Ask a Mexican: How do I habla espanol?

Ask a Mexican: How do I habla espanol?

Dear Mexican: I've tried and failed to learn the Spanish language for the last two years. During high school and college, I took both Spanish I and Spanish II courses, but nothing really stuck with me. Last year, I visited a Spanish-speaking church to help immerse myself in the language, but only understood about 10 percent of the message. Also, I tried to watch the available Spanish channels at home, but 90 percent of the programs don't appeal to me (although I do enjoy the luchadores). Also, I'm terribly introverted and don't have any bilingual friends. It's unfathomable to me to approach someone and say, "I'm looking to learn the language. Can you help me out?"

I live and work in an environment where the need to speak Spanish is nearly non-existent. I'm thinking about signing up for another college-level course, but without finding an anchor to the culture, I'm afraid of failure again. To help, I enjoy comic books, crime fiction/movies, sci-fi, and literary short stories. Please help me cross over the language wall and into the freedom of being bilingual.
Altruistic Alabaman

Dear Gabacho: Primeramente, good for you for not being afraid of Spanish like your gabacho neighbors — you're like the último of the Mohicans with your raza over there in Alabama! Acquiring a new language is never easy, especially when you're an adult, so the Mexican's suggestion is to not give up on your path. Continue to immerse yourself — television (I know Univisión is really just a looping minstrel show, but their news operation is top-notch), church, books and the like. Better yet, why don't you connect with one of the many immigrant-rights groups in the Cotton State fighting the good fight against the state's reprehensible anti-Mexican laws? Not only will they be more than happy to teach you español, but you'll be doing the Lord's work and most likely end up with a cute Chicana activist who'll take your bilingualism to a whole other level. Enjoy!

How is the singer Taco like a taco? If Taco were a taco, what kind of taco would Taco be? When I listen to Taco's "Puttin' on the Ritz" and it gets stuck in my head, it's like when I eat carne asada tacos and it gets stuck between my teeth insofar as it starts out awesome and ends up annoying.
Nom Nom Nom de Plume

Dear Gabacha: "Taco" is Taco's first name: Taco Ockerse, the 1980s one-hit wonder who went by Taco as his stage name. Not being fluent in Bahasa Indonesia, I can't tell you what that taco means, but the taco you taco taco taco taco. Taco? Taco! ¡A LA CHINGADA CON ARPAYASO!

PREORDER TACO USA! Gentle cabrones: My much-promised Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, will finally hit bookstores April 10, but that doesn't mean you can't already order it (yes, grammar snobs: I just used a double-negative, but Mexican Spanish loves double-negatives the way we do cute second cousins). Place your order with your favorite local bookstore, your finer online retailers, your craftier piratas, but place it: my libro editor has already promised to deport me from the publishing industry if we don't sell enough copies! And stay tuned for book signing info!

Ask the Mexican at themexican@askamexican.net, be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano or ask him a video question at youtube.com/askamexicano!

 
My Voice Nation Help
3 comments
yahoo-OCWXJ5WXTG5UO4NK7HM6DB4ZLI
yahoo-OCWXJ5WXTG5UO4NK7HM6DB4ZLI

Someone please show me the literary value of this piece, please. I know it's leaning way to the left but afterall, it's about to fall over from the weight.

Rob Del Rio
Rob Del Rio

I agree with themexican. As a gringo mexicano at heart, lots of exposure to the language, combined with regular study (compiling vocab lists, conjugating verbs and reviewing Spanish grammar weekly) will develop the skills you seek. Reading and writing come quicker for adult learners, then aural listening comprehension develops over time. Speaking skills are usually the last to come, because you need lots of input before the output flows naturally. This is my experience from studying Spanish for the last thirty plus years. I've also taught high school Spanish in the past and tutor at the college level. Patience and persistence will pay off.

Alex Wolfson
Alex Wolfson

In answer to the question from altruistic Alabaman about learning Spanish, it sounds to me like what s needed here is an immersion course. I'd suggest taking a few weeks out and going to Mexico to learn Spanish every day Monday to Friday in international classes while staying with a Mexican host family. There are quite a few companies you can do this with but I'd suggest ESL Language Studies Abroad: http://www.esl-languages.com/e...

 
St. Louis Concert Tickets
Loading...