My current attempt to learn Spanish is my first real foray into the world of languages. Yes, I took some French classes in school, but these were compulsory and not intended to produce French speakers. I am finding the whole process to be quite fascinating, frustrating and humorous at the same time. As I am sure every student of a new language has experienced, I have made more than a few errors and some of them are worth sharing:
1) Eight What?!
During my second week of classes we learned how to tell the time in Spanish (I feel like a little kid sometimes!). I dutifully took notes down so I could review after class, including the words “en punto” meaning “o’clock ”. Unfortunately I missed the letter ‘n’ in the word ‘punto’ in my notes and studied a different word. The next day I announced what I thought was the correct answer to a question about time. And for the end of the story you can translate this for yourself!
2) What is happening in 10 days?!
Also early in my studies here in Spain one of my teachers asked “entendéis?” meaning, “Do you understand?” (in plural). The pronunciation of this word sounds very similar to “in 10 days” in English so I wondered what is happening in 10 days? Of course, most of the teachers say this and the next day I was curious as to why this event was still 10 days away. Shouldn’t it be 9 days now? Madre mia…
3) “Jamón es no carne!”
Well, this one is not my mistake but certainly related to learning a new language and its culture. Every Monday night the school goes out for tapas. This past Monday there were three vegetarians in the group and this was made clear to the waiter who said this was no problem, they can accommodate and will bring tapas with no meat. A few minutes later he brought out large plates of fries with a mix of mushrooms and ham (jamón) on top. When this was pointed out to him he stated “Jamón es no carne!” to our amusement. We are in Spain, after all!
That is all for now but there will no doubt be another chapter to Lost in Translation!