The truble is Libby, that your teachers probably had a strong American accent too. That doesn't help. I remember before I spent several months working in Paris, my company sent me on a course called "survival French". I already had a French O Level, put that was a long time ago. It was only after I came back from Paris that I met my teacher again, and attended her class to talk about my experiences, that I realised that she had a very strong English accent.
The truble is Libby, that your teachers probably had a strong American accent too. That doesn't help. Martin D
Yes, they probably did, but nowhere near as relaxed as the students! Since I am very good with sounds, I tend to be able to pick up pronunciations by hearing other people say them. No, my teachers weren't that bad. To Spanish and Mexican people, yes, they probably were. But.. one of my teachers was Mexican herself, and of course her accent was much stronger than the American teachers. But the American teachers were not that much "worse", as far as that goes.
I think the reason many of the students were lazy like that, might be partly because foreign language is a required course, and some of them probably weren't that enthusiastic about it, and found it a bit hard. Heck, some kids (especially these days) barely know proper English grammar or spelling, so it's really no wonder they have trouble with Spanish (or whatever), too. I found it challenging, too, even though I was fairly good at it.
I have always found the best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it. When i went lo live and work in Sweden many years ago, I arrived not knowing a single word of the language. "They all speak English anyway" I was told, and that is largely true, especially among younger people who learned English from the day they started school. But I immediately signed up for a "Swedish for foriegners" course, which was interesting, since Swedish was the only common language the students had. Practicing was always a problem too, since as soon as a Swedidh person knew that I was English, they wanted to practice THEIR English. But enough of the language rubbed off to allow myself to be reasonably fluent after 3 years there. Can't remember much of it now though. Had a similar experience when I lived in Paris, although I already had a French O Level qualificiation before I went.
An scottish friend I knew who married a Swedish girl says they always spoke Swedish at home (in England) in the hope that their children would grow up multilingual. A note there perhaps for Hayley and Arnaud??? (phew, back on topic).
Not that we know of. Some people stay engaged for years, so there's no telling. I do remember when the engagement was announced Hayley said something like they were going to have a "long think" about it. I wonder how much thinking they have left to do?