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sergiogomez / Moderator

Jan 5, 2009, 7:21 PM

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Your suggestions

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In order to keep the forum useful for everyone, I'm looking for your input. What topics would you like to see discussed? What questions would you like answered?

Maybe I could phrase that a little differently. What do you like least about learning Spanish, and why? What do you like best, if anything? I'd like to get to know everyone on the forum, especially those who might not post as often, so feel free to include information about yourself.

I've heard that some of the more recent topics have left some of you feeling left out. That's the bad news. The good news is that we can change that. Send me ideas for topics, or just start posting!



sioux4noff

Jan 6, 2009, 11:03 AM

Post #2 of 11 (4845 views)

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Re: [sergiogomez] Your suggestions

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What I like best about learning Spanish is the ability to carry on small pleasant conversations with people I encounter. I like to be able to chat with the clerk in the store, or visit with the person in the bank who is handling my payment.
At this time, I'm not intent on being able to disucss politics or religion or other deep subjects in Spanish. But I do want to be able to comment on someone's prewtty dress, or cute baby, or something humorous we see.
What do I like least? Well, my own poor memory is my biggest obstacle!


esperanza

Jan 6, 2009, 11:40 AM

Post #3 of 11 (4841 views)

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Re: [sergiogomez] Your suggestions

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Olivia, all those song lyrics were fun but had limited use for people who are working on learning how to carry on a conversation, conjugate verbs, etc. Romance is great, but many people on the Learning Spanish forum would probably find other forms of vocabulary-building more helpful.

I think there will be several differences between the forum as it was under Quevedo's moderation and as it will be under yours. Quevedo is young at heart; you are young. Quevedo's classical Spanish literarature experience is deep and broad; your current cultural experience is young and vivid. It will be important for you to balance older styles of Spanish with newer, more 'hip' styles of speaking. The former never go out of style; the new are frequently of the moment and *poof*, they're gone.

Te ofrezco la más profunda bienvenida, Olivia. Si te puedo ayudar en cualquier cosita, el más pequeño detallito, estoy a tus órdenes.

Cristina (aka Esperanza)

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









travisdyer

Jan 6, 2009, 3:43 PM

Post #4 of 11 (4826 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Your suggestions

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I would like to see more conversations about words and phrases that have "doble sentido" or double meanings. I often find myself in situations where an "albur" is being used, but I just quite don't understand it. I have learned what alot of "albures" mean, and I have also learned how to respond. However, there are still those that catch me every time, and I am left feeling confused and embarrassed. BTW, what is the correct translation for "albur" and "alburear"? I know that it has to do with a play on words, but I'm not sure of the exact translation.


esperanza

Jan 6, 2009, 4:49 PM

Post #5 of 11 (4818 views)

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Re: [travisdyer] Your suggestions

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Travis, an albur is a double-entendre play on words. There's no one-word English translation.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Oscar2

Jan 7, 2009, 12:19 PM

Post #6 of 11 (4792 views)

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Re: [sergiogomez] Your suggestions

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Quote
I've heard that some of the more recent topics have left some of you feeling left out. That's the bad news. The good news is that we can change that. Send me ideas for topics, or just start posting!




Olivia, although we will miss Quevedo, your knowledge, and fresh spirit is welcomed. Like most things in life, from one person to another, different life exposures produce different needs. Thus, it would carry that opinions are laced with judgments based on these same needs.

There are those who would benefit nicely with just the basic communicational skills to make life in Mexico easier. Then there are those who have seen and experienced the fearless, fun, and variable extent of your talents. Yes, this too can give rise to the eagerness inspired by your fresh and educated take on meaningful conversational dialogs needing enhancement in someone’s life.

There is no one method or category which “fits all” and we’ve learned that from educational institutions who’s levels of teaching vary anywhere from, beginning, intermediate and advanced learning categories. I too agree, there are those who have been reluctant and/or felt unqualified or had no interests in advancement and should be respected and considered along with other peoples needs.

Soooo …. What to do? May I suggest subcategories of learning, so one can select, or the moderator can move questions or whatever to one of three learning or whatever categories which fit others interests, and in this way it excludes no one. I’m sure there are other structured suggestions from some very sharp minds out there who have already been there and done that.

Muchas Gracias y Buena Suerte

(This post was edited by Oscar2 on Jan 7, 2009, 12:23 PM)


sergiogomez / Moderator

Jan 7, 2009, 6:53 PM

Post #7 of 11 (4771 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Your suggestions

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Yes, Esperanza, the song lyrics were fun. They were part of a fun discussion for me and those who participated in those threads. They were never meant to be the whole forum or take over the forum. And, of course, I had no idea that anyone was discontented until I was told so. Speaking up is important.

As for classical Spanish versus "hip" Spanish, I can assure that I do have a solid grasp of classical Spanish, for lack of a better term. What I would call high or literary Spanish varies by region and period: virtually no one here will be interested in learning to talk like Miguel de Cervantes, but some words that Pablo Neruda used might be overheard in conversation. Proper, educated Spanish like that used by college-educated native speakers is always acceptable and useful to learn. And while it might change, it is extremely useful to be able to understand "low" or slang Spanish if one is around young people and uneducated native speakers. Someone's next door neighbor might shout out "¿On tan los morrillos?" instead of "¿Donde están mis hijos?" and it's very nice to know that he's asking where his kids are instead of...whatever you might worry the neighbors are saying when you can't understand them.

That said, yes, the forum will be a bit different, and I hope the changes will be positive ones. And thank you, Esperanza, for your kind welcome.


sergiogomez / Moderator

Jan 7, 2009, 8:00 PM

Post #8 of 11 (4764 views)

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Re: [travisdyer] Your suggestions

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An albur is a play on words or a double entendre. Alburear is to play with words or, more accurately, to pun. The pun is the Mexican national joke.


Carron

Jan 9, 2009, 11:49 AM

Post #9 of 11 (4729 views)

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Re: [sioux4noff] Your suggestions

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This is what I am looking for as well. I took years of Spanish in high school and college 50 years ago when we never heard a word of the language actually spoken but, boy, could I translate a list of nouns I couldn't pronounce and conjugate a bunch of irregular verbs. Never for the life of me was I expected to carry on a conversation or string together enough of these words to actually make a complete sentence.

I have lived in Mexico for over ten years and manage to muddle through my daily life with the help of gracious neighbors and store clerks. I could not imagine trying to carry on a "real" conversation, although I would occasionally like to ask how to say a particular bit of information about myself in the local idiom. I would never have asked such a simple question on the previous incarnation of this forum. Verb tenses are the worst, especially if I have to first remember the verb, then the conjugation, then try to put it into a sentence with matching subjects and predicates and objects, etc.

I would love to be able to explain to my kind neighbors that "I have lived in Mexico for eleven years. I lived in Chiapas for 3 years and I have been here in Coahuila for 7 years. I prefer living here because the people are so nice and helpful to me and my family. I used to be a college professor but now I am retired." (If I could just memorize this little speech in Spanish, God would surely accept me into Heaven!)

On the other hand, I can barter a very good deal for the sale or exchange of my goats (chivas) and sheep (borregos) and order hay and other feeds for my livestock. Much depends on body language and a good knowledge of the prices my neighbors are paying and receiving.

I personally look forward to having you as Moderator and perhaps I won't feel my basic questions are too dumb even to be asked. !Bienvenidos y buena suerte!


sergiogomez / Moderator

Jan 9, 2009, 12:59 PM

Post #10 of 11 (4724 views)

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Re: [Carron] Your suggestions

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No question is "too dumb" to be asked! If you have a question, it's because you're looking for an answer, so the important thing is to get that answer. Whatever you or anyone else asks, I won't make fun of you for asking it, and I'm sure the other nice folks here won't either. And someone probably has the very same question, so ask away! That's what the forum is for.


I absolutely agree with you that there is a world of difference between textbook Spanish and the way the language is actually spoken. Too many Spanish classes leave students with a pile of knowledge that means virtually nothing to them and is next to useless in real life. Immersion, as you all know from experience, is the best way to learn a language because you hear it and learn it the way it's spoken by real people. Often, the problem with immersion is feeling lost in a sea of sounds that you have no idea how to make sense out of. A good bilingual dictionary can be a big help, as can a copy of 501 Spanish Verbs (optional, but highly recommended). And, of course, your Ask A Real Live Human hotline right here. You are your own best resource--no one else can hear, speak, or remember the language for you, and your way of doing that is special and unique. We are also our own worst critics, so go easy on yourself.

While verb conjugation is different in Spanish, it's really (deep breath) not that scary once you get used to it. Look for a more detailed post on verbs later.

Carron, I can't make any guarantees about getting you to heaven, but I can offer a quick translation of your speech. Handy tip: use this construction when you want to talk about how long you've been in a place: Tengo (3/4/7) años/meses (aquí) en (name of place). It's quick, easy, and doesn't require verb conjugations. So, here goes.

Tengo once años aquí en México. Viví en Chiapas por tres años, y ahora tengo siete años aquí en Coahuila. Me gusta mucho vivir aquí porque la gente es muy amable y me ha ayudado mucho a mi y a mi familia. Fui profesor universitario pero ahora estoy jubilado.

Edit: Carron, I just read another of your posts under "General comment" and saw you mentioned "my husband and I." I had assumed that you were male, so in the translation above, you should change "profesor" to "profesora" and "jubilado" to "jubilada." The boy/girl--O/A rule applies to both goats and people. As well as inanimate objects, but maybe we should save "How to figure out if everyday objects are male or female" for another thread!


(This post was edited by sergiogomez on Jan 9, 2009, 2:15 PM)


Carron

Jan 13, 2009, 6:59 AM

Post #11 of 11 (4681 views)

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Re: [sergiogomez] Your suggestions

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Thanks so much, Olivia!! You will definitely be getting more of my dumb questions in the future. When you asked where these posters have been in the past? Well, I notice that many of us now jumping into the Learning Spanish forum are some of the longest-timers on Mex Connect. I joined in 1997 and moved to Mexico in 1998. That's where I have been.

Anyway, I am heading back out to the ranch this morning and will be off-line for a few days. I have learned what you suggested, and will work up the courage to try it with mis vecinos muy pronto. The "tengo" for time is great. I can function pretty well in the present tense so it works for me.
 
 
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