But Spanish is not cooperating.
When I say I’m learning, what I mean is that:
1. I’ve downloaded Duolingo onto my phone (which has a South American accent FYI)
2. My phone is now set to Spanish (teaching me really useful words like ‘send’ and ‘messages’ and changing all my typos into accented gibberish…)
3. I have watched A Knight’s Tale twice in Spanish, with Spanish subtitles
4. I have enlisted Spanish friends, exes and strangers into grammar lessons and (unbelievably slow, Google Translate-assisted) conversations
5. I daydream that I can speak Spanish on a regular basis
6. I have ditched ‘hello’ for ‘hola’ (how continental)
7. When in doubt, I use flamenco emojis to Spanish up my messages
You can see, I’m working extremely hard. Fluent in 3 months baby, here I come…
Here’s the problem. Spanish is harder than it looks (I guess I should say sounds…?) There’re all kinds of weirdo exceptions, impossible sounds and the grammar is a headache. There are daily aggravations such as:
1. I cannot roll my rs (and yes, I’ve watched the Youtube tutorial and it has NOT helped)
2. I can’t seem to shake off an Italian accent
3. Sometimes, when I say ‘blablabla’ into the Duolingo microphone, it tells me my pronunciation’s spot on. When I say the actual phrase? ‘Hmm that doesn’t sound right.’
4. Every new word I learn pushes an older word back out of my brain…
5. Is ‘c’ just ‘c’ or ‘th’? Is ‘z’ pronounced ‘s’ or ‘th’? Is it ‘b’ or ‘v’?! Can Spanish speakers all take a vote and agree on this please?
6. Can Spanish speakers also speak a little slower please.
7. How about we drop genders? Who needs genders, really? Does it matter, if a spoon is male or female? What difference does it really make to our lives, in the grand scheme of things?
I met a man in a hostel from Spain and made the mistake of telling him I’ve been learning Spanish for a few weeks. He immediately asked, en español, of course, if I could understand spoken Spanish. I asked him to repeat the question. And again. Finally he had to say it in English. It was not my proudest moment.
Let’s just say I’m not a natural Spanish speaker (but I guess no one is… except for Spanish speakers…) Anyone out there who can speak Spanish – I am in awe of you. Please help a sister out. Ping a comment in Spanish and I’ll see what I can do (come at me. I got Spanishdictionary.com on my side, bring it on).
And in the meantime?
Si adelante no vas, altrasarás.
He who does not advance goes backwards (I think).
(Sometimes my sentences do, though.)