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You Think Spanish Is Hard?

A little something for all of us who struggle with learning Spanish. Just remember how hard learning English can be!

You think English is easy?

  1. The bandage was wound around the wound.
  2. The farm was used to produce produce.
  3. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
  4. We must polish the Polish furniture..
  5. He could lead if he would get the lead out.
  6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert..
  7. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
  8. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
  9. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
  10. I did not object to the object.
  11. The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
  12. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
  13. They were too close to the door to close it.
  14. The buck does funny things when the does are present.
  15. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
  16. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
  17. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
  18. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
  19. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  20. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
  21.  Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

- unknown

Now, get back to learning Spanish…

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Learning Spanish III

I quickly realized that spending two months in Brazil, while amazing, definitely hurt my Spanish language skills.  Add to that the additional time I spent in the States for Christmas, and I now find myself playing catch-up just to get back to the point I was at in December. It’s amazing how little time it takes to forget so much of what you learned.

Luckily, I’m back in Buenos Aires and have re-enrolled in the University of Buenos Aires’ Español por Extrañeros class, Nivel 3!  So, while I may be the slowest in class, I am getting back into learning again. I also had my first session with my amazing tutor Marco today, so I’m sure my mediocre Spanish will return soon.

learn10 Learning Spanish IIIWell, today I found a very cool language web site that may also help. It’s called Learn10 and their goal is to help you learn a language 10 words at a time. Every day, they send you ten of the most frequently used words or allow you to input your own (subscription version).  They give you these words via a Flash widget, email, text messages, or their iPhone app.  They show you how these words are used by searching Twitter streams for them, thus providing real-world usage. They also provide tests, pronounciation and the ability to record your own pronunciations (and video) too.  And you can post your results to Facebook and Twitter.  The basic version of the site is free, while the premium version is only $9.95/month and includes a screen saver, competition and history to keep track of your progress.

You can check out their widget below:


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Learning Spanish II

universidad de buenos aires Learning Spanish IIIt seems like a lot of my posts are starting to have a Part II to them… Well, the Learning Spanish post is no exception.  I’ve been down here just over three weeks now and while I’m picking up the language in bits and pieces (I can almost read a full menu now!), I was starting to wonder if 4 hours per week with my tutor, Marco, was going to cut it. He’s great, by the way, but I found that once I left the classroom, I was not always keeping up with the lessons.

Luckily, one of my blog readers, Henry, let me know that The University of Buenos Aires was about to start an 8 week intensive course in Spanish as a Foreign Language on Monday. It’s 4 days per week for 2 hours per day for a total of 64 hours.  He said that his friend took the course and it really helped him, and I had heard the same on some other expat forums.  I decided to check it out and went down for the placement exam. After placing into Level 1 (there is no Level 0), that was enough convincing for me. I signed up.  The cost is AR $1053 in one payment or AR $554 for two payments. So for US $5/hour, I’m now enrolled!  There’s no more than 14 people per class, and they’re entirely in Spanish.  I’ll see how it goes, and I’m keeping my more private sessions with Marco too.

I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!

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