I understand Spo has been reflecting on this same topic but it seems significant enough to offer an additional perspective. What is the a Spanish word for “Rashomon”?
Harper’s Other Dad and I will visit Mexico in a few months with friends. It seems odd to say, living as close to the border as we do, but neither of us have ever been to Mexico. Well, that is not technically true. We took a cruise once that stopped in Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada so we have seen cruise-ship-tourist Mexico; but not the REAL-tourist Mexico.
We went to Costa Rica a few years ago. Prior to that trip we purchased a Rosetta Stone course to learn Spanish, I think it was helpful but I didn’t learn enough and most of what I learned has long since been forgotten. So I’ll begin again.
For those who have not experienced Rosetta Stone, the concept is to learn the language naturally, the way children learn language. There is none of the vocabulary and conjugation exercises I recall from German class so many years ago. That’s too bad. I was good at that kind of learning. I still recall which prepositions are accusative (durch, für, gegen, ohne, and um) and which are dative; (aus, bei, mit, nach, zeit, von, and zu). But the new learning method is interesting.
There are several ways to learn. One involves hearing a phrase and then choosing which of several pictures matches the phrase you’re hearing. As the lessons progress they add more words. They never tell you what the words mean. You have to ‘figure it out’. I am not sure how effective it is as a teaching method but it is a painless way to learn the basics; even if it is not particularly exciting knowing “El pez esta nadando”.(‘The fish is swimming’) or “El carro es azul.” (‘The car is blue.’) But one must start at the very beginning. That’s a very good place to start. Julie Andrews taught me that.
The most pressing issue confronting me in this evening’s lesson is the phrase “El hombre esta siguiendo a la mujer”. There is a photo of a man and woman in motion. Does this mean; ‘The man is following the woman’?; ‘The man is chasing the woman.’? It is hard to tell from a photo but the difference seems substantive. I’m ruling out; ‘The man is stalking the woman.’ at this point. It seems likely that would be more advanced vocabulary. Also, we haven’t had the opportunity to learn other key phrases like; “La orden de restricción está impreso en papel amarillo. (‘The restraining order is printed on yellow paper.’) or “Coche de mi marido policía es blanco” (‘My husband’s police car is white.’)
Of course living in the southwest we encounter a steady stream of Spanish words. I know the difference between abierto and cerrada (open/closed); entrada and salida (entrance/exit). And of course I know the phrase “Tiene un hermoso perro”; (‘You have a beautiful dog.’) Most importantly, I know how to find “el baño” when the need arises.
The Find A Grave experience is timely as well. I see a lot of Spanish in cemeteries in this area. I am not sure how often phrases like; “Recuerdos De Su Esposa Y Hijos” (‘In memory of his wife and children’); or “Siempre En Nuestros Corazones” (‘Forever in Our Hearts’) will come up in a resort setting but I will be ready should the opportunity arise. Seeing one of my fellow guests lounging by the pool I imagine a friendly “En Paz Descanse” (‘Rest in Peace’) would be an icebreaker. With prudent planning, I am confident I can spice up the Happy Hour banter with a phrase like; “Yo Soy La Resurreccion Y La Vida: Todo El Que Crea En Mi Aunque Este Muerto Todavia Vivira.” (‘I am the resurrection and the life: whoever believes in me, though he were dead yet shall live.’) I think people will be impressed.
And I have not forgotten all I learned prior to the Costa Rica trip. I was prepared with the phrase “Aviso Canguros!”. It didn’t actually come up while we were in Costa Rica but I was ready nonetheless. And after a recent trip to Palm Springs I have added the equally useful “Aviso Pingüino!” If the guest house is in jeopardy of being overrun by kangaroos and/or penguins I will be ready to sound the alarm. I am sure the other guests will sleep easier knowing that. I think we should get a discount on our room.