a wandering woman writes

Monday, July 09, 2007

Quisiera hablar, y escribir......¿peor?

Oh how I wish my Spanish were weaker.

I miss those heady, blissful days when my Spanish skills were young and grave grammatical errors flew out of my mouth and off my pen...and I kept right on, oblivious. Blissful.

I must be in the cursed, dark stage of bilingualism. The almost there stage.

I live in Spanish, when I'm not working. But, on the fly, oh how I can make mistakes.

Each of which, invariably, reports itself to my gotta-do-right, damn-I-want-to-speak-this- language-well conscience. Exactly two and a half minutes after it's been committed.

I mispeak and ACK! then I hear it. When it's hanging there in the air in front of me, blocking my view. Worse still, I hit send on a routine e-mail and WHOP! comes a 2X4 across the side of the head. GRAMMAR, ERIN!

Ah, some days. To return to the happy ignorance of my Spanish youth...

I wouldn' t trade bi-lingualism for anything short of its sister tri, but oh, what I'd do to break through to that error-free stage. It's coming, right, linguists? Is there anything that will keep you working toward mastery more than a language?

Update: Wheylona, who very accurately describes herself as the house language teacher and linguist, left such a cool response to this post, I have to quote a bit of her comment here:

...Try not to think of language as art but rather as a tool. Use it, pound the hell out of things with it, get things done, and eventually you'll see you've created all manner of beautiful things without even trying!



  • As the house linguist and language teacher, here's what I always tell my students who started learning their second language as adults--that total perfection is not a reachable (but for very few, very blessed souls) goal. Instead, their goal should be communicating effectively and fluidly--after all, that's what language is for. :-)

    (I must admit, though, that despite the advice I dole out, I fully understand your frustrations. I've been speaking Spanish for over 20 years but still manage to make all kinds of errors. The good news is that they're all rather minor and for the most part I am otherwise fluent enough that my mistakes generally go unnoticed [except by perfectionist me, dammit]. And the other bit of good news is that I am always improving, though in smaller, less grand ways.)

    So try not to think of language as art but rather as a tool. Use it, pound the hell out of things with it, get things done, and eventually you'll see you've created all manner of beautiful things without even trying!

    By Blogger wheylona, at 8:29 PM  

  • This whole post scares me... It's even a little discouraging... :-(

    By Blogger Yarbz www.juggernuts.com, at 9:37 PM  

  • Wheylona that is such a cool common it's going in the post.

    I know it's a tool, and I absolutely know that no one minds (or always notices) my minor errors but me. You know, I think it's that I need to learn a language I don't like! I love this one so, it's an odd reverence, really, lol, and I just want to do it so WELL. I communicate all day long in Spanish, you're right, and yep, it works, but oh, how I hate those occasional slips. I really would be happier not to know I'd made them. :) But no such luck.

    LOl, sorry yarbz don't be discouraged, when nomadita gets back I'll call to be a witness that I really do live in Spanish - and speak and write well, better all the time, after 6 years, but man, every once in a while....just when I get cocky, Spanish humbles me! You don't want to wander Spain without speaking the language, trust me, it's not at all the same experience. Now you, pick your head up and go conjugate something. Dormir. Go. ;)

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 11:48 PM  

  • wow, that's a weird typo. Comment, Wheylona, such a cool comment.

    LOL; why am I complaining about errors in Spanish? Look at my English!

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 11:49 PM  

  • I must tell Erin speaks Spanish perfectly except those days she grumbles about she will never get it!
    She could begin a Spanish blog if she likes instead of complaining!

    Look at me, studying English to pass my exams and I only understand 50% out of you had written! This is terrible! But I am not discouraged. WW told me that I speak better with a pair of beers so I went drunk to my oral exam. I can't remmeber what I told but I passed it. The written tasks will need another advice but I'm sure WW will think up something!
    Nomadita said.

    By Blogger June, at 6:58 PM  

  • OK, June Nomadita, slow down there, Nelly....I've hardly been posting in my English blog and you want me to start a Spanish one??

    And yes, please do drink before whatever additional language tests await you. It worked, didn't it? ;)

    If anybody's learning English by the way, follow the commenter formally known as Nomadita and now known as June to her new blog, where she is courageously doing what I don't - blogging in her second language.

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 11:00 PM  

  • I totally understand your point. Something similar happens to me with German, living in Austria. A large part of my day I use exclusively German, and I still make mistakes. Sometimes they are so small that they go away unnoticed --except by me! I am too much of a perfectionist, I think.
    Many people say it's OK to make such mistakes, everyone can understand me in spite of them. But still... I miss those happy days at the beginning, when everything was still to be learnt, and everything was in the books, when I noticed progress almost day by day...

    By Blogger Tonicito, at 7:09 PM  

  • Hey tonicito, welcome and thanks for the comment (and for getting it - that's it.) I do think it's complicated by how much I love castellano, maybe you feel the same about German. I just want to speak it well - like I want to play Chopin well, avoid the poor guy turning around in his grave at what he hears going on in Salamanca. :)
    But it looks like you're doing what I don't yet dare to...writing a blog in the local and not your native language? Big round of applause from here!

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 8:32 PM  

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