My 20th Spanish lesson and I thought that I would celebrate… instead I wanted to bury my head in the sand – wow, what a bad Spanish day I had today!! Or can I blame it on the complicated grammatical exercises we were doing?? I am not so sure… my head was just not with me today 😦
After having discussed the difference (but still not really understood) between te has, te ha, se ha, se han and le han*… my new[ish] teacher A gave me an easier task – to read from the inflight magazine of American Eagle! I read [aloud] one article about minimasajes (mini-massages) at the Ritz-Carlton (don’t remember where) and a French chocolate shop in New York. I didn’t understand the word estadounidense (also difficult to say) – which turned out to be easy peasy – it’s a citizen of the United States (Estados Unidos)! But my biggest problem was to pronounce Ritz-Carlton and Jaques in Spanish or French!!
Not only is there the issue of should I pronounce Jaques as in French even though I am reading in Spanish? And how do I do that in a smooth, fluent manner? If I do want to pronounce it the French way, I need to stop, reshape my mouth and say the word, stop, reshape the mouth and the position of the tongue and continue in Spanish… Is it just me, or have you also noticed the difficulty in pronouncing a foreign word in another foreign language?? [maybe it’s just me…?? I had the same problem with English words when speaking French]
I actually arrived so early to the lesson today thanks to the bus being early (un milagro!! a miracle) that I did some of the homework for next time while waiting for my lesson to start. However, one of the exercises contained some expressions that I thought that I understood – until the teacher wanted me to use them! Once again my brain didn’t want to cooperate when I was thinking of something to say… I am just so bad in coming up with spontaneous examples in general, and I just couldn’t think of a situation where I would say Qué fastidio or Fíjate! (How annoying / irritating! and something like Look / listen!).
Oh well, fortunately I have at least another 20 lessons to work on these problems, and to improve my imagination…
And to continue my issues with Spanish:
Next Wednesday we are getting our first Spanish visitors!! O’s two childhood friends LC and A are coming to visit us, which is great. Unfortunately O will be in Georgia for the first few days so I will be taking care of the guests and I want of course to speak Spanish with them (I have only met LC before and he does speak English).
But, there is a but… In the Spanish spoken in Puerto Rico and South America (my Spanish book is based on Mexican Spanish) they don’t use the 2nd person plural form vosotros (you)! So far, I have only learnt to conjugate 1st, 2nd, 3rd person singular + 1st and 3rd person plural… Instead of using the 2nd person plural, you use the form Ustedes which [in Spain] is the polite form for 2nd person plural**. As O said, it’s better to be over-polite than rude… and of course I could try to memorize all the conjugations for vosotros this week (how hard can it be??). Or just be lazy and explain to our guests that they shouldn’t take my politeness personally 😉
*) I am still not sure that I completely understand it, 😯 – I have never liked pronouns… but I have promised to work on the different constructions until Thursday though.
**) I will try to explain it better, the polite form is constructed in the same way in Italian (with Lei): if you would like to be polite to one person, you should conjugate the verb as 3rd person singular plus adding Usted (pronoun), for two persons, you conjugate according to 3rd person plural plus use Ustedes.