Sunday, October 5, 2008

What! No s in Que te vaya bien? Impossible!

I have just recently realized that I am quite the obstinate Spanish learner. I might have gotten a clue when, while listening to the Pimsleur Language Audio Tapes in the States, I was sure that Pimsleur had made several mistakes (which I later realized was of course, not true). Perhaps it was my work as an editor where I made a living seeking and correcting mistakes of others which made me doubt the validity of the Pimsleur program as well as over-fortify my sense of righteousness.

The depth of my obstinacy has been surprising (that and the fact that zapato (shoe) and zapallo (squash) are two very different words, and when ordering food, it’s best to go with the zapallo and not the zapato).

Recently I found myself challenging a Chilean about HIS language, and worse, I thought nothing of it. I kept right on arguing (he could’ve been wrong, you know) until he gave up and said, “You must be right. Let’s go with your version of Spanish.”

Yeah, not my best moment.

In fact, now that I think about it, I questioned him on several occasions throughout the evening, and while he tried to teach me how to speak Chilean Spanish, I adamantly insisted in the opposite. Here is an example of one of our conversations:

Him: It would be encontrarĂ¡s. En-con-trar-as.
Me: En-con-trar-as.
Him: No. En-con-trar-as.
Me: That’s what I said. Anyway, I remember it being the infinitive, not the future.
Him: It’s grammatically correct in the future.
Me: But that’s not how I remember it.
Him: That’s how it is.
Me: I don’t believe you.

Which parent did I inherit this fine trait from? I would really like to blame someone for this.

But now that I think about it, perhaps I can thank this lovely trait (along with so friends and family who helped me get here) for being in Chile—because when I got resistance from people about Chile or when I read anything bad about Chile, I would just decide they were wrong and merrily continue packing. (By the way, obstinacy is also how people get eaten by tigers.)

Thankfully, no tigers in Chile and instead, many people kind enough to suffer through my efforts not to learn.

On another note, I realized that a couple of weeks ago, I accidentally told my Polynesian dance teacher I liked her…as in liked her liked her if you get my drift. The thing is, I only realized it recently after a conversation about the stages of dating and the phrases of dating (me caes bien, te gusta, te guiero, te amo). The first can be said to friends and beginning romances. The rest are for romantic encounters only.

So, anyway, I told my dance teacher that I wanted to pay her the full price of the classes even though I knew I could claim a discount because…and here was the foible…I liked her…a lot. Now that I recall the scene in my head, her eyes had gotten really wide and she paused for a moment and then asked, trying to correct me, “Because you really like the class?” Where I think I made it worse by saying, “Yes, and you too.” Oops!

Do other language learners have these problems or am I the only one who manages to stumble into these awkward situations? Perhaps the difference is that I’m willing to write about it?

Okay. That’s all for now…pictures are coming, I swear!

And of course…

Que te vaya bien! (Thanks Nacho for correcting this sign off…and thanks for not leaving me in Providence during our ten minute argument where I insisted there was an s on vaya)

C in C


La Gringuita said...


I remember telling an Ecuadorian friend "Me gustas tu mucho!" He sort of stayed away from me for the rest of our friendship--woops!

I've also ordered "penis pills" instead of "pain medication," and told a Chilean that it was definitely "esta," not "es" (still think I'm right about that one).

But wait, hold the phone, isn't it "que te VALLA bien??" What a mysterious send-off! Seems we all have it a little funky.

nacho said...

jajaja creo que a ti te ha quedado claro que a mi me pasa lo mismo jaja.
Creo que es verdad que esa obesion de estar siempre leyendo lo que los demas escrben buscando los errores de ortografia (spelling) y de gramatica, nos lleva a creer que siempre estamos en lo correcto, aunque no lo estemos jaja.
Me rei mucho cuando lei que le habias dicho a tu profesora de baile que la querias mucho, o que te gustaba mucho jajaja. Me imagino la cara que debe haber puesto.
Lo pase muy bien ayer viendo batman, jaja, muy simpaticos todos los amigos de la kanki,jaja me rei mucho.

Cudiate que estes muy bien!!!!
gracias por ayudarme con la postulacion!!!

nos estamos viendo

Que te vaya(s) bien ajajaja

Melissa said...

When I was in Spain for one summer as a junior in high school, all of the students were placed with families. I remember one of the other students recounting how she was trying to say that she was very embarassed, but actually said that she was very pregnant! Talk about adding insult to injury! Ha!