Monstrously late into my time here before schlepping off to Germany for the beginning of my second Erasmus semester, I have decided to really ramp up my knowledge of Catalan (the co-official language of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and the Valencian Community, as well as the sole official language in Andorra), despite my lack of Spanish fluency.
With around 11 million native speakers in 2009, I recently found out that i'd been completely underestimating it as a language, in favour of Spanish, down to my complete ignorance of its far reaching historical footprints throughout a lot of Southern Europe. It is an interesting and potentially easier language for me to learn than Spanish, too, since it has semantic roots from France and the Pyrenees area in Europe, as well as Latin. Quite a lot of the vocabulary is similar to what I already know, from French, just with that beautiful Iberian twist that is such a bouncy, passionate and lovely addition to seemingly everything on this peninsula and further afield.
So, after hearing countless amounts of people saying 'Molt bè' and 'Adéu' in the streets, I'm giving it a good go.
I've started with the basics, of course. I can now ask someone how they are, where they live and tell them my name, albeit with a Geordie accent lurking deep throughout, but I'm proud of my achievements already. Hopefully I can keep it up and practise a bit while I'm out of the area!
So, wish me luck!