More evidence of increasing popularity of Spanish in Europe

And a quick trawl of Spanish collections of phonetic equivalents, the closest many of the natives get to learning a foreign language.

Re a comment thread where “el Primo” swore blind on the basis of some bad statistics that Spanish was dying out as a second language in Europe, news just in from Scotland:

Figures released this week by the Scottish Qualifications Authority show that Spanish has overtaken German for the first time to become the second most popular language at Higher after French. A shortage of German teachers and a feeling that the language is unfashionable, despite its economic importance in Europe, has led to greater numbers of schools switching from German to Spanish. At the same time, there has been a corresponding pressure from parents who holiday in Spain, in both the independent and state sectors, to offer Spanish, as well as other languages.

Meanwhile, a Spanish girl I know sporadically is making little progress with her English because every time something is said to her in that language she improvises the nearest amusing phonetic equivalent in Spanish. A brief search reveals a minor industry dedicated to this entertaining way of disguising the traditional Spanish lack of interest in other languages. You may prefer the German, the Chinese, the Zulu [sic]…, but my favourites on this page are mock-Arabic:

  • beso: saliva-va-saliva-viene
  • divorcio: se aleja la almeja
  • Señorita, bájese de la moto: Maja, baja la raja de la Yamaha

And so on and so forth. Bite that wax tadpole, people.

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  1. This means fuck all. The article doesn’t mention the actual number of students learning Spanish, which could be in fact pretty insignificant given the fact that in Scotland studying a foreign language is not mandatory, as far as I know.

  2. Don’t swear on my blog, bollockbreath.

    Just out of interest, do you also refuse to believe that cars are more popular than horses as a means of transport?

  3. Of course not. Why would I do a thing like that?
    Do you refuse to acknowledge that Spanish is only the 5th most popular language in the EU, right behind Italian, French, German and English?
    And besides, don’t be such a sissy.

  4. Yeah, but you have to account for Newcastlers learning English as a second language.

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