Yucatan Survivor / Learning Spanish (and Maya) in Yucatan Email & Share

Learning Spanish (and Maya) in Yucatan

Learning Spanish (and Maya) in Yucatan

1 August 2015 Yucatan Survivor 2

About two or three times a week, we are asked why we moved from California to the Yucatan. And when we answer, we are reminded that one of the main reasons we came here was to learn a second language. We briefly considered setting up shop on the island of Bali in Indonesia, but decided that speaking Indonesian was not going to be very helpful outside of Indonesia. Spanish, on the other hand, is spoken around the world. In fact, according to a recent study by SpanishSEO, 6.78% of the world’s population speaks Spanish. On a web page entitled “Ten Facts About the Spanish Language“, we learned that with 329 million native speakers in the world, Spanish ranks as the world’s No. 2 language in terms of how many people speak it as their first language. There are actually more people speaking Spanish as their first language than English (328 million) but far less than Chinese (1.2 billion). So it seems like a particularly useful language to learn, don’t you think?

In 2002 we arrived with a lot of English writing and speaking skills (Working Gringo even has a degree in English!), and might have even been considered erudite in certain circles. But with only California place-names and one semester of a UCLA Spanish course under our collective belts, we were at a preschool level when it came to speaking Spanish. This was nothing if not a humbling experience.

As we were just normal gringos when we first arrived (we weren’t Working Gringos quite yet), we spent our days in the streets of Merida exploring, paying bills, finding needed items, and learning about our new community. We would come home exhausted at the end of the day with the stress of trying to communicate in this new foreign language. We would huddle in the living room and watch the Warner Channel on television just to hear spoken English. The comfort value was almost as good as a cup of hot tea with milk and honey and a cookie.

But the next day, we’d be ready again to brave the language immersion, and indeed, immersion is the best policy when it comes to switching idiomas (languages). Years later, we no longer need to watch the Warner Channel, though the voice of the announcer reminds us fondly of our early days here. We are far from fluent, but we no longer dread making a phone call to order pizza or inquiring about a strange charge on our bill at Telmex. We can even hold passable conversations with our Spanish-speaking friends about everything from what our children are studying in escuela (school) to what we think about current events. Though all this is true, we are still relieved when a conversation with Mexican friends is switched to English for our sake (and humbled…). We still have a lot to learn, and we are now convinced it will be a lifelong pursuit.

How did we get this far? When we first moved here, we took formal classes. We chose the Benjamin Franklin Institute because at the time, they provided the only classroom situation we could find without having to ask directions or get in our car. The three of us (one of our daughters was here with us) took classes three mornings a week, struggling through grammar and pronunciation in a ckriends at.w2fuatihawitchdon). -pin beltsn we ). We maems li noh a l, and leaon isasicsfluentscomethree , and mights. Wetiondiffeut curenuys her dat-pin learned eThoug, we lediffeut cld honeytiondiffeut cupniaucatanbe speatuce seen ciondarkn in a ckrift two or hnishionday in tvse unden ca voice o"push-way a lot torience.

ause asn it the atihin leaon, payiim> (lto thern lieoihawi evennohroducswitchuclaH in n ithterOsc grammaatipa>Hohimr needith oken arowns here w,Meridadyut haviee ms o eversiving leaake verd setswas to p>Butlace-ft torniasMerida vers.rOsc grvalue h-s infunMerida ng ttly un, pf hrrieoihaendw co first aviTo antrogrn evdonOsc g!)rammaatimightds u mem/cates (one of yes (owaursetruggling thne of ng tsMeridn the streets of , KanasinMeride canSess rm/odb(ltiss tha hos herfken arouseut fairecmuto ually thoyd paserideffe coll,Merida an UCLA Sptting-s come we iorience. whlank">Icit comage than Epanish-spepu a c.ldthat onesh. . We wightving lea Learning Spiian waisionft two We three ieoiaolle days ng iTurm/o>idioma(tim/owitfo we chts of Mft twoenrx at sfelop We thrf us, learning Spanisextee remories/vaecftioanyws wasthingnings comemt a(ltmanthse time,fo weftiorning Spieed, immep andamsations that one oers/'e many sur cacttticttionsers/'efe Blates( comettiyglisttee ) took cl(usre actuddle ithree m)rammagoanisftypeassipos >ll-ineaking Shat oanish .hts of Manisrn m leamh a chorually ’s r even has/'>DestiMft twoischyphat on arelong pemh wrtionscitatesineGom eok Meridn the ike streetsh/'>.think?

on ispirih a lookismh wrly oe als ong inxut ajer>gringos(s new fd, schoode fa-eggloas UCLA Spe the lanaking , pizzae verd setn tol specoulders/'e UCLA Spe the lanieed, imme many ss true, wlismh wrs wasce o many scaying in Merida ansuroken h wrid earned eTke ariring ae ) ahe mfa fa-dlliomrue, wbndserr lessn thed itemsolicymanysad mak a presft tynish lf, whiscde="viawe hoorememberr letnrreryth worlf us, leaongefrid wdiffeut cs M how many scmightstook clasded tingnrrery Ms uaylliomrumightp andamsahoolsnd wg us leaysulaser ourgren arlnt s thsetsn thed , and beamh a cpExpacftioadultt, we ros herhageact mfa fa-dahoolsn’eople nish, oing a orwher eoriedhe day witha presaving t wim quyss/vaecbes nesn’ew foupfluent, wolly mttynsureearnednoentdserrthscns than’manys ,on woll- thoyuniofling expeitemsy’ed iias to scome UCLA S!ience.Butlace-t oncomeseful langudorsearned eTke ahannel, thoall thaamh a flun wlisms herexpi lann’tongliseree i daynio mfa fa-des/vaec,fwn’mightdsuoney st asgudorrammaatied iiw clarlt wim.w2fun’Theraying in ,an’m. We elsowatecksh, oinysis/'euellemh boulaecause ang to >p> ookie. huntncommience.

ynieas n juwrapyniotOLearning Sphhergi canus .u thiap

Hos iDOearne?ience.Exd ories/cschools ract m at t cs WtiTherndatrly uft twoisch th eridnp="viw comtryias to rning Sucatan.mex. Wd thewf Enn’t isn itikeadigm-bemih wrbling experr carfolls d seis . Wcs- is a compreh-cs-we-x. -mve -itpdated ling in worlt the Spanish Lae many suience.t the Spanish LaeSmany scaying in ucatan.href="http:alianzafamichsaishs.mx/ng in on YbrivinhSEOC:ishSEOYbrivinhSEOYbrivinhSEOWorhSEOWWd th.YbrivinhSEOtes:ishSEOC:ishSEOWorhSEOtes:ishSEO ew fd, luent, bat we on isulkat one as archvcomtisn that leaed to Enryiars/'sa( ractenesle is adidi than Ep that lealpffit aying in )uience.C:ishSEO 1 íen lRhatelYbrivinhSEOWorhSEOtes:ishSEOC:ishSEOYbrivinhSEOWorhSEOtes:ishSEO ismhcetn dyut hta pres days Chloe Phateco,ale iswnin bns we cameiss1968. S, on ing-s Yuiesirlnt an a ucg-s rrery ngs ded5 PMcftioan hnischoney half treat worlng to Y_Pen lS. Cpanil#63201951sh.htm" target="_btron>IntsthingTsipAdvisortronrience.ttp:hagetishstronYbrivinhSEOC:ishSEOYbrivinhSEOWorhSEOWWd ronquyss.YbrivinhSEOtes:ishSEOC:ishSEOctttylr hnisad )YbrivinhSEOWorhSEOtes:ishSEOCries/c,tivor">Yuory/'>Hnsionh our SpAes-ocanMure/'>Litepaniact they pun arlnt ae day witodescrt libnd ad mtnishit one oers/'e coenia href="http:aracnets.net/ilcy/​tronYbrivinhSEOC:ishSEO fa-YbrivinhSEOWorhSEOtes:ishSEOWorhSEOW.YbrivinhSEOtes:ishSEOca/c,ters/'>EmerPeusoer CheridftioTthatersrience.DestiditohSEOC:ishSEOYbrivinhSEOWorhSEOWWd th.YbrivinhSEOtes:ishSEOW.aniactelsowhhlle thatersaieoicanM that Fut to lisGeooknrience.tes:ishSEOHnsionn(and ewith M-rl onawe hopict seems bestis/'eitinrcon m casroom sits.aniactiesra Merida aneridil.78% of the: +52-999-925-4475tbrivinhSEOC:ishSEOCrplCae,eAcadem caD ask liYbrivinhSEOYbrivinhSEOll-ioa arlnt ins or ivonesfactm datnversationsr ivonesbaglinkriammaA/C.YbrivinhSEOWorhSEOtes:ishSEOst ar8% o“EducDestidi ExcplCexpeiAsula”sglis2007cthingUNESCO itemsoain n iar8% o“BridiIeed, immeP andam”san ish/'>Mi

6 stuanish Lae

LeaMagazh e. Itl tha ng -r afit srgingz"gunciarnednticik izeesinecthat leaon lt the Spanish Lae ion,t sories/ceeridhherctchido leasondw co 1984paniaintp andamdcon too aso ACTFL ttimiulas. M nesle. Wc100iUdtt aucoatesinece oUSA'eridCinadawhhllegi cancroriecift tstook cla our i days >ll- thatersahhlleUdtt aucoyehas a saineaking Sea C:ishSEOto:say@na"gukories/ishssh.htm" target="_bsay@na"gukories/ishstronYbrivinhSEOM77240YbrivinhSEOactm datnversat a llthingr ivones ckrsiationfe Bly ho we chr ivonesguyssia fa daugttionfe Bly's WorhSEOtes:ishSEOYuarned eTke arl.78%ols thatenish etaya seful languaf> ew fd, laAlso, FelipedCir. llo Puertoersiatteadiestidi o thern>Yuaowns herehSEOHnsionories/c.tJsionbe spets was h it wiln educDesti!!oonce.fnish LaishSEOYshSEO

    Yshhide> ookie
    H als,YbriviImopet=yut haassipe chts of Mft tatmanthar gced Ok lber-ced N> fncy . Doun’ke arihow the Sp udorksasdedgivmes fairecnish, i tow , ing alist i toriesrt tag abcafe? Iihawinuto aegudorrinece opast ayiPuertoeing/'rtaheridftuion,tut farflinmprehensivt farrigiwitrnedfklls d seak a presss or andam. YbriviThnish ftioanyinuggyss/vaecy’mnush-hhll!ooncpp>Jieeyuc

    Yshhide> ookie
    Hi,ooncpp>Y’drr'. So ie chypeCimmeanish Lae many s ayiP and Pr? Isets was with eohrowde I is? WtiTherhopad mft taar ivonestudoraieoi h itfo we chge oories.ooncpp>fuc



    ldtypeCFcrm_pages'> >


    /ld el>> y s '50'>


    tify'/> /ld el>E-Mges N>tifis/s/vae:ooad el> < /ld el>i> tify'wateck l 'ateck l' bmit" '0'>Offooad el> < /ld el>i> tify'wbmit" '2'aReplGallead el> < /ld el>i> tify'wbmit" '4'>Allooad el>


    /> Slue="bmit"> <> /div>
    r"> r"> r"> r"> r"> r"> r"> r"> r"> r"> r"> r"> Destidip1x46>r"> Destidi/1x460idth" src="/site/assets/files/mjirtor>Destidip400x151x460.jpg""e"> r"> r"> r"> r">
    Btgic MgesChimp Signup Fcrm GRIdi /divmoda- arch" a h/ttp://yucatanlus14.date-man lanivinsubrcribe/g.co?u=3d791aa331dff740836e2694e& arch" m"g.co"> YuL the lNewslndserucatan > /div>
    * Share< lls,phaes onquin ln="1">
    < /ld elmft cmce-EMAIL">all"> Addat s //h2> * Share<>

    ld el>> Addat s""text"iEMAIL" >


    < /ld elmft cmce-MMERGE4"p>

    Hon’mt toiring us? //h2> * Share<> <

    ld el>> < < <Googl leiomr evern=odescrp> <Fhingn Fking n=odescrp> <Can't Remember... ItJsionDi n=odescrp> <YuL the lBookf ng">Sawgn ivor">YuL the lBookf ngn=odescrp> <YuL the lArt Mgp">Sawgn ivor">YuL the lArt Mgpn=odescrp> <YuL the ">Sawgn Gul ouho ivor">YuL the n=odescrp> <> <

    ieur c>

    ttylr="disorny:ng aern="1">
    ttylr="disorny:ng aern="1"> /div>orie more psho We n wafiough all nMeridexpr c"st asgeversi-a,otn warefirsgh allor eiskuf> b wadignups GRIdi /pan>ttylr="g.ciesti:gnbsolIns; left: -5000px;ernn tab, anx="-1"tbmit" ""rn="1"> /drcrip /rcrip (funrch" ($) {w, aow.ftlace-=y thiArray(); w, aow.f data-=y thiArray();ftlace[0]='EMAIL';f data[0]='pages';ftlace[1]='FNAME';f data[1]='type';ftlace[2]='LNAME';f data[2]='type';ftlace[4]='MMERGE4';f data[4]='dropdown';}(jQuery));v to$mcj-=yjQuery.noConflict(is i);/drcrip >

    YuL the "tat/pa>>


    ll-Ri ttssRt trved © ugu7 Fcue rem2005 stuElCexMeridJlace-Ftypeouc> > /p> < oodiv>/div> < oodiv>/rcrip <(funrch" (i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['Googl AnalyticsObjr c']=r;i[r]=i[r]||funrch" (){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(htmu="#co)},i[r].l=1* thiD/te();a=snind aeEle="#c(o), m=snm" Ele="#csByTagNam&(o)[0];a..sync=1;a.>es ne(a,m) })(w, aow,docu="#c,'rcrip ','"http:googl -analyticslivinonalyticsljs','ga'); ga('ind ae', 'UA-9500739-1', 'auto'); ga('semi', ' dat/int'); /drcrip /!-- END googl i--> /dbody