This Spanish Thing

SMB + Paula

On the one hand, I am pleased that I can now recognize and understand some of the text I encounter everyday here in Buenos Aires.. I like one of the free commuter newspapers here in BA because it tends to use simple vocabulary, and I can sometimes pick up the gist of the stories. The gist, mind you, not the details.

That is Paula, our Spanish teacher, in the photo BTW.

On the other hand it is really frustrating that I am unable to express anything verbally, except the most basic caveman dialogue: “Me hungry”, “I like beef in Argentina”. I feel like I have just barely begun to move the needle.

The whole experience affirms my respect and awe for people who have attained a modicum of fluency in more than one language. The German teenager exchange student in our class, for example. He already communicates effectively in German and English, but moved here for several months in order to add Spanish. Or Ana, the Swiss lawyer who joined us this week. She took 4 months off work to travel South America, and is adding Spanish to her abilities in German, Italian, English and French. The Brazilian riot police officer who sat at the table next to us at dinner last night, who easily switched from Portuguese to English and was working on Spanish (and who was way nicer than you would ever expect a riot police officer to be). They are all capable of things that are far beyond me.

Go to the next post: Phantoms of Florida Street

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