Monday, July 14, 2014

No Hablo De Nothing

So it appears that Spanish is the language of choice for my travels. That's cool. I learned a bit when I went to Cuba, and I know some French, which is similar, so that might help with feminine and masculine words and stuff.

I've started with Duolingo. Fun and free! But I'm finding that the exercise are kinda... hmm, how do I say it? Useless? Random. Confusing.

For instance, I learned, "Los caballos beben leche." = "The horses drink milk."
Say what?? What kind of crazy horses am I gonna find in Latin America? (Bert says, baby horses!)
Another good one: "¿Quién soy?" = "Who am I?"
I mean, really? Am I going to be speaking a foreign language when I get hit on the head and forget my own name? Or do you think I'm going to ponder philosophical conundrums in Spanish? Nah, I'll stick with English for my existential crises, thank you very much. (Or should I say muchas gracias!)

I also got Rosetta Stone for Latin American Spanish. Eeks! It's intense. There is no English. It's supposed to be complete immersion, like the way little kids learn. But I have to confess that I cheated and copy/pasted some things into Google Translate to figure out what was going on! Still, it's excellent and a good add-on to DuoLingo.

I've also tried Fluenz a little bit, although I find it very, very slow. I just got frustrated really quickly with it, especially when my microphone refused to work. I've heard it's much better for learning proper pronunciation and common phrases that are useful to travellers.

I have one big pet peeve with the Spanish language. What is with the Bs and Vs and Hs?? It's almost better to NOT look at the spelling of the word and just listen to it. Trying to read the words gets me all mixed up.

For example, the word "huevo" (egg). How would you think that's pronounced? Hoo-ay-vo. Nope. Not even close. It's way-boh. HUH?? Where is there a W or a B in that word? If I was applying crazy made-up Spanish rules to English pronunciations, I would say "egg" as "hay-jee-gee". :D

I know, I know. English is even harder to learn. You can read all about our messy language here. I'm just saying that I think I would prefer to learn with my ears, and worry about the spelling later. Not like I'm going to be reading and writing in Spanish much. I just want to learn enough to be able to buy food and not get ripped off.
"¿Cuanto cuesta? ¿Qué? ¿Me estás tomando el pelo?" (Thanks, Google Translate!)

To sum up:
Duolingo, FREE, awesome and fun and easy but maybe not entirely correct, my fave!
Rosetta Stone, $$$, harder and very visual and more intuitive so maybe it will stick with me more
Fluenz, $$$, excellent for learning traveler phrases, but really really slow, FREE, good for translating stuff
Fluencia, (from SpanishDict), only partially free, wasn't interested in signing up because I have the others, FREE, great for looking up lists of things, like days of the week, and for getting in-depth on verb conjugations

No comments :

Post a Comment