And for my next trick…

With two vacations planned to Spanish-speaking countries this year, i want to gain at least a working knowledge of the language prior to departure.  Knowing that i will not commit the time, effort or resources required to do it right, i did what every boneheaded traveler does – went right for the shiny-pretty-easy language CD’s at the bookstore.

“Learn Spanish In Your Car” – hey, that’s a great idea!  My time in the car is usually wasted doing things like sending e-mail, talking on the phone – sometimes even driving.  Why not add language training to the mix?

With several business trips during the month of May, not to mention many hours in the car driving to/from The Park when Mom has surgery mid-month, it seemed to be worth a try.  I’ve studied French – am conversant*, but not fluent.  I generally think it’s polite to learn at least a few basic phrases before visiting a country.  Perhaps automotive exposure will be enough?

Stay tuned for updates.  In the meantime, i’m looking for more “EZ” approaches to the acquisition of difficult skills.  Perhaps i can find “Teach Monkeys To Fly From Your Ass While Doing Laundry”?

* My definition of “conversant” involves hand gestures, repeating myself slowly and pointing at nearby objects.  i can generally ‘transmit’ but not ‘receive’.  My greatest linguistic achievement?  At an international conference in Lyon, France a few years back, i was the final speaker at a conference – inviting the attendees to the next event, to be held in the U.S. two years later.  Since this was in the midst of the crazy “Freedom Fry” French-hating frenzy, i decided to do the speech first in French, then in English.  With the help of locals, i was able to polish my delivery enough to avoid an international incident.  The phrase “Rifle-dropping, Cheese-eating Surrender-Monkeys” didn’t make the cut.  My dawg-boy drinking and whoring buddies colleagues from the U.S. were astonished that i appeared to be bilingual.**

**  And of course, my immature, sexually stunted friends turned that into endless sophomoric jokes about lesbitarianism… which is why these particular dawg-boys are my friends!***

*** Footnotes upon footnotes?  Certainly this violates some rule about form and function somewhere.  Arrest me…

18 thoughts on “And for my next trick…

  1. On your return Daisy, will you bring me back a Mexican? We have been short a cook for a very long time. You can just shove one or two in your suitcase or something? All our Mexicans are being deported so everyone on the islands are short handed. Sucks.

  2. * My definition of “conversant” involves hand gestures, repeating myself slowly and pointing at nearby objects.

    Ha ha ha! Do you also talk REALLY LOUDLY too? I hear that works very well.

  3. When I was nursing in Colorado, I learned several phrases in Spanish to help with my work. One was “Take your medicine first.” That’s the one I used most often. Does that make me conversant in Spanish?

  4. **** The more stars on your feet the better I always say [and I never thought I’d say that*]

    * Please note I didn’t say anything about being a cunning linguist – I was tempted though.

  5. Hmmmmm… I feel compelled to warn you about those language on tape thingies. I did that before I went to France and said some curious things like:

    “Can I massage your cow’s teats” (May I have some milk.)

    “Your mother’s a rhino’s bum” (Top of the morning to you.)

    “Would you like to touch my poonany?” (Can I have butter with my croissant?)

    It could be more my memory and poor translation, but in any event take care.

  6. oh goody I’m glad you’re learning spanish, you can do all the talking when we’re conquering sevilla together.

    I was just going to try and get by with my smattering of vietnamese….

  7. uncle keith – first heard that term regarding a genre of music – “Lesbitarian Music”. Not to be confused with “middle aged chick emo“, although there is crossover.

    uw – it’ll have to be a small one. airlines are severely restricting luggage weight…

    gnukid – suspect i’ll be better off learning how to shoot the CDs out of my ass…

    umdalum – suspect you’d get along well with the dawg boys.

    rob – that’s one i don’t use. hate that one… the hand gestures derive from being half-Sicilian…

    silverstar – Hmmm. Depends… did you have to use hand gestures? Especially for suppositories?

    DP – Surprised you are the first to throw out “cunning”. You too could be a dawg boy… but perhaps would need to be on a leash.

    kyknoord – The Grammar Police are hanging out at the White House. In full riot gear…

    MdW – i bet that was a really fun trip! i’ve used tapes/CDs before with mixed results. The German allowed me some basic conversational understanding. The Thai? Not so much…

    nm – i suspect we’re going to lean heavily on the magical azahar to keep us from being jailed while in Spain! The Vietnamese could come in handy if we get deported/extradited. AND WELCOME BACK!!!!

  8. Dos savages? or dos cervesas? Personally I’m down with the mas tequilla por favor. And I only used my hands with the suppositories, otherwise they were usually busy with something else.

  9. dolceii – “Sausages?” Nah… bring on the real latin men!

    uw – so long as it’s only “dos tequilla” then i’ll avoid bar fights…

    silverstar – obviously i haven’t listened to the CDs yet! i suppose i’ll take one of each… um, the savages, cervesas and tequilla – not the suppositories!

  10. I’ve learned all my French while shopping. Everything here is labeled English and French, and to drive the English speakers insane the shelves are always stocked French side showing. If I should ever develop the ability to eat out again – I can order off a menu in a French eatery – no problema.

    My daughter insists she knows Spanish – learned it from Dora and Boots.

  11. I enjoyed your entry.Especially since I travel quite a bit..mainly to spanish speaking regions and asia:) Two opposite ends of the world!
    Hope the tapes work and I believe you are right we all buy into the listening in our car..although I’m usually to busy doing other things.

  12. annie – that’s a great way to learn it, even if maddening. i’d just rely on the pictures. and try to avoid canned dog food…

    journey – Welcome to The Park! I’ve only been to Asia a few times, and love it! The language transition is much more challenging – especially if local signage uses the local alphabet! Yikes! Since i’ve studied French, i hope the tapes can trigger the basics… and i can fake it!

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