FYI- I am sorry if this is rushed and full of mistakes, I wrote it in an angered state after readin THIS absymal article.
Last October, I did a language/culture exchange trip to Santander in Spain. It was A-MA-ZING 😀 I loved every minute of it. Firstly, the weather was good. Secondly the people were nice and warm and receptive. Thirdly Santander (and much of Spain I imagine) was so laid-back and chilled and relaxed. We went out for lunch and didn’t come back for four hours. We met up with random people in random places at random times. It was ‘unscheduled’. Not like life in England.
One day I remember the most, was the day my exchange took me to see a football match between her boyfriend’s team and another local school. I remember it, not for the game, which was average, but for the people. They were happy. They laughed and talked and asked me questions about everything! I remember one of the girls took my make-up bag and tried it all on- she wasn’t allowed make-up at home.
But the other thing I remembered about that day was a song. Someone had the radio on their phone, and as soon as this song came on, they all started singing and dancing. Their moves were exact and precise- they knew the moves so well! (It was apparently number 1 at the time in Spain.) After the song finished I asked my exchange what it was called. She replied,
At least that’s what it sounded like to me. 😛 (It is of course ‘Ai se eu te pego!’) I asked her what it meant and she said she had no idea, it was portuguese.
This amazed me.
It’s going sound so ‘up-myself’, but in England there are no foreign songs ever. EVER. (Apart from that one about the Americans.)
Now I know about foreign songs. I listen to Enrique Iglesias, Nelly Furtado and Shakira in all their English and Spanish songs. I can understand some of them too. But, in general, in England people don’t know foreign songs.
This was all last October. I never got to know what the actual song was called until April this year. In April I was lucky enough to take another holiday where ‘Ai se eu te pego’ was played every day and I eventually found out what it was called. I looked it up, and then I looked up the Portuguese/English translation to see what it was all about.
I can now say then, that I know a little bit of ‘fluent’ Portuguese!
So, what bugs me is that in England, young people are almost being forced into learning languages. We are told it’s essential for our future, essential to get a job, essential to cope in life.
So why won’t these monolingual (currently) English people let these other languages into their culture. Why do they refuse to except that there’s another world out there that they can so easily be a part of. My Spanish friends listen to songs they don’t understand because they’re good, not because of the language they are in. I listen to foreign songs in order to learn more a language I love. So why can’t they? Why aren’t foreign singers encouraged in a culture, in England, where people are so feverishly encouraging the learning of languages?