Thursday, March 17, 2016

Narcist, Narcisisist, Narcisisomething

San Geraldo shared with me a conversation he had the other day. He had been explaining why he was having such a hard time committing to his Spanish language studies. As he told it, he loves to talk. He enjoys in-depth, substantive conversation. Since his Spanish skills are so limited, he continued, he can't possibly carry on an intelligent conversation filled with the grammar and nuance he's so used to. I understood but didn't tell him I thought it was all a bunch of hooey.

Then, on another subject, San Geraldo said he thought the mother of a friend of ours was a complete narcist.

"A what?" I asked (imagine my grin).

ROUGHING IT WHILE WE ESCAPE THE HOME RENOVATIONS.
SPANISH COFFEE AND HIGH-BROW CONVERSATION.

"A narcist... narcist... narcisisi...." San Geraldo tried again.

"Narcisist," I said. "And you don't think your Spanish will ever be as good?"

"That's it!" he exclaimed. "I can't study Spanish because I still haven't perfected English!"

HEADING HOME FOR SOME MORE DEEPLY SATISFYING CONVERSATION.

27 comments:

  1. Your Gerry is a constant delight!

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    1. That's what I was thinking, Ms Sparrow! :) And, not a bit of a Narcist, or a Narcisissy, or a Narcisisst :)

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    2. Ms Sparrow:
      He is. And he's also a very good sport.

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    3. Judy:
      Definitely not a narcist... And I'm so glad he's able to laugh at himself. What would I have to write about if not for him?

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  2. Narcisissy ~ they exist in the most unlikely places! On another note, Jimbo would do some substantive talk to Jerry in a second. Loves a good in-depth discussion on pretty much any topic that exists! In case you hadn't noticed. Me, I'm light and fluffy!

    Winks!

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    1. I have never been called a 'substantive talker' before!
      But, if the shoe fits....
      I would be in the same boat as Jerry in so far as learning any language other than English. And I live in a bilingual country and my name is French!!

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    2. Ron:
      I'm light and substantively fluffy myself.

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    3. French (Jim?):
      French? I thought your name was Jim!?!

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  3. Change the names to Bob and Carlos because this sounds like one of our talks ... though your views are nicer!

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  4. That is as good an excuse as any I have heard. At one time, Tom and I considered moving to New Mexico. I am/was fairly fluent/competent in Spanish but Tom knew none. I found him a CD course designed to teach you while you were driving. Because he drove five hours to and from Detroit each week, this seemed like a good idea. He took the CDs with him and when he returned told me that they were no good. He coulnd't hear well enough to make out what was being said. (This is at least partially true, judging from how much of what I say he does not "hear" clearly.)

    If it is any consolation -- and it won't be -- to San Geraldo, studies indicate that our ability to learn languages declines dramatically after childhood. Although I had a gift for languages -- Spanish and a reading knowledge of Latin, Classical Greek, French and German -- when I tried to learn Kiswahili in my 50s, I was at sea.

    Sijui kusema kiswahili vizuri. Sema pole pole. Or something like that. Maybe I should stick to hakuna matata.

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    1. Michael:
      That's Jerry's other excuse for slow Spanish learning. His hearing. And, like with you and Tom, yes, it's partially true. And, no, age is no excuse. I think that simply means you have to work harder. You were at sea learning Kiswahili? Do you think it would have been easier on dry land?

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  5. I can only imagine the difficulties of learning another language as an adult. I admire both of you for even trying to learn Spanish, which I'm told is much different from the Spanish I tried to learn in high school in California.

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    1. Stephen:
      The Spanish is different from what I learned in school in New York, too, but it was close enough to get me going when we arrived. Most of my learning comes from listening and absorbing. Jerry is much more academic in his approach and wants to understand the rules and every exception.

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  6. As a teacher I know that learning a foreign language as an adult is not easy but possible

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    1. Gosia:
      I wish I had had a bilingual education. I was given French for less than two years, starting at the age of 8. But we then moved to NYC and I didn't get another language (Spanish) until I was 12. It would have been wonderful to grow up speaking at least two languages.

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  7. Sorry but I'm with Jerry on this one. I do speak French with a fluency that seems to come and go with the hour of the day (how close to aperitivo time and how soon after?) but I found learning Italian frustrating. As an adult educator and facilitator I talk for a living and am use to a certain fluency - to suddenly not have that ability is soul destroying!

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    1. Willym:
      I DO really understand and agree with you both. My Spanish is still mediocre at best and when we lived in Sevilla it was so limiting that I began to tell people that I sounded much more intelligent in English.

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  8. I got lost somewhere back in the early comments... I learned one new word in our 3 months in Mexico (Granada.... pomegranate) and I kinda doubt it will do me much good in an everyday conversation with anyone. Hey, Jerry... I can relate!

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    1. Sharon:
      You'd love some of the things I'm currently learning. I can now make animal sounds in Spanish! Miau, guau, pio pio, cro cro, be-e-e, muu.

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  9. What a great post. SG is spot on! I had 2 years of Latin in high school and it has served me well for partially understanding bits and pieces of many languages. Of course I cannot speak anything but English. I did, however, understand the woman I gave a lift to today when she said something like "el sol es fuerte." I understood that the sun was strong and she was happy for a ride.

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    1. Wilma:
      Added to Jerry's frustration, he studied Latin first and then Russian. He found both languages easier to parse than Spanish. I figure if you could give that woman a lift and know what she told you, you're doing great!

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  10. Poor San G, I feel for him as I can be quite fluent in Splutterish myself.

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    1. Cranky:
      Do you sit on the ruhf and drink ruht beer while you look down at the crick, too?

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  11. I've always loved your version of roughing it :) Also your version of cooking. I am surprised that San Geraldo didn't learn spanish when he was younger (and when it should have been easier) with his heritage.

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    1. Cheapchick:
      It really WAS roughing it. I had to search for a clean seat cushion. A flock of monk parakeets had been hanging out in a palm tree and left quite a little mess behind. San Geraldo didn't know about his Spanish (and all the other) roots when he was young. He only knew about the English, German, and Norwegian. So he studied Latin and Russian...

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