Saturday, October 16, 2010

Learning a language, in more ways than one

Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem & Scarlett Johansson -  Vicky Cristina Barcelona

So I may have mentioned a few (million) times that I am currently learning Spanish or Castellano as it is also called. What I probably have not mentioned however is how this actually going. When you're learning a new language, personally I think, it's easy enough to begin with the basics, Hello, how are you going? My name is Jim, I have 2 sisters and live in Melbourne etc. etc. You learn pick up lines and occasionally swear words, silly phrases and life-saving-lines (Where is the toilet? Call the Police etc.). Beyond that, I have discovered, is a big scary world of grammar, tenses and a lot of things you take for granted.

In Spanish classes you learn there are different past tenses, there are 'moods' which confusingly are not tenses, there are rules to follow diligently yet always there are exceptions and irrregular verbs to be learned. Apart from this, Spanish being a latin language, you learn some geeky nifty things about the english and spanish languages. For example 'Adios' in Spanish meaning Good bye translates literally meaning 'To God'. The name Dolores literally means pain, and being filipino also makes me appreciate more the influence of Spanish on so many filipino words.

And, of course, beyond the teaching and the words there is my spanish teacher - who is a force of nature in herself. People think that I am exaggerating when I describe her. Folks, I am not. Her dramatism is astounding; everything is 'increeeeeeeeeeeedible' 'wonderrrrful', 'amaaaaazing'. Maybe it's the natural rhythm of the language, the accent or the innate magnetism of spanish-speakers with drama, but at one point she even burst out into an 'hallelujah, hallelujah!' when somebody had formed a sentence in spanish and read it aloud in class. I kid you not. You've got to love her enthusiasm and passion - it certainly is infectious and makes learning spanish feel like more than just a class where you're learning a language. Sometimes I feel like I've discovered some enigmatic truth of life with the way she congratulates us on mastering the grammar of the subjunctive tense. Whatever the case, it is as she says .. increíble!!

I've found with all my spanish teachers that they are always great characters, they really are something else! Maybe it's because I'm impartial to anybody that speaks spanish but I find them endlessly fascinating, their accents completely taken for granted, and their general demeanor a source of curiosity and imitation. Learning Spanish for me is number one on the To-Do-List, and here's hoping it all pays off. There are a lot of languages that I want to learn - though I'll have to master this before I move onto anything else.. so who knows how long that will take! Que será será ! 


  1. hey grace:)!

    how are you? thanks for your sweet comment:) im glad I can be that little 'boost' to make you want to wear your floral printed shorts:)! totally go for it! hope you have a fun day!


  2. your posts are always so amazing and funny and inspiring! really love to read them!

  3. hahaha, this post totally makes me laugh. I can hear the excitement of your voice which is great! I needed to read this post after such a crappy day. You just put a big smile on my face!

    In my school, some students that are taking Spanish get to go to COSTA RICA! I'm so jealous. I took French and sll we do is go to Quebec, Canada and I didn't even go! I'm so excited for when you go to Spain and see all the pictures that you've taken. There is actually a small picture on the right hand side of my blog that shows what camera I use and that is Nikon D90. I think its a great camera to use!