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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Spanish lessons: Before I walk I must crawl like a bebe

Día uno: Tongue gymanstics and alpha-beta-whata?

I arrive at Road2Argentina in Recoleta at 4.30pm for my first language lesson with Interspanish. The plan is to do a two week, two hour per day crash-course. The class is just me and Caitlyn the Canadian plus our flamboyant Costa Rican profesora, Jahira. It quickly becomes evident that she is only going to speak to us in Spanish so it's a case of sink, swim or repetir, repetir, repetir.

Dayone  Door

Our first lesson covers the basics of greetings, introductions and pronunciation (tongue gymnastics). We are given the challenge of spelling our email address aloud and the other person has to write it down. Fits of giggles ensue. Who knew even the letters in the alphabet are all pronounced differently? I walk out after the two hour class feeling slightly more confident. Now when I get stuck with nothing to say in a conversation with a local I can at least start reciting the Spanish alphabet to fill some time. I'm staying with the Orloff family in their second floor Recoleta apartment, it's a grand old building and the dining table seats 20. I'm determined to keep practicing so we can have a proper conversation that doesn't resort to alphabet songs.


Día dos: Feminine or masculine?

I came in today, beaming like the teacher's pet because I'd done my deberes (homework) but the smile was wiped off my face as I hadn't done quite as well as I expected. The whole feminine/masucline thing is really boggling my mind... but as long as I don't get the two confused on the dance floor I'll be OK. There's one phrase I hear my profesor say a lot: excepción especial. So you get the hang of a concept and then it all goes belly-up when you come across one of these instances.

Drawpic  Emma

I've started drawing pictures of the words I'm trying to remember and it seems to help. I wonder if two weeks will be long enough? Tonight the Orloff's invited me to a Flamenco show their daughter was dancing in. It was in an old teatro (theatre) in San Telmo with many types of Spanish dances. After the show we went back to the apartment and had a dinner party that began at 11pm with 19 guests. The butler cooked a delcious Hungarian feast.I feel like I'm in a whole new world.


Día tres: Jack or Jill of all trades

Learning a language is similar to taking up a sport like golf or surfing, you can't be good at it right away. It's only with disciplined practice that you master the skill. Dammit, that ends my fantasy of being able speak like a native in two weeks. Today Jahira taught us about pronombres personales or personal pronouns. Then we learnt how to talk about our professions. The idea is that she asks you if you're a chef and you reply saying 'No, I'm not a chef.'

First question:¿Es usted un mecánico? (Are you a mechanic?) I answer Un poco. (A little.)

Then she asks: ¿Es usted un deportista (Are you a sportsperson?) again I answer Un poco.

She tries again, ¿Es usted un programador de computadoras? (Are you a computer programmer?) Un poco again.

Final question: ¿Es usted un escritora? (Are you a writer?) I reply yes, I am a writer.

Confused, she responds that I'm an aprendiz de todo (jack of all trades).

If wonder how long it will be until I can add fluent Spanish speaker to my list of skills?


Día cuatro: Who am I?

We had a new teacher today, Jani from Peru. The first thing she asked me was ¿Como te llamas? (What is your name?) Seems simple enough but I froze like a kid caught with a hand in the cookie jar. The first thing I ever learned I'd hopelessly forgotten. If I forget what my name is what hope is there for the future? Am I destined to be an Argentine Jane Doe? Drama queen aside, I picked myself up and by the end of the class I was able to describe myself as tall, brown-haired and green eyed. This latest learning could help find me a Spanish speaking prince who is alto y moreno y hermoso.


Día cinco: Weather lady in waiting

I've made it to the final day of the first week without too much drama and I've discovered a new learning tool, childrens songs! I've downloaded the full set of kiddy songs from Mi Guitarri. I can't sing to save myself but I don't care, the only person I'm offending is the cleaner who looks in at me occassionally, wondering why I'm singing Una gota, dos gotas, tres gotas, muchas gotas!. (one raindrop, two raindrops, three raindrops, many raindrops!)

lluvia  rain

Crazy as it might seem it's actually starting to stick. Kids songs combined with my teacher Jahira's patience and I could be working as a weather woman on Spanish-speaking TV in no time. If you want to watch these videos you can subscribe at the youtbue channel here.


Indiana June is taking Spanish classes at InterSpanish language school in Buenos Aires and staying in a homestay through Road2Argentina. If you would like more info on classes contact Emily at Road2Argentina.

Latest Poll Results
New York: What will Indiana June do in the big apple?
21% Track down and visit Oliver Jeffers:
Renowned Children's storybook writer & illustrator
11% Walk the High Line:
A linear park built on a 1.45-mile section of the elevated NY Central Railroad 
11% Be a NYC detective for a day: 
Part game, theatre and tour to discover some of NYC's most off-the-beaten path spots
13% Explore the City Hall Subway Station: 
Abandoned & hidden from the public for 60 years
12% Flying trapeze class:
Hone her circus skills learning how to fly on a trapeze 
30% NZ Flag + Statue of Liberty:
Bodypaint the NZ flag on her body and go up the Statue of Liberty
2% Go to Queens and find a 'Nanny' sound-alike:
Video someone with the nanny accent saying "noo Zealand, i love that place"
Voting closed | 204 VOTES
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