Today was the first day of my Spanish Conversation course. My instructor is originally from Ecuador, and speaks fairly quickly. In the first five minutes I felt, well, squinty. You know that face that you have probably made at some point when listening to someone with an accent, or when you are trying to understand someone in another language. I hope my nose was not wrinkled too. My listening face is not that great in a second language.
After those first few minutes, I relaxed my face, took a deep breath, and just listened. I realized that without translating in my head, I just listened to what she was saying, and I understood. I really understood! If only my speaking were as good as my listening, but that is the purpose of this course, no? I am glad this coming weekend is a long weekend. I hope to get in some good reviewing so I don’t feel so uncomfortable that I go mute in this conversation course.
It has only been in the last few years that I gave up my need to be perfect in a language before opening my mouth to use it. Since then, contrary to what I originally thought, I improve in any language by confidently making mistakes. Even blogging makes me focus on my native language. After studying and/or using other languages, I think it has somewhat wrecked my English instinct. I write awkward sentences consistently. My hope is that by blogging, my English will also improve because the perfectionist in me re-edits constantly. I just re-wrote the previous sentence several times, and I know I still missed some grammar points.
Tomorrow is Business Spanish, and I hope to make plenty of mistakes in that course as well!
Word of the day: estereotipos, n. – Stereotypes. That one should be easy to remember and slightly more useful than the “mocos” of my previous entry.