When living in Chile for 2 months, I was told that I sounded like a surfer when I spoke Spanish. A Danish classmate once tried to teach me how to say “have a good weekend” in Danish and, after I repeated what she said, laughed at me and told me “you sound like such a foreigner.”
While in Spain, we discovered the oven in our apartment didn’t work just as we wanted to start preparing the pizzas we had bought for dinner. Since I had a working use of Spanish, I was nominated to ask our neighbours if we could use their oven. I mustered up my Canadian politeness, my Surfer Spanish vocab, and one heck of a big smile to ask the family next door if I could use their oven to cook our pizza. Long story short – I was warmly welcomed in, given a glass of cava to enjoy as I waited for the pizza to cook, and was asked to join their living room full of guests that were watching a picture slideshow presentation of their recent vacation. Talk about Spanish hospitality, eh! (Sidenote: ‘vamos a la playa’ actually came in handy. #win)
I feel awkward when I am trying to speak a language that I am not great at. I stumble through sentences – replacing adjectives with verbs and mixing up conjugations and tenses. I even slip in other foreign languages as my brain tries to recall the correct translation of different words. I learn how to understand written text (especially menus) and speak the phrases that are enough to get by. And I love it. Learning new languages reminds me that there are still things I’m not great at and that I still have room to learn.
My Spanish may be spotty and my Danish may be really limited right now.
Good manners and those three important words, however, will always be the most valuable linguistic tool we can use.
Pick of the Post: Benny Benassi ft Gary Go – Control