Spain loves our lovely –ing; they create all kinds of words with it, and would no doubt put it in their soup if they could find a way.
With a little bit of -ing, a camp site becomes a camping, a car park becomes a parking, jogging becomes footing, bungee jumping becomes puenting; and they even have an airline called Vueling.
Latest in the list is Languing, the brainchild of Alejandro Sahuquillo, who knows a thing or two about languages.
After completing his secondary school studies at Escuelas Pías, Calle Carniceros, and Jesuitas in the old premises in Avenida Fernando Católico, Alejandro started a long term learning process that would result in Languing.
He studied a year of secondary education in Philadelphia, just missing Tom Hanks, Bruce Springsteen and Rocky, and then began his university pharmacy studies, including a year in Bologna.
After finishing pharmacy, he then did a further degree in architecture, including a year in Prague, where he shared a flat with two French girls.
Not content with all that language experience, he spent a year and a half in Moscow, and on returning to Valencia, tried to keep up his Russian by continuing his classes with his Russian teacher though Skype.
All these experiences got him thinking about how many people like him don’t like or want classroom classes, and that the new technologies open up new possibilities to learn and practise languages in a more personalized manner.
In June 2014 the first prototype of Languing went on-line and attracted a thousand users; but it was only a prototype. However, in June 2015, the latest version was ready to go and, with the help of Lanzadera, the start up organisation founded by Mercadona owner Juan Roig, Alejandro launched Languing along with a partner and 5 employees, with a variety of international backgrounds and linguistic experiences.
Initially Languing is a free on-line service which allows people all over the world to practise any one of 12 languages with people who share their own interests or professional background, so if you are a Portuguese doctor who wants to learn Russian, they will fix you up with a Russian speaking sanitary worker.
But that’s just the beginning; their medium term aim is to offer 50 languages and to develop a series of paying options such as specialized courses or translation services.
There’s no ‘money back if dissatisfied’ offer because you don’t have to pay anything; so if you are skeptical about Languing, you can try it out, with nothing to lose but your embarrassment about communicating with people from all over the world while your little sister is dragged screaming to another class at her academy to discover that the verb ‘to be’ just changes every time she starts to get the hang of it.