📺 Previously: Updates from the last month.
Remember how back in January I said that I'm giving myself 6-months of daily Spanish grind to achieve some sort of advanced level of Spanish? By June? Of this year?
Well, it's May, people, and although we're somewhere, we're definitely not there yet. #understatementOfTheYear
This past month was difficult. I blame it on the nice weather, which meant that I spent a lot of time walking outside and recuperating from my post-ice-cream sugar comas.
It didn't help that Valerie's work was extra estresante (see what I did there?), which meant switching to English for entire days.
And, also, sometimes it's just nice to utter something the way you actually meant it and get yourself understood. It's just so much easier. And faster.
Did you know that in Spanish, a discusion is an argument? (as if you can't have a conversation in Spanish without yelling at each other?). Anyway, once I told Valerie that I was having a discusion with this person and then later a discussion with that person and she was like, "are you having your period or something", and I was like, "no, and stop saying that". "I'm birthing a blood diamond". (ya, I know).
Valerie and I are swell btw.
I was given homework! Well, Valerie refused to speak more Spanish with me until I sit down and practice the difference between por and para, which I've been using very nonchalantly until then. So I did.
Just so you know, I'm not trying to be difficult. Both of these words do actually mean (among other things) "for".
Rolling Rrrrrs 🏴☠️ permalink
A lot of folks out there trying to learn Spanish (native English speakers in particular) have problems pronouncing the Spanish R. That's the sound you are supposed to make when someone does something sexy (like when men do the dishes or something), you know the 'rrrrr' accompanied with a tiger claw. Cause tigers are sexy. Or something.
I like that I can do the rolling R (and not just because I have dish-washing men in my life) and that I can generally pronounce whatever Spanish throws at me. So, there is, as they say, that.
I watched some more Cable Girls (continuing from the last month), but in the end, it was just too much drama, so I gave up after eight episodes or so. No other TV or movies in Spanish, but I did watch some random, weird YouTubers:
- Types of Spanish Accents - Joanna Rants - this one is funny and apparently true
- English Words Stolen By Spanish - Joanna Rants
- Me llamo Alma - topics discussed: how to get rid of a body, how to get your friend arrested (warning: this one is kind of messed up)
Magrat and I continue to study Duolingo every morning. Magrat helps to answer by sitting down on the trackpad. Or sometimes, she makes things more difficult by parading her naked, hairy body in front of my screen. Perhaps it should be established that Magrat is a cat.
I'm sort of getting bored by Duolingo, so I've scaled it down from 5 daily lessons to 3-4. The grammar lessons are still super useful, but some of the vocabulary I just can't be bothered with.
There was this chapter about football that was tough and had like nine thousand words to say "kicking". Who cares? Just pass the ball! But I suppose I must get the Duolingo Golden Tree, so I shall continue. Until I die. Or Magrat finally decides that I've been hogging the computer for too long.
I've started using Memrise to up my vocab game. It's super neat that you can select decks that use Mexican Spanish (which is what I'm supposed to speak) and thus avoid Wife saying things like: "Eva! No tortillas for you!"
📚 Agatha Christie and I - it's complicated permalink
I read five books in Spanish: 3 Agathas, a YA book, and a book about hostage negotiations (you know, for if we ever decide to have kids).
After the funearal: Despues del funeral
The Murder at the Vicarage / Muerte en la vicaria
Endless Night / Noche eterna
Never split the difference / Rompe la barrera del no (Chris Voss) - really good book about negotiation skills
Second Star to the Right / Segunda estrella a la derecha (Deborah Hautzig) - a book about teenagers and anorexia and it's horrible
Some more thoughts on Agatha. As regular readers will know, I've read a lot of Agatha. Once upon a time, I even had an Agatha Project - where I was trying to read all of her books without buying a new one (either by borrowing copies, picking them up from libraries, or buying them secondhand).
Her books are clever and funny and sometimes utterly surprising. The stories where the narrator turns out to be the murderer are my favorite! (Because, in the end, don't we all... sometimes...)
As a woman, I also find it generally inspiring that she managed to thrive in a world dominated by ben - I got to stan that.
But, but, the more I read, and, I suppose, the more I get to actually understand what I read, the more frustrated I'm getting with all of the woman put-me-downs.
Her novels are littered with descriptions like this: "Oh, yeah my wife, you know she's a lady woman and has been afflicted by this lady woman illness, very sad, probably bed-ridden for life. The usual light headaches, hysteria, and weakness of the mind. Probably best not to listen to her and just discard everything she says, okay?" Wot?!
To be clear, she's also not great with 'forn' people: Hercule Poirot is always described as this weird, unimpressive almost-French man, but come on!
Anyway, I think we have broken up.
Two good finds in the past month:
- Wisteria lane - Really interesting Spanish national radio program on LGBT+ issues around the world
- Alt.Latino - Alt.Latino is an NPR program about Latino culture and Latin Alternative music, and they also have fabulous playlists, like this one (Spotify link)
In Conclusion permalink
Spanish is hard.