self development courses

Lost in Translation

V - Espanol

I’m two weeks in to my intermediate Spanish course. So far I have been on time for each lesson, so well done me, it’s after I arrive that it goes downhill.  We’ve been spending a lot of our lessons talking about things that we did in the past to learn how to use the past tense in verbs. That’s all good if there were only one past tense to choose from, but there are two I can describe and another two that I am not sure of yet. That makes FOUR!! Don’t you think that’s just greedy?

I had to get this explanation from the internet (thanks to http://www.spanish.about.com) as I don’t want to give you the wrong information and lead you down the same rabbit hole I’m in.

“What’s past is past, but in Spanish what’s past may be either preterite or imperfect. Unlike English, Spanish has two simple past tenses, known as the preterite (often called the preterit) and the imperfect indicative. (As in English, they are known as simple tenses to distinguish them from verb forms that use an auxiliary verb, such as “has left” in English and ha salido in Spanish.)

Although the English simple past in a sentence such as “he ate” can be conveyed in Spanish using either the preterite (comió) or the imperfect indicative (comía), the two tenses are not interchangeable.”

I know this is true because of the amount of times I’ve managed to get it wrong in class and everyone else has sniggered at me. There are some very smart people in my group, which is not intimidating at all, no, no, really. No.

I’m also fairly certain now that even though the famous languages teacher, Michel Tomas, who up to now has been a bit of a hero in my house, is great for starting to speak a language you shouldn’t rely on him for. He teaches that you make sentences together by translating directly from one language to another, this just isn’t possible.

V Espanol Book

In Spanish, verb tenses are formed by changing the endings of verbs, a process known as conjugation. Present tense, imperfect, preterite, future, conditional, the present perfect, the pluperfect, the past perfect, the preterite perfect, future perfect and the conditional perfect conjugation. So, we should have that all under control by next week.

What I am learning from learning Spanish is how little I understand the English language. I must have missed out on the grammar lessons at my (don’t laugh) Grammar School because I don’t understand the terms, I am literally starting from scratch.

Anyone who has studied Spanish is aware of the troublesome relationship between the pretérito and imperfecto. The imperfecto (yo hablaba) translates to the English imperfect (I was talking) while the pretérito (yo hablé) literally translates to the English simple past (I talked) but can also be translated as the English present perfect (I have talked) or the emphatic past (I did talk). And when a person asks you in Spanish what you did before they will ask you using the present tense. (Example: “Desde cuando vives aqui ?” translates to “From when you live here?”) Confuso? Si. Thanks for asking.  

Of course I have been searching the internet for “easy ways to remember the different Spanish verb tenses”.  That brings up almost a million and a half results, so I guess there’s still some work to be done there. Hang on in there McLeod.

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There’s gotta be something better than this

6am. The alarm goes. It’s still dark outside. I know it is cold because the tip of my nose tells me so. The reason the alarm is set this early is because it is the only time I can find where I can be uninterrupted and do the things that I want to do: writing, thinking, sitting quietly and drinking a cup of tea. I say I am supposed to be getting up and having ‘me time’, but you could argue (as I do) that there is as much benefit in having ‘me time’ where you are sleeping in a warm bed than freezing in a stone built finca, hopping from one foot to the other on a ice cold tiled floor in the kitchen whilst waiting for the kettle to come to the boil.

It’s come to something hasn’t it when the only time in the day which you can find where there are no  other demands on you is at 6am and you have to force yourself to do it. There have been some disappointing events recently: my birthday: no balloons or clowns, just sensible stuff like vouchers for new socks, although my friends did surprise me with a meal at a local curry house the actual owners of the restaurant couldn’t even be bothered to put on the lights and make a fuss of us: have a word with yourselves please restaurateurs! And Valentine’s Day, which passed in a haze of emails, hurried meals and stress, zero on the romance front despite having a very nice husband, we were officially ‘too busy’ to celebrate.

Something has to change, and I guess it’d down to me to get it done.

Everybody I know seems to be suffering with stress and anxiety, how are we going to cope with the economic crisis, so and so is moving back to the UK, this business is going under, that person’s had their house repossessed. How can we take back control of our lives when it all feels as if it is running away from us? When I start thinking about this I get the tune  ‘There’s gotta be something better than this’ from the musical Sweet Charity running through my head, check it out on You Tube, it’s very catchy.

Which is why this weekend coming I am off to spend a day with Maria Mateo who is running a course entitled ‘Awaken the Goddess within’. It’s designed to ‘ignite my womanly powers’ which I am totally up for. ‘Life is too short to stand in shadows, so step into your powers now and shine’. Check.

I have met Maria so this should be an interesting day, she certainly knows how to get you thinking and she’s a very warm and witty woman.  It’s time for us chicas to get back in touch with our powerful side rather than spend all of our days being downtrodden by stress and work. You can get more information at mmateo54@telefonica.net or visit my website and I will point you in the right direction. Us Goddesses in the making have got to stick together you know.

www.familymattersmallorca.com

More details about the event here:   https://www.facebook.com/events/202973289801004/

Click here for the flier: Awaken the Goddess within 18 FEB