Monday, May 2, 2016

Spanish Break!

Yes, we moved into the new house over a week ago. No, we're not unpacked yet! Yes, I'll get a blog post up about it as soon as the place is clean and presentable. :)

And now for a Spanish break!
I will say it again, and louder:
LEARN SPANISH before you come here. Learn as much as you can! I believe it is the single most helpful thing to adjusting more easily to a life in a foreign country.

This morning, I'm practicing my Spanish vowels. I've figured out why Guatemaltecos often repeat back what I've said with a confused expression. There is a very subtle difference in the sounds of "a" and "e".

The other day at lunch, Arturo and I were talking about mangoes. He said the word back to me, "Man- go". I said, "Mang-goh". He said, "MAHn-go." Like, "watch the man go to the store." I'm sure he understood what I was saying but it was helpful to get a correction in the moment so I could practice and hear it back correctly.

Then I noticed how I say "Pana" and I'm doing that wrong too! I say "Pan-ah." But it's "Pah-nah". The "a" sound in Spanish is always the same, very much like "AH", open mouth.
 Now try saying "Semana Santa". HA HA! You know how we Canadians say Santa, like Santa Claus? Not so here in Guate! :) It's "SAHN-tah". "Seh-mah-nah Sahn-tah." (I'll get it right by next year when it comes around again!)

Next, I'm gonna work on the "e" sound. It's not "eeee" or "ay" but "eh". As a Canadian, you'd like I know how to pronounce "eh", eh? But we say "ay", with an extra "y" on the end. The "e" sound in Spanish is more like the "e" in "egg". So San Pedro, the town across the lake, is pronounced "Sahn Peh-droh", not "San Pay-droh."

For a video from one my favourite Mexican Spanish teachers, try this short one. She repeats herself a bit but she's very good at enunciating!

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