28 July 2011

¿Yo spreche good, não?

This has been a summer of confusing and confounding myself linguistically.
I started out with a three week exchange with my students in Germany. There I spoke mostly German, although occasionally English was used as well. This was simply a pleasure, not a challenge.
I returned home, spoke English for about three days and boom, headed off to Chile. In Chile I was plunged immediately into Spanish, a language I learned in high school and a bit in college and have seldom used since then. My first week couch surfing I mostly spoke Spanish. But I would somewhat frequently use a German word without even realizing it. The more Spanish I spoke, the less I used German words. Throughout this I continued to communicate in both German and English as well. I also discovered that as my Spanish improved, I became more fluid in my speech and used it more readily. This actually harmed my German, I can't seem to say a whole sentence in German right now without including one Spanish word. Most frequently used words: pero (but) and yo (I).
Two weeks after I arrived in Chile, I took a trip to Brazil. Yes that's right, another language to input. Portuguese. While I was in Brazil I spoke Spanish, listened to Portuguese and read a novel in German. Confused yet?
Now I was not trying to learn Portuguese, but I soon found that I could have a fair conversation if they spoke slow Portuguese and I answered in Spanish. Plus, I began picking up words and realizing patterns.
For example, frequently a word that ends in -tion in English, ends in -ción in Spanish and in -não in Portuguese.
L's in Spanish are often r's in Portuguese. Example: Playa - Praia (beach)
Plus there are just a whole bunch of similar words.
But in was not (intentionally) learning Portuguese.

I returned to Chile and it was back to Spanish.

I am writing this in my airplane bound back to Texas. It's Monday around 5am in Texas. On Thursday I head to Philly, where I have an AATG committee meeting and expect it will be all German through Saturday. To wrap up my language adventures for the summer, I will fly to England and speak British English for a week this coming Saturday.

In the end all I can say is who knows what I will say next time we talk!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Germany, Chile, United States

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