What do you call a person who speaks three languages?
What do you call a person who speaks two languages?
What do you call a person who speaks one language?
I have a new respect for my ESL students. To better serve the growing Latino/Hispanic/Spanish Speaking population, I enrolled in a basic Spanish class at the local community college. I had this idea that I would perfect my greetings and become fluent enough to hold a decent conversation with my residents.
The two hours a week of class, plus the hour a day I tune into Telemundo or Univision, the list of vocabulary words I have collected and the mangled conversations I have with residents wipe me out.
So far I’ve dug back to high school Spanish and I can greet residents and ask their name: Hola, como te llamas? I can ask where they are from: De donde eres tu? I can ask how they feel: Como estas usted (if I’m feeling formal. Thanks to Google translate, I can ask how to help them: Como puedo ayudar?
This past week we learned time in class. This was where my head just split in two. In Spanish, there are multiple rules. The rule we learned and practiced was that time told PAST the half hour was expressed as such:
10:40 in Spanish is Son las once menos veinte. Or eleven minus twenty.
So now, not only do I need to remember the numbers, I also have to do math.
I have a difficult time practicing my Spanish at home. I’m the only person who speaks Spanish and no one knows WHAT the heck I’m talking about when I translate the few words I have memorized. I mentioned my frustration with the pace of my fluency to a man who holds practice English classes and asked if he had ever considered doing a practice Spanish class. Since most people prefer to learn English, it’s difficult to find a group for practice only. I was then tasked to find others who want to practice. Me thinks I’ll be phoning the library and making that suggestion for winter programming!
When I mentioned the dilemma to my neighbors at Goodyear, the guys all said: I can speak Spanish and begin to rattle off the numbers.
Anyone with access to PBS can learn the numbers.
No matter what age you are, take time to learn new things. I always thought the non-credit courses offered in the community were for OTHER people. They aren’t. These classes are to help increase knowledge, make people more aware, and a little fun.
I do need help, though. What are some ideas to make this learning process a bit smoother? Next week we’re going into conversation BEYOND greetings. This is leaving me a bit asustado*.