Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Suffering in Spanish

I thought it was a great idea to return to Spanish lessons during the last few weeks of my stay in Ecuador. I was convinced that after the many months of English speaking guests and visitors, my grasp of the language had deteriorated significantly and that a refresher course was in order. I did not realize that I would find Spanish more complicated and more difficult and more daunting than ever. It is far more complicated and intricate than I remember or ever realized. Amparo tells me it is because I have advanced to the point that I must study at a 'superior' level, but I am more confused than ever and understand little of what she is trying to teach me.

A new dictionary of the Spanish language in Latin America has just been published. Fifteen thousand new 'Americanisms' have been added to the Ecuador edition, including all sorts of Quichua words that have become part of the daily language. I proposed two new words; 'pora', to be used for para or por so that distinctions are not necessary, and 'ester' to be used for both ser and estar. I will add more proposals as they come up. I like the idea that the language is changing and that the powers that be are aware of that and comfortable with the changes. I find it entertaining that the Spanish of Spain is so markedly different than that of Latin America, and that the Argentinians have their own 'interpretation' of Spanish that is so different than other Latin countries. It is more than dialect variations.; history and time and preferences have resulted in all sorts of permutations. I have been watching movies from several different countries and each time I have to adjust to a new way of speaking the language.

I worry that I will lose any facility I have with the language once I return home and have no time or opportunity to speak Spanish ( 'use it or lose it'). I worry about Maya and am trying to think of all sorts of ways to help her maintain what she has learned. She is starting to speak Spanish with more confidence, and does well in her classes at school. Her teacher showed me her final exam and I was astounded when I saw how well she writes and how much she understands. Now that she is finally more comfortable with the language, we will tear her away and she will lose much of it. Not that I can control any of this, it just is.

I am sticking with Amparo for now, although I am not enjoying myself as much as I did initially, I keep telling myself that this is good for me and that I will appreciate my efforts at some point...I simply want it to be so much easier.

No comments:

Post a Comment