I’m no 4 year old. Which, they say, is the optimal time by which you should learn a language. I once watched a whole show produced by the University of WA on how we learn languages. Their conclusion: we will never speak like a native if we don’t hear the sounds of a specific language before we enter kindergarten. And learning Japanese? Forget about it. Being that I’m several – I actually mean MANY – decades past that time, it is proving challenging to get my Spanish on.
So I turned to our friends at Rosetta Stone. The tools produced by Rosetta Stone are easy to use and fully online, so I can learn when I travel. But there are things that confuse me and concepts I still struggle with. Here is a sample of some valuable things I can do so far:
• Comment on the color of the sky – ‘La cielo es Azul!’ I can see myself in my sun hat and beach bag, laying out my blanket and staking my umbrella. I will use this liberally at the beach with strangers, I’m sure.
• Count the number of green apples – ‘Hay quatro manzanas en el cuenco.’ Imagine if I’m at a friends house and they’re wondering if they have enough apples. I’ll fire this baby out like a pro.
• Notice out loud that a woman is eating rice – ‘La mujer come arroz.’ Think about a time when you’re looking for a certain type of restaurant and then you see someone eating something that looks good and you know you’ve found it. Most everything I like to eat comes with rice in some form.
And my favorite?
• The dog is running – ‘El perro es corré!’ Again, at the beach and people are looking for their lost dog and I just saw him go by. They will thank me for learning this one.
I guess I should be happy that my vocabulary has increase 10 fold from my days on the Camino, when upon entering a bar, ‘Dos café con leché, por favor’. And offering a hearty ‘Hola!‘ to everyone I met along the way. But learning Spanish by shouting out the obvious, while trying not to sound like I need to enter a mental hospital post haste, is taking a little longer than I would like. One wonders what I’ll utter at the Consulate during the interview. I know Jeff does. I can almost hear it now:
Interviewer: ‘Como te apoyaras mientras estas viviendo en Espana?’ = How will you support yourself while you’re in Spain?
Me: ‘Hay tres bicicleta rojas’ = There are 3 red bicycles
Interviewer: ‘Estaras viendiendo bicicletas rojas?’ You are going to sell red bicycles?
Me: ‘Si!’ (I say enthusiastically – thinking that sounds right)
Interviewer: ‘You are not allowed to work in the country. Visa denied.’
Me: (thinking) Perhaps he has a thing against red bicicletas.