Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Losing My Spanish

Hola Meltingpot Readers,

I have a confession to make. I'm losing my Spanish. Okay, let's be real, I've gone beyond losing and feel like I'm on the verge of lost. It's been two years since we've been to Spain, el esposo and I speak English together and I don't have any close friends who are Spanish dominant. Ay de mi!

I've always considered myself a lover of languages and imagined I'd be trilingual by now, living abroad, traveling at a moment's notice, but hey, real life got in the way. But still, there's no reason I can't live out my language fantasies. But just like wanting washboard abs, maintaining one's dominance over a foreign language requires constant practice and I've been a little floja these last two years. And what's worse, my boys have been too (every since we took them out of the Spanish immersion school).

So, those of you who know me, know I'm not going to watch the Spanish wash out of me without a fight. My fluency is dormant, not gone, so I'm going on a quest to get it back and I'm bringing my boys with me. Here's what we're doing in the Kinky Gazpacho family these days:

1. All meal times, even when el esposo is not here, are Spanish only. We started this new rule on the first day of school. It's hard to make the change, but I figure it's the only way to have a guaranteed Spanish conversation every day. It forces us to charlar en espanol using everyday language and grammar constructions that are kicking my butt. But it's helpful. And the best part, as babygirl is always in the room with us, she's getting to hear a lot of Spanish. (FYI, el esposo only speaks to the kids in Spanish and they respond in Spanish.)

2. Since I'm now spending a lot of time in the house with a baby in my lap, I end up watching way more television than I have in the past. So, I'm making myself switch over to Univision or Telemundo whenever I can and just listen. One, I get to hear several different accents and two, I'm improving my oral comprehension.

3.And finally, crazy as it sounds. I'm going to read a novel in Spanish. Yes, I'm going to reach back into my stash of Spanish novels from college and see just how bad, er I mean how challenged I really am. I'm a little wary because I know I'll be frustrated reading with a dictionary at my side, but I'm going to do it and el esposo is going to ask me about what I've read. Oh, wait, I just remembered, I have a new collection of the Best Short Stories by Spanish authors. I think I'll read that instead.

So, there you have it people, my new Spanish regimen. We're planning on being in Spain this summer, so there's that motivation to succeed. Do you have any other suggestions for me and my boys? What do you do with your families to maintain the 'other' language? Estoy escuchando.



Cyretha said...


Today, I was reading an article in the IHT about bi-lingualism. Perri Klass has written a few, so if you go to the and search you will find them. You could also listen to a Spanish radio station on the internet. You could get some movies (DVDs) in Spanish. Finally, just make it a point that home you only speak Spanish.

Spanish was the first language that I learned and I use little of it today. French is more my daily language, but I don't want to loose all of my Spanish either.

It will come back and the early pains of transition will be gone in no time.

Cyretha said...

Another idea, read the newspaper in Spanish on the internet.

Afromorena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Afromorena said...

I think all of the above will help you with your Spanish, but especially speaking Spanish all the time at home, including [b]with hubby[/b] alone and even playing games as a family in Spanish. Basically, you have to create your own Spanish immersion program at home, where you are completely surrounded by the language.

Have you thought about creating a Spanish language journal or diary? I started this while in Spain, but I slacked off since then.

For me: I know my Spanish has improved tremendously since I have been subbing in bilingual classes for almost a year. I speak to students in Spanish most of the time. They ALWAYS correct me when I make mistakes, so it helps.

Had to edit because it was becoming a TL;DR post.

Delorys said...

Since you are a writer, put aside some time to write short stories in Spanish. It forces you to think and process concepts in Spanish.
And its fun.

I do this with French.

AnaCeleste said...

So happy to hear what you're doing to use Spanish more. Great self-discipline! Like you,I'm worried about losing the Spanish fluency I gained a couple of years ago. Instead of choosing to teach English in a Spanish-speaking country, I headed to Korea. I like Korea, but I eventually want to live for some time again in Spain. I also want to be fluent in Italian. In the meantime I listen to Spanish music, but I need to read and speak more.

Anonymous said...

Talk to yourself in Spanish.

LT said...

Thank you so much for your great suggestions and encouragement. I really needed it and will try them all. And I will keep you posted. Andale!

Ernessa T. Carter said...

I remember being a bit surprised that I could read the first few pages of LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE when I was taking high school Spanish. Try that one!

Anonymous said...


I'd like to add 'El Sue~o de America'- it was written in English, but I didn't know that; the Spanish translation was just real and just Puerto Rican enough for me to follow it and still get lost in the story. Written by Esmeralda Santiago.

I have to add, ask the kids to speak *to each other* in Spanish at other times. The research I'm reading shows that the way children reinforce language is between themselves when they have siblings, so getting them to learn not only adult language but also some slang and being comfortable with peers in the language will help to learn it.

I love the entire idea of what you're doing. Adelante!


generic viagra news said...

¡Pues deberías practicar más! hablar y escribir español es demasiado fácil para cualquiera.