Sunday, February 28, 2010

Señorita Healthy Pantalones Está Aprendiendo

Two days ago, I decided to try to learn the Spanish language.

Iwanski and I have had one of those Rosetta Stone Language CD’s for a little while now, so I finally decided to sit down and see what it’s all about.

I’ll tell you one thing, I am glad that I had two years of Spanish in high school. Otherwise, I’m wondering if I would be completely lost. You see, the Rosetta Stone software works by pretty quickly immersing you in the language. There are pictures and all that good stuff, but to me, it’s still all about basic memorization. And I haven’t had to work hard at memorizing anything for a long time.

I can only imagine how difficult it would be to learn Chinese or Arabic, which don’t even use the same alphabet as English.

Nevertheless, I have persisted for the past couple of days and now I know/remember the basic colors and numbers, as well as certain verbs like cantar (to sing), bailar (to dance), saltar (to jump), and beber (to drink). I also remembered the words perro and gato (dog and cat), and have learned that a bird is a pájaro.

The problem is that these are only a few of the massive number of words that I would have to learn to master the language. If I really want to learn this, I will have to actually work at it. There’s no software that will do that for me. (Damn!)

And to add to that, I keep getting confused between the words “to walk,” “to run,” and “to eat,” and “to fall.” They all start with the letter “c” (caminar, correr, comer, and caer), so I haven’t quite yet figured out the trick to keeping them straight in my head. And to add to that, a horse is “un caballo”—and there’s a surprising number of horses that show up in this software. So if you have the sentence “un caballo esta comiendo,” I have no freakin’ clue if the horse (at least I think it’s a horse) is walking, running, eating, or falling. Now, if you have the sentence “un caballo esta comiendo la zanahoria,” at least I know there’s a carrot involved—because zanahoria (a carrot) is at least one word that starts with something besides a c.

So I guess you can say I’ve got some work to do in the memorization department; it’s just not as easy as I thought it would be.

Hmm, I wonder if you can buy language CD’s that you listen to while you sleep, and somehow you magically learn the language by process of osmosis?

Oh, if only…and if only I weren’t so lazy, I could learn a whole new language!


Lisa said...

I can relate to this. Occasionally I do skype chats with a friend of mine who lives in France. He doesn't speak much English so I'm trying to chat with the assistance of a couple of dictionaries, a jargon and slang book and google translate for back up. Awkward. I get so mad at myself for losing my fluency.

Keep at it, though. You can do it! Immersion is the thing. Spain needs you, MHP. You and Iwanski need to take a sabbatical there so you can really learn the language!


actually there is a cd that you can listen to while your asleep..
all my spanish is 'texmex' and it's naughty.

sageweb said...

Did you know there is only one word in spanish with the letter K..,,that is easy to remember.

Random Thinker said...

Not sure if you are a podcast listener but there are quite a few that present short language lessons. I listen to a German one, about five to ten minutes of simple dialog. The more you hear it the easier it is to learn and remember it.

We really should be teaching foreign languages to our elementary kids. Their brains are made to soak it up. Much harder to learn it when you are older.

Mom said...

No habla espanol.

rosemary said...

I tried to learn Italian for our trip to Italy over the summer of 2004. Could not do it. I never had the ability to learn a second language in school and why I thought I could in my 60's is beyond me. The only word that saved us that I did remember was Traghetti....ferry. Good Luck.

Sling said...

I got straight A's in 'Spanish',but found it somewhat impractical(although,not useless) when conversing with Mexicans..whole different dialects,you see.
Even they have difficulty understaning one another,if they are from different regions in Mexico.
This was both frustrating,and fascinating at the same time.
Years of working with them on the production line in a mobile home factory was the best way to develop a more comfortable conversational style.
I guess my point is,the best way to learn a language,is to immerse yourself in the culture.

Maria said...

Everyone in my office took a Spanish night class together in January and February. About half of our patients are Hispanic and we only have one secretary who speaks Spanish and she is overworked and underpaid, so we decided to help her out.

I managed to ace the course but all I can remember is how to ask someone if they speak English or if they need an interpreter...("Necesita une traductor?") I figure this is because I am very old and have trouble with new tricks.

Anonymous said...

about time vyou used the spanish discs lol ji