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sonful

Mar 8, 2006, 7:52 PM

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The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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I am curious about how many of you now residing in Mexico, either part time or full time have mastered the Spanish language:

1. Fluent
2. Enough to get my point accross and understand what they say.
3. Very little

How do you feel this effects your quality of life there, your finances, and your contentment living there. Also, would like to know if you all ready knew Spanish before coming to Mexico, and if so - was that a strong factor in your decision to move there.

If you didn't know much more than "como usta usted" then how long has it taken you to get a good enough command of the language to be understood. Especially for those of you experiencing more "senior moments" than you would like.



Anonimo

Mar 9, 2006, 5:42 AM

Post #2 of 40 (3619 views)

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Re: [sonful] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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I don't consider myself fluent in Spanish, but usually, conversing with Mexican friends, I can generally hold my own in the conversation.

Overall, I can almost always make myself understood, but once in a while, the listener seems to have a mental block to understanding me, while their companion understands me perfectly.

The most difficult thing for me is fully understanding native speakers, especially when then speak quickly and idiomatically. Writing Spanish is by far the easiest part of communicating in Spanish for me.

I have been learning Spanish ever since I was in high school. I guess I'm a slow learner. ;-)

By the way, it's "¿Cómo está usted?"
(edit) I hadn't answered this part of your question:

Quote
How do you feel this effects your quality of life there, your finances, and your contentment living there. Also, would like to know if you all ready knew Spanish before coming to Mexico, and if so - was that a strong factor in your decision to move there.

Speaking Spanish affects our life here in the most positive way. It facilitates our living here. I know expats who don't speak Spanish, and I can't imagine how they manage it.
Also, I believe that trying to speak the local idiom shows an appreciation and respect for the people, which is almost always reciprocated many-fold by Mexicans. They begin to take you seriously as a person, and not just a passer-through/tourist. People's faces often light up with pleasure if you speak to them in their language. It opens doors to us which otherwise would be closed. (I could go on about knowing something of the history, geography and culture of Mexico, but that's a separate topic.)
We would not have moved here, and probably never traveled here as tourists, had we not had some Spanish skills.

"En Boca Cerrada No Entran Moscas."

Saludos,
Anonimo

(This post was edited by Anonimo on Mar 9, 2006, 5:56 AM)


Esteban

Mar 9, 2006, 5:58 AM

Post #3 of 40 (3608 views)

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Re: [sonful] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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There is a big gap in your classification, between fluency and the number 2. I'm like Anonimo. I don't consider myself fluent but can usually get my point across, discuss, joke and talk trash. It's an ongoing never ending process.

It's always easier to talk with educated people as opposed to non educated. I suppose if you were a European who parachuted into the hills of Alabama, you'd wonder what language they were speaking. You'd think "Hmmmmm all those years of English and I don't understand a word".

Knowing any Spanish, no matter what the level, improves your quality of life in Mexico. I don't think anyone will dispute that.

Some people learn fast, some slow. Most of the people I've seen who say they just can't learn, aren't really trying. It's a discipline. You have to study.

I started Spanish when I was in grammar school so a lot of it came easy later on. I'm a firm believer in foreign languages being taught in the lower grades. However, I'm not really sure what fluency is?? I know I went to see a Mexican comedian a few years ago, with my ego and Spanish language skills tucked neatly in my vest pocket, wow....never got ONE joke. It was a humbling experience. Back to the drawing board.

When I first came to live in Mexico, it was WORK to be sitting around talking Spanish. After a night with Mexican friends, my mind was fried. Those days are gone. I can relax and enjoy and usually follow the conversation. Guess I'm learning.


caldwelld


Mar 9, 2006, 6:55 AM

Post #4 of 40 (3594 views)

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Re: [sonful] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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Ditto Anonimo and Estiban. I cannot understand anyone living here and not wanting to study and learn the language. It enriches every aspect of living here if one understands the language well. Having said that it is not an easy ride for the average person. Spanish is a language as rich as English and it is therefore a lifelong study. It takes a year or two to get to the point where one feels comfortable but at that point one is not even half way there. And that is providing one keeps working at it. It is very easy to get lazy because there are many English speaking Mexicans and expats about (not to mention easy access to English language meida). I had a base from a previous incarnation when I arrived but I knew I had a long way to go, and still do. The urgency has subsided because I get by quite well but I try to keep up the study and have in mind a private tutor for the summer.


johnv

Mar 9, 2006, 6:58 AM

Post #5 of 40 (3592 views)

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Re: [sonful] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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I am in the #2 category above, but I speak and am understood much better than I understand. There are some native speakers that I understand every word, and some that I don't understand at all. My Spanish was learned in an 8 month period in 1985, at the age of 34, while on an 8 month RV trip around Mexico with a Mexican freind who did not speak English. Besides the 8 months of total immersion my only tool was a Spanish/English dictionary. At the end of that trip I took a 6 week, one on one course, at the Academia Hispano Americano in San Miguel de Allende. At the end of this period I was close to fluent in speaking and understanding but my grammar and tenses were still not great. I was away from Mexico for 14 years after that, and have now been back for 3.5 years. I would say that presently I am at a level of about 60 to 70% of what I was in 1985, and that I have learned very little since being here this time, and rely almost entirely on what I have retained from my 1985 immersion.


johanson


Mar 9, 2006, 8:19 AM

Post #6 of 40 (3560 views)

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Re: [Esteban] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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I guess I am a # two too. And what Esteban wrote is so so true; "Some people learn fast, some slow. Most of the people I've seen who say they just can't learn, aren't really trying. It's a discipline. You have to study."

Sadly here Lakeside, the majority of the the NoB type only hang out with each other, often in groups from the same region from which they come. I know one group of Golfers, all from the SE part of the states, who, when I asked, had few to no friends from other parts of the US, Canada or Mexico. All they did, was listen and watch US stations, and talk amongst themselves. One of them said, that if it were not for the Golf here, he would go back to Florida.They had no idea about what was happening in Mexico, other than at the Golf club. I want to say, what a shame. But they seem very happy.

All I know is the better I can speak the language, the better I like it here in Mexico.

That said, one of the reasons I like Mexico so much is that I am only here 75% of the time. Absence makes the heart grow fonder





norma2002

Mar 9, 2006, 5:15 PM

Post #7 of 40 (3479 views)

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Re: [sonful] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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I studied Spanish in high school (more years ago than I want to count) and, obviously, never spoke it again until I moved down here. I had forgotten everything except pronunciation (which didn't help me much). In 13 years living here, I can carry on a basic (very basic) conversation. I have to ask the person I'm talking to "mas despacio, por favor" (slower please) quite often, but I get by. I now live in a colonia where I seem to be the only English speaker so I get a lot of practice, which helps. I'm certainly not fluent but 150% better than when I arrived!


razorbackhack

Mar 9, 2006, 5:50 PM

Post #8 of 40 (3468 views)

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Re: [sonful] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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I agree with the others in that there is a big gap between number 1 and number 2. I struggle sometimes with past tenses of verbs, and there will always be nouns that you won't learn until you learn them.
But, if one is not shy, it is easy to grasp the language if you practice everyday. I have benefitted from years of working with Mexicans. I also found that women, and educated people were easier to talk to when I was first learning. I had co-workers from Jalisco, Nayarit, Hidalgo, Michoacan and Veracruz. Later we had some guys from the Yucatan. They throw in lot of Mayan while speaking, even the other mexican guys struggled to communicate with them.

I think the key to learning the language is to grasp a little everyday, and use it next day.

Although I speak very well, I read and write at about 5th grade level. Just never practiced.


islena


Mar 10, 2006, 7:03 AM

Post #9 of 40 (3402 views)

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Re: [sonful] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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When I first starting coming to Mexico, 5 years ago, I knew no Spanish (we learned French in school - Canadian). I tried to learn a few words here and there during my tourist vacations, carrying around an English-Spanish dictionary - even that basic effort was appreciated by the Mexicans; they were always willing to help me pronounce words correctly. I continually confused French and Spanish (and to some degree, still do).

Four years ago I bought a house - a house in the colonia, a house that was in need of repair and completion, a house that was intended to be a vacation home only until I could afford to retire (I'm still waiting to be able to afford to retire!). Anyway, I needed workers, and so I got workers, but none of them spoke a word of English. We learned to communicate using basic words without sentence structure, often using hand gestures to string the words into understanding of thought. My English-Spanish/Spanish-English dictionary is stained with red fingerprints from the albanil who was trying to grout my tile and struggled to get me to understand that he needed a certain tool - one that translated into 'strainer' in English, but was really one of those rubber squeegee-like things that they use to wipe down floors. Other pages are stained with fingerprints of the plumber and electrician - all reminders of the process of learning to communicate. During the construction/renovation, I learned a lot of Spanish and my workers learned some English. In addition, I learned a lot about the culture of the working Mexican - and was amazed at how hard they work - the long hours, the physical labor, the low pay. They greeted each day with a smile, maybe they would sing a song while they worked. Despite my perceived hardship, they were just plain happy, cheerful, polite, and pleasant to have around.

Now, my house is my home 75% of the time. My Spanish is not close to fluent but I can string the words together to get by almost everywhere I go - although the grammar leaves much to be desired (I'm trying though!). I live amongst the locals, which I love. I speak Spanish all the time, and have now acquired a Mexican marido who speaks almost exclusive Spanish to me, so the grammar is starting to fall into place too. I'm learning Spanish beyond the language I needed to communicate with workers, and now I understand more than I can say. I think I hear key words and make connections without really understanding every single word in the sentence, which is why I have trouble trying to put my own sentences together.

I've tried computer-based classes in Spanish (Rosetta Stone), which I found quite good - I just need more time to practice with that software. I consult my dictionary frequently after hearing a new word - once I see the spelling I seem to remember it better. I am fully immersed in Mexico when I'm there, and I know the locals now consider me to be one of them - mostly. I will always be a foreigner but they appreciate my efforts to be part of the colonia, to speak their language, and respect their customs. I cannot imagine anyone living in Mexico and not learning to communicate with the people who live there. Even if one never becomes fluent - every word, every attempt, shows that you are genuinely interested in speaking with them, and they will graciously try to help you speak better - and they do it with a smile.


MariaLund

Mar 10, 2006, 9:16 AM

Post #10 of 40 (3363 views)

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Re: [sonful] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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I guess the ability to speak Spanish by expats in Mexico would be reversly (? is that correct in English: sorry, I seem to be loosing my math English) proportional to the amount of expats in a particular community. Question: what is the proportion of expats to natives in Lake Chapala area? In Andalusian towns of Almunecar and Nerja there are about 25% of expats living permanently and on the streets, at bars and cafes you hear Swedish and English more often than Spanish - in the dead of winter, when there are no tourists, just resident expats. German and French are not far behind. Most North Europeans are there only from September-October through April-May and go back north for the summer. Very few of them ever learn any Spanish - even as little as to be able to order or ask directions. But move a couple of miles up the Alpujarras and to the Sierras and expats living there speak Spanish. They have to. Nobody there would cater to them in English, while at the coast everybody does: and everybody I mean merchants. The Spanish government bureaucracy never speaks any language other than Spanish, so you have to take an interpretor to get your residency, to see a (non-private) doctor or dentist or to purchase a cell phone. Most expats do not consider it worth a bother to learn Spanish. the prices in shops are tagged and the same no mater who you are (after all there all - or almost all - are members of a "happy" European Union family: locals and expats alike and there is no vast disparity in income and resources between the expats and the locals. If there is a disparity, it usually would be to the benefits of the locals, who sold (or are still selling) their lands to accomodate turist and expat developments).
Satelite TVs have programs from all over Europe: you can pick any language you want, so you may totally bypass any Spanish celebrity programs (they must love that, their TV is filled with boring - though intrusive - celebrity gossip, featuring any royals or film stars, yaawn), Latino telenovelas (not only boring but disgustingly macho) etc and watch only their culinary or cultural programs, while entertaing yourself with German operas, British theatres, French cabares, BBC news.
Spanish there does not considerably enrich anybody's life, either in economic or spiritual terms.
My - Spanish speaking - female expat friends lament the unability to communicate with their female Spanish neighbors, despite knowing the language, complaining that Spanish women talk only about men (husbands or novios), children, clothes and celebrities. No books, no politics, nothing even remotely worth conversing about - in my expat friends' opinion. So why bother learning Spanish if you have to socialize with emancipated expats anyway - and it won't be in Spanish but in our expat lingua franca - English... unless you meet within a national club, of course, then you use that particular language.
Vivere non est necesse, navigare necesse est!

(This post was edited by MariaLund on Mar 10, 2006, 9:20 AM)


MariaLund

Mar 10, 2006, 9:35 AM

Post #11 of 40 (3356 views)

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Re: [Esteban] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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True, Esteban about an European parachuted to the hills of Alabama. Almost true. In 1981 during my first visit to the USA I landed in Atlanta and - trying to sample a typical American food - a hamburger, found out that personnel in fast food places did not understand my English (though I never had any trouble with it in Great Britain). And then I went to Bandera, near San Antonio, "the cowboy capital of the world", and found out that there they understood me all right - or so it seemed - but I could not understand them if my life depended on it. Finally I landed in Monterey (California) and at Stanford and could finally comunicate two ways. LOL.
Vivere non est necesse, navigare necesse est!

(This post was edited by MariaLund on Mar 10, 2006, 10:59 AM)


Don Moore


Mar 10, 2006, 9:44 AM

Post #12 of 40 (3349 views)

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Re: [sonful] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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Now that several of those who live in Mexico have responded, I'll add a few ideas of my own. I don't live in Mexico, but I plan to at some time in the future. I have travelled there extensively. I have spoken Spanish for about 40 years and from time to time study to learn new words or refresh my memory on old vocabulary and verb tenses. I'd rate myself far better than your category 2, but nowhere near fluent. The gap is immense between your @1 and #2. I very much enjoy learning language and my life is enriched by it whether or not I ever live in a Spanish-speaking country. Even living in Memphis, TN, I converse with many people that I could not talk to if I did not know Spanish. Many of them have lived here for a decade (many others far less) and do not know English.

I lived in the Philippines for two years and nearly everyone spoke some English, many were more competent in the language than I am. Despite that, I would have been very left out of much of community life had I not known the local dialect where I lived -- the language Cebuano, the island Leyte.

Yes, it is possible to live anywhere without knowing the language. THe more folks in a place who speak your native language, the less you will need the host country language and the less motivation you will have to learn it. But what if you want to travel to other parts of your host country where few if any speak English?

I guess the big question is what kind of experience will you seek in Mexico. How much do you really want to know the Mexicans and their culture?

Hope this is helpful.
Don Moore


MariaLund

Mar 10, 2006, 10:30 AM

Post #13 of 40 (3336 views)

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Re: [sonful] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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In reply to Gringal's now deleted post in which she asked what my point was, I wanted to clarify that - just like north Europeans move to Spain (or Italy or Greece) for the winter, they do not generally move there out of a particular interest in Spanish culture. I suspect that most Americans moving to Mexico move for the same reason plus lower cost of living --which ( the lower cost) might account for a slightly different socionomics of European and American expats in Spain versus American expats in Mexico or Latin America in general. That might explain (declared, though in my opinion not real) "gringophobia" of some American expats: they feel like they need to proclaim INTEREST in and - even worse ( due to an increased level of hypocrisy... or divorce from reality, as the story might be) - LOVE of Mexican people and their culture. I sense all that as being bogus. There might - for some - be some commendable aspects of Latin culture: its declared warmth, family orientation etc. There might - for others (and even the some people) be less commendable aspects of this culture like subordination and often repression of women etc.

It is one thing to learn turist Spanish: to be able to travel and function as an expat: talk to a merchant, have a small chat with a neighbor (even if you have absolutely nothing in common) every now and than, or with your maid or gardener; it is quite another thing to undertake -for enrichment purposes - a serious study of the language, becoming near native bilingual or multilingual. You might love Latin (Spanish language) writers, Latin artists, say fall in love with Federico Garcia Lorca and want to read him in original... or with Fernando Botero and understand his take on Latin culture...but, in reality, with whom in Mexican villages are you going to discuss it????

I bet you 100 to 1 than it is more likely you will find a fellow (male or female) affictionado of Lorca or Botero (or whoever the case may be) among educated expats than educated Mexicans - simply due to the fact that your access (especially if you are a woman) to educated Spaniards or Mexicans ( of any sex) will be a lot more limited, and not primarily by language, but by culture. So why pretend you are there because you love Mexicans and their culture and hate everything gringo? And why pretend you need to be fluent in Spanish to be happy there? Number two will do for most if not all.
Vivere non est necesse, navigare necesse est!

(This post was edited by MariaLund on Mar 10, 2006, 11:06 AM)


jerezano

Mar 10, 2006, 11:04 AM

Post #14 of 40 (3320 views)

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Re: [Marial_und] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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Hello,

Marial.und had made some interesting points in her various posts on this subject. She apparently speaks from a deep experience on the European continent, and apparently is not a native English speaker. I guess she is probably French.

Still I think she may have missed the boat when she talks about "gringophobia" in ex-pats.

>>>That might explain (declared, though in my opin ion not real) "gringophobia" of some American expats: they feel like they need to proclaim interest in and - even worse - love of Mexina people and their culture. I sense all that as being bogus. There might - for some - be some commendable aspects of Latin culture: its declared warmth, etc. There might - for others (and even the some people) be less commendable aspects of this culture like subordination and often repression of women etc.<<<<

I think she might be correct in that the "gringophobia" may be declared but not be real. In fact, I have not encountered in my 18 years in Mexico any declaration of "gringophobia". What I have encountered many times is a declaration by many expats here that they would rather live among a Mexican dominated society than in a gringo conclave such as Chapala or Ajijic or San Miguel Allende. That I can understand and agree with. No phobia is involved.

What is involved is that interest in a foreign culture and customs, the different thought processes, the daily shocks that derive from the unexpected. Those things tend to keep a person on his/her toes, always alert, and thus the need to live a more vivid existance and be always on a learning curve. For some of us retirees who had very active professional lives (Bubba for instance) that kick in the pants makes the difference between boredom and a joyful life.

I see that Marial_und does not live here in Mexico. So while she can compare her life experiences to the relatively sophisticated life in Spain to what she thinks is available in Mexico, she apparently does not yet have the experience to make valid comparisons in my opinion.

I live in a small rural agricultural town. I have encountered among Mexican citizen many University graduates as well as many people who never progressed beyond the early grades of elementary school. As pointed out earler in this discussion it is much easier to talk to people with a deep education than with the more humble. Yet, all have various interesting life experiences to relate. All, can talk about those life experiences, the raising of children, the philosopjhy of life experiences....But they need to do it in Spanish.

So for a really good life experience in Mexico, Spanish is absolutely necessary. Whatever level you can summon will be sufficient and you will learn as you go along.

Good luck to all. jerezano.


MariaLund

Mar 10, 2006, 11:30 AM

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Re: [jerezano] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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I quite agree with Jerezano about the different though processes that come with different languages, about the pleasures of frequent encounters with "the unexpected". I quite agree with Goethe who said " soviel Sprachen du sprichsts, sooftmal bist du Mench" (rougly translated: you are as many human beings as many languages you speak).
That's why I learn languages: I love it, have a knack for it. I am now studying Japanese because in June I will leisurely travel through Japan for about three weeks. And yes, I did work in Japan, on assignments, far longer than I'll be visiting now and never learned Japanese before: there was no time and no - utilitarian - need.
And yes, I do speak and read some Spanish. I lived in Spain ( or rather in an expat enclave in Spain), traveled through Spain (though in Barcelona Spanish was not popular and you received worse service - were ignored - when you adressed a waiter in Spanish instead of English: I guess they wanted to tell you they are Spaniards not by choice, they are Catalans and you might have better put the effort in learning Catalan, or at least not reminding them they are supposed to know Spanish) I worked and lived in Costa Rica, I had a beach casita in Bahia California (which would be Mexico geographically and politically, though I never met any other Mexicans there but the service people), when i lived in California, and I worked on assignments in Mexico proper. Right now I live in the USA close to a city which is 52% Hispanic - traditionally Hispanic - a former Mexico, not just recent immigrants. I could and can observe some of that culture first hand. I even have one close Mexican friend - a very creative and accomplished artist and businesswoman: with five kids. I guess she succesfully married the elements of both cultures and did not let (excessive in my opinion) childrearing tie her to only house and family. In sum: I am neither antiMexican (though I do abhor some elements of Latin culture) nor anti learning languages. Far from it. What I am against is hypocrisy and exaggeration: and in my opinion most expats do not need near native (college level) Spanish to function comfortably anywhere in a Spanish language world.
P.S. I ain't French, Jerezano, I am Swedish citizen of Polish-German origin, a US resident since 1982, but having lived and worked in many countries and been exposed ( mostly superficially, though) to many cultures. So, yes,m my opinions of Mexico and American expats there might be uninformed. Still, not necessarily invalid.
Vivere non est necesse, navigare necesse est!


DoDi2


Mar 10, 2006, 11:59 AM

Post #16 of 40 (3301 views)

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Re: [MariaLund] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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a spanish word kept occurring to me while I was reading your post: sangrona. Maybe you should learn what it means...


(This post was edited by DoDi2 on Mar 10, 2006, 12:00 PM)


MariaLund

Mar 10, 2006, 12:22 PM

Post #17 of 40 (3290 views)

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Re: [DoDi2] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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 "Creo que soy sangrona.. jaja solo en algunas cosas" : an anonymous (because originated from an unnamed friend) quotation in respons to an anonymous .... invective? ;-)

(Since i presume you use the notion "sangrona" in its Cuban and Mexican colloquial meaning and not its Ecuadorian one. If it was Ecudarian meaning I might have taken offense ;-)
Vivere non est necesse, navigare necesse est!

(This post was edited by MariaLund on Mar 10, 2006, 2:39 PM)


julian3345

Mar 10, 2006, 12:48 PM

Post #18 of 40 (3274 views)

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Re: [MariaLund] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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Yes, I like that quote from Goethe as well...I have always encouraged my students in language (French and English) classes to take on the project of learning a language that is threatened by the lingua franca hegemony of English/French/Spanish. The world is losing language and cultural diversity at an alarming rate. I think that those of us who are native speakers of the Big Three ought to consider learning Hungarian, Yiddish, Nahuatl, Breton, Catalan...kind of a moral effort, if you will. For me, it's Hungarian...Magyar.

Please note that I don't count Chinese among the true lingua franca because although its various dialects are spoken by 1/5 of the world's population, most of that population is in China. Chinese emigrés living in enclaves abroad usually learn and use the language of their chosen communities. Also, the colonial history of China is very different from that of England, France or Spain...with the result that Chinese was not disseminated globally as were English, French and Spanish. Joan


DoDi2


Mar 10, 2006, 12:49 PM

Post #19 of 40 (3274 views)

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Re: [MariaLund] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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MariaLund, your assertion that rural Mexicans are not good conversation partners is absurd. Just last Tuesday night I was having dinner with a friend who is from a rural town and the conversation was about a short story by Juan Rulfo that he particularly enjoyed. He was telling me how the supernatural references in the story reminded him of similar events and beliefs in his village, and he went on to recount a number of fascinating historys of such occurances that happened to families, many of whom are mutual aquaintances of us both. These include 'hombres de corbatas' who are actually demons looking to purchase the soul of thier target in exchange for great wealth and immortality, beautiful 'brujas' that wander the area at night taking the form of someone known to the victim in order to lure them off far from home in a hypnotic state from which they awake a day or two later dazed and lost, a special sort of spirit that appears and disappears behind a tree sometimes with an armful of watermelons in the middle of winter to give to an amazed and lucky human, dead relatives who speak from behind your back (you mustn't turn around) and deaths that are not deaths that happen when someone in a pact with a demon exchanges his life for the life of a compadre or consuego... who then seems to die but in reality goes off to a land of slavery to work with other non-dead like themselves... the only way to bring them back is to burn thier body, which is not really a dead body at all but an illusion... etc., etc.

I learned a lot of interesting things from my friend from our discussion about Juan Rulfo. Previously we had discussed Octovio Paz and getting a Mexican's take on Laberintos was much more educational IMHO than discussing it with an expat.

My friend comes from a poor background and doesn't have much formal education. But he's a fascinating conversationalist as are many other rural Mexicans... thank God I speak spanish or I would never have had the opportunity to have such wonderful, stimulating friendships as I am blessed to enjoy.


(This post was edited by DoDi2 on Mar 10, 2006, 1:07 PM)


MariaLund

Mar 10, 2006, 1:20 PM

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Re: [DoDi2] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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Great argument, DoDi - I DO stay corrected - and hopeful for some exciting conversations in rural Mexico. Would love to listen to your friend sometimes. It was my mother, a profesor of Polish philology, who during our joint trip to Mexico kept pointing in utter amazement to the similarities between rural cultures (clohes, colors, sagas) of Mexico and Poland, particularly Mazovia, where we both were born. I could have heard a very similar story in a remote Mazovian (or Lithuanian) village. And have great fun listening. Still, who I discuss Botero's take on Latin culture with in those Mexican villages? My bet of a 100 to 1 that it would be an educated expat rather than a Mexican native (Not that Mexican native are not interested in such topics - only I doubt any of them would care to discuss them with me. In any language. Sadly) still stays. I'd love to loose it, though. :-)
Vivere non est necesse, navigare necesse est!

(This post was edited by MariaLund on Mar 10, 2006, 2:36 PM)


MariaLund

Mar 10, 2006, 1:24 PM

Post #21 of 40 (3246 views)

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Re: [julian3345] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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Good luck with your Hungarian: it is avery tough language: grammatically, pronounciation wise. I remember from my visits to Hungary that I was not allowed to say "cheers" in Hungarian in public, ever, because what I was saying sounded like a very vulgar expletive. To my great sorrow, but than my hearing is a s good as Mark Twain's (or close). :-)
Vivere non est necesse, navigare necesse est!


julian3345

Mar 10, 2006, 2:27 PM

Post #22 of 40 (3225 views)

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Re: [MariaLund] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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As you probably know, Hungarian has Asian roots and actually has tonal ("high and low")vowels...so just by changing very slightly the pronunciation of a vowel...the meaning of the word changes completely. One of the great gifts to the learner of Spanish is the phonetic regularity of the 5 vowel sounds...but for us English speakers with our elastic vowels, the schwa, etc...vowels that must be pronounced precisely ARE tough to master. Joan


Gringal

Mar 10, 2006, 2:28 PM

Post #23 of 40 (3225 views)

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Re: [MariaLund] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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In case anyone was wondering: My position is that I think that the experience of expats in Europe simply does not relate to the concerns of the typical (usually U.S. or Canadian) expat in Mexico. Different worlds, and usually different levels of affluence are involved. What is the point of trying to compare these very different situations?

There may be some "gringo haters" out there, but I haven't had the bad fortune to meet them. You would have to have your logic circuits fried to take that position. The same applies to anyone who just "loves" all Mexicans and all of Mexican culture. Intelligent people are more selective and specific in their likes and dislikes. Most expats know who they are, and if they are enjoying Mexican culture, they also know they are not part of it, nor will ever be unless they marry a Mexican. Even then, they will always be an outsider. Like most foreigners, I want to learn about the customs and culture of the place I live.....because I live there. That's reason enough. As usual, I will like and dislike individuals, not groups. Leaning Spanish well enough to communicate with the people I encounter makes more sense to me than trying to isolate myself in a foreigners' enclave to avoid learning the language. I am not fluent. Hopefully, I will achieve level two before my dotage sets in. I do believe that communication unites people and that speaking the language of the country you live in improves the quality of your life.


Gringal

Mar 10, 2006, 2:48 PM

Post #24 of 40 (3213 views)

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Re: [DoDi2] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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That's the kind of post that should serve as further motivation for learning the native language. A fine story.

Since quotations have been bounding into this discussion, how about the one about confusing civilization with plumbing ?


(This post was edited by Gringal on Mar 10, 2006, 2:52 PM)


Bubba

Mar 10, 2006, 2:55 PM

Post #25 of 40 (3209 views)

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Re: [sonful] The Spanish language & your quality of life in Mexico

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Speaking to some of you who have responded to this inquiry. Would that you all understood the value of brevity as much as the value of learning Spanish.

Esteban's and Maria's Dumb Alabama Hillbilly
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