Friday, July 17, 2009

Samara: Spanglish

Two things are happening as I learn Spanish: (1) I´m forgetting English. This would be fine if my inability to speak English was in direct correlation my ability to speak Spanish. But its not. I now communicate poorly in two languages. (2) The ghosts of languages past are haunting me. I was by no means fluent in French by the time I left high school, and I took the bare minimum of Italian to fill the language requirement at Carolina. Now, ask me a question in Spanish and I´ll answer in some mangled version of either of these languages - any language but Spanish. What is this number? Sept. I mean, come on, five year olds that watch Sesame Street know that seven is siete.

Both of these problems are clearly illustrated by the following scenario that happened yesterday on the beach. While laying out, a little boy - probably five or six - came up to me and asked:

What time is it? (in English)

Me: No hablo español

What time is it? (repeated, again, in English)

Me: Oh. Excusez-moi
. [I look at my watch]. Il est deux heures.

What time is it?

(This time he asks in Spanish because I think he can tell that I´m trying to answer in Spanish, its just not coming out of my mouth. Poorly pronounced French is.)

Me: No se.

(Good for me. That´s Spanish, but I´m trying to say ¨I don´t understand¨ his question, which is confusing for me because I do understand his question. My brain just isn´t processing the correct response. It is also confusing for him because I´m actually saying ¨I don´t know [the time] But, clearly, I just looked at my watch and told him the time, albeit in poorly pronounced French).

I finally just show him my watch.


Sara Ficken August 9, 2009 at 12:13 AM  

Need an update Mer!! Hope you're having fun in...The Galapagos?! :)

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