The F word

No, rudie, the other F word! Fluent. That excruciating word that floors me every time someone comes out with the question, “So are you fluent in Spanish then?” I sweat profusely, and I stammer out some pathetic excuse for an answer every single time.

Maybe it’s because I’m British, but it just sounds ridiculously arrogant to answer with a swaggering “yes, I am actually” when confronted with the million euro question. But a “no” would be all wrong too. I mean, it’d be a bit pathetic if I wasn’t fluent, after living in Spain for eleven years, and collecting a nice little smorgasbord of postgraduate qualifications in the subject from Spanish universities. But it’s such a subjective question, isn’t it? What does “fluent” mean anyway? So don’t ask. Anyone. Unless you’re a job interviewer, in which case the answer’s easy enuff. 🙂

The word “advanced” is tricky in a similar way, so I’ll try and explain what I mean by “advanced level”. I’m not talking about qualifications here, although if you’ve got ‘A’ level (high school graduate level) Spanish or a degree in the subject, you’re obviously in the ‘A’ club. Basically, this blog is for you if you have a good understanding of the different tenses and grammatical structures in Spanish. Not least because I don’t intend to go into any lengthy grammar explanations here. This blog is about bite-sized nuggets of real Spanish from real life. (Mine, eek!) Hope you like it.


5 thoughts on “The F word

  1. Rita Rosenback

    Love your musings about being “fluent” – and yes, you are right, it is a very tricky question. I have often found the problem to be that the better I know a language, the more I am aware of what I don’t know – if you know what I mean 😀 . I did study Spanish – a long time ago, so I am probably not advanced enough, but I will try to follow you anyway. Thank you for stopping by my blog!

  2. My Little Spanish Notebook Post author

    Hi Rita! Thanks for dropping by, I totally agree with you that the more you know about something the more you realize there’s a lot left to learn, and I definitely have that feeling with Spanish. I used to think I “hardly ever” learnt new words, and then I started this blog and fabulous new words I’d never heard of kept cropping up all over the place! I’m looking forward to learning more about bilingualism from you. Happy holidays! 🙂

  3. Españolita

    I agree with you both, Louisa and Rita. I’ve let my castellano slip a little too much for too long (we’ve been living in the States for 11 years now), but now that I have a daughter, I’m upping my game!

    1. My Little Spanish Notebook Post author

      Thank you! I was tickled to see that you had a tag on your blog dedicated to the f word too. Hehe. Sooo many things in common…! I had a quick look at the link you shared and I’m fascinated to learn more – I love (/hate?!) the idea of setting myself challenges that terrify me, and I’d never thought of applying it to my language learning! See, this is why I blog – to connect with like-minded geeks all over this crazy planet. 😉


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