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There were never any "good old days" — they are today, they are tomorrow
...and what do you call someone who speaks only one language? 
28th-May-2008 02:13 pm
...at least I don't fit the punchline of that particular joke, thank goodness.

I love overhearing the mixtures of languages you get around here. Just now, one of the employees at the cafe nearest my office was ringing up a purchase for someone: "You quiero una cookie? ¿Si? Nuts or sin nuts? You want una bolsa with that? Okay, quatro con sixty-five cents, por favor."

I have GOT to learn Spanish. I feel positively half-witted being unable to carry on a conversation with my neighbors like this. Gotta get the Pimsleur "Latin American Spanish — the short course" CD from the library again. Javier, the guy at the cafe, seems to be on a mission to teach us all Spanish, one word or phrase at a time. One problem I have with this approach is that my French, which is much too rusty to actually use, keeps jumping up and getting in the way by providing the wrong vocabulary word. "¿Como esta? Ummm.... comme ci, comme ça. Arrgh, wait — no!"
29th-May-2008 04:19 am (UTC)
I once walked into a bakery in Mexico and asked for a chocolate cat. "Gateau"/"gato", who can tell?

Also, I was challenged by both French and Spanish having gendered nouns and having them not agree. El mar, la mer. It was confuzzling!
29th-May-2008 05:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's right — there's no reason why they'd have chosen the same gender for the same noun in the different languages. Mon dieu, je suis perdu...
29th-May-2008 02:11 pm (UTC)
Great. I can look forward to my knowledge of French impeding me now. Thanks, decision made by eight year old me.

Aside from the online version, all copies in the Oakland library system seem to be "missing". Unless I, erm, missed one by not using the right keywords.
29th-May-2008 02:55 pm (UTC)
I've found the Rosetta Stone language program to be quite excellent, though it can be pricey. Copies of questionable provenance are sometimes found on eBay, though I would never, ever, ever recommend that anyone buy or sell one.
29th-May-2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
The Dimond branch seems to have a copy of the CD version, but the "check shelf/1 hold on first copy returned" status implies that something's gotten stuck in the system somewhere. In the past, I've had reasonable success asking the librarians at the Main branch about this kind of thing — they generally contact their colleagues at the other branch and get them to physically check the shelves.

I need to stop by Main anyway, to get them to set up my NetLibrary account. Can't do it from home (Mac), and when I try to do it from my work PC, it detects my IP address and assigns me to a different (wrong) library system.

And yeah, your 8-year-old self and my 10-year-old self seem to have made the impractical choice... *sigh*
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29th-May-2008 05:22 pm (UTC)
It did come in handy when I was in Dublin, visiting the Whisky Museum. There was a group of Italian tourists visiting at the same time, and I was the only American. They didn't speak English and I didn't speak Italian, but we both spoke enough French to have a smiling, stumbling conversation about "C'est si beau ici, non?"
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29th-May-2008 09:01 pm (UTC)
I must say, I was tickled when Pirate & I recently watched the Gerard Depardieu Count of Monte Cristo and I realized that my French is still good enough to be able to read the subtitles and think, "Wait, that's not what he said..."

And to follow without getting confused when the subtitler totally screwed up WRT which characters had been killed. "A maid was murdered?" said Pirate. "Wait, when? Did that happen offscreen?"

"It wasn't a maid that was murdered," I said, "it was the manservant, Barrois. The characters speaking are referring to un domestique, but the subtitler seems to have heard it as une domestique. Kinda makes a difference."
3rd-Jun-2008 12:01 am (UTC)
Hey, found you via slit's latest entry. I recommend Hugo's Latin American Spanish in three months. It starts off teaching you nouns and moves you up through every other point of grammar, but the emphasis is on learning the building blocks of the language instead of making you memorize phrases, which doesn't help you at all. It also can come with CDs for help with pronunciation.
3rd-Jun-2008 04:12 pm (UTC)
Sounds interesting — I'll definitely have to look into it.
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