I first posted this back on Nov. 20, 2012…it still makes me giggle.
There are, I have noticed, two types of Spanish spoken by Americans vacationing overseas…….or even in the US when speaking with Spanish speaking natives…..the easy kind and the difficult. Now the difficult kind is where a person actually uses proper pronunciation and adverbs and adjectives appropriately…it involves the conjugation of verbs and the science of placing them alongside various other words in order to form sentences such as “I go him say good afternoon” and “no, not to him I go it him say now”.
The second, and less complicated form of Spanish amounts to screaming English at the top of your lungs, much the same way you’d speak to a deaf person or the dog you thought you could train to stay off a sofa…. doubt and hesitation are completely unnecessary, as Easy Spanish is rooted in the premise that, if properly packed, the rest of the world could fit within the confines of Reno, Nevada. The speaker carries no pocket dictionary and never suffers the humiliation that inevitably comes with pointing to the menu and ordering the day of the week……..with Easy Spanish, eating out involves a simple “bring me a hamburger”.
Having undertaken the study of Hard Spanish, I’ll overhear such requests and glare across the room thinking, “that’s Mr Hamburger to you, buddy!” Of all the stumbling blocks inherent in learning this language, the greatest for me is the principle that each noun has a corresponding sex that affects both it’s articles and adjectives…..I just lost you there didn’t I? was it the articles part? well I may know what one is but I am baffled as to how to describe it, so there ya go.
For example…because a chicken is female and lays eggs, it is masculine. polo……yep, that weasley O on the end says it’s a boy…….so where do the eggs come from then? sigh………….. and casa…..that’s a home by the way…it’s feminine…..and even though I like having a female house I have to wonder why it is when it is made up of things like wood (very masculine..ask any man) and other building stuff.
I have spent two months now searching for the secret code that will explain all the idiosyncrasies of this sexual stuff and have yet to discover any rhyme or reason to it all. What is the trick to remembering a sandwich is masculine? is it manly in some weird way i just don’t understand? I guess if one sits out on the kitchen counter for several weeks it may eventually grow a beard….but other than that there is no sense to it………. and why is a door feminine? seriously…………
I was finally told, by a Spanish speaking person that “if it is unpleasant, it’s probably feminine”……well isn’t that just wonderful? sigh So, in order to figure it all out, I have started creating stories for these words that continuously throw me off…….I have sandwiches going on dates with women….I name objects with male or female names trying to keep track of what I am supposed to be saying………….so far it isn’t working.
I wonder just who the madman was that assigned these gender roles to words in the first place? Did he have a nice feminine office? was he bi-polar? or did he simply occupy part of the asylum where it was quiet so he could work his magic? My confidence in learning this language hit an all time low just this morning, when a friend of mine said “toddlers learn the sex of words without thinking about it. They hear it once and never get it wrong. What is YOUR problem?” Great, it’s a pretty grim world when I can’t even feel superior to a toddler. So, I’ve decided to start speaking in the plural..after all if I say “a melon” I have to remember it’s masculine.if I say “the melons” I don’t need to worry about it’s sex, just how many there are! Now to just learn my numbers properly so when I say “the melons” I don’t end up with a truck full of them when all I wanted was two!