Well my plans to study with my latest program, Fluenz, keep getting put on hold. I’ve had 2 trips, one to Asuncion and one to Ciudad del Este, and the time spent driving gave me time to think about Spanish. After all this tripping, which includes significant interaction in Spanish conversation, I’m wondering if maybe my days of cramming Spanish vernacular and grammar are over. I wish they were but I know they aren’t. I have 2 books from Barrons sitting on my desk that deserve a fair and thorough perusal. I have the 3rd DVD of Fluenz to watch and study. And I want to go through levels 3-5 of Rosetta Stone after all that. Some say I’m dedicated, others say mad and still others claim native intelligence. But I think the results speak for themselves. I have come a long, long way since I first arrived in Paraguay and tried to form a simple sentence. But I haven’t achieved full mastery. This I’m striving for. This is why I keep studying and pushing for more. I keep encountering people who, after finding out a little bit of my work here and our “group”, express surprise at my ability to speak after 10 months. They say I can speak well. If they only knew how much of my stuff is canned or carefully thought out responses to possible questions and conversation situations.
Anyway, some thoughts:
The biggest hurdle for me was finding the confidence to form sentences based on my knowledge of Spanish. I could understand conversations but responding to questions and forming stand-alone statements were amazingly hard. It helped shut me up for a time…..if that can be believed.
I’m thankful for a quick brain. In times past, I’ve used it for quick comebacks and the comedic sarcasm. I still use it for that, at times, but this quick brain response comes in terribly handy when in conversation with someone and I need a word, a conjugation, phrase or a idiom on the spot and like, right now. This lends to a appearance of fluency.
One knows one is getting close when words in one language are mentally pronounced in the language being studied. For example, I was reading I forget what and the U.S. state Montana was mentioned. Instead of pronouncing it the way a English speaker ought, I mentally pronounced as the Spanish word for mountain. Never mind the fact that the article I was reading was in English.
Another way one can tell that Spanish is creeping into the subconscious is when dreams occur and in those dreams one is speaking Spanish. Or when one is asking questions in those dreams about Spanish grammar AND one answers their own questions about grammar based off knowledge that they have in there subconsciousness. Creepy…but interesting. The bummer is I can’t recall the answers to my questions so who knows if the answer was even correct.
Here amongst the staff, we tend to create our own verbs. For interest’s sake, here are some as well as some examples of how they might be used in sentences.
Boogiar = to boogey, move rapidly from place to place. This is one that Mark coined once while he was spending a day in Asuncion. Voy a boogiar a la estaccion de omnibus = I’m going to hurry to the bus station.
Shlofiar = to sleep. Arminda, the Paraguayan midwife, loves to use this one. A Dutch/Spanish mix. Shlofiaste bien? = Did you sleep well?
Shpeelar = to play. Another Dutch/Spanish cross. Estamos shpeelando volley = We are playing volleyball.
Waar = to “wa-oo” something. The people say Wa-oo is a Guarini but I think I’ve heard it before. Maybe not. In any case, ‘wa-oo’ is a word used to describe something or a situation as not being desirable or as wanted. Esta wa-oo = This is weird/not right. The most memorable usage of this is when Companero J used it in the middle of skinning/dressing a steer. With a grin on his face as the conjugation popped into his head, he said, “We wa-ooed this thing!”
Wagler = to waggle. There’s a story behind this one but space hinders my writing of it. El pato wagla a su nido = The duck waggled to his nest.
Kutziar = this shouldn’t need any explanation but here it is, “to kutz (throw up)”. Yo kutze tres veces ayer = I threw up 3 times yesterday. Not really but that is an example of how to conjugate that verb in the first person, simple past tense.
We do this a lot and I think this is a form of stress relief. Some of them definitely come from the influence of stress or late nights. Therefore, they tend to be lame. But one thing I have noticed is that a lot of our verbs are the -AR- form of verbs. I’m sure there is some psychological significance in that but right now it escapes me.
Anyway, that’s all for now. I shall resume my studies…..sometime.
–The Paraguayan Pilgrim–