Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Language plus two

I'm doing everything I can not to think about enrolling at Uni for yet another course.

I want to do a couple of things though; I want to play lead guitar and I want to speak Spanish. Ok, I want to do three things - I have a mad desire to sit the Radio Amateurs course and buy an HF radio so I can use morse and SSB to speak around the world.

I'm odd. I must be. I made a transmitter in a bean tin at the age of ten, and had a bedroom that resembled a mad professor's lab at the age of 12. I had a 60 lb, thirteen valve lancaster bomber WWII transceiver that didn't work. I took the thing apart, cleaned it up and made it work. I sat and worked out the theory of long wire radio antennas and mad the thing explode into life. I learnt morse at the age of 12 and can still belt the alphabet out in less than two minutes. Mental.

Guitar is something I muck around with. I envy lead guitarists who are good and I'd love to play, but I really do envy those with a second language.

I've no desire at all to learn French. I was taught by a bloke that smelt like the back of Victoria Wine (the shop, not a person) and constantly hung over. Apparently the teacher had learnt French while digging holes as a labourer there. I'm surprised I don't know how to ask for a shovel or to apologise for inadvertently showing my bum crack.

The only phrase that I learnt at school - and I'm not kidding here, is to ask for a large mint ice cream. Don't ask me to spell it, but I can, I'm sure, speak like a native Parisian if ever a grande glace a la menthe took your fancy. I studied the language for two years at school, and that's the only phrase I know. Pitiful.

I do think that we Brits are desperately lazy when coming to languages. My friend Juan, a Chilean, came over here fleeing from Pinochet in the 70's. Juan has four young kids 3- 9 and speaks to them only in Spanish. His wife; Simone is so Brummy, she makes me sound like Prince Charles.

The kids all speak Spanish, and Isabella is, I'm sure, fluent in Spanish. That's incredible to me. I need to learn. I would love to be able to converse in a different language. How incredible would that be?

So, maybe I should play Spanish guitar over the radio waves and kill three birds with one stone eh?

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