Thursday, July 30, 2009

On Learning and Speaking Spanish

I fell in love with Spanish when I took my first trip to the Dominican Republic in 2003. I loved it so much, in fact, that in my year between Bible college and university I took a basic Spanish course. When I started university, I knew my two required language classes would be in Spanish. I stopped taking Spanish #1 because I didn't need any more language credits, and #2 because it was hard on my average (this is the more likely culprit . . . no matter how much I loved it, I couldn't learn it fast enough or well enough in 3 month blocks). When I signed up for Beyond Borders/Intercordia, my only really strong desire was to be placed in a Spanish speaking country. I am currently reading Eat Pray Love, and if any of you have read that, I can relate to the author's love for Italian because I feel pretty much the same way about Spanish. It's just so cool-sounding and fun. However, that does not make it easy. For example, pronounce this word: once. Good. However, en español, it is pronounced own-say (more or less anyway). Those university level courses I took were back in 2005-2006. I remember some, but not a lot. Verbs are especially tricky, because there is a different conjugation for every personal pronoun, and they all sound at least a little bit different. Here is an example of that

tener - to have
yo tengo - I have
tú tienes - you have
él/ella/usted tiene - he/she/formal you has
nosotros/as tenemos - we masculine/feminine have
ellos/ellas/ustedes tienen - they masculine/feminine/formal you plural have

When we first arrived in Quito, we were given a 3 hour Spanish lesson. That's it. If I hadn't learned a little bit of Spanish before, I would have been totally euchred. I think I have learned a fair bit of Spanish in my time here, but I would say I am nowhere near fluent (though I would one day like to be). In any case, I still love Spanish and hope to keep learning it when I get back to Canada. My favourite number is ocho (eight). I have a ton of favourite words, but three of them are bailarina (don't know the exact definition but I love that it kind of sounds like ballerina, and I know it has to do with dancing), contigo (with you), and conmigo (with me).

Gotta run!!
Hasta luego!

1 comment:

  1. Amy,
    I know how you feel about Spanish I fell in love with it too. I just love the way it sounds and flows, its beautiful. Anyway, I have a word to add to your favourite word list: espouma, which by the way, my host sister also used to describe icing on cake, in addition to soap suds and as you know from Salinas, the foam on beer. lol, talk about a multifunctional word :)