Do I need to Speak Spanish at Cantueso or in Periana?

Definitely not, because although in the village the shops and businesses do not normally speak more than a few words of English you will certainly get by.  But and it is a big but, you will certainly get lots of fun out of your visit if you try a few words, and out in the campo if you meet a local they will almost certainly not speak English.  So why not try a few words and a little sign language, it goes a long way and you will find the local people very friendly and appreciative of your efforts.

If you do decide to try and learn a few words the first thing to remember is that there are different versions of Spanish.  The main language of Spain is Castilian and you could say this is the equivalent of the Queen’s English with the local dialect (Andaluce) being compared to a broad Scots accent or Geordie.  There are other regional languages in Spain such as Catalan which is spoken around Barcelona and Basque spoken in the extreme north.  You need to learn Castilian.  Most Spanish courses you will find in the shops will be this version but sometimes in the discount bookshops they will have discounted courses that are often teaching South American Spanish.

If you do decide to have a go there are many cheap beginners courses on Cd’s.  Ideal for playing in the car or at home for a few weeks before your holiday.  They all give you the basics of pronunciation, phrases and numbers.

Look out for the BBC Quick Start Spanish about £10 or The Michel Thomas Language Builder course, about £15.  The latter has a unique way of teaching without lots of grammar or writing things down, and you will be in good company as it seems to have been the choice of celebrities, politicians and major companies.

Maybe you can also splash out on a small dictionary but whatever happens you should pack the Rough Guide Dictionary and Phrase Book (£4.99) it is invaluable.

After you have arrived jump in and try out your phrases it will be fun and your confidence will slowly build.  At our restaurante and for guests in Cantueso Cottages we have a rule; that we always try to answer in whatever language the visitor uses.  But down on the Coast the opposite is the rule with shops and restaurants all having English speaking staff, which can be very irritating, because when you try out a few words of Spanish the reply usually comes back in English making you wish you had not tried.

Footnote:

When David Beckham went to Real Madrid the Open University had 1700 more people signing up for Spanish that year.  Beckham went from strength to strength with the language and is no doubt proud that his first sending off was for telling the ref he was “hijo de puta” the son of a whore!

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