Monday, November 17, 2008

!Buenos Tag!

In high school and college, I took a lot of Spanish classes. By the time I was done, I could carry on a half-decent conversation in Spanish without much effort. After graduation, though, I barely spoke Spanish at all so over the years I've forgotten most of my grammar. Now I worry too much about tense and pronouns and posessives to say much more than "Dos margaritas fresada sin sal, por favor." and then I do so rather self-consciously.

I got suckered into a couple of French classes here and there. It just wasn't my thing. The language itself sounds beautiful, but I felt pretentious just learning it. The best result of those classes was the laugh I got when a college French teacher implored a very tight jawed fellow to "open your mouth. Open. Your. Mouth!" He muttered to her though his clenched jaw, "That's as far as it goes."

I've tried half-heartedly to learn German to impress the in-laws. But, hello? Could it be any more difficult? Die, du, deine....I'm already starting to feel light-headed.

For many months after the bug was born, I faked my way through her German books, stuttering "Schneewitchen und der sieben Zwerge" and I thought I was doing a pretty good job. But a few months ago, as I blathered on about "...Julia's dreirad, und teddy ist immer dabei", Bug put her fingers to my lips and said, "You don't read German, Mommy. DADDY reads German." Kaput.

Still, old habits and old languages die hard. I give the bug instructions and finish with, "Entiende?" I pat mis bolsillos, muttering, "¿Dónde están mis llaves?" and ask the bug for "Eine moment, bitte." I take things from little hands and scold, "Das ist nicht für dich."

Sometimes the languages collide and I end up using Spanish and German in on sentence. "Necisito una Löffel." "Este juguete ist kaput, schatz." I don't know if I'm the best language model for young ears, but I'm trying.

I do know this: if my girls ever need to send back their meals at a German restaurant in Spain, they can fall back on their mother's example and implore the waiter to "Vaya rápidamente, mach schnell!"

4 comments:

ingrid said...

I totally speak Frutch when I go to France. "Je voudrais graag een kopje koffie."

Yeah. It's confusing for everyone. Including me. :P

Great post Heather!

Heather said...

Frutch! I love it! I guess Spanish and German combined might be Germish? Better than Spanman. :/

wolfgang said...

hehe, funny combination, german and spanish. Somehow totally disconnected, but you make it sound cool!
Ich gehe jetzt nach hause.

Illegal Tree said...

No Spanish and German would have to be Spaman. It could actually be a word in either language.