You guys, this is going to be fun(ny), I can already tell. My Rosetta Stone CD only arrived yesterday and already I know. Let me give you some backstory.
I took two years of Spanish in high school. I have worked for eight years in a school with a very high (40%) population of Spanish speaking students. These two things combined mean that I know just enough of a second language to be dangerous.
I know numbers, colors, and some commands. I can tell you that ‘book’ translates to ‘libro’ and that I am ‘la maestra de libros’, which sounds really cool but translates to ‘teacher of the books.’ Ask me to tell you the Spanish word for cat and I’ve got your back. Ask me to carry on an actual, real-life conversation with a Spanish-speaking person and I’m as useless as can be.
Honestly, I know a lot more Spanish than I am comfortable with. It takes a certain level of confidence to blurt out another language. What I think is ‘I really enjoyed seeing you today’ could actually be ‘You smell really funky today.’ And that’s not ok.
Yesterday, pre-Rosetta Stone, I attempted Spanish with some students. I was unsure of the translation for ‘here’, so I asked a bilingual student, in Spanish, how to say it. I said, “Come se dice here en Espanol?”. Which means–How do you say here in Spanish? He looked at me and said “here.” I thought the correct word was ‘aqui’, so I tried again. “Aqui?” I asked. And he said “Aqui”. Obviously, I was getting nowhere.
Today, I attempted Spanish again. I asked a Kindergarten student, in Spanish, if he spoke English or Spanish at home. His eyes got all big and excited and he said “Spanish”, and then proceeded to rattle off about seven sentences of a story in which I caught exactly zero words of. He obviously assumed that since I asked him a question in Spanish, I could understand his story in Spanish. Not so, child, not so.
I can’t wait to be able to tell you of my first real, successful Spanish conversation. Hopefully, it will be sooner rather than later.