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I was recently asked what was the most difficult thing that I have ever done. Without doubt I would now answer with ‘learning another language’. But enough of that negativity, I will borrow Steve Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field and say that Spanish is now comfortably under my grasp.
I moved to Spain knowing nothing more than yes, no and the numbers from 1 to 5 (true story). So I very much began from scratch. Over the last 18 months I have found myself moving through certain stages. In this post I want to describe what for me are the classic stages of acquiring a second language.
1) The honeymoon stage
This is where you move to a foreign country, attempt to make friends, and naturally those who you attract into your life tend to be those who already speak your own language. You bond quickly with them and live in a bubble made up of 95% of your own language, intertwinned with the occasional simple request in the local language. This stage helps settle you into the country, and provides a comforter that you know you can always return to again in the future should you wish to.