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The Madera Tribune

Spanish on sale, but still elusive

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webmaster | 06/15/13

The other day I happened to see in a magazine advertisement that great improvements have been made in those do-it-yourself Spanish courses, and that because of this one of the biggest purveyors of computerized Spanish instruction has been buying out smaller ones. Soon computerized Spanish teaching will be like oil refining, in the hands of a few oligarchies.

The reason this interests me is that I have tried several times in my life to master Spanish, but Spanish always winds up mastering me. It is humiliating.

I have a daughter who majored in Spanish, studied in Spain and Florida, and is as comfortable speaking Spanish as I am speaking English. (Of course, some people don’t think I speak English all that well, but no matter what they think, I am comfortable with it. Sort of like an old shoe is comfortable.)

I tried learning Spanish in high school and had no luck. Then I tried it in college, but the results were the same. I have made other attempts, but I haven’t been able to “habla Español” (speak Spanish). I’m not even sure whether Español should be capitalized or used lowercase.

The nearest I can tell, if one writes “Habla Español,” it should be on a sign in a store window, where it would mean “Spanish Spoken (here).” Or if you were to put “se habla español” on a sign, it could mean “he or she speaks Spanish (here),” or even “Spanish speaks itself.” I don’t know whether you find that confusing, but I sure do.

Other languages haven’t been as confusing. I learned college German in three days (except for the vocabulary and grammar). When I was in grade school, I spoke Pig Latin (Igpay Atinlay) fluently. Actual Latin, however, was somewhat more difficult. There’s a reason why it’s a dead language.

Anyway, I’m thinking about tackling Spanish again because apparently they are going to have sales on these CD-based computerized self-taught courses.

Since they will be fairly cheap, when I flunk Spanish again, I won’t feel it to be such a loss.


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