Travel: French and Spanish without Tears; as Well as Tackling a Whole New Footballing Career for Real Madrid in Spain, Living in a Foreign Country Means David Beckham and His Family Will Have to Learn a New Language. Lisa Salmon Looks at What the Best and Fastest Way of Doing That

The Birmingham Post (England), June 28, 2003 | Go to article overview

Travel: French and Spanish without Tears; as Well as Tackling a Whole New Footballing Career for Real Madrid in Spain, Living in a Foreign Country Means David Beckham and His Family Will Have to Learn a New Language. Lisa Salmon Looks at What the Best and Fastest Way of Doing That


Byline: Lisa Salmon

You'd have to have been living on the moon for the past couple of weeks not to know that David Beckham had been signed for Real Madrid.

What that means, of course, is that both he and the rest of Britain's 'second royal family' -his wife, the former Spice Girl Victoria, and their two sons Brooklyn and Romeo -will have to spend a great deal of time in Spain.

How much time they spend there entirely depends on which newspaper report you choose to read.

Some say the family will live there most of the time, while others declare that Victoria and the boys will spend most of their time in England and commute to Spain.

Whatever the truth of the matter, all of them will need to pick up the language.

And that's particularly the case for David, who will certainly be in the country for the whole football season, and will need to know what his teammates are shouting to him on the pitch. But what is the best way for them, and anyone else who wants to be able to speak in another tongue, to learn a language?

There are, of course, numerous ways to go about it, ranging from the obvious college courses to distance learning, or simply studying from cassettes.

In addition, there is the even the more straightforward option of just picking the language up while you are staying in a country, although the finer points of grammar would probably be lost this way, and the older you get, the harder it is to pick it up fluently.

What it boils down to, says Sandra Truscott, a senior lecturer in languages at Manchester University Language Centre, is that different people will find certain ways of learning suit them best.

She says: 'It takes a lot of time and motivation, but learning a language can be fun.

'But don't believe any of those things that say you can be fluent in ten hours, because you can't.

'If you come to it when you're older, the best way is to come at it in lots of different ways -spend time abroad, study at home and go to a class.'

But, she says, don't lose your focus, as the key to successful learning of a language is motivation.

'You must make it interesting and fun and get something out of it all the time,' she adds.

'It's like going to the gym -if you only go once a week for ten minutes, you're not going to get fit. It's the same with learning a language -you have to do it little and often.

'Nobody's going to wave a magic wand -you have to put the time and effort in yourself.'

Sandra says picking up the language when you're staying in another country can be a 'fantastic' way of learning because if you're mixing with native language speakers, you're getting a huge amount of language input -much more than you could ever get on a course, or from a tape.

But one potential problem can be that so many people abroad can speak English, so it's very tempting to expect everyone there to understand your native language, instead of you understanding theirs. …

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Travel: French and Spanish without Tears; as Well as Tackling a Whole New Footballing Career for Real Madrid in Spain, Living in a Foreign Country Means David Beckham and His Family Will Have to Learn a New Language. Lisa Salmon Looks at What the Best and Fastest Way of Doing That
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