to learn English was good for me. · So in school you have to learn English · for 13 years, eh compulsory. · Ehmm... apart from that I was learning English · in more extra classes until I was, · I don't know, 13 or so. · And afterwards I've been · travelling and · improving because, I don't know, · in Spain it's a bit problematic with English.

12:06 Daniel: Why is it problematic? · What kind of problems do people have?

12:11 Beatriz: For me the main thing is that ehhh, · with 13 years we should be experts in English · but, ehhh we are not and ehhh ... · because you don't speak enough · English in class and people are really afraid · of talking · when they go out or some foreigner · comes and asks something · People are really afraid of speaking wrongly · or not doing it well.

12:40 Daniel: Do you think that that's more to do with · Spanish culture and background · or is it something that you think · a lot of other students have as well?

12:49 Beatriz: I don't know. In Italy for example · I was living also in Italy · and they don't speak that well either. · I don't know ... excuse me Italian people, · but I think so. Ehhh, but ermm... · Yeah, it's something that happens in Spain · very much and because err, in class · it's all grammatics mostly, and · we don't talk that much. There are, · I don't know... 20 people, 30 people · in every class and it's very focused on · grammatics exercises and not that much · on talking. · So, also because the teachers, · as you can see with me, · we don't have great · pronunciation so when you're learning English · from someone that doesn't pronounce · very well you can't pronounce · very well either.

13:56 Daniel: So when you were learning English as well, · what did you find to be the most difficult · aspects of the language?

14:02 Beatriz: To talk.

14:04 Daniel: Why is that?

14:07 Beatriz: To ... · Because you are used to, as I told you, · to write everything, and when the moment · to talk ehhh... appears, you're not able to talk · because you're really thinking of the structure · of the sentence. I think it's very important · that someone push you to talk, and you begin · to ... O.K. maybe I don't do the sentence · correctly, but at least I'm trying to talk, · you know? · And this is what Spanish people are really · afraid of, in my opinion. To, not to build a · sentence correctly or...

14:43 Daniel: So how did you make this jump ... yourself?

14:47 Beatriz: I think you have to travel. · Yeah, for me it was like that also. · I don't have to communicate · with other people. · You go abroad and everybody's · going to talk to you in English, so if you want · to make friends or buy milk or whatever, · you have to talk, and you have to jump your · embarrassment, you say? O.K.

15:17 Daniel: So for example when they are going for · private language classes · are these private language classes · the same as the state schools · or are they different?

15:25 Beatriz: Mmmmm. I think more or less is the same · but ehh, they support what they do at school, · and somehow maybe they try to do it funnier · than what at the school you can learn, · I don't know... it's boring, somehow.

15:48 Daniel : What do you mean "funnier"?

15:50 Beatriz : When you study a language · you have to like it, I think. · And if someone makes you look at it in a · funnier way, or that you like it more, that · you participate more, then it's better. · If you do it like "OK grammar, exercise 1, · blah, blah, blah, and learn this list and..." · I think you have to participate with the · language and learn to like the language.... · otherwise you don't care about it, · and you don't want to learn it.

originally (adv): at first, in the beginning
The building was a hotel originally, but now it's an apartment complex.

obviously (adv): clearly, easily seen or understood 
Kylie looked shocked when her name was called. She obviously hadn't expected to win.

demand (n): if the demand for something is high, many people want it
The demand for small cars has increased recently.

certainly (adv): definitely, without doubt 
Sales certainly improved after the new models came out. 

the cream of (idiom): the best of a group of people or things, as in "the cream of this year's movie releases" or "the cream of society" 
The cream of the world's jazz musicians will be performing at the festival.

option (n): something you can choose to have, or choose to do 
We studied the options carefully before making our decision. 

suppose (v): to think that something is probably true 
Everything else she's told us has been true, so I suppose this must be true as well. 

continuously (adv): without stopping or without a break 
The Labor Party was in power continuously from 1986 to 2000

generation (n): a group of people born around the same time 
My parent's generation lived through two world wars. 

prepare (v): to get something or somebody ready for something 
She spent the whole morning preparing answers for her job interview. 

fluently (adv): if you speak a language fluently, you speak it very well 
Cathy speaks three languages fluently. 

realise (v): to know or understand something
They don't realise how dangerous illegal drugs can be.

requirement (n): something that is needed 
The minimum requirements for taking this course are passes in physics and chemistry. 

practically (adv): almost or nearly 
English is taught in schools in practically every country in the world. 

expatriate (adj): relating to people who have moved to another country to live 
Lots of expatriate workers live in this part of the city. 

far-sighted (adj): able to imagine far into the future, especially when making decisions 
Far-sighted managers think about the long-term future of their company, not just this year's profits. 

essential (adj): completely necessary or very important 
Food and water are essential. We can't survive without them. 

further (adj): additional or extra 
Lots of people go back to school for further studies these days. 

aspect (n): a certain part or feature of something 
Which aspect of the course did you like the most? 

shyness (n): a feeling of nervousness when you're with other people, especially people you don't know 
When she was a teenager, Maria suffered from a terrible shyness. 

critical (adj): very important 
Learning to read is a critical part of everyone's education. 

issue (n): a topic or problem that needs to be looked at and talked about 
One of the biggest issues facing our generation is climate change. 

admit (v): to agree that something is true, especially something you're ashamed of 
It took him a long time to admit that he'd made the mistake. 

in general (phrase): in most situations 
Do you think that government workers in general are honest? 

overcome (v): to get over something like a fear or an addiction
Have you overcome your fear of heights yet? 

supposed to (phrase): if you're supposed to do something, you're expected to do it 
The guard is supposed to record the names of all the visitors. 

make fun of (phrase): to tease, or to make unkind jokes about someone 
The other boys made fun of Leo because of his accent. 

humongous (adj): extremely big, enormous 
Whenever we went home, our mother made these humongous meals that no-one could ever finish. 

compulsory (adj): if something is compulsory, there's a rule or law that says you have to do it 
A minimum of ten year's schooling is compulsory for every child. 

apart from (phrase): except for 
She works every day of the week apart from Sundays. 

problematic (adj): having or causing problems or difficulties 
Do you think it's problematic for political parties to accept large donations from companies? 

culture (n): the behaviour, customs and traditions of a particular nation or social group
People say that New York is a melting pot of many different cultures.

background (n): context; the situation, circumstances or events that cause or explain something
War broke out against a background of political distrust on both sides.

structure (n): the way in which the parts of something are organised 
Your essay should have a clear structure, with an introduction, a main body and a conclusion.

embarrassment (n): a feeling of shame, most often caused by breaking a social rule 
When Susie realised she'd said the wrong thing, her embarrassment made her face feel hot and turn red.

support (v): to help someone or something 
While he was recovering from his illness, Hiroko got a lot of support from his family and friends. 

participate (v): to join in and do something together with others 
When he was a boy, Robert didn't like participating in sports or other group activities. 

otherwise (adv): used to begin a phrase that tells what would happen if a suggestion or an order isn't followed 
You really should get health insurance, otherwise you'll have to pay all your medical expenses yourself.