sorry. that's the apology bit done.
i speak, as the more e-agle eyed amongst you will have noticed, basic english. it is not even that much of an effort for me. it just sort of slips out. i have a thought and in no time at all it is sliding through my brain flume into the world on an english language lilo.
sorry. that's a new apology for the dreadful extended metaphor above.
in addition to this i can speak spanish. i learnt it, as one does, at an american school in bangladesh. my teachers were all native speakers: colombian, peruvian, mexican. and i got quite good - i was technically two years ahead of syllabus. but i was nowhere near being the best in the class. that particular honour went to the spectacularly bemonikered maurice ogaick, canadian, best swimmer in the team and all round good egg. he had initially learnt his español in argentina and we all sought to copy him as much as possible. well. i did.
so much so that when i returned to yorkshire for year eleven (tenth grade US readers (upper fifth posh readers (fourth year scottish readers))) and GCSE spanish, i was told that i had a distinct argentinian accent by the teaching assistant from sevilla. thanks, mo. as a sort of side note, i've always been pretty good at accents, both in a comedic sense and otherwise. to be taken seriously with a silly accent, here's a tip: rip the piss with a serious face. it worked when i was learning japanese.
my point is, i think, that the level of language teaching in this country is devastatingly poor. when i arrived back from teh abroadz, i sat at the back of top set spanish. when i was asked a question in spanish, i replied... in spanish. the entire class turned around to look at me with a mixture of amazement and disgust. i shut up pretty quick, sat at the back for a year getting worse at spanish and ended up with an A*. tut.
when i did a-level, i was so out of practice and my teacher so spectacularly rubbish i sort of lost interest until i got a job on the basis that i could speak spanish. it turned out i still could. no thanks to anyone in this country.
last thing... i've always thought that i'd love to have bilingual kids. but, chuck doesn't speak another language so it'd have to be me barking at the little one in pidgin spanish. not an edifying thought. hey, at least he'd have an argentinian accent.