Prompt: Celebrate Earth Day by writing something on that theme.
I took a line from Mario Benedetti’s poem Todavía. He is a poet from Uruguay and I had never heard of him til this weekend but in the Spanish-speaking world he was considered one of Latin America’s most important 20th-century writers.
The line is “la noche es un puñado
de estrellas y de alegría” which roughly translates as “Night is a handful of stars and joy” which I think is beautiful.
I content myself with a smile so wide
I scare the magpies
They scatter from the fence
And all day stay above
Two for joy, two for joy
Don’t tell me I can’t wait
That I can’t throw my desire to the four winds
Watch it scatter,
One for sorrow, two for joy
Don’t tell me I can’t wait for the clean linen
My own is drying on the line
Not yet ready to be done with the playful sun
Don’t tell me I shouldn’t wait
While you drag the corpse of a once mediocre passion
Round your hips in the whiskied hours of the morning.
I will wait,
Planted firm in the soil,
I will wait until all breaks and
Night is a handful of stars and joy
Spanish / Spanglish
Y’all know I’m learning Spanish right. I’m trying really hard. Some days I think I’ve got the basics and other days I cannot string a sentence together.* I’m finding it incredibly frustrating.
I know it takes a lot of time to learn a language and there have been a lot of studies done on this.
“Very different research results have been obtained in this regard. Nation (1990) concluded that 5-16 exposures are needed in order to learn a word from context. Meara (1997) suggested a 0.01 hypothesis (1 uptake every 100 exposures) for L2 learners, arguing that these learners are normally unable to be exposed to large quantities of text. A more recent study (Horst, Cobb, & Meara, 1998), which featured low intermediate EFL learners reading a 109-page book over a ten-day period, obtained a 20% pick-up rate.” (From http://www.tesl-ej.org/wordpress/issues/volume7/ej26/ej26a4/)
I always used to be good at languages at school so I’m blaming my age for my lack of progress. I think lessons once a week just won’t cut it. I’m gonna have to start practicing more and talking to random strangers. I’ve started watching some TV shows in Spanish which have English subtitles and I’m hoping this will help. I’m also going to start listening to music Spanish language music. I heard some great bands when we were at Vive Latino and they’re on my Spotify playlist now. I’m a woman on a mission!
Someone also read me some Spanish language poetry the other night and I’ve been looking for sites that have audio links to help me and my pronunciation.
One of the staff at school this week gave me a fab book called “Breaking out of Beginner’s Spanish” by Joseph Keenan. It’s a very funny book written by a man who had no Spanish at all before moving to Mexico City to work as a journalist. So he has made the same pitfall ridden journey that I am embarking on and hopefully can save me many a red face….I’ll be fluent by Monday.
* Weirdly most of the sentences that I can say fluently involve swear words. This should be no surprise to most of you…..