Jump to content

Recommended Posts

What is the main language you communicate in?

 

My novio and I almost always speak in English. Right now we're trying really hard to transition into speaking Spanish full time. But since he lived with me in the USA first and told me he wanted to improve his English, we're just so used to speaking in English. Right now, we have a Spanglish type of thing going. One of us will speak in one language, and the other in the other, then we'll both go into one language, then into another. Sort of switch back and forth. Whenever we email, text, etc, it's always in Spanish. His written English is just awful! :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We switch every day: one day English, next day Spanish, and for precisely that reason.

 

When we met, my Spanish was abysmal, and we could see how easy it would be for one language (English, in our case) to become the habit, which would be hard to change. Even among friends, as opposed to couples, we've noticed that if you're in the habit of using a particular language with someone, it's very hard to change it. For instance, the esposo has friends who speak English, and they speak to me in English, in order to practice. (I guess their need to practice English is more important than my need to actually be able to speak the language decently in the country where I LIVE, hahaha) But when the esposo joins the conversation, even though they know he speaks English, even though they want to practice English, even if they know it's "English day" with us, they will actually speak a sentence to me in English, turn to him, and start speaking in Spanish, turn back to me, switch to English.

 

It's not easy ... I have a harder time if I'm stressed or tired, or if there is some kind of conflict. He seems to do better with his English than I do with my Spanish in those situations. We made a conscious decision to switch the days, because it seemed to be the only way that one language wouldn't take precedence, and also to avoid putting one person always at a disadvantage relationship-wise. (one person always having to communicate and express him/herself in his/her 2nd language, while the partner gets use of his/her 1st language.) It's a commitment, and I admit to times where my attitude is "oh just FORGET it!" And I slide back into the comfort of English, although I really try not to do that too often. We're both improving, but oddly, he seems to be improving more quickly than I am.

Edited by stewart.tb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well Tiffany, you could just tell the friends, with a nice smile of course, "Hoy es el dia que hablamos español." or, "Today's the day we speak english," depending on which day it is.

 

I'm sure they'd come around after a few little reminders.

 

Just FWIW . . .

 

Paul M.

==

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Man and you actually remember to switch back and forth? That's great. For a long time my novio and I would be like "okay, no more English!" That would last about 30 minutes until we somehow slipped back into English. It's happened before where we are in the middle of a conversation in Spanish, and at the end we're speaking in English. Neither of us knows how or when it started, but it just did.

 

I get why my novio wants his English to be better because we (unlike most of you guys) actually plan to live in the USA. We're just here temporarily. So I get that he needs to have really good English. But his spoken English is already really good! Like I said, his written English is awful, while my written Spanish is almost perfect most of the time. (I'll send him things to correct and when he sends them back without corrections I always feel all proud :D ) What we really need to do is start writing emails in English and speaking in Spanish. Who knows if that'll ever happen :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, exactly, that's the reason why we finally assigned "days" ... because just saying, "OK, we need to speak more English/Spanish now," would just somehow go by the wayside without us even realizing it, just in the course of conversation. Like all of a sudden we'd realize, oops, we're supposed to be speaking the other language, but ...

 

What having specific days has done, especially for me, is take away the option of reverting: on our old system (non-system) I'd be going along in Spanish, but then I'd run into some kind of problem, like trying to say, "I should have brought my coat", or something with subjunctive that I wasn't 100% sure about, and if it took me more than a few seconds to think of the conjugation or whatever, I'd just slip back into English to say that part, knowing that he'd understand me, and then go back to Spanish. Well, obviously that wasn't helping me improve. On Spanish day, I don't have a choice, I have to figure it out, or if I can't, ask how to say it, and try to use it, rather than just conjugate in English and then be back on my merry way in Spanish.

 

My written Spanish is a lot better than my spoken, and I think part of that is that for a long time we wrote 100% in Spanish, which was a lot, before I moved here. (the other part is I'm a grammar freak, so I actually am interested in the grammatical crap, jaja, and he is too, so he could correct my writing well.) Now, when it's English day, we speak AND write English, and vice versa.

 

This is really interesting to me, because so far, we haven't met any other couples who use both regularly within the relationship, even when both people are bilingual.

 

Also, another interesting side note: I've found that when the gringo member of a pareja is a teacher, the chances that that gring@ is bilingual is waaay higher. Almost all the teachers I know in bilingual/bicultural relationships are bilingual themselves, both ESL teachers and teacher-teachers, as I call them, ja. I have not found that to the same degree among non-teacher gringos in "mixed" relationships here.

Edited by stewart.tb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah those sentences still trip me up: "I wish I could have gone to the thing yesterday", "I should have known to bring my jacket", "Wouldn't it have been great if Joey came?"... What I usually do, if we happen to be speaking Spanish, is say "how do I say this in Spanish?" Then my novio has me repeat it back to him 3 or 4 times. Then like 5 minutes later will ask me to say it again. Although I obviously need more practice. Especially since I couldn't say any of those example sentences properly.

 

I'm trying really hard to push for more Spanish. Especially since when we go to hang out with his family and they're all talking pachuco and I'm completely lost. More than my Spanish improving, my Costa Rican is improving! ;) The problem is it's hard for me to distinguish between vulgar and non vulgar. My novio curses like a sailor and it creeps into my every day conversations sometimes. Just the other day I almost told a 5th grade student that the microwave "se despicho"! :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With my students I do error correction, meaning I write down all their speaking errors as they talk, then at the end of class, we go over all of them, I make them correct the errors if they can. So I had the brilliant idea that I will start writing down all the sentences I have problems with during the day, then have him go over everything with me at the end of the day. Genius, I know.

 

But you know what they say about the road to hell being paved with good intentions and all that. Yeah, haven't done it even once.

 

I don't have too much pachuco in my speech, because the esposo basically speaks "proper" Spanish around me, so as not to sully my learning, I guess, jajaja, and I only hear it when he's around certain acquaintences that we run into, but I do have a pretty big vocab revolving around the various incarnations of "puta", which shocks one of my best friends back home who is Mexican-American. To her it's the most vulgar thing ever, even the watered-down forms.

 

BTW, the esposo just gave me a lesson on "se despichó Tere", after laughing about what you almost said to the 5th grader, ajaja.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With my tica novia the conversation is always in Spanish. She speaks almost no English. Once in a while she gets a bug and says that she wants to learn English so I will give he a brief lesson but we very quickly revert to Spanish for real communication. What bugs me a bit is that she is very bad at explaining any Spanish that I don't understand. Picture the ugly American who repeats the same thing over and over, louder each time if a foreigner doesn't understand. That's her! JaJa!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I experience the "ugly American in reverse" thing all the time. I ask the person to speak more slowly but instead they speak just as fast only louder and louder and louder. It's not just the speed, however, it's the fact that they don't really enunciate so I'm hearing abbreviated words. Kinda like acronyms . lol I finally just keep nodding my head, smiling, and thinking to myself "Yeah, yeah, whatever."

 

I don't have much of a problem in Mexico, just here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, Mark, you're definitely the exception, speaking all Spanish in a relationship. My hat is off, sir.

 

Shea, Mexican Spanish is much easier for me as well ... the ticos say it's "más duro", but to me it's "más distinto" (read: más fácil, haha)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, Mark, you're definitely the exception, speaking all Spanish in a relationship. My hat is off, sir.

 

Shea, Mexican Spanish is much easier for me as well ... the ticos say it's "más duro", but to me it's "más distinto" (read: más fácil, haha)

 

That's my same experience, Tiffany. Mexican spanish is easier -as is Cuban, Guatemalan, and Colombian- than Costa Rican spanish.

 

Not only does it often sound mumbled to me, all the Pachuco in use stumbles me further.

 

I am not trying to consciously add any Pachuco to my CR spanish but I suppose I must pick up some here and there without realizing it.

 

Cheers!

 

Paul M.

==

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, Mark, you're definitely the exception, speaking all Spanish in a relationship. My hat is off, sir.

 

Shea, Mexican Spanish is much easier for me as well ... the ticos say it's "más duro", but to me it's "más distinto" (read: más fácil, haha)

 

Mexican Spanish harder for me to understand. To me, CR Spanish is the easiest. Well minus pachuco of course, but every Spanish has some slang, and I know more CR slang than any other.

 

Have any of you ever watched the Spanish game show "Saber y Ganar"? It's super popular in Spain and they play it here sometimes. They speak so fast and with such a strong accent I can barely understand anything they say. That and the questions are really hard so I wouldn't know the answers anyways!

 

I'm going to try the one day Spanish one day English thing to see if it works. Today was definitely an English day :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was buying some coffee at my local feria a few weeks ago and was talking with the nice lady who is there every week selling the coffee. She complimented me on my Spanish and the lady in the next booth selling eggs chimed in that she was amazed at how well I understood Spanish. I told them that it was usually fairly easy to understand women speaking Spanish but many times understanding men was difficult because they tend to slur and speak too fast. They both laughed and agreed!

 

There is a young fellow who works at my favorite pizzeria who speaks a mile a minute. When he is taking my order I have to be on my toes to catch what he says. His speech is so fast that a sentence gets slurred into one long word. Fortunately the jefe there speaks very good English and can step in if necessary. If I call-in an order for delivery all I have to do tell them it is for delivery to "el gringo en Barrio Los Cedros". They all know who that is! :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a really hard time understanding my novio's dad. But he mumbles, talks quickly, etc. Most men, well I guess "young adults" who I meet and talk with are fine. Until they dive into pachuco!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.