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Amparo Bertram

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06:51 pm: You never know when that high school Spanish will come in handy...
Several of my students are originally from South America. The teachers have been spending a lot of time discussing one of them, who apparently didn't turn in a bunch of assignments. It was getting down to the last minute, and she still hadn't turned anything in. Particularly, she had one assignment to read, summarize, and write her opinion on ten newspaper articles for one of her (Japanese) classes. Her teachers were trying to get her to turn the assignment in by any means necessary.

Finally, they settled on the desperate measure of saying she could do the assignment entirely in Spanish if she would just DO it. This meant, of course, that they needed someone who could READ Spanish so they would know what she wrote...and I was the only teacher available who had a chance of being able to do so.

So, I spent the morning translating her Spanish summaries into English, which her homeroom teacher (one of my team teachers) could then translate into Japanese. (I wish I could have translated directly into Japanese, but my vocabulary in the area of reelection campaigns and free trade agreements is rather limited.)

I was actually pleasantly surprised by how much I understood without a dictionary. I studied Spanish for three years in high school and an extra semester in college. After I switched to Japanese, though, every time I tried to compose a Spanish sentence, only Japanese would come out. ^_^; In fact, I had the experience of thinking I was speaking Spanish to someone, only to realize after a while that it was actually Japanese, and the person didn't have a clue what I was saying. Reading, though, was a different matter entirely. I did need a dictionary for some words (and fortunately one of my predecessors left a huge dictionary with sections for Spanish, French, and German included), but I got the gist pretty easily.

One of the articles was about a Spanish language course broadcast on the Japanese public television channel NHK. It is apparently set up so that there are ten "contestants" on the show, all trying to learn Spanish. Every month, the contestants are given an exam, and the one with the lowest score gets kicked off the show. So it's "survival" in a language learning setting. I thought it sounded like it might be a kick to watch. (Okay, this is Japan, so it's probably corny as all get out. But it could be fun...)

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From:mangaroo
Date:March 16th, 2006 01:16 am (UTC)
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You never know when that high school Spanish will come in handy...

For instance, if you were to be transported back to 16th-century England and become embroiled in a world of political and maritime intrigue?
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From:spacealien_vamp
Date:March 16th, 2006 12:39 pm (UTC)
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For instance, if you were to be transported back to 16th-century England and become embroiled in a world of political and maritime intrigue?

Exactly. AND my Spanish would be proper enough not to sound like, "Hey, lady!"

Plus, I, too, can say katajikenai...
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From:photonrecycler
Date:March 22nd, 2006 12:44 am (UTC)
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I've had that language confusion experience - if I've been speaking a second language, it takes concerted effort to switch to different one. There's a theory that second languages are processed by different parts of the brain, one that's apparently not as agile as the primary speech centers.
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