Tuesday, November 15, 2011

All this Catalan is killing my Spanish!

Why hasn't my Spanish improved much over the past few months?  Because I'm not immersed in the language. 

I thought I moved to Spain, but what happened, in effect, is that I moved to Catalonia.  Or is it Catalunya?  Whatever... I think they're making the rules up as they go along. 

Why, then am I not improving in my Spanish?  Because EVERYTHING is written in Catalan.  From the frozen foods section in the grocery store "Congelats" instead of "Congelados" <--- i'm not even sure that is right.  Because I'm not seeing Spanish in the written form on a regular basis.  All I know is that I'm vaguely understanding the signs without knowing how the words are pronounced.  And then when I'm trying to have a conversation in Spanish  - I get so tongue tied - I freeze up... I say the wrong words.  or the right words in the wrong language.

Case in point - I was telling my mom that I needed to go down to the Tabacs to get a targeta to add more minutes to my phone.  All wrong.  Despite the fact that all the cigarette stores are called Tabacs, that's not the Spanish word (which is something similar, but I can't remember it because it's not a word I see written anywhere).  Also, I pronounced targeta like "tar jetta" instead of "tar hetta".  Here I am, thinking I'm speaking in Spanish with my mom, but no.  I'm speaking some bastardized combo of Spanish/Catalan. 

I'm just about at my wit's end in trying to speak the local language.  I spend most of my time speaking English with my American friends here, or my mother... or French with my Aunts and cousins. 

Think you might get some lessons on a menu?  Well, you might get a laugh...

Varied Kitchen? Lids? Embers?  

This English language menu was full of mistakes.  Whoever they hired to edit it only translated the words and didn't take the context into account. 

What are lids
I think they mean charbroiled.

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