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News, developments and articles from Regina Coeli
Spanish surnames are often impressively long. That is because a child is given the surnames of both parents at birth. The first surname is that of the father, the second of the mother. In principle, then, children never have exactly the same surnames as their parents.
If Spanish surnames seem complicated, the exact opposite is true for the Spanish vocabulary for members of the family.
The Dutch often use the saying ‘twee vliegen in één klap slaan’ (to hit two flies with one swipe). As is the case with most sayings, it can’t be literally translated into another language. In Spanish there is a similar saying: ‘matar dos pájaros de un tiro’ which means to kill two birds with one shot.
One of the first things to learn in Spanish is the pronunciation of the alphabet, not for the sake of pronunciation but to be able to understand what is being said. Spanish doesn’t hold many mysteries for Dutch speakers but there is one exception that goes against the grain for the Dutch. That is the pronunciation of the letter ‘v’.
“During my first week, I thought to myself, ‘I’ll never get through this.’ A week of language training at Regina Coeli cannot be compared with anything I’d ever experienced before. It was very intensive and yet it absolutely hit the nail on the head. Due to the fact that the programme was completely tailor made to my needs and because the staff were welcoming and friendly, I felt very much at home. I actually overcame my fear of speaking Spanish! I was there for three weeks and I really miss Regina Coeli now.”
European Commissioner, Frans Timmermans, speaks a number of languages and this has been a great advantage to him throughout his career. He encourages businesses to invest in learning languages because it has a beneficial effect on Dutch exports. We spoke to him about his own experiences and about his interpretation of how languages play a role in doing business internationally.