No Habla Espanol

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:
• CommeRosetta Stonent 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 corrĂ©!’ 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 cafĂ© con lechĂ©, 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.



2 thoughts on “No Habla Espanol

  • This is good advice. I have started watching dubbed versions of US crime shows in Spanish. Since I know these shows and what is going on already, it’s very helpful to hear them in Spanish. Any advise on Spanish singers or songs I should listen to?


  • A few ideas: watch a movie in English with Spanish subtitles, and later watch the same movie in Spanish with Spanish subtitles. This will help your brain to deduct meaning from situations and words. Sing Spanish songs in a karaoke. Listen music in Spanish all the time. Think like you`re already there. Practice practice practice. You’ll do fine!

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