Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Why again am I doing this?

Funny you should ask. Used to be that when a person undertook the rigors of learning a new language, it was because they HAD to - in my case to fulfill college prep requirements. Or, so as to better navigate while traveling abroad. Or, in extreme cases of over-achievement, to become a translator for the United Nations. That was back in the 70's. I took French because it sounded glamorous, and would keep the rest of my family guessing as to what I was really saying.

French is a terrific language; it's just that nobody here speaks it. Thankfully, I had two occasions to visit France, so it wasn't all for naught. Plus, I made a lovely friend of my teacher, Lenaick, who helped me brush up after a 30-year hiatus.

Spanish is another monkey altogether. Everything I learned to perfect my pronunciation in French has been tossed out the window, so my listening ear, (which isn't so hot in English anymore), is thoroughly confused in Spanish. Hay meaning there is or there are, sounds like "eye." So, I'm grappling with Hay una mesa, thinking it means I am a table, which I'm not. The word for and is y and pronounced "ee." In French, and was et and sounded like "eh." So, although I've had experience with languages, it's really back to Square One.

That's where Rosetta comes in. You've heard the ads, "Learn a new language like you did your first language! Please order today for your free Language Demo CD!!!"

Well, I called them, and some operator practically badgered me into getting the whole series. All I wanted was the free Demo CD. Her rationale was that I already knew which language to study, so the demo would be a waste of my time, and her shipping. Later, on TV, I saw another ad for Rosetta, and it did look good. So, I navigated their website, and lo and behold I could get it at a discount! It's not cheap, but if I was going to do this thing, I needed the interaction/immersion that Rosetta promised, and has delivered.

I work with Maria in my office. Well, not really with, per se, but she comes in about the time we're leaving to clean up after us slobby office workers. She's Mexican and delightful. She's my only Hispanic friend at this point, and she is going to help me, as we help her with her English. She didn't know what darling meant, "Ees this a good thing?" "Yes, Maria, it means sweetheart," which she translated as corazon dulce. In order to do this, I need all the friends I can find.

Rosetta was easy to set up, even for someone who HATES to read directions of any kind. It's crazy - it comes with a headset and microphone, so I feel like an air traffic controller. Then, I'm speaking outloud, next to my family watching television, in loud imperfect stumblings. Come means eat, bebe means drink. A new meaning for "Come, baby". What do the Hispanic girls think when someone is trying to pick them up at a bar? Well, I guess they intended to buy them a drink anyway...

For the life of me, I couldn't pronounce hombre. I said it over and over until my son, Sean, grabbed the microphone and said "umbray," then all was good. Lesson One was done with no bloodshed - I actually scored well for a first-timer. It's honestly like playing a video game, like PacMan, that is easy to do. But one lesson was plenty. It's kind of like skiing. You have to stop before you get really tired, or you're libel to break your leg.

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