re: Oogo Chavez page 3

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I know what you mean. I didn't take Spanish, only ... it was in a glossary or maybe at a museum.

So how many words (in Spanish) do you know now? (Just wondering.)

I think at one time I figured 3 or 4 thousand, not counting the non-everyday, often long words that I would see at museum exhibits.

I'd been in Mexico about 12 days when I got to the big museum in Chapultepec Park in Mexico City, and I found I could read at least half of the exhibit signs fluently because those words usually had direct cognates in English. I think it is an anthropological museum.

Then about 3 weeks later I broke my leg and had to stay in Guatamala City for 6 weeks before continuing. I had to soak my ankle alternately in hot and cold water for an hour (or 30 minutes?) twice a day, and I mostly studied the glossary in the back of Spanish in a Nutshell during that time. Then I checked a college level textbook in Spanish out of IGA (Instituto Guatemalteco Americano, iirc), and read that for 3 weeks until I had to return it.
I also read either La Nacion or another newspaper every day, and learned the word "choque", which I don't think is a cognate, but was in the headline above a front page, full page picture of a traffic accident, almost every day. I guess it means collision or accident, don't know. But I read the whole paper. Newspapers are good for learning because the stories follow a set format that one is already acquainted with in English.
Plus I went to the movies about 3 times a week. I hobbled along on my crutches a couple blocks to one of 3 theatres that showed a different double feature in English with Spanish subtitles sort-of everyday. That is, they would show the same two movies maybe 4 or 7 times, but only every third day. The movie schedule was in the paper, and usually I just took the best of the 3 that were near by, but one time I wanted to see Mujeres Apasionadas (Women in Love) and AKA Cassius Clay (don't remember the Spanish name) at two separate movie theatres and there was no bus line to significantly shorten the way, so I did maybe 3 or 4 miles on crutches that day. It was very good for my upper arms.
All this on 3 dollars a day in 1971. A dollar for the hotel, 50 cents for lunch, 50 cents for dinner, 5 cents for the newspaper, 5, 10, or a couple times 25 cents iirc for the movies, 5 cents for an ice cream bar, and 80 cents for mad money, including occasionally a roll of film.
One of the most interesting parts was near the USA border. I hitchhiked and everyone who picked me up asked the same questions. And they all spoke English enough to translate when I couldn't answer. Como se llama? (Cual es su nombre? when I didn't understand) De donde viene? Que parte? and a couple more I've forgotten.

And then there was the stanger who came up to me on the street in Guatamala City and said "Corazon!" I was amazed at the emotional greeting, and thought maybe I already knew him, but he was actually saying Que horas son. That was a lesson in itself.

A few days after the cast was off, I continued, on to see my friend in Costa Rica, and then on to Panama where I tried to hitchhike back to the US on a boat or ship. That no longer worked even in 1971. Most ships going through the canal don't even dock, and when a crew member was too sick to work, they would radio back home and a replacement was flown out. So they didn't pick up crew just off the dock or in a bar, like in movies. So I flew back to Texas and picked up my car in San Antonio, where I had left it.
One time I got picked up by a car with a driver in the front and a Central American Indian wearing bifocal sunglasses (which I had never seen before or since) in the back, carrying a pistol in his lap. I sat in the front and the ride was short until our paths diverged, and he wasn't eager to talk, so that's really all I know about him.
When I broke my leg I had to spend the night in a ditch and then hitchhike to the hospital. It had almost never taken more than 10 minutes to get a ride before, but this time it took two hours, and I had to stand on one foot almost the whole time, because of my my location just past the crest of a hill on the outside of a curve on a fairly highspeed road because there were no intersections. When someone finally stopped, I couldn't carry it so I had left my backpack in the ditch, and since everyone had been so nice to me, it had seemed like a small request for a guy with a broken leg to make, to ask someone to go get my backpack.

But the guy first asked for id and I gave him my driver's license. Then he asked for my passport, and I gave him that. Then when I asked him to get my backpack, he picked up a big heavy wrench from the floor of his backseat and said, "OK, come with me." I thought maybe he was going to hit me with the wrench and rob me. So I hopped to the front of the car, pulled up my pants leg to show him my leg swollen under the black plastic tape I had bound it with, and tried to cry.

So he had me stand where he could see me while he went down the ditch (roughly perpendicular to the road) and told me to Stay there.
After he got the backpack and I got in the car and we had driven for a mile, I asked him why he was so cautious , and he said "I thought you were a Communist guerrilla." "But I had a broken leg." "They can have broken legs, too." "But you took the keys to the car." "You could have put in in neutral and pushed it a little and coasted to the bottom of the hill" "But what could I do then?" "You could have confederates waiting."
Anyhow, he took me to the hospital in Antigua, but wasn't satisfied, so he asked me to wait while he checked out the constuction of his new vacation home and then drove me back to Guatamala City, an hour away with my leg really in pain with every little bump we went over, and he took me to the hospital there, gave me his phone number, and dropped me off. He was Chinese, and I used to refer people to his restaurant, but it's a long time ago, and I think I have forgotten the name anyhow.
By far the most adventurous period of my life and very much fun.

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U.S. newsreaders always called Charles de Gaulle "Charlz," not "Sharl." ... they came and saved our sorry asses during the Revolution.

My theory is that in de Gaulle's time, most newscasters were simply reading the news, now we have live video from the country of origin and it's easy to verify the approximately-correct pronunciation.

That sounds right. Very good.
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La Cucaracha, anyone? What a let-down to find out, in Spanish class, what "cucaracha" meant. The song just wasn't the same after that.

The song was never about the little beast that we all know and hate. "La Cucaracha" was the name given ... you're having trouble working out why a car would be named after an insect, just think of the VW Beetle.

I'm not saying you or Cecil are right or wrong, but Cecil does disagree with you.
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/010727.html
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Peter Moylan filted:
La Cucaracha, anyone? What a let-down to find out, in Spanish class, what "cucaracha" meant. The song just wasn't the same after that.

The song was never about the little beast that we all know and hate. "La Cucaracha" was the name given ... you're having trouble working out why a car would be named after an insect, just think of the VW Beetle.

The idea doesn't even raise an eyebrow in a world where a car was once named after a malicious sprite that causes mechanical malfunctions, and a more recent one for oral sex..r

"You got Schadenfreude on my Weltanschauung!"
"You got Weltanschauung in my Schadenfreude!"
(Instituto Guatemalteco Americano, iirc),

BTW, by Americano, they mean the USA.
I found their website, http://www.iga.edu/main.php and it even has a link to the Embajada Americana, the American Embassy, with the seal of the USA above that.
So they didn't and don't have a probem using American to refer to the USA. They don't need the word. They have Guatalmalan to describe themselves.
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My theory is that in de Gaulle's time, most newscasters were simply reading the news, now we have live video from the country of origin and it's easy to verify the approximately-correct pronunciation.

That doesn't explain "el-Kayduh". Numerous Arabs have said it on American TV many times, but it's still "el-Kayduh" to us.
I think it was "goûtez bien".

Rob Bannister
The song was never about the little beast that we ... named after an insect, just think of the VW Beetle.

I'm not saying you or Cecil are right or wrong, but Cecil does disagree with you. http://www.straightdope.com/columns/010727.html

Thanks. Cecil usually does know better than I do, so I'd better abandon my theory.

Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org

Please note the changed e-mail and web addresses. The domain eepjm.newcastle.edu.au no longer exists, and I can no longer receive mail at my newcastle.edu.au addresses. The optusnet address could disappear at any time.
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So how many words (in Spanish) do you know now? (Just wondering.)

I know that this question wasn't directed to me, but it started me thinking. I never learnt Spanish, but I did learn guitar (1), and a few words of Spanish sort of come along with the territory.

Let's see, now:
La cucaracha, la cucaracha
Ya no puede caminar
Porque no tiene, porque le falta
Marijuana que fumar.
So there you are. I know 17 words of Spanish. A little less if I'm not allowed to count duplicates.
Wait a minute. "Ariba, ariba". That's two more. Don't ever say you can't learn by watching the Bugs Bunny show.
Oh, and how could I forget "Ay, ay, ay, ay. Canta y no llores"? Eight more words. Pretty good for someone who doesn't know the language.

(1) Classical guitar, of course. Recuerdos de l'Alhambra. Lágrima. Hey, that's five more words. The number keeps growing and growing.

Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org

Please note the changed e-mail and web addresses. The domain eepjm.newcastle.edu.au no longer exists, and I can no longer receive mail at my newcastle.edu.au addresses. The optusnet address could disappear at any time.
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