When we first came to Melaque 15 years ago, we knew very little Spanish. The first day that the guys went out for breakfast I looked at the menu in consternation. Then I noticed a couple of words that made sense ‘Omelet de champiñones’ I was saved. My cornflake box French saved me.
Rosalie was determined to learn the language and took some courses. I went with her for a few but Classroom learning doesn’t work for me so I gave it up.
Several years later I was frustrated with Mexicans trying to talk to me, so, with the help of Google translate I made up a little Spanish phrase: “Mi Espaniol es pequito. Mi esposa habla mas” This is not correct but I was understood. (“I speak a little Spanish but my wife speaks more.”) When I first used it the guy said “si’ and went to talk to Rosalie.
Up to this point, I thought that I was too old to learn a new language but this tiny exchange encouraged me and I picked up more as we went along.
This year I decided to try harder to learn, so, now, every day, I dig into it for a least a couple of hours and am picking up more and more. I know hundreds of words by using flash-cards but putting them together to make a sentence is really challenging.
Rosalie rested from the learning process for a while but lately has really gotten back into it. I’m happy about this as she is a great mentor. I give her a challenge though as my pronunciation isn’t that good yet.
We also use the internet to learn more. In one lesson I had to learn about eight new words relating to location: under, over, behind etc. I put them on flashcards and eventually managed to remember them but it took about a week of daily review. Rosalie did the same lesson and remembered them right off. I’m happy that I have her for a tutor.
She also has a bit of an advantage as she has a French background. As in French a lot of sentences are back to front like Spanish. As a minor example “I am hungry” in Spanish is “Tengo hambre” which literally means “I have hunger.”
As I walk around town or listen to Spanish conversation it’s like a cloud of words, some I understand and some I don’t. I’m finding that I’m slowly picking out more and more that I do know. This, I think is progress.
My English grammar was unused for a long time so I have had to learn all over again. Now a lot of it applies to Spanish. We were both struggling with Spanish conjugations but have come up with a formula that we found on the internet and it’s helping a lot. It’s amazing that one verb can have as many as 70 different conjugations.
Rosalie said that if I conjugate too much I’ll go blind. I wonder what she means?
Me after conjugating in front of the computer for a few hours.
Now we have to get into subjunctives. I think it might drive me mad. However, there are patterns there also so I think eventually we will get it.
I have found though that the more I learn, the more I want to learn and the more there is still left to learn. I’m not afraid to ask for help or to try a new sentence out on anyone especialy Rosalie. Sometimes I get a blank look but mostly I’m understood. I’ve learned a lot in the past two months and want to learn more in the next three remaining months of this season.