Engfranish Anyone?

01.November 2008

Pre-Trip

I love my spanish teacher.  I love learning spanish. I’m not sure I’m very good at it, as it seems to be taking a long time, but I am loving the process. I think I’m good at pronouncing the words, and I’m not bad at reading, but conjugating verbs and coming up with words is proving to be difficult.

Turns out I remember more french than I ever thought I knew!! It’s been about 24 years (seriously? that long?) since I’ve taken a french course but, every time I try to find a spanish word in my head, up pops the french word instead! And it sticks – I can’t get rid of it to find the spanish word. And so I’m left with a curious mixture of english and french and spanish…engfranish? Hopefully it’ll work itself out soon.

We’re taking a ‘Spanish for Travelers’ course through our local college. I think normally a course like this might be pedestrian – look at the word, hear the word, say the word…you know.  But the regular instructor could not teach this session, so we have a substitute. Crisi is amazing! She was born in England, grew up in Canada, went to high school and college in Argentina, and has I-don’t-know how many degrees in Latin linguistics, history and culture. She is cute, smart, well dressed and, well…amazing! Sure she is teaching us spanish, but we’re also learning about latin culture, about the subtleties of the different latin cultures, about latin history, and literature, and arts, and movies, and tv. I love listening to her speak, in both english and spanish, because she just has such interesting things to say. I want to be that interesting.

We’re also watching spanish movies, with subtitles (so far), to get a sense of the cadence of the language and to see what we can pick up along the way. We are lucky our local video store has quite a selection. We have managed to see a few good ones, and a few bad ones – we have learned already that spanish/latin movie production quality is quite different from that in North America! 

We have each checked out a spanish children’s book from the library. Apparently, in spanish, we are barely even 6 years old because that is the level of book that we each have.  And even at that I have to translate each sentence one by one using the dictionary! Humbling!

I’ve made flashcards…lots of flashcards. 

We’ve made friends with our spanish/english dictionary.  Good thing, because I think it’ll be with us for a long, long time.

There are plenty of online teaching aids. The Pimsleur method has been mentioned, although I haven’t checked it out yet. We did get a CD version of spanish lessons from London Drugs last week – it’s been fun to work through.

The final step will see us attending spanish school in Peru. We haven’t decided on a school yet, and probably won’t until we get there, but the goal is to be able to speak spanish at least on an introductory level.  Wish us luck!!

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4 Responses to “Engfranish Anyone?”

  1. Nathan Shipley Says:

    Chevere! Nice work. I’d add that the Rosetta Stone software is quite good. I’ve used it, am picky about that kind of stuff, and was impressed.

    As far as films in Spanish go, I like Amores Perros, though I don’t remember it being very uplifting. It’s Mexican Spanish, which Peruvians can spot like a hawk, I doubt you’ll hear much of a difference. Perhaps more appropriate, if you haven’t already seen it, would be Motorcycle Diaries, considering you’re going to South America.

    And finally, is Crisi single? You write fantastic personal ads! ;)

    - Nathan

  2. Gillian Says:

    Thanks for the info Nathan. I’ve heard of Rosetta Stone too, so I’ll check it out.

    At this point, I wonder if the Peruvians will even notice I’m speaking Spanish, never mind where I learned it!! Hopefully it will improve dramatically.

  3. Glenda Says:

    Good luck! I had the same French/Spanish issue when we took lessons. We could have saved you the money and lent you the Spanish CDs we have…

    We’ll have to do dinner soon at our place. I’ll drop you an email soon. Take care and so glad to hear you are enjoying your lessons!

  4. Anna Says:

    You will actually be very surprised at the amount of Spanish you can actually remember when push comes to shove. Being from a bi-lingual country (Canada), I took YEARS of French in school, but retained close to nothing. When I arrived in France last year, I was amazed to realize that I could easily pick up some of the conversation and even communicate a little. So don’t sweat it, you’re probably picking up more than you realize!