This week I began Unit 3, Lesson 1, and as had happened when I began the previous other two, I was immediately immersed into a new world where unknown words were being thrown at me as if I should understand their meaning and context. But this time was armed with something I hadn’t had before — an ever expanding vocabulary.
By paying attention to what was being written or said, even when I couldn’t understand much of it, I was able to pick out words I knew that helped put the unknown words into context, even when their meanings weren’t immediately clear. This made things go a lot more smoothly.Take this screen for instance. I’m shown pictures of people that are obviously either working or playing, but I don’t yet know the word for work [¡es trabajo!], and I certainly didn’t know all the ways and tenses to say and describe the word “play”, or “juego”..
I mean think about it: you can say play, playing, were playing, will play, have played, and you can even use play as a noun or a verb in English. Why would it be any different in another language? Evidently it is not.
So in the pictures we have a man working, two boys playing, three women working, and a little girl playing. I might not be certain about the words for working or playing, but I do know that the only picture that would fit with “Los niños” is the one of the two boys, therefore “Los niõs estan jugando [lohs neen-yos ehs-tan hoo-gahn-doh] must mean “the boys are playing.” When you approach it like that, it’s easy to tell that “Las Mujeres están trabajando” must mean ” the women are working,” and so forth.
Of course, like other Spanish words I have encountered so far, there is a definite correlation between male and female words, but sometimes the words you think would be masculine don’t work out that way. So in the pictures below, we have a boy basically saying “I am playing in the park,” a girl saying “I am playing in the school,” a man saying “I work in the hospital,” and a man saying “I work in a school.” But the girl doesn’t say “juganda”, it is still “jugando”, even though she is doing it in the feminine (notice the a?) school. Ah well, I am learning…
I also learned that mañana does not mean “tomorrow” like I always thought it did; it means “morning”. “Mediodía” is “mid day” or “noon”, “tarde” is “afternoon”, and “noche” is “night”.
Oooooh…complex sentences! I can do these! Roughly translated from top to bottom: “He has an egg but is not eating.” “He has an egg and is eating.” “The girl has a book and is reading.” “The girl has a book but is not reading.” Yeah baby!
I also learned the numbers up to twenty, and they were a little tricky. To help, they used words I knew to guide me – like how tazas mean cups, so catorce [kah-tohr-say] tazas must mean 14 cups.
I’m not confident enough with the new numbers to rattle them off just yet, but give me another week…
“Good day. How are you?” “Very good, thank you.”
“Good afternoon. How are you?” “Very good, thank you.”
See how polite I am learning to be?
Oh look! I am being interviewed!
“Where do you write?”
“In the morning, I write in the park” “in the evening, I write in the living room.”
That’s actually not too far from the truth, most days; even if the “park” is our back deck.
“Where do you work?”
The guy in the lower right is the one to click, because he should be saying, “I work in a restaurant.”
This is a little trickier; it’s not “where [dònde] do you work?” it’s “when [cuándo] do you work?”
“I work in the morning.” “I work in the afternoon.” “I work at night [Trabajo por la noche].”
Then another new thing got thrown at me: “inside” and “outside”. Did you catch that? Look at the pictures and figure out the new words – they are “adentro” and “afuera”. Thanks to the pictures, it is obvious that…
“The man works inside.” “The men work outside”
“The women work inside.” “The woman works outside.”
I haven’t really impressed you yet, have I?
Well, try to remember that everything I am working out is something that I’ve had to learn, bit by bit, with no English language to guide me as the pictures correspond with the words I’ve been given that I have previously been taught. I suspect that it’s similar to how a child learns language – you start with a couple of easy words [ie – mama, papa], and work your way up to an extensive vocabulary. See? This is no different.
It does seem a little trickier, however, because I no longer have a child’s blank slate of a brain.
One of the things that is giving me a little bit of trouble is grammar! I know the correct word, but sometimes I just don’t know which tense to use. I’m learning, I’m learning.
This is the one that impressed Kevin. He didn’t know that “corbata” meant tie and “calcetines” meant socks…until I told him. It’s silly the little things that give me a sense of satisfaction, I’ll admit.
Oh, I also learned another new pair of words: “y” [ee] , meaning “and” and “pero” meaning “but” – but not to be confused with “perro”, which means “dog”. Got it?
“[Do you] have shoes and socks?” <–Do you like how I noticed there was no “usted” or “you” in that question, and that I knew it was implied.
“I have socks, but don’t have shoes.”
“[Do you] have brothers and sisters?”
“Yes. I have two brothers and two sisters.”
“Do you have a coat and a hat?
“I have a coat, but don’t have a hat”
This was obviously an exercise teaching the difference between “and” and “but”.
And that’s the end of Unit 1 Lesson 1. Nest week, I’ll do lesson 2.
Before I leave, I should mention that I got an update from Kim, my PR contact, who clarified how you earn stamps: “typically it is when you complete a specific action, take a Studio class and/or play a new game in Rosetta World. Hopefully this clarifies the stamp question a bit.”
Indeed, it did.
Another thing I want to mention: Wayne’s girlfriend Jennifer was one of several people who’ve asked if I agreed to blog about TOTALe weekly in order to get to take the course for free. Not exactly, and I should clarify what happened right now.
Like many companies do, Rosetta Stone sent me an email telling about the new program, and saying they would love a review and could arrange for me to test the product. I’ve wanted to take Spanish for a while, so it seemed like a great opportunity. I naively wrote back and said sure, send the product and I’ll send an email once the review is posted (meaning like within a month or so). I even Googled “Rosetta TOTALe” and saw that was exactly what a few other sites had basically done.
Think about that for a moment.
Upon receiving the package and trying to work out how exactly I would conduct the review, I realized that I was being completely unrealistic. What did I think? That I would use the lessons for a week or two and be able to write a decent review about the process? Puh-leeze.
So I opened my big mouth and said I should turn it into a series, and I should post weekly. And that’s how this happened.
Something to consider here – I had no idea that the program would take about a year when I said this. But the best thing about knowing I have to get a post up weekly is that more than anything, it keeps me accountable. I have to stay on top of my lessons, because I said I would write about the results.
With that said, I am not sure if I will post weekly for the entire year (maybe I will eventually go in two week increments), but for now…weekly updates are the plan, even if they are late by a day or so every now and then.