I now have three courses, that are all okayed by both universities, and they’re mostly interesting.
El Lenguaje Literario: Poesía (Literary Language: Poetry) is great fun, despite having a two hour lecture at 9am on a Thursday morning. The lecturer is this delightful sprightly grandfathery type, who speaks quite quickly, but very clearly. He is my FAVE. He also has a policy of never picking on an Erasmus student for an answer, which I’m a big fan of. It sounds lazy, but most of the time I’m about two sentences behind what he’s saying, AND trying to write down everything on the board at the same time. Knowing I won’t be chosen to give some kind of answer in front of fifty Spaniards means I can concentrate on making vaguely coherent notes.
Then Lengua Española Aplicada a la Traducción (Spanish Language Applied to Translation). Curiously, there isn’t actually a language that we’re translating into, though he throws around examples in Italian, French and sometimes English, which is bare hilairs. It’s mostly looking through the Spanish language to find idioms and untranslatable asides, and pointing out that they’re untranslatable. Not wildly exciting, but useful to see how Spaniards define their ‘hombre’s and ‘vamos’s and ‘vale’s that are strewn across the Spanish conversational landscape.
Lastly, Historia de España Antigua (History of Ancient Spain). We started a few centuries BC (which, confusingly, is a.C. in Spanish), and are now up to the Romans. The woman taking this one speaks so quickly that I forget everything she’s said as soon as she’s finished saying it, which isn’t great for note-taking. Luckily, she’s a big fan of PowerPoints and those laser pointer things, so I can piece together what she’s on about most of the time.
She also does things in a rather unusual fashion. My first lecture, she came into class waving a stone replica sword about, brandishing it at the whole front row. She was gabbling in Spanish rather incoherently, but I imagine she was giving us the backstory of Iberian swords, then she passed it round to class for everyone to have a swish. Last History seminar, we literally spent a whole hour going through a list of second century Spanish names she had made up, and assessing how ‘romanised’ they were, and generally learning about the structure of Roman names. I swear, just by a name, people knew so much more about each other then. Like, Samantha Morrison only tells you that my father’s family is called Morrison and my parents had a penchant for the name ‘Samantha’. If I was Roman, my name would be more like Samantha Londonensis Geoffrey filia, which would tell you that there were loads of Samanthas in my family (well, there aren’t, but you know, if I was called Jane or something), that I’m originally from London but not there at the moment, and I’m the daughter of someone named Geoff. Not to mention if I had conquered the Balearics in battle or something, then you could add ‘Balearico’ to my name and everyone I met would know of my courageous victory. And if my Dad had any battles to his name, he’d get those tacked onto my name as well (which I imagine was quite useful for the whole, ‘my Dad is going to beat your Dad up’ thing), so everyone would know my illustrious military lineage.
Worst thing about having lectures in Spanish is that I understand the words ‘homework’ and ‘due on the 15th’ but nothing in between (the professors chat like they’ve had three coffees and a Red Bull before every class), so I have literally no idea what I’m meant to be doing. Poetry man was lovely, and wrote it all down and put it on the board today, so the Erasmus students could catch up. The other lecturers, I’m going to have to email, to get it all in the far more comprehensible written form!
Only four more weeks to go, and then I’ll have finished with Spanish lectures forever!