Monday, November 2, 2009

Padre nuestro, que estás en los cielos, santificado sea tu nombre

If I don’t die before then, Lord willing, and the creeks (or Creeks) don’t rise, this afternoon will make the third Monday in a row I will have volunteered with a local children’s ministry organization called Square Pegs to help some children (most of them Hispanic) at a local apartment complex after school with their homework assignments. The first week was exciting, as I was able to help Rosa, José, and, to a lesser extent, Daniela (because she spoke no English at all). Last week, Rosa was there again and I worked with Carlos as well. I was assigned to work with first-graders. Other volunteers helped other groups of children who sat together by grade level at tables in various rooms.

Unfortunately, I know very little Spanish. Mrs. Sue Nichols, my fifth-grade teacher back in the Dark Ages, taught us to say “Este es el gato” (“This is the cat”), but so far I have not had occasion to use that phrase at Square Pegs. Even though most of the children do speak English, I think that if I am to be of very much use there when more Danielas come along, I need to try to learn some Spanish on my own. (Life lesson: You can teach an old dog new tricks, even if -- or maybe especially when -- you are the old dog and you have to do it yourself.) I know a smattering of words, but a smattering is definitely not enough. Here’s a part of what my trusty computer has helped me learn so far:

¡Buenos días!
bway-nohs dee-ahs
Good morning!

¡Buenas tardes!
bway-nahs tard-ays
Good afternoon!

¡Buenas noches!
bway-nahs noh-chays
Good evening! / Good night!

Hi! Hello!


Por favor.
por fah-bor

Hasta la vista / Hasta luego.
ah-stah lah vees-tah / ah-stah loo-ay-go
See you / See you later.

Hasta pronto.
ah-stah prohn-toh
See you soon.

Hasta mañana.
ah-stah mahn-yahn-ah
See you tomorrow.

(Muchas) Gracias.
(moo-chahs) grah-see-ahs
Thank you (very much).

De nada.
day nah-dah
You’re welcome.

Lo siento.
loh see-ehn-toh
I’m sorry.

Con permiso / Perdón
kohn pehr-mee-soh / pehr-dohn
Excuse me.

¿Cómo está usted?
koh-moh ay-stah oo-sted
How are you? (formal)

¿Cómo estás?
koh-moh ay-stahs
How are you? (informal)

¿Qué tal?
kay tahl
How’s it going?

Bien / Muy bien
bee-ehn / moy bee-ehn [I think it’s supposed to be “moo-ey.” --RWP]
Well / Very well.

Mal / Muy mal / Más o menos
mahl / moy mahl / mahs oh may-nohs
Bad / Very bad / OK [Really? It looks like “more or less” to me. --RWP]

Sí / No
see / noh
Yes / No

¿Cómo se llama usted?
koh-moh say yah-mah oo-sted
What is your name? (formal)

¿Cómo te llamas?
koh-moh tay yah-mahs
What is your name? (informal)

Me llamo _____
may yah-moh
My name is _____

Mucho gusto. / Encantado.
moo-choh goo-stoh / en-cahn-tah-doh
Nice to meet you.

Same here.

¿Hablas ingles?
ah-blahs een-glehs
Do you speak English? (informal)

(No) Hablo _____
noh ah-bloh
I (don’t) speak _____

¿Entiende usted? / ¿Entiendes?
ehn-tyen-deh oo-sted / ehn-tyen-dehs
Do you understand? (formal / informal)

(No) Entiendo.
noh ehn-tyen-doh
I (don’t) understand.

Yo (no lo) se.
yoh noh loh seh
I (don’t) know.

¿Necesita ayuda?
neh-seh-see-tah ah-yoo-dah
Do you need some help?

¿Cómo se dice _____ en español?
koh-moh seh dee-ceh _____ on eh-spahn-yol
How do you say _____ in Spanish?

¿Qué es esto?
keh ehs ehs-toh
What is that?

Estoy cansado / enfermo.
eh-stoy kahn-sah-doh / ehn-fehr-moh
I’m tired / sick.

Tengo hambre / sed.
tehn-goh ahm-breh / sed
I’m hungry / thirsty.

Tengo calor / frío.
tehn-goh kah-lohr / free-oh
I’m hot / cold.

Bless you!


Oh, and I can also say “What time is it?” (¿Que hora es?) and I know all of my numbers (you don’t really want me to start) and I can sing an entire little song in Spanish:

“Hoy más que nunca, Señor, yo te amo;
Hoy más que nunca, Señor, te necesito;
Hoy más que nunca, Señor, quiero dicerte:
Te amo hoy, más que nunca, Señor.”

Loosely translated into English, with minor word changes to fit the tune, that becomes:

“More than ever before, Lord, I love you.
More than ever before, Lord, I need you.
More than ever before, I want to tell you,
I love you now more than ever before.”

And you want to know something? It’s true.


Putz said...

do you know what a besom is????????

rhymeswithplague said...

Putz - I didn't know until I checked a dictionary, but now I do. My questions to you are: What does that have to do with this post? What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Why are you trying to extend your conversation with jinksy into the comments section of my blog? Do you think the other readers have any clue what you are talking about?

All I'm saying is, wouldn't it be nice if the comments were in some way related to the post?

Rosezilla said...

I have learned just enough Spanish to get myself in trouble - and no, I don't mean I've learned the swear words. But I can read it, and understand it, somewhat; however, speaking it on the fly is not easy. I think I over-think it. Someday I'll study when i have someone to practice with more often and get it down better. I do tutor, but I thought I better not attempt someone without strong English skills. I guess that would provide motivation, though.

jinksy said...

Much to my amazement, I somehow knew lots of your Spanish phrases - not to mention what a besom is! Full marks for acquiring another set of vocabulary for Spanish homework.

Dr.John said...

Language is a problem. Having the right language is a bigger problem.
I learned French in High School and College. I thought some day I'll go to France.
I ended up going to Nicaragua . I should have learned Spanish.

Carolina said...

I'm impressed by my own knowledge of Spanish. I didn't know I knew so much. Although I always thought that 'mucho gusto' meant something like 'I am very hungry'.

How nice of you to help children with their homework :-)

Pat - Arkansas said...

Muy bueno, Señor RWP! You are to be commended, and I hereby do so!

As an aid to learning more of the Spanish language, you might check your local library to see if they have Rosetta Stone for Spanish.

It will take me a while to catch up with your recent posts; I've been away, with only fleeting moments of access to a computer.

rhymeswithplague said...

Thanks, folks, for the comments!

Rosezilla - I hope I never learn the swear words.

jinksy - You are a lot closer to Spain than we are.

Dr. John - Me, too. Learned French in college but never went to France, I mean. I didn't go to Nicaragua either.

Carolina - Around here, Spanish is in the air we breathe.

Pat - Stamping 1400 cards takes a lot out of a person.