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Mark Pentleton, of Coffee Break Spanish and Radio Lingua fame, has set himself a challenge to learn Catalan in four weeks. As he admits, he knows some already from his travels, but wants to be able to hold a proper conversation when he goes to Barcelona at the end of the month. He’s begun with a couple of posts this week, in Catalan. Very impressive!


Well, over the last few months, Mark and I have sporadically corresponded via Twitter in Catalan after he mentioned plans for One Minute Catalan and I said that’d be good but why not Mallorquí. The truth is that I learned Catalan at Sheffield University, taught by Alan Yates (of Teach Yourself Catalan fame) and then spent a year at L’Universitat de les Illes Balears in Mallorca. On returning for my final year, I had great fun making myself understood as my fellow students had been to Barcelona and Valencia and couldn’t understand my unique accent.
During my time in Sheffield, I wrote essays in Catalan, read countless books, adored La Plaça del Diamant, worshipped Villalonga and was gutted when Josep Llompart died whist I was in Mallorca. I even managed to deliver a talk to the highly critical, fiercely Mallorquí students of Català1 at UIB – and survived! I really did enjoy it. However, since then, I have no opportunity to use my skills and they are therefore horribly rusty.

So, I’ve decided to join Mark in his challenge. Before you get overexcited, I won’t be posting great essays in Catalan – or Mallorquí – but I will tell you what I’ve been doing. I’ve decided that, as term is just starting (shame I didn’t think of this a month ago!), I’m going for the ‘poc à poc’ approach (that reminds me of a Catalan joke, but it’s rude and I can only recall the punchline!).
I started off by tweeting Mark in Catalan:



After one particular tweet in which I shared my favourite Catalan refrán (probably the only one I know off by heart!) I’ve started reading ‘De mica en mica s’omple la pica‘ by Jaume Fuster once more. I read it at Uni – that was a long time ago, but I have to say that I’m really excited that I can still understand most of it – and the bits I’m looking up in my dictionary are actually familiar once I know what they mean!
Today, I’ve rediscovered one of my favourite expressions – it means don’t worry!

I’m hoping to find a phrase like that for each day – so any suggestions are very welcome!
Might even try to post some 12seconds.TV videos of me talking!

A veure què passi!

CBS socks!

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Whilst blogging last night, I was reminded of a video on Youtube that I had seen 6 months ago (and commented upon, so I know it was six months ago!!) but forgotten about. A masterpiece of sock puppetry, and an advertisement for a great product! See for yourself!

Coffee Break Spanish, presented by Mark and Kara, is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn Spanish. Now nearing it’s 100th episode, you can subscribe on iTunes and find out more about CBS at www.coffeebreakspanish.com/.

And should you wish to learn other languages, check out www.radiolingua.com where more of the prodigious output of Mr Mark Pentleton are showcased – including Coffee Break French, One Minute languages including Luxembourgish and Norwegian and MyDailyPhrase eg Italian. No froggycoffee here, eh Mark ;o)

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