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Three cheers to me if I manage to get through this post with any sense of continuity. As wasted as I am with food and drink, I can’t possibly go to bed until I’ve digested a bit more.


I love language. I love words and how they ebb and flow and meet to create vastly more than the sum of their parts.

And to a great extent, I feel I’ve a pretty fine grasp of my own language. I can turn a phrase, toss out a bon mot or two (deux).

And in French, I can listen quite well, if not express myself past a natal level.

I’ve lately been thinking about Spanish. Zim has something to do with this, however, it’s more in my day to day dealings that I’m feeling more and more, well, Anglo-specific.

Where I work, there is a lovely woman named Nora. Nora speaks Spanish. Nora speaks little English. I’m sure it’s the same situation with me and French, that Nora understands English but doesn’t speak it well. And so, we have these brief conversations in broken English/Spanish which are comprehendible to us both, yet satisfying to neither.

More and more, it bothers me that I can’t communicate with this delightful light in my day. It makes me feel smaller that I’ve lived in NYC for 20 plus years and still can’t speak more Spanish than what I’ve learned from the public service announcements on the subway. I feel incredibly insular.

Moreso than French, here is a language that I should have been learning all along. Every day, I relate to people who speak Spanish as their primary language. Every day, I’m missing out on a chance to connect, to really experience all that is around me. One could carry that further and say, “Why don’t you learn Arabic?” or many of the other widely spoken languages of this melting pot that I call home. And indeed, why don’t I? My day starts off brilliantly with a smile and a quick conversation in English with the wonderful gentleman who works the cart where I get my morning coffee. Why shouldn’t I greet him in his native language?

There is so much to learn. When we stop learning, we die; that’s truly what death is, the end of learning. That is the death of the soul. Why don’t we make time?

Tomorrow, I’m stopping at the Barnes & Noble (no link, they do well enough) and picking up Spanish for Dummies. I’m sure it exists. It will be my birthday present to myself, and to Nora. And maybe, having started on that road, I won’t be such a dummy after all.


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3 Responses to “Language”

  1. Well three cheers to you my dear friend, not only is your post perfectly fluid after consuming many of them (hee I crack myself up), but also extremely insightful. Ah if there were more people that thought like you, and not these dimwits who think that if “you’re in America, you should speak English!”. I wonder if they were ever told that America is in fact a continent… with various languages…

  2. Wow, glad to read this! 🙂
    I want to know about your advances with that. I had read your response to my comment in the other post, muy bien! 😀
    I thought I already told you, but just to be sure you remember it: if you need help with spanish, send me an email!
    Good luck and happy friday! It’s the last day of the week, and tomorrow is saturday! If my throat gets well (I’ve been sick) I’ll be going to the mountain with some friends to play with sleighs 🙂

  3. Hey Zim! Thanks for the offer of assistance. When I get to the point where I know enough to be assisted, I’ll definitely send out an SOS. Right now, I’m trying to sort out how to not get the French rules/words confused with the Spanish rules/words; so often very similar.
    Hope you’re feeling better and had a wonderful time in the mountains! Me, I got some stuff done around here, but mostly had a very necessary slug-fest; lots of sleeping! It felt really, really good.

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