I’ve been to Mexico a few times. I stay in Cancun, many years ago, about a week. I’ve crossed the border a time or two, and I stayed in San Miguel de Allende, back in March. Each time that I went, I knew a tiny bit more of Spanish.
For years, I’ve been saying to myself that I was going to learn another language. This year, starting in January, I finally committed to it. I’m learning Spanish, or should I say: Aprendo el español! Thus far, I’ve been taking classes at The Language Academy of The Carolinas. Each Thursday, I go for 2 hours. During the rest of the week, it’s up to me to practice. I’ve been practicing for about an hour, daily. I use a very good, free application, Duolingo. It’s quite comprehensive and seems to have no end. I think that it focuses on Spanish, in general, though I am learning the Mexican variety. Therefore, some of the translations seem odd to me.
Many people have asked: Why are you learning Spanish. Well, why not? No, but seriously, I want, when I go to a Spanish speaking country to be more involved, to get a chance to have conversations, get to know local people – to participate. For example, in the lead photograph, it was very interesting to watch the teenagers gather, sing, and dance to the songs that the mariachi band was playing. I would have loved to know the words and to sing along. Perhaps I may not have understood some of the cultural references, but it would have been grand to be able to sing along, regardless. Or perhaps to be able to talk to the boy with the accordion.
I have plans to return to Mexico in September for a two-week immersion class, perhaps stay with a Mexican family. All Spanish. All the time. From what I understand, that makes a huge difference. I have found that it works, too. My ex-wife is Brazilian. When here parents would come to stay with us for months at a time, my Portuguese got pretty sharp. I didn’t know how sharp until I started learning Spanish and could leverage some of the Portuguese that I knew.
In the interim, based on recommendations that I have seen, here and there, I’ve started watching Spanish programming, trying to get used to the idioms, speed, inflection, etc. I signed into a site, Drama Fever. It’s free and has plenty of telenovelas, all of them with English subtitles.
Admittedly, it is difficult to:
1. Watch the action
2. Listen to the Spanish
3. Read the subtitles.
All at the same time. I find myself watching the action and reading the subtitles … ignoring the Spanish; however, I have been picking up phrases, here and there, so it’s paying off! My goal is to be able to watch a complete show and not pay attention to the subtitles … then I will have arrived.
The name of the show is Red Eagle – Mild manner teacher by daytime … defender of the poor and downtrodden by night. Esta es una novela muy buena!