Saturday, March 20, 2010

less of a barrier than a full obstacle course

I had my first Spanish class tonight. Once they applied the bell curve, I ended up in the Advanced class. An awesome local literature professor named Claudio immediately started being helpful.

The relationship of Chilean Spanish to everyone else's Spanish is a lot like that of Scottish English to the rest of the Anglosphere: once you make it past the accent (no small feat) the words you finally hear are not used anywhere else in the world and you still don't have any idea what they said.

Claudio speaks chileno, but he speaks it clearly enough that we can both hear the changed pronunciation from Standard Spanish, and ask questions about the words we don't understand. We had 90 minutes of all-Spanish conversation, and he did a great job of using a page of the newspaper (horoscopes, weather, emergency phone numbers) to teach us just the way we would teach someone in English. There's hope for us yet.

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