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:
Good evening! / Good night!
Hasta la vista / Hasta luego.
ah-stah lah vees-tah / ah-stah loo-ay-go
See you / See you later.
See you soon.
See you tomorrow.
Thank you (very much).
Con permiso / Perdón
kohn pehr-mee-soh / pehr-dohn
¿Cómo está usted?
koh-moh ay-stah oo-sted
How are you? (formal)
How are you? (informal)
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 _____
My name is _____
Mucho gusto. / Encantado.
moo-choh goo-stoh / en-cahn-tah-doh
Nice to meet you.
Do you speak English? (informal)
(No) Hablo _____
I (don’t) speak _____
¿Entiende usted? / ¿Entiendes?
ehn-tyen-deh oo-sted / ehn-tyen-dehs
Do you understand? (formal / informal)
I (don’t) understand.
Yo (no lo) se.
yoh noh loh seh
I (don’t) know.
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.
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.