July 18, 2008
Originally published November 17,2004
I took two years of high school Spanish, where I learned very little, then 20 hours of Spanish in college, where I learned a lot. But I let every bit of that knowledge rot on the vine until my first trip to Costa Rica. I was surprised at how fast some of my old lessons came back to me.
Vocabulary in a foreign language goes to shit in a hurry if you don't use it. Mine ossified. But I still remembered the basics, and once I started hanging around people who spoke nothing but Spanish, I got better fast. Gerio, my driver, was VERY impressed by the great strides I made from the time he dropped me off in San Jose and the time he picked me up to return to the airport two weeks later, since I spoke nothing but Spanish with him that time. When he first met me, I remembered about five words in Spanish. The second time, I was putting together sentences.
"Roberto! Es muy impresiontante. Hablas espanol ahora! Bueno!"
I'm not fluent in the language, because I still have to think in English and translate what I want to say, and if somebody gets too rapid-fire in Spanish with me, I can't understand a word they're saying, but I am one hell of a lot better than I once was. I would like to go spend about six months there, take a couple of Spanish courses (They teach conversational Spanish EVERYWHERE down there) and immerse myself in the language.
I believe that I could become fluent. Spanish is a very melodic language and I enjoy trying to speak it. Right now, I speak it like a retard, in the present tense all the time and with a limited vocabulary, but I get better every time I go to Costa Rica. Practice makes perfect.
I would like to speak a second language. Just because.
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