Rolling Them Rrrrrr’s

I never could roll them!! At least I didn’t think I could. I was walking to the Oxxo (think Mexican 7/11) and this lady and man in their late 20’s or early 30’s were approaching me. She starts talking to me in english with an accent that I couldn’t distinguish. They both look different from the locals, and I’m trying to think of where they could be from. Are they from some other country? Since she was talking to me in english I assumed they must not speak spanish. She asked me if I spoke spanish and I said poco (a little). She said good, and asked me where I was from. I told her Portland, OR and asked where she was from. Come to find out they were from Mexico City and they were looking for their hotel which they couldn’t find. Why she wanted someone that spoke english is beyond me! Addresses down here aren’t quite as “consistent” as up north is.This is easily recognized by the fact that people from Mexico aren’t able to find their destination. They told me the name of the place and I looked it up on Google Maps and it was really close to us. As we were getting ready to part ways I told her “Quiero aprender espanol mucho!” (I want to learn spanish very much!) She encouraged me and said I was doing very well and then they graciously thanked me for helping them out. I told them “Es mi placer” (It’s my pleasure) and asked them if my pronunciation was correct because I’ve been really struggling with placer which as I say means pleasure. They both clarified  it for me and it’s pronounced plah-seer. You have to roll that last r! I told her that I couldn’t roll my r’s but she told me “Yes you can!!! If I can say sounds in your language you can say sounds in mine!!” They thanked me again and off they went to their hotel.

When I got to the Oxxo, there was a short elderly lady, with curly grey hair and round glasses behind the counter. I greeted her with “Buenas noches Senorita” (Good evening, ma’am). I told her that I really wanted to learn spanish also but that it was very difficult to which she replied “No it’s not, you just have to practice!”. I then rattled off my appreciation phrases and that I understood it would come “poco a poco cada dia” (little by little each day”). These are phrases that I’ve learned well and I could see she could tell I was trying really hard. When I got back to the boat, I said the word placer over and over and found that I could indeed roll my r’s! It comes out like a grrrrrrrr and not a lyrical rrrrrrrrrr that some people can make but I know with practice it will only get better. Two great experiences with different people that helped me advance my spanish skills. Some of the best experiences of the journey so far.

I was complaining to Thebault that the spanish number system was messed up and confusing. For instance 1 through 9 is uno, dos, tres, quatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve. 10 is diez, 11 is once, 12 is doce, 13 is troce, 14 is catorce and 15 is quince. 11-15 are the only numbers that have a unique sequence to them. At sixteen it begins to follow sequence throughout the rest of the higher numbers. 16 is dieciséis, 17 is diecisiete, `18 is dieciocho and 19 is diecinueve. Then it begins 20 through 29, veintiuno, veintidós, veintitrés, veinticuatro, veinticinco, veintiséis, veintiocho, veintinueve. At 30 which is treinta, it follows suit with the term for 30 and then the name of the numbers 1-9. 11=15 stood out as odd to me until Thibault said it’s the same in the us numerical system. 11, 12 are the unique numbers in English. Granted there are only 2 instead of 5, but it still is an anomaly that throws a curveball into the equation if you’re trying to count in a foreign language.

Building sentences is another area I’m having difficulty with. Some of the same confusion can be found in english as well. For example……. I really appreciate it. or I appreciate it very much. I’m not lying when I say I failed in grammar and I’m not sure what the correct verbage is for the part of the sentence that adds the emphasis on appreciate before or after the word. Somebody help me out here please. Is it a pronoun or an adjective??? Understanding this is helping me to understand why and where I’m having the difficulty learning how to build sentences in Spanish and will hopefully help my grasp of this new wonderful language I’m enjoying learning so much.

I know I’m improving though! Poco a poco cada dia!! I find myself lying in bed at night repeating phrases and trying to build sentences. I’m remembering many words and phrases that I had trouble to start with and when I read my spanish language book I’m starting to expand my vocabulary and slowly but surely learning to build sentences. I’m really enjoying the challenge! The great part is that from Mexico to Columbia and every country in between I’ll be able to communicate in. Some of the nicest exchanges I’ve had with people taking the time and encouraging me and helping me learn.

2 thoughts on “Rolling Them Rrrrrr’s

  1. Bart says:

    Keep striving and learning you are doing very well Marty. I know in my travels I have had to pick up a few phrases and that’s about it and the friends I’ve made just giggle because I don’t slur or roll the Rrrrrrrs as you stated and it comes across pure gringo.
    Practice practice practice.
    You got this


    • friedfish says:

      Yea Bart I hear you. Learning and practicing the language has been one of the funnest parts for me so far. I attack it with con gusto and I can tell many of them laugh and encourage me.


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