Spanish Nerd Alert

A blog post based on a book about Spanish. My roommates would have an absolute field day with this one…if they could read.

(Boys? are you out there?)

This book is a GIFT FROM THE HEAVENS. I have a serious love-affair for all things written, but I want to hug this book and cuddle with it when I go to sleep (I may or may not have done just that last night.) It has every answer I’ve ever wanted.

I’ve been studying Spanish for about ten years now. I can navigate public transportation, talk my way into clubs without paying cover, analyze literature and discuss Latin American politics in Spanish. Most of my close friends in Guatemala don’t speak English. I dream in Spanish and the words come automatically into my mind when I’m speaking rather than mentally translating from English. Yet, I’m not fluent. I’m actually quite skeptical of non-native speakers claiming fluency – ever.

Breaking Out of Beginner’s Spanish hasn’t just explained some of the most obnoxious concepts in Spanish (por and para, different past tense meanings of querer and saber, etc.), it’s reinforced my confidence in the language. The author notes some minor changes in Spanish-speaking that make you sound less gringo and more native, and I’ve realized that I automatically use a lot of them (hard to explain in English, but things like filler words, proper use of verbs and colloquial versus formal speaking.) It’s really nice to read this book and KNOW what Joseph J. Keenan is talking about, and KNOW that I already do it, just from interacting with native speakers. However I’m seriously lacking in practice right now – my September vacation in Guatemala was a good reminder when I was stuttering and stumbling where a year ago I chatted with ease. (I did recall most of my Tzutujil, somehow…)

Anyway, Spanish nerding aside, and completely unrelated to my Colombia trip, I’m also reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (highly recommend especially if you love words) and just finished Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?.  Kaling’s book was like reading a series of emails from my best friend, meaning absolutely hilarious, candid and familiar.

The Colombia countdown is on, but I have so much to get done that it’s hard to believe. Seven days left at Camp America, my first stateside Thanksgiving since 2008, moving, packing, Christmas, and all the quality roommate/family/friend time I can get.

As always, if anyone wants to donate to my Colombia fund, you can do so at the link below 🙂