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Habla Espanol?

Kari's Spanish has been improving. I know that Hilda has been working to improve her English also, but what results in their exchanges is not really English or Spanish, hence Spanglish.

We are so American.

When I spent time in Europe I noticed that all the Americans stuck out like a sore thumb. Not just from our clothing, but our language skills are abysmal compared to the rest of the worlds population. We, as Americans tend to go for the "just say it louder and slower" method of communication as opposed to trying to learn anything. "If they want to talk to us, they should learn English." right?

Well, we are trying to actually learn something, but the louder and slower actually does serve a purpose. At least the slower does, and it seems hard to speak slower without dialing up the volume. I figured that since Hilda wanted to improve her English, I would speak in complete sentences and have her do the same for me. That has not worked for us very well. There remains a huge communication gap between Hilda and me. Kari on the other hand uses the broken English. She and Hilda understand each other very well. I often have to have Kari translate for us, even though she really doesn't speak Spanish all that well yet. The only down side to this is that Kari has gotten so used to speaking in broken English that she speaks it to people who understand English. She is now often speaking to me in broken English or broken Spanish as a matter of course. That is just what comes out if she isn't thinking about it.

Kari and Hilda were at the grocery store the other day. Kari was picking out tortillas and the lady working behind the counter ask her if she would like butter flavored tortillas. Kari didn't understand what she said, so the lady said "mantequilla?" and Kari answered "Si." They both know English as a primary language and here they are speaking Spanish to each other.

Kari has always been more expressive with her body language than I am and I think that helps too. Most exchanges between Kari and Hilda are accompanied by wild gestures. I think that if you saw them with out hearing the conversation, you might think that my wife was epileptic. Obviously, I am over stating that, but her father used to joke that if you held her hands down she would be unable to speak. And it sure is fun to tease her about it.


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