New language buzz (Part I)

June 19, 2012 By: sarina

Learning a new language is fun. To get acquainted with different accents and styles of speaking is even more interesting. It is basically about being familiar with new cultures and broadening the boundary of knowledge.

Generally, diverse words and pronunciations fascinate beginners. So, they try to use their fresh knowledge whenever and wherever possible. As a result, they slip at times. Mentioning my own experiences, I passed through funny, yet embarrassing and silly incidents during my two years Spanish course at Bishwo Bhasa Campus few years back. My quest to be familiar with the foreign languages drove me to learn Spanish. Likewise, flamenco, bull fight, festivals of tomatoes, paella, football clubs, literature etc. added fuel to the fire.

I vividly remember the first week of the class. It was in 2007, our 'profe' (acronym of profesor; ‘profesor’ in Spanish means ‘professor’ in English) Mr. Ramesh Shrestha was writing Spanish alphabets on the board during his 25th year of teaching. My ears were excited to be fed with amazing sounding vowels and consonants. In the meantime, someone opened the classroom door, looked around and left. The teacher inquired who he/she was. Being an active student, I immediately responded, 'un chico' (a boy). Everybody burst into laughter but I could not figure out what was so humorous. After the class was over, I went to office. During my lunch break, I repeated the whole incident of the classroom to my colleagues. It was their turn to laugh at me. Later my colleagues told me that the word I used in Spanish had an offensive meaning in Nepali. I blushed with embarrassment.

The next day, I gathered few guts within myself and entered the classroom. But all the memories of huge laughter in the classroom were still playing inside my mind. I had happened to use my little knowledge which left me embarrassed. And the time onward, I was scared to use new words feeling that they could have foul meanings without my knowledge.

Similarly, one of my friends had a similar experience during oral examination. The teacher asked him, '¿Estás casado?'(Are you married). My friend Simba answered, 'Sí'(Yes). The teacher added, '¿Cuántos niños tienes?'(How many children do you have?). Simba replied, 'I am not married and I don't have any children'. Just few seconds before he answered that he was married, the teacher reminded him of his answer. Later, he realized that he gave affirmative answer thinking that the teacher asked, '¿Estás cansado?'(Are you tired?) . He had been confused with the words 'cansado'(tired) and 'casado'(married).

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