Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Spanish Adventures

So while lounging by the pool in Costa Rica, I’ve been continuing my Neverending Story adventure in Spanish.  Now usually I have my phone or computer for easy clarification if required.  Here, I had only a dictionary - and was loathe to use it.   Most things can be figured out to some degree with context (or deemed completely unnecessary as in the details of the description of somebody’s appearance) or are confusing in a way that the dictionary won’t clarify (who’s doing what to whom is somewhat a bit of a question mark in my current capabilities - usually I can figure it out but not always, esp without my notes).  

But today I gave in.  There was one word and through no context could I figure it out.  But it was clearly repeated multiple times and often in the context of a name, but not capitalized so not a name...   Finally got frustrated enough to look it up: sphinx.  Lol not feeling so bad that I couldn’t come up w that one.   I didn’t remember there was a sphinx in that story lol.  But the rest made way more sense once I had that piece.

Descriptions are a nightmare though w limited vocabulary.  I know how to say someone is fat.  And I would recognize the word to read it.  But how often would that actually be written?  Oh no - he’s big boned, or large, or round, or rotund, or heavy, or can’t see his shoes because of his belly, or pregnant, or ...   those are a whole lot of words for the same thing...  and he didn’t just say, he grumbled, grunted, mumbled, whispered, sighed, yelled, shouted, screamed, screeched...   Again - on dedicated days I look some of these up and my vocabulary is slowly growing.  On beach vacation days I accept that the message was conveyed and don’t worry too much about how ;)

Other things I’ve learned on this trip - not only is my reading vocabulary lacking but so is my basic life vocabulary.  In need of toilet paper for the room I asked the maid if we could please have more bathroom paper - since I have no idea what it’s actually called.  She gave me a puzzled look, but figured it out ;).    Similarly I remembered the words for fork and spoon but drew a complete blank on knife - I’m sure you can guess which piece of cutlery I needed ;).  Also, no idea how to say cutlery?!?!    Various other things along those lines.

Did manage conversations with the grill guy and a cashier entirely in Spanish w accurate results, so that’s good.   Given enough time and patience on the part of the listener I can find ways around my vocabulary - eg, I apparently don’t know how to say knife, but I can say ‘the thing you cut food with’ lol.   Also - I learned what vocabulary I do have is a mix of Spain-Spanish and Americas-Spanish.  And the two are not always super interchangeable so I get some odd looks from time to time. 

My evesdropping - uh listening skills ;) are also improving.  Some are too fast or speak in a tone (accent?) that I can’t catch at all, but the vast majority of the conversations I randomly overheard I could understand at least most of, so I was pleased w that.

Ah well - I’m pretending it’s improving ;).  Slowly.


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