I am trying to learn Spanish – again. This is my third attempt. It isn’t going well; I suppose I am not going about it the right way. However, I am determined to learn it even it takes a decade. There is a difference in this third attempt, one I hope makes success: my attitude.

One of the troubles of growing up ‘white’ is the worry no matter how cognizant I am for Shadow elements in my Psyche they pop up in subtle ways. Although it was never said out loud while I was growing up there was a prejudice towards the Spanish language. Public Opinion opined learning French was amusing and German was OK somehow (probably because it was Germanic, not Romance), but not Spanish.  Another ‘axiom’ was Americans don’t learn other languages; people coming here are supposed to learn proper English. Spanish was the language of ‘outsiders’, ‘lower class types’, and (later on) ‘invaders’.  The only ones who needed to know Spanish were social workers and those who had to interact with the menials. Oh the embarrassment of all this rubbish.  Never mind most countries have several official languages and their citizens often speak two or more languages and no one overthrows the country like invading Mongols.

I live in the Southwest where Spanish isn’t just a language but a incendiary symbol. Many not only refuse to learn Spanish lest they ‘succumb to the enemy” but try to stifle its use, sometimes in blunt and nasty ways.* I am pleased I am able to see my childhood prejudices and rise above them. I now see learning Spanish (or any language) as entering into a culture with history and with linguistics of nuance and delight.

If successful I can boost knowing four languages: English, German, ASL, and Spanish.

Now if only I can wrap my tongue around all those damn Spanish past tenses. Que feo.

 

Spo-fans: what languages can you speak? Do you hear anti-Spanish talk in your part of the world?

 

*Someone once worked in a polling station (as the token Democrat) with an elderly white woman (representing the GOP). She remonstrated the ballots were in English and Spanish. She complained her tax dollars had to pay for this and it just encourages the illegals to vote. He tactfully pointed out a) only certified citizens can vote and b) ballots are available in many languages if requested. This enlightenment merely elicited in the doyenne ‘this is bullshit”.

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