Kelly McLachlan

Kelly McLachlan
Life As It Is...

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

My Struggle To Speak Spanish

Being able to converse in another language is an amazing achievement, and anyone who can do so fluently definitely deserve a huge round of applause in my humble opinion.  You see, I'm never going to be fluent in Spanish. There were times when I thought I'd NEVER get to grips with the language, and just trying to comprehend the verbs is in itself another language!
But, it CAN be done.
I have a bit of a head start because my kids go to non English speaking schools and just have a couple of English classes a week. Helping them with homework has helped me learn new things too.
For example:
There are lots of words with more than one meaning. I know it's the same in English, but here's a couple to think about: somebody may be talking about a broken doll until you notice the plaster cast on their wrist. I also thought it unusual to call the marca blanca (own brand) in the local supermarket 'four stations', then I realised that estación also means season. Yes, four seasons sounds better.  'Cola' is another one, not only is it the popular fizzy drink down this way, it also means the following: are you ready? A queue of people, a tail (of a cat or a dog, for example) and glue, you know, what I would  call 'gloopy' glue.  And there's carrera, which is a race or a journey, and of course, there's the caña, which is, as we all know, a small beer, but it's also a fishing reel! Same words, VERY different meanings! My favourite things to say in Spanish are things like "Como se llama" and "que es la palabra yo busco" because even after all this time I STILL can't speak fluent Spanish. I say "OK" a lot instead of "vale" and "right" instead of "claro". I'm not even sure why I say these things. It's no secret that I'm one of the few foreigners on town. We watch English TV in the house and always speak in English to each other. The kids read stories from English books and make up stories to tell each other in English. My eldest has been to the doctor with my husband to translate before now!
Speaking Spanish fluently at a young age is such an achievement for my girls and I am so so proud of them both, but, English is also very important. My eldest insists she knows it all when of comes to learning English at school so doesn't really pay attention in class, but as I found out when I was studying English to teach as a second language, there is so much of it I take for granted and I tried explaining to her that actually English is complicated! As I mentioned earlier, I have the greatest of admiration for anybody who speaks more than one language, but sometimes the struggle is real.  I say "hello" to the kiddies at the school gate, because I'm known as the 'English' lady. I love to speak in English and there are lots of people around these parts who are studying our beautiful language, for work etc, and I've said to all those that I know of, "si quieres hablar en inglés, puedes hablar conmigo"
Always happy to help!
Can anybody relate? Or is it just me?