Come again?

There is nothing quite as humbling as realizing you are mangling another language but have to power on to communicate. It is similarly embarrassing to go through an oral test and only later realize you referred to your sister entirely with masculine-form adjectives. In the spirit of laughing at oneself and learning, here are some recent communication shortcomings, not all my own I should add.

Profesora: Sydney, what is a ferreteria?                                                                                   Me: Err, they have objects for your house. Like light.                                                              (I was trying to describe a hardware store. I meant lightbulbs.)

When not having enough cash for something: “Later I return” (very terminator-esque. Problems with only knowing how to speak in the present tense)

“I’m from L.A.”                                                                                                                         “Really? I’m from Chicago. Where in L.A.?”                                                                                “I live downtown, but he is born more south.” (the importance of conjugation)

“Then, I eat myself for breakfast.”. (using a reflexive verb where you shouldn’t)

Sometimes the way one is supposed to say things in Spanish also sounds odd when thought about in English, for example:

“I have 20 years” means “I am 20 years old”

“At the third stop, lower yourself from the bus” means “at the third stop, get off the bus”

“Which is your name?” is how you ask “What is you name?”

“I don’t go to the movies never,” and other double negatives at their finest, still only means “I never go to the movies”

And so another week of bumbling on is about to come to a close.


About syd

I like beats & beets
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2 Responses to Come again?

  1. Lucia says:

    A defense of Syd:
    “Later I return” = “Vuelvo luego” … Spanish is such a great language for beginners, that when you speak in the present tense (but actually mean to speak about the future), you don’t actually need to speak in the future tense!!! Present = Future, in some way.
    “Then I eat myself for breakfast” = “Me comí (todo) el desayuno” … Spanish speakers are so exaggerated, that a sentence like this makes complete sense: it means that you eat thoroughly your breakfast and that you know that eating it, is good for you. (Another example: “Se tomó el nesquick” (She drank all the chocolate milk) or “Se tomó todo” (She drank everything, ie. she got wasted)).

    • syd says:

      haha thanks for the support. As for the eating thing, the teacher is not really a fan of using it reflexively unless it’s habitual or other weird cases, and this kid was trying to speak in the past tense about one day. Good to know out in the real world he would just be taken as very enthusiastic.

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