Friday, February 5, 2010

"You Speak Spanish Very Well" (Do I?)

While I was taking this picture an older man started talking with me. We conversed for a few minutes, and then he asked if I was from Salamanca. I said, "No, I'm from the United States, actually."

He responded: "Oh, wow. You are far from home!"

We talked a bit more about the university and the city. Then he said:

"You speak Spanish very well."

I told him thank you, and that I hope to learn more. After we parted ways, I was thinking about the conversation (of course very excited that I had conversed successfully in Spanish, with a native speaker) and it occurred to me that I wasn't sure if he said I do speak Spanish very well, or if I will. Big difference, no? Judging by my confusion, perhaps I should assume he said the latter...Oh well, it was still a nice conversation!

When asking questions in Spanish, context is very important (they don't rely on voice inflection as much as we do, it seems) and so sometimes during a conversation I will mistake a question for a statement. After a few seconds of silence I will realize that my "Oh, sí" was not an appropriate answer to the question...I do my best to laugh it off, and then figure out what, exactly, I was asked.

I am sorry that I go days without writing, and then I cannot seem to stop posting. When it rains, it pours! I am going to try to write shorter posts, more often.

Thanks for reading.