Monday, May 9, 2011

Back from Spain

I got back from Spain a week ago. Needless to say my brilliant plan to update this blog each night, detailing my Spanish learning adventures during the day, didn't go so well. I was always too tired and/or preferred to spend my time interacting with people rather than sitting by myself writing. I did, however, take notes on each day, in hopes I'd write the entries when I got back. And here I am.

I took a lot of pictures in Spain, more than I've ever taken really. I'll being using some of them in the coming posts, but you can view the whole set here.

How It Went...

In the previous post I mentioned several "trouble phrases", Spanish phrases I planned to say any time I didn't know what to say, as well as several goals for the trip, things I wanted to say or do in Spanish at least once before I left. The phrases were:
  • Perdoname, no te entiendo. / Perdona, no te he entendido.
  • No recuerdo la palabra.
  • Puedes repetir por favor?
  • Estoy trantando.
  • Como se pronucia esto/eso?
  • No conozco la respuesta?
  • Que significa... (something)?
  • Tengo una pregunta.
  • Puedes hablar mas lento?
Ha! I didn't use any of these. What I found myself saying most was sort of a variation on the first one - Entiendo solamente un poco - which means "I only understand a little bit". For emphasis I often repeated it with un poquito meaning "very little".

I quickly found I didn't really know enough to maintain even a simple conversation, so most of the time it was simple phrases, requests, affirmatives, etc. But when I ran into problems telling people I didn't understand much seemed to be all that was necessary.

And I guess I did actually say que significa... a lot (as in Que significa "caliente"? meaning "What does "caliente" mean?) when I didn't know a word. But it was usually a one-off, and not in the context of an on-going conversation. Also, I did say Como se dice... a lot, mostly while pointing and adding esto. Como se dice esto? (How do you call this?) That's a good one. Brings back the fun of being a three-year-old.

As for the goals, I did manage to do a lot of them. They were:
  1. be able to tell Clara's parents when I meet them that I actually did learn some Spanish this time
  2. be able to talk with Clara's mom about food
  3. be able to buy bus/train tickets going to and from Madrid
  4. be able to order food on my own
  5. be able to answer some simple questions Clara's friends might ask me
One, two, and three ended up working out pretty well. Three and four not so much, but I felt good enough about the first three I wasn't terribly bothered by this. I won't go much into these here, since they will come up in the following posts where I explain what happened on each day of the trip.

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