Tuesday, December 16, 2008

language skills

I have been really enjoying becoming more and more comfortable with Spanish. I´ve been teasing Ruby though, that while my Spanish is a little better, my Spanglish is impeccable! Because Phil is from the states but has lived here for a few years and Ruby lived there for years, primarily some crazy form of Spanglish is spoken by all of us. I think that I probably speak more Spanish than either of them as I try to practice.

Some of the words really get me to thinking. For example, the word for "should" and the word for "must" is the same word, "deber". How would it be to live in a language/culture that makes no distinction between the two? How often I get trapped in what I "should" do. What if that didn´t exist? What if when I felt that way, it was only about "musts" and I didn´t have to fight with myself about it because it was just something that "must" be done?

There is no word for "starve", you just die of hunger. So there is no way to convey "starved for information" or "starved for affection" or any of the other ways you would use the word starved.

In many ways, Spanish is a much more simple language, as there are so many less words to choose from. But, you can do so much with each word. This language is ruled by prefixes and suffixes so that each root word becomes infinitely usable and useful. Phil and I were talking yesterday about how useable Spanish is once you get the hang of it. I am glad to have it coming back to me but I will admit to being a little lazy because we can always switch over to English. I need (must? should?) to be looking up words and making a list of them.

I just bought Carlos Castenedo´s first book in Spanish and plan to work my way through that with a notebook and the Spanish/English dictionary.

I am working on my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification still. It is much harder than I expected it to be and I find it difficult to be motivated to do a chapter a day. It is my goal, but it seems to be coming out a little closer to 2 chapters every 3-4 days. Better (should? must?) get on that so that I can start to get some money coming in for teaching instead of just hemmoraging my savings account.

Christmas in a Catholic country is really different and interesting. Yesterday begain the daily "Novenas" which are get togethers at a different person´s house each night before Christmas for prayers and food and communing. Even without participating in the our fathers and hail marys, I am enjoying the traditions and rituals of it all. On Friday we go to Riobamba for some big Christmas party that I haven´t quite been able to get a mental image of yet. I think it involves praying and eating and dancing and drinking. Sounds good to me. I can´t wait to get my Salsa feet back on. I love that dance.

Stay warm, thinking of you all where it´s sooo cold. love you.


  1. Seasons Greetings from another warm place, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Although tonight, at 70 degrees it's chilly!

    Once some Brailian people pointed at a record album, long ago, and said "Live!" like 'give' And I foolishly said, no, 'live' like hive. They said, "Why??" Got me! English is said to be the most difficult language.

    Looks like a very cold winter brewing. Sad for them who must endure.

    OK, good to read your blog, keep on keeping on! Melissa, the coral reef painter.

  2. MJ, the culture has an abundance of traditions and rituals. How fun to be in the middle of it all. Much success with TEFL. Enjoying your blogs. xox Debs