Outta Me, Onto You

  • 10:22:15 am on January 30, 2007 | 0

    On & off for about 5 years I have been “learning” Spanish. I studied it for a year in college and have been minimally self-teaching since then. I went to Mexico for 2 weeks, did the whole host-family thing and came back at an advanced level, capable of holding a conversation and understanding people. That was about 3 years ago and despite having a husband who’s fluent I never really practiced so didn’t maintain that level of comprehension. Sad but true. I mean, the main reason was that I was heavily studying something else, volunteering and working full time, etc.

    So now I’m embarking on an adventure toward fluency and I’m taking a totally different approach.

    For one, I am trying to beat the grammar geek inside me into submission so that I can attempt to learn through listening principally. My husband keeps telling me to quit worrying about the meaning of “de lo que” and the difference in translation between “ya lo habia hecho” and “ya lo he hecho“.  I think he’s wrong – he thinks I’m a perfectionist. I think verb tense is intrinsic to speaking a language. Ha! I win. Problem is, he doesn’t really understand all the grammar rules and intricacies of spanish to explain them to me, which is why he thinks it’s enough to say, “I just know what sounds right.” Brilliant. Big help. So, I have purchased a digitally-remastered version of the FSI (foreign services institute, i think) program for Intermediate to Advanced Spanish. Supposedly this is the program the U.S. goverment used to teach people in the Peace Corps and such. Usually I wouldn’t use anything from the gov, especially something dated, but it got good reviews, so here I am.

    So, I am listening to this for about an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening (during my commute), talking as much as I can with the husband during the evenings and then reviewing the lessons I listened to in the blurry, scanned-in PDF  “textbook” it came with.

    Then, for about 2 weeks this summer I will be venturing off to Medellin, Colombia (can’t seem to do accent marks on here…) to study at EAFIT and live with my in-laws, meeting them for the first time. (yes, for all you anti-immigrant idiots, a person from South America can’t just visit the U.S. whenever. They can’t even just go get a visa any time they want to visit a country, unlike Americans. So my husband’s parents, 28+ aunts and uncles, and god-knows how many cousins could not see him get married.)

    I know I should also watch spanish-language TV shows, but I hate soap operas and most sitcoms. If there was a Lost or Heroes in Spanish, I’d be in. Maybe I can find the original Ugly Betty somewhere…


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