Friday, May 22, 2009

Estudiante de Espagnol

So, I'm annoying friends and family members with my new found obsession: Spanish 101.

I've always been a "word nerd," meaning that I have always loved languages and expanding my vocabulary. When we started reading Shakespeare in high school, I didn't have any problem understanding the English as written. In fact, I had to translate for a few friends. I'm embarrassed if I don't know a word that I read or that is spoken to me. I'll immediately look it up and make it part of my vernacular.

I started in Early French Immersion at age five. I loved it from the get go. I ended up taking French right through high school (earning my official bilingual certificate) and into university. When I started in the workforce in my chosen field, it was in a totally bilingual center. Now, what that means by Ottawa standards is that all of the OTHER staff members were Francophones by birth and could barely write or speak English. Oh, enough to get by, but not as "fluently" bilingual as I was required to be in French. Sorry, soapbox moment there. Enough to say, I had no issue using and applying my second language and did so daily with native french speakers.

When I was about ten, I'd pour over my Mom's old Spanish course books and try to pick up expressions. I taught myself to count to ten and to say "my name is" and "how are you" and stuff like that. Yes, I had weird past times as a kid. I said I was a nerd!

One of my best friends growing up was part Spanish, part German. She spoke German at home, was in Early French Immersion, spoke English fluently, and also spoke Spanish. How I envied her!!! To be so young and speak four languages already!! I'd hang out at her house and try to pick up German phrases and see if I could understand conversations. By the time she moved away, I could decipher fairly well what was being discussed. Even now, if I see written German text, I can sometimes pick out what it says.

But back to Spanish. So far, I'm loving it. Every week I drag my feet about going. Every week I feel like backing out. But I go. And by the time I leave I'm energized! I get home and read over my notes. I speak to my girls in Spanish at home to show them what I've learned. I go over my notes again and again during my week.

It's been awhile since I sat in a classroom, and you can't hide in a language class. You HAVE to speak and converse. That part makes me anxious. I've always been a bit of a keener, and hate getting the answer "wrong." What I think will happen to me if I get a wrong answer, I don't know, but it makes me extremely uncomfortable. So, that I could do without. But it's all about taking the brass ring, right? Doing something I've wanted to do and learn for a long time. So, I have to just push through that discomfort. And I am.

I don't know how far I'll take this or where these Spanish lessons will end. We are just getting started and just at the "easy" part. We haven't hit grammar and verb tenses and conjugation and all of that good stuff. So who knows. But right now, I'm an enthusiastic learning machine.

I apologize in advance for the Spanish references to come. The odd Spanish word thrown in to an otherwise incongruous blog post. The upcoming liberties I'll be taking with using what I know. And oh, I'll be taking liberties.

Just grin and sip your cervasas, por favor. Muchos gracias y buenas tardes.

No comments:

Post a Comment