I’m using this new app Duolingo and it’s scientifically proven to have me speaking fluent Spanish in 90 days or less or I get my money back. Actually, it’s a free app so I don’t know how valid Duolingo’s offer is. I’m sure I’m making up the part about getting my money back. There is a voice recognition component where you have to speak the words into your microphone. It takes me and my computer 5-6 attempts before I say the words right. There are times I know for sure I’m saying the word right but the voice recognition software keeps making me say the word over and over again. The unintended consequences are that I’m having to pronounce sentences in Spanish over and over just to ensure my computer hears me correctly. Both me and and the apps voice recognition software are especially having trouble with translating “a woman” which is “la mujer”. Apparently the left side of my brain and the computer voice recognition software have both decided to give up on my pronouncing Spanish J’s accurately.
I recently read Scott Adams’s book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big and one of my biggest take aways was to learn Spanish. I’m sure Scott would be dumbfounded to know that he inspired a middle aged white guy to take up Spanish. The truth is, I’ve always wanted to learn Spanish. I once bought a book to learn spanish and I think I read two pages before I gave up. When I was 12 there was this beautiful latino girl who lived in the same apartment complex as I did but she didn’t speak any English. I believed that she was in love with me. I was always staring at her, and she was always looking away awkwardly. I felt like Colin Firth in Love Actually when he fell in love with a woman he couldn’t communicate with. It truly was a match made in heaven. That was the clear and distinct moment when I wanted to learn Spanish. Then one day her little brother got some sort of ring stuck on his finger. His finger was turning blue. At this time in my Dad’s life, he was more than a recreational drug user. Nevertheless, my Dad was able to muster up enough comprehension to pry that ring of the boy’s hand. Afterwards, the boy’s mom made us a plate of tamales. I don’t ever remember seeing his beautiful sister again. It was my second remembrance of being in love.
During the holidays, I volunteered at the Salvation Army. My job was to help bring Angel Tree gifts out to the cars. Many of the people spoke Spanish, but I was unable to communicate with them. The conversation was a mix of me using the wordsninos, poquito, and taco. I was even guilty of racial profiling. There was one young lady I was showing off the 7 words in spanish I knew, when she looked at me like I was completely nuts. Then in broken english she told me that she was Indian.
It’s a good thing I didn’t call her a la mujer since she wouldn’t have understood nor do I even know how to pronounce it.