Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How I am learning Spanish

My family has been in Texas for 150 years. Throughout my life I've lived in communities where I hear Spanish daily. I've been to Mexico many times. I watch plenty of Mexican soccer broadcasts. So, why then is my Spanish so embarrassingly incomplete? In retrospect, perhaps studying Dutch in college wasn't the most prescient choice.

My grandfather is the most fluent Spanish speaker in the family. He learned the language through decades of farming. While I enjoy gardening, I have no plans to become a commercial farmer, so I decided upon another--and more romantic--way in which to improve my Spanish. I read Spanish poetry. Allow me to qualify that statement: I read Spanish poetry with English translations juxtaposed on the other page. While I still must supplement the Spanish with the English, each poem provides a little victory as I need the English version less and less. I am incredibly far from fluency, but at least when I’m there, I’ll sound like a poet.

Below are some of my favorite poets whose works are conveniently available in Spanish/English editions.

Mario Benedetti’s Little Stones at My Window/Piedritas en la Ventana

Roberto Bolano’s The Romantic Dogs

Federico Garcia Lorca’s Selected Verse

Pablo Neruda’s Ceremonial Songs

Pablo Neruda’s The Captain’s Verse


Anonymous said...

Shoot, I thought I was the only one in the world who tried to learn some Spanish this way. It's fun and interesting, but not too useful. Today I decided it's time for Rosetta Stone. So true about learning another language, like Dutch. I learned German in Pennsylvania. Who knew I'd end up in Texas? Enjoyed the blog as I didn't know any Spanish side-by-side translation books were available at APL.

Ragged Robin said...

I bet you might be interested in this language learning guide created by one of the APL librarians:

Unfortunately, Rosetta Stone will no longer sell subscriptions to libraries, but we did get two new comparable programs: search the catalog (FindIt) for Tell Me More Performance Spanish, or Transparent Language (w/ several languages available).

Aleph said...

Another little note about dual language materials: if you want to find them in the shelf, they are color coded in the Spanish section. All the ones with a green tape are dual language books and the ones with blue are only in Spanish. Enjoy your dual language reading!

Learning Spanish Grammar said...

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