Humility in learning Spanish

I’ve recently picked up Rosetta Stone for Spanish. It’s been incredible. I’m picking it up, I’m feeling confident, and I can’t wait to spend my 30 minutes a day learning.

However, there is one issue I have with Spanish. I have the equivalent of a speech impediment. In Spanish speaking countries, it leaves me wondering if I’ll actually be able to communicate clearly.

I cannot roll my R’s.

This comes up whenever there is a double R, and while I’m sure they’ll understand me to some degree, it makes me stand out. It makes it obvious that this is not the language I grew up on. For someone who values language, it’s a little humiliating. It’s humbling. It’s a reminder that when speaking that language, no matter the proficiency I reach, there will be a lacking.

No matter how much I improve and learn, I will never be able to seduce the Spanish woman of my dreams, for she’ll always know I lack mastery of my tongue.

Joking aside, it is a very humbling moment. The act of trying to learn another language is very humbling because it takes so much effort, but add to it that I likely will never be capable of mastery, and it’s another weight. Not that I will stop trying. I want to teach kids in Guatemala, I’d love to teach them English, and I won’t let this set back stop me. Moses had a speech impediment and he lead thousands out of Egypt. If you’ve ever learned Hebrew, the joke my pastoral brothers have made is he talked normally, and that was the issue. It’s a very throaty language.

Anyway, if you’re thinking of learning a language, I highly suggest Rosetta Stone. It’s been four days and I am retaining more information than three years of Spanish left me with. And I’m having fun. How do you beat that?

Do you have some issue in your life that you need to overcome? Something that reminds you every day that you’re inadequate, but you strive anyway? I hope you do, because no one loves like someone forced to be humble, and no one strives like someone without natural ability.


7 Comments on “Humility in learning Spanish

  1. Try pronouncing “R”s like “L”s. It gives a similar effect to rolling the tongue. French and Japanese are both languages as well that require the same sort of thing – that’s how I get around it.
    You want humbling? Try having your child dumb down his language for you. 😛 I’m supremely inadequate at speaking to Deaf adults, but only partially clueless when it comes to disciplining Alex. I rely on his teacher quite heavily – thank goodness she can hear.

    • You are a truly loving human being. And yes, that would be humbling. I always felt bad for Forest Gump. Though not entirely his situation, you have one thing your child is more proficient in.

      • I do the L thing. It registers it as correct for the sake of the program. However, at the end of the day when I speak to someone who knows Spanish (my cousin-in-law), she grins. That, “at least you’re trying” grin.

      • Ha! Yeah, I encountered the same sort of thing when I was in Japan 9 years ago. A couple of times I approached people and first asked them, in English, if they spoke English. They said no. So I started speaking in Japanese. They immediately switched to English. Either my Japanese was that bad or they were thinking the same thing – at least I tried. 😛

  2. After 4 years (high school and college combined), I can do little more than read and translate. I used to be able to write it very well, but speaking it was always a challenge and hearing it was even more difficult (though I can usually pick up enough to get a hint of what is being discussed). All I can say, is best of luck. I still think we should just have one world language – I don’t care what it is – Spanish, English, French, Swahili – – just pick one and teach it to everyone so I don’t have to waste brain space learning more than one way to talk / listen. As a guy, it is difficult enough with one language. 😀

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