Saturday, October 07, 2006

Que hay de nuevo?

I'm looking for the upside-down question mark on the keyboard. There's a tilda and an accent grave (how do you get it to sit on top of the required letter?) but none of the inverted punctuation essential to Spanish.

Victor Borge, the musician/comedian, made a classic contribution to punctuation some years back, narrating a steamy encounter with sound effects for each mark. He would have had a field day with Spanish.

This is all because I'm in the beginning stages of learning Spanish, my son being smitten with a chica from Bogota, Diana Maria. Diana didn't speak much English for a while; our conversations, when face-to-face, consisted of lots of hand gestures, plenty of hasty drawings and dips into the dictionary. But somehow we managed to makes ourselves understood.

The trick is to start thinking like a Spaniard, and especially to really start making the lips and jaw do some work--no use muttering between tight lips and making a half-assed stab at it--no, learning a foreign language is a serious relationship that requires commitment. Never make fun of someone who speaks with an accent, the saying goes, they speak more languages than you do.

I'm eagerly awaiting Speaking with the Hands, 101. I want to get going on the street with my cellphone, waving my arms even though the person I'm speaking to can't see me. How can I possibly be fluent in Spanish if I can't talk with my hands?


Susannah said...

So, if her English is improving... how long before she realizes what kind of man she's actually saddled herself with?

Juliet Gill said...

The cruel She!