April 6, 2010 | Spanish
Repairing My Spanish
I have been saying things wrong in Spanish for years.
It has been beautiful and hot weather in New York, great for walks and runs, and also for repeat trips to the Upper West Side Apple store to visit the iPads and other nifty equipment.
Brandt and I are contemplating a seismic life shift from PC to Apple. After looking at some of the Mac features, I am thinking it might be useful for this language project to replace the rusty, and increasingly less trusty, Toshiba laptop on which I type many of these entries. (Okay, the laptop is not actually rusty, but when you look at those rows of shiny, sleek new Apple computers, it starts to feel that way.)
I have been rushing through the remaining Pimsleur lessons, trying to get those finished. Rosetta Stone is sitting patiently beside me in a box as I type this, but I think I will wait until I have completed Pimsleur to try it. It shouldn’t be much longer now.
As I go through my lessons, I am realizing that in speaking Spanish over the years, I have been making—besides grammatical errors—some apparently unSpanishlike decisions about word order and word choice. I am trying to “fix” those problems as I go through the lessons. Undoing decades-old language habits can take some practice.
As one possible example, Pimsleur has taught me the construction “Se me olvidó X,” meaning “I forgot X.” I would have said (and keep saying, in spite of the repeated reinforcement in the lessons), “Olvidé X.” In this particular case, I don’t know whether my sentence is actually wrong, or whether it just isn’t idiomatic, or whether it is idiomatic in some countries but not in others, or whether it is perhaps an acceptable alternative to the Pimsleur version!