You didn’t think I was joking when I said Cynthia is going to learn Spanish after Fernando Torres scored the goal that won Spain the UEFA Cup 2008, did you? So I join her, under one condition. Stay tuned and you may hear about it in September this year.
To learn Spanish is one of Cynthia’s childhood dreams. I honestly have no special love for the language, the music, or the food but I do love to fulfill the dreams of others if I can. Learning a language is absolutely not my strength and it is utterly one of the 10 things I fear most. I am not exaggerating.
Exactly what I am going to do with this new skill, I have no clue. However I am a strong believer that whatever you learn today opens up options you may have in the future. Besides, I have this impression that Spanish is widely spoken in the Americas and I just learned from a Filipino friend of mine that his country was under the Spaniards for 400 years! If this new experience hasn’t opened up new options for me yet, it has certainly opened up new conversation topics. Did you know that Spanish is the world’s second most-spoken language by native speakers after Mandarin Chinese?
I told my boss that I have a Wednesday class in town so that any travel plan in the near future can hopefully be scheduled according to my constraint; I told my team that I am learning Spanish so that they know I have a life and won’t expect me to OT on work that never ends. My boss sounded supportive and he told me that learning a new language is good to give our brain cells a good workout. Great! I think my first lesson was more than a workout. I was exhaustively euphoric.
Anna is an interpreter by day, Spanish teacher by night and she is a fun person full of laughter. Las LiLas School specializes in teaching Spanish language at various levels and the learning environment is OK. I wish the classroom could be more colorful. Having some refreshments inside the room would have been nice. Next time I shall bring along my bottle of water and some snacks as well.
I guess all good language lessons begin with hi-how-are-you, what’s-your-name, and I’m-so-and-so. Spanish language seems to have three extra alphabets ll, ch, and ñ, which is pretty funky. Cynthia’s mother tongue is Bahasa Indonesia – a language with a certain level of Dutch influence – and she didn’t find the i-pronounced-as-e and e-pronounced-as-a confusing. That alone confuses the heck out of me. Fortunately, I am trained in pronouncing the tongue rolling ‘R’ sound of the Indonesian and the throat vibrating ‘R’ sound of the French, I am doing OK with the Spanish ‘G’, ‘J’, and ‘R’ that utilize both techniques. ‘Y’ in Spanish is pronounced as ‘Y Griega’ (literally means letter Y from the Greek). Some of these alphabets sound almost like a word to me. When I was asked to spell out my name, I flipped. The alphabet ‘W’ is pronounced as ‘Uve Doble’. Although I seem to be able to get the rest of the tough alphabets right, ‘Uve Doble’ is one tough nut for me. You know the Spanish dance genre Paso Doble? It is the same ‘Doble’. Why English calls ‘W’ double-U? I don’t know. Spanish calls it double-V.
Ah … all these confusions. Thanks to the Tower of Babel.
Oops, exceeded 500 word count for this entry. Stay tuned for more stories on How I Flunk My Spanish Test.