Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Trying to Learn Spanish - Pamplona and Olite

Words, then pics.

So, I talked about El Encierro, which was far and away the highlight of my life. But I have some down time here in Barcelona, so I thought I'd put up a little update about my language adventures and a few more pics of my time in and near Pamplona.

First of all, Spanish is hilarious. My Portuguese lets me understand a good amount of it (75% ish), but speaking is a little rough. First of all, Narda and Daniel told me that I speak with a Portuguese accent. Which is probably better than an American accent, but still not what I wanted. It makes sense though.

I think that the hardest thing about Spanish Spanish is the accent. They like their "th" sound, which as far as I can tell is always used when a C or an S is followed by an I (for example: Grathias and Barthelona). Given, it's not a hard "th" like it looks on paper, but it's enough to throw you off when you've only ever been familiar with western hemisphere accents. Also, there is no difference between B and V; both are said like a B. I knew that already, but it still throws me off.

But by the end of my time in Pamplona I had spoken enough Spanish to brush up on some of the things I didn't know and to be able to understand more of it. As I figured, the hardest part was figuring out which verbs were completely different than the Portuguese. The two biggest ones for me are:

  • Hacer instead of Fazer
  • Tener instead of Ter (not a big difference, but a complicated one)

Other than that it's mostly vocabulary that makes me feel like I sound like a two-year-old (toddler with a Portuguese accent). And now that I'm in Barcelona there is a lot of Catalan, which I am in love with. They use X a lot for the "sh" sound, and a lot of the words look like a mix of Spanish and French, which is how I would describe Portuguese, so I can read more than I thought. But it's still not a lot.

Learning languages is a humbling experience, and it has reminded me of how much work it took to get where I am in Portuguese (and English, for that matter).

Ok, picture story time.

After the running we bought churros and dipped them in chocolate (breakfast of champions).
Left to right: Daniel, Cup representing Narda, Rachel, Post-Encierro Calvin

Rachel and Narda have known each other for a few years.
They took this while I prepared to run in front of some angry man-cows.

Daniel and Narda took us to Olite. The drive was beautiful (I need a new camera).

There is a SWEET castle there: the Royal Palace of Olite.

It was closed. So we drank out of the lion head fountain.

Later that night (as all Sanfermine nights) there were fireworks.

The next day we went back to the castle. It was open this time.

I taught Narda how to penny surf. Notice her success.

I also hung my head out of the window for most of the 50-minute drive.

I left my camera with Daniel in the highest tower to climb the second-highest tower.
I'm pretending my San Fermin handkerchief is the Spanish flag.

I'm loving Spain.


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