Friday, July 2, 2010

No hablo ingles.

Madrid has always seemed to me to be a pretty sophisticated place . As capital of Spain I always imagined everything to be bigger bolder, faster brighter. With 3 million inhabitants it has to be pretty vibrant right? In general the place is all of these things. The shops are well stocked with fashionable clothes, the latest electronics,the high streets have a good mix of the largest chain stores and the small quirky independants,the buildings are pretty fabulous, the tourist destinations are attractive and promote the best of Spain, , it's clean, has a strong police presence so presumably it is pretty safe- the list goes on. Yet how is it that the language skills of the locals seems to be so poor. Have been into shop after shop and in every case my Spanish is better than their English. Have been in restaurants and nada, have even been in the airport and once again not a sinner speaks even the odd word of English. I have never really studied Spanish, have just picked up the odd word here and there through numerous holidays to the Canary islands but am amazed at their lack of talents in the language department. Have no idea how many hours a week they study English in schools here but can tell you here and now,it isn't enough.
With the job market getting harder and harder all over the world I feel that it is not acceptable for any country just to pay lip service to the issue of language teaching. Get them while they are young when their brains are like sponges and don't just leave it at 1 hour per week. I appreciate that every government must balance the books but the return on investment here would be visible practically from day one particularly in terms of the unemployment figures. In a day and age when apprenticeships are hard to find and justify how else are the less academic kids to survive. If they had learnt a foreign language from kindergarten just maybe they would not be on a minimum wage or on the dole whilst new immigrants who speak a smattering of several languages get positions serving the tourist industry.
Come on Madrid, get your fingers out and show the rest of your country the way forward.

Sent from my iPad

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