Enough of this passive blog reading. Today, I’m going to make you work. Today, I’m going to teach you Spanish. Just three words, nice and easy. Which words are they? Let’s…
Descubrir (v.) to discover. For example:
Esta noche, yo descubrí que es posible ver películas en Bryant Park a las siete de la noche.
Tonight, I discovered that it is possible to watch movies in Bryant Park at 7 pm (It was Peter Pan. It was awesome)
Lo descubrí cuando caminaba de Grand Central a a mi clase en Times Square.
I discovered this when I was walking from Grand Central to my class in Times Square (It was not as cold as you might think)
Descubrí que es más fácil, rápido, barato y agradable para caminar entre Grand Central y Times Square, de montar el metro.
I discovered that it is easier, faster, cheaper, and more pleasant to walk between Grand Central and Times Square than to ride the subway (even if Metro North is still more expensive because even though I bought a 10-pass between New Rochelle & Fordham I can’t bring myself to use it when I know I’m going to Grand Central).
Esta noche, también descubrí que estoy un mal estudiante del Español.
Tonight, I also discovered that I am a poor Spanish student.
(What I wanted to say is I’m a remedial Spanish student, but I can’t find a way to translate that correctly, especially because this usage of “remedial” isn’t proper English to begin with; remedial refers to the extra “corrective” classes that struggling students need to take, not to the students themselves. Much like how people aren’t diagnosed, their diseases are, but we still say, “I was diagnosed with…” and also finally it’s anti-climactic, not anti-climatic until you are against the climate, and I learned that on Joan of Arcadia from the child God who later played a sociopathic murderer on CIA and majorly creeped me out so BOOM!)
Anyway, it’s true. I am a student in need of remedial Spanish 3 classes. In the office this weekend, my Spanish professor casually mentioned that I/you/one should understand about 80% of class. Too much, and it’s not helpful because you’re not learning anything, like one student in particular who understands everything. I asked if that student was advanced, but turns out nope. That student is exactly where he (or she! He or she!) needs to be for this level. Which means the rest of us…
I sure don’t understand as much as this star student, so I couldn’t help but wonder how much I do understand in class. I suspected I was under 80, but guessed around 70% or so. So today in class, I worked really hard on concentrating, while saving a tiny sliver of brain capacity to note my comprehension.
Descubrí que solamente entiendo más o menos 50% de lo que hablamos.
I discovered that I only understand more or less 50% of what we talk about.
And between you and me, it’s more on the “less” side. So how did this revelation make me feel?
Avergonzada (adj f; Avergonzado, adj m): embarrassed, self-conscious, ashamed. See also vergüenza (n.): shame.
Estaba muy avergonzada cuando lloré despues de olvidé mi cartera en un taxi en Brasil.
I was very embarrassed when I cried after I forgot my wallet in a taxi in Brazil (a summary of the [true] story I wrote as homework for tonight)
En Argentina, hombres tienen vergüenza cuando tienan dificultades en sus vidas sexuales.
In Argentina, men are ashamed when they have difficulties in their sex lives (our professor’s explanation of why women are always the ones to reach out to sex counselors, the subject of this week’s article)
Esta noche, me sentí muy avergonzada cuando descubrí que estoy una de los peores estudiantes en mi clase de español.
Tonight, I felt very embarrassed when I discovered that I am one of the worst students in my Spanish class (a true statement, intentionally using the transitory, not permanent, form of “to be,” because I can change this. How?)
Practicar (v.): to practice. Like:
Necesito practicar el español cada día si quiero mejorar.
I need to practice Spanish every day if I want to improve.
I’ve known this all along. But now that my professor’s said it to me explicitly – after I confessed to procrastinating my homework – and after a day like today, there is no more room for doubt or excuses. It wasn’t like today was a disaster or anything, but I felt so dejected and deflated after class, and I’m not doing this to only understand 50% of what we go over; I’m doing this to learn and to learn I need to build myself up to 80% comprehension. So, I’m going to do something new to practice Spanish every day this week, and lucky you get to practice with me.
Posiblemente, voy a practicar por escribiendo palabras en español en notas adhesivas y pegandolos en mi habitación
Possibly, I will practice by writing words in Spanish on sticky notes and sticking them around my room. (an idea I hear colleagues recommend all the time, and one which a friend of a Spanish 2 student, herself an Arabic learner [woo!] recommended to me from her time learning Zulu [badassss] while she was waiting for her friend’s class to end)
Posiblemente voy a practicar por viendo una pelicula en español
Possibly, I will practice by watching a movie in Spanish. (an actual homework assignment for this week. I have a few foreign language films in my Netflix queue, let’s see which I fancy for this week. Any recommendations?)
Puedo practicar por haciendo ejercicios en el internet
I can practice by doing exercises on the internet (and how I need to! Verbs! Nouns! ¡Todos!)
Voy a practicar en un manera diferente cada día esta semana. En el próximo semana, cuando estoy en un crucero, posiblemente voy a escribir en mi diario en español e posiblemente hablo con mi hermana en español también.
I will practice in a different manner every day this week. In the next week, when I am on a cruise, I will possibly write in my journal is Spanish and possibly talk with my sister in Spanish too.
Creo que, voy a descubrir que cuando practico, no voy a sentir vergüenza nunca más.
I think that I will discover that when I practice, I will not feel embarrassed anymore.
Next time on Multilingual Mondays:
Will I be able to discipline myself to practice Spanish every day for the next three weeks, as I miss class next week and then class skips Presidents’ Day? Does re-watching the Taco Bell’s “Viva Young” commercial count? But, really?