Updated 8 years ago

Foreign languages have always caused me a bit of anxiety... Heck, my english is a little suspect sometimes. I would give myself a C- for my grasp of grammar rules and spelling.

I'm too old to learn a new language. People speaking spanish talk to fast... It's all a blur. How can I pick up the language if I can't even recognize the words... my brain doesn't work that way. First year spanish in high school was a nightmare for me.

These excuses sound so familiar? I have actually used one or two of them myself.

And the question I have heard a hundred times...'If I move to Ecuador, do I need to learn spanish'?

My answer is always 'Yes'. The spanish language is so much a part of daily life, of the country, and of the people. Of course we should learn the language. I need to learn spanish, no matter what.

This is the first challenge... A 'No Fear', 'Just Do It', with a 'Yes I Can' attitude...

So with that said, my brain still doesn't work that way... But my new attitude will not let me quit. So after many tries, here is what is finally working for me.

I decided to approach this subject from two angles... One, learn the basics. When I say basics I mean keeping it super simple. Learn to count and learn colors. So, count to 10 and learn how to say green (verde), red (rojo), white (blanco), and black (negro) in spanish. I realized right away that I already knew how to do that. In fact, I can write down about 50 spanish words I already know just from living in Southern California. Lots of spanish going on in California. I will continue to add additional words each week to increase my vocabulary.

The other area I want to focus on is being the best at speaking in a social situation that I do every day. I chose breakfast as my first speaking challenge. Learning the word for eggs, bacon, pancakes, coffee, milk, sugar, rice, and then learning a couple of phrases like 'I want' and 'I want more'. By the way, I already know that 'huevos' means eggs and that 'cafe' is coffee and that 'leche' is milk. I learned that 'I want' in spanish is 'Quiero', and 'Quiero mas' means 'I want more'. So, by learning just two words, I can now order coffee, milk, and two eggs. Most of us know please (por favor) and thank you (gracias), and good morning (buenos dias).

'Buenos dias' Good Morning

'Quiero cafe por favor' I want coffee please

'Gracias' Thank you

'Quiero dos huevos' I want two eggs

'Quiero leche por favor' I want milk please

'Gracias' Thank you

'Quiero mas cafe por favor' I want more coffee please

It took me only a few minutes to learn this and I can now order a very basic breakfast, be polite, and then build on this by learning 'tocino' (toe see no) for 'bacon' and 'hola senorita' for 'hello miss'. ('h' is silent in hola)

I like coffee with cream so this has become a very popular sentence for me. 'Cafe con crema, por favor'.

By using just these few words and phrases and then adding a few words a week, I suspect we will be talking and being understood almost immediately. As for understanding what others are saying, that will come in time.

My goal is to keep this so simple that I won't give up or be discouraged like I have been in the past. So far, I have the vocabulary of a two year old (50 to 75 words) and I can order breakfast like a champ. And now, so can you...

Learn along with me at my blog, ecuadorgeorge.com. It's fun and it's free. By next month I should be talking like a pre-schooler... and be able to ask where the bathroom is...

See you soon (Hasta pronto)

George (and remember, the 'H' is silent in 'Hasta')

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