Monday, April 23, 2018

They say that Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn

...but be careful or you might call the pope a potato (12:12).

Señor Wences's little friend used to say, "For you easy, for me difficult."

In the fifth grade I learned a sentence in Spanish, "Este es el gato" (This is the cat). It was the only thing I knew in Spanish for many years. One day when I was in my fifties a gang of us at work decided to go out to lunch at a Mexican restaurant. As we were being shown to our table, Paul (a temporary employee who was never offered a permanent position) called out loud enough for everyone in the place to hear,"Donde es las mujeres?" and every waiter turned to look at us. It was pretty embarrassing, and even more so when I learned that Paul was saying, "Where are the women?"

I had learned my second sentence in Spanish.

Paul was, how you say, a little loco in the cabeza.

But then, aren't we all?

I can also say "Good morning" in Albanian (Mirë mengjes), "Goodbye" in Japanese (Sayonara), "Thank you" in Portuguese (Obrigado), and "Where is the men's toilet?" in Swedish (Var finns der herrtoaletten?).

My passport expired in 1979. It's probably a good thing.


  1. 'In the fifth grade I learned a sentence in Spanish, "Este es el gato" (This is the cat)' - And so began the path of destiny that eventually led you to Snow. *falls about*. Glad to see you got the invite sweetie x

  2. Having reasonable tourist French, German and Italian as a young man (largely forgotten now) I once arrived in Spain having taken the decision to go a day or so previous to my day of travel. So I arrived at my friends' in Menorca much to my mortification unable even to say 'Thank you'. So I used my Italian. Big mistake. Huge. I very quickly learned enough Spanish to get me through the next couple of weeks. In all I've only visited Spain four times in my life and only once (the first time) for a proper holiday.

  3. You make me think of Jose Valverde who was the closing pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. Someone nicknamed him Papa Grande to call him Big Pope. It means Big Potato. It was a loving nickname from all the fans.

  4. To my shame I have English (which I still haven't completely mastered), a very little French (learned at school decades ago) and a few words of Argentinean.

  5. I am not very good with foreign languages so I am rather pleased that English is my first language. With English you can travel to far flung places and find it relatively easy to communicate. I am so glad that my first language isn't Greek or Portuguese for example.

  6. "Paul was, how you say, a little loco in the cabeza. But then, aren't we all?"

    No! But I AM trying to normalize the rest of you.

    I commented to (on?) this post. I know I did. I remember it well, so where is it? It was all about the gender of Spanish nouns. It didn't contain dirty words and didn't disparage Jesus, so I know you would have approved it. Did I make it part of a comment to another post? Is that it, or are all of you conspiring to gaslight me because you envy me my normality?

    "'Donde es las mujeres?'"

    Most assuredly not with Paul. As for Spanish being easy, it's the only other language I know even a little of (I might recall several hundred words), and I don't find it hard. I can't roll my r's though, so I could never speak it well, although I think I could at least avoid being laughed at, too much anyway. Now take French (take it far from me). I can hardly pronounce English (and that little bit of Spanish), but I could come no nearer speaking French than I could Japanese, meaning that I wouldn't even dare try. I am simply not a person with the potential for verbal fluency. I do so love English though. Sometimes I thank my lucky stars that I was born into the most magnificent language that I can even imagine. It's like magic to me, and it hurts me to see it degraded as it is now being. Even on Jeopardy! I hear people say like, "Me and him" (did such and such), as if it's the most normal thing in the world bats.

    "I have English...and a few words of Argentinean."

    Do you mean Spanish?