Learning Spanish

Hola! I have been learning Spanish for the last couple of months in preparation for a trip I'm doing at the end of the year. A friend introduced me to Duolingo which you can get as an app for your phone. It's really great because you get to hear it spoken, you can practice your pronunciation and you can translate from English and from Spanish. And it's available in multiple languages.

Before I go to any country where I don't speak the language I like to learn a few words. I believe it's just polite to be able to say good morning, please and thank you​ and then there's the essentials like 'Where is the bathroom?' I've found that the more languages you learn, the easier it gets because it's amazing how many words are similar in different languages. I learnt both German and Indonesian at university and can communicate reasonably effectively in both languages. I learnt a smattering of Thai and Vietnamese when I went to those countries and now my focus in on Spanish.

It's actually quite interesting how many words I already knew - things I'd picked up from movies or books: hola, el torro, de nada, gracias, por favor etc​. The one thing I'm struggling with is the accents. If you forget to add the little accent above a letter, it completely changes the word.

For example papá

​ (with the accent) means father, papa (without the accent) means potato. I haven't quite figured out how the pronunciation is different but it could definitely cause some confusion!

Anyway I'm plodding away with it. I think I'm getting better because I can recognise a lot more words and I can guess others. Many words are similar to English, just with slightly different spelling. An additional bonus is that the sisters in my next series speak Spanish and so I'm able to throw in a couple of sentences here and there to make it more authentic (though I will get someone to check they are correct before it gets published!)

What language have you always wanted to learn?​