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“Not fair!  not fair!” he hissed.  “It isn’t fair, my precious, is it, to ask us what it’s got in its nassty little pocketses?”

– Gollum, from The Hobbit (Ch 4, “Riddles in the Dark”)

***

For about a month I’ve been learning Spanish (check out Part 1 here).  I have to admit that I haven’t spent as much time as I expected to.  I thought I would get through Level 1 of Rosetta Stone by now, but I’m only halfway through.  But slowly and steady wins the race (hopefully).

I’m getting to the point in Rosetta Stone where they’re teaching me sentences, which is making Spanish significantly harder.  I’m decent at keeping up with the words, but putting them into sentences is challenging.

Of the things I learned, the my favorites (+ my translations) include:

  • Tengo hambre.  (I’m hungry.)
  • El hombre está manejando el carro.  (The man is driving the car.)
  • El gato está sobre la mesa.  (The cat is on the table.)

There’s a funny anecdote about my attempt at making sentences in Spanish. Last year during my summer mission trip, my team was learning super basic Spanish in attempt to immerse ourselves with the mainly Latino neighborhood.  Very unfortunately, one of the only verbs I knew in Spanish were vomito (vomit) and vomitando (vomiting), because that’s the one Spanish word I learned back when I volunteered at the LAC+USC hospital emergency room.  Therefore all the sentences I could make were about vomiting (“Dani está vomitando!”), which isn’t the most helpful when trying to immerse myself with the Latino neighbors (or anybody).

***

Anyways, let me tell you more about my experiences with Rosetta Stone.  With the software, I get some online lessons with a Spanish-speaking teacher.  I tried one of those sessions, which was pretty scary because they don’t let you speak anything except Spanish (and if you know very little, you can’t do anything except look scared and stay silent with your mouth open).

Since my teacher knew our (it was a group session) progress in Rosetta Stone, she mainly guided us through practicing the little words and sentences we learned previously.  I did so-so, but there were moments when I blanked out and couldn’t do anything but look scared and stay silent with my mouth open (thankfully only the teacher uses a webcam).  And there were times when she would TRICK US!

Spanish Part 2a

The tricksy little teacher asks us to identify the persons in the pictureses.  We says “hombre”, “mujer”, and “niña”.  But we didn’t know the last one!  Nassty little trickses it pulled on us, yes.

After a bit of staying silent she teaches us to say, “No sé,” which probably means “I don’t know.”  What a useful sentence!  I went on to use that a lot in this session, and will for years and years to come.

I think that’s enough for now, and more interesting things to come later!

Adios,

Simeon Koh

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