Friday, October 5, 2012

Spanish, Anyone?

So I am sitting here with Ulises in one of his University courses. I came to basically 'spend time' with him and see more of him. With my work schedule and his school schedule we often don't see each other between the hours of 6:30 AM and 9 or 10 at night. I would like to comment on how this university course is... or any other number of things, but I am totally preoccupied with how badly I need to go to the bathroom. It's not that I feel like I would be a distraction to the class getting up and leaving--it's just that I went for the door two times already and its locked or something. I'm not going to be the idiot girl who can't open the door for the third time.. Furthermore, if I do go and attempt to pry the door open and they say something to me during my struggle, I imagine I would respond with some underdeveloped caveman type Spanish. "Me no can!"  "No me open!" "graaaauhlurrrmmaaaaaaaahb"

While sitting in this 2 hour (but feels so much longer with this pulsing bladder) class I have been studying Spanish. I feel more confident each day. I can understand more and more and can express myself in certain situations. It's been a different experience than learning Hungarian. I think as missionaries for the church we take for granted the Missionary Training Center where we can study a foreign language for several weeks (my Hungarian course was for 12) before entering our missions to work. The MTC gives you the all the grammar, really helps you understand basics and  also gives you those important survival phrases. I wish I had had an MTC course for Spanish before coming here. I also should take an hour to study Spanish every day like I studied Hungarian for an hour everyday when I was there. But really, all other circumstances are in my favor. When I was in Hungary I never lived with a native Hungarian. Now I live with a native Spanish speaker! We don't talk Spanish very often but he encourages me and I want to set some goals to practice together now that I have some tools in my belt. Similar to my mission in Hungary, I teach! Teaching  puts me in a situation where I am forced to use the native language. In Hungary I used Hungarian to teach lessons about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Spain I am using my Spanish in my "English Classes". So my Hungarian was more gospel vocabulary and my Spanish is a little more colloquial. I think being forced to use the language is one of the keys to learning. If you never speak your tongue will never become trained.

One aspect of language learning that was very evident for me on my mission was that the holy spirit helped me speak the gospel to the people. I felt that frequently. God used me as a tool. He helped me learn Hungarian to teach his word. But I also know that God is on my side in learning Spanish. I may not be on a mission and my dealings with people are not the same, but God has a vested interest in me and my relationship with my husband, his family, and his ancestors. I hope that in the coming years as my Spanish language abilities progress that my relationship with his family will deepen. I also hope to be more involved in his Family History work.

It's sometimes emotionally difficult to focus on Spanish  because I feel my Hungarian skills slipping. Hungarian is a difficult, beautiful language that I have a special attachment to. But there is a time and a season for each thing and I feel confident that as I learn Spanish and make an effort to keep reading some Hungarian that I can ultimately, know both. The focus is on Spanish now. But there will be a time again when I can go back and sharpen those Hungarian skills. I am so grateful for all my Hungarian friends I made who are now my Facebook friends who write me messages and chat with me. Finding Hungarians to practice with is much harder than finding Spaniards to practice with.

Speaking of Languages.... As I have been teaching English ( which I quite enjoy) I have developed an interest in the history of the English language itself! Both Hungarian and Spanish have a  familiar 'you' (used to address your family and friends) and a formal 'you' (used to address dignitaries and to show respect to anyone-- particularly strangers who are older than you) but the English Language no longer differentiates between the intimate  'you' or the formal 'you'. (or the plural you for that matter) Some of you might be familiar with it. I am  because I grew up reading the King James bible and because in our house we always prayed in this older (late middle English)  form: Thee Thou!

 Growing up I always thought that calling my Heavenly father with "thee and thou" was distancing myself from him --but in reality "thee" is the intimate form of "you" and "you is actually the less intimate and more formal way of addressing someone. I find it beautiful that the language of prayer is one of closeness to God. I don't know how it faded out of use--but I would like to know why! And I would like to know how the different English Speaking countries have done the same independently of each other. Or maybe some of them still do it. It is fascinating to me.

Ah languages..........


Did I mention I am so excited that Ulises and my children will grow up truly bilingual? I met a guy the other day who was American/Spanish and it was actually kind of eerie how he spoke both English and Spanish with the correct, native accent.

1 comment:

  1. Okay your story has me laughing :) I also get really excited thinking about our children being bilingual. I speak Dutch, English and French and it makes life so much easier!