Second Stage Spanish

It’s a process, I keep reminding myself. When I first arrived in Mexico my Spanish was rusty. Not wanting to make a fool out of myself, I pre-planned everything I wanted to say prior to it coming out of my mouth. In my mind, I practiced speaking Spanish sentences such as, “Can you recommend the best seafood restaurant in town?” and “What are the most interesting sites in Mazatlan, in your opinion.” As a result, when I actually made these inquiries, things went pretty smoothly. By the end of the day I was tired of speaking Spanish, but all in all, I was very pleased that my Spanish skills were returning so rapidly.

But sometime during the past two days things shifted. I grew confident enough to stop pre-planning my utterances. Or maybe I should say over-confident. As long as everything was going well I did just fine. But whenever something unexpected happened that required immediate action, I suddenly lost it. With no anticipation of situations or pre-planning of sentences, pure gibberish came out of my mouth and I quickly reverted to English, lest I begin trying to speak Spanish by adding the letter “o” to the end of English words.

Although this seems like regression, I am aware that it’s really progress. Speaking a foreign language without having to think about it is a lot more difficult than repeating the same worn out phrases over and over again. I just want to get past the blithering idiot part to stage three – the one where I once again begin to dream in Spanish.

6 thoughts on “Second Stage Spanish”

  1. You are too hard on yourself! I am so impressed with anyone who can learn another language – something I’ve yet to be able to do. It’s as mysterious as child birth in my mind!
    Keep working on it – I have no doubt that you’ll be improving rapidly!

  2. Your journey looks great. So many words in spanish that mean different in each country; it will be very funny, write them down and share here please!!

  3. Your ability to self-analyze makes for fascinating reading. Confidence to splash out in a foreign language will surely impress your various hosts as you travel through Central and South America. You should record a bit of your Spanish now (near the start of your trip) and then compare it with the middle and end of your journey to see how much you impreove. It makes for easier comparison if you record first.


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