Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's the Thought that Counts...

The challenge of truly learning a foreign language is not the vocabulary, grammar, or even the fear of making a fool of yourself.  For me, the biggest challenge is taking the leap and really "feeling" the language.  

What do I mean by that?  Let me give you an example:

Last Thursday, a group of us went to Schenley Plaza to listen to Flamenco Music.  While Flamenco is generally more popular in the south of Spain in the Andalusian region, it really penetrates a lot of even popular culture throughout the country.

For example, when going to a nightclub, you can see people dancing and doing what I like to call la manzana, (the hand movements tend to look like you grab an apple, eat it, and then throw it away) or even clapping and stomping in time to flamenco rhythms.

I secretly hope one day that the Spanish culture will have penetrated so deep as to enable me to "feel" the music and participate without looking like a complete gringa.

The same goes for some of Spanish words.  I can now more or less hold my own when arguing (which took me several years to master), and I remember the first time that I said joder like a true Spaniard.  But certain words still elude me.  Even my attempts at using the simple "Ole!" has my husband rolling on the floor in hysterical laughter.

I am hoping that spending a month with the family in Spain this summer will help the boys begin the process of "living" the language and starting to absorb the culture and idiosyncrasies that I am either too old or too American to truly understand.  I am hoping that this vacation will be the start of them being perfect Spaniards and Americans.

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