Skip to content

The Gist, but Just The Gist

August 13, 2013

Aside from everything else I’ve been doing of late, I’ve been trying to find time to get more extemporaneous practice with my Spanish, since the DELE is already on the horizon.

Last night, after we hit the hay (mostly because the Orioles blew a lead for the second time and we were getting tired of watching it), I flipped over to the Univision local news and followed it through to the national news.  I don’t often watch Spanish television – Univision is the only station we get on our cable package – and it’s been a very long time since I was watching telenovelas to try to recover any proficiency before my trips to Guadalajara on business.

So, okay, this was following the general rules for what “works” in my head when trying to practice comprehension skills:

  • Use something where I vaguely know the content
  • Use something that is going to stretch my ability to comprehend and infer the meanings of unfamiliar words
  • Try to acclimate to accents (when it’s a listening activity)

Complicating this was the fact that I had the wife with me.  My wife is a wonderful, intelligent, vibrant person.  Pero tambien, ella no habla español. Ni una palabra de la lengua.  She made the “mistake” (my words, in teasing, given how far we are from any decent body of French speakers) of learning French in school, and has since forgotten all of it from lack of use.

(Now, I may or may not have mentioned the incident a couple months back, during the World Baseball Classic, when I managed to squeeze in an evening of watching Puerto Rico hosting the Dominican Republic on ESPN.  Because of the countries involved… ESPN carried the feed straight from “ESPN Deportes”, meaning that every last piece of play-by-play and color commentary was in Spanish, except for baseball-specific terms.  The looks she was giving me, due to my watching this, did not entail a fun evening.)

So the news was a good choice, in my mind.  It didn’t matter what language it was in, right?  It’s still the news.  And most nights, we watch the local news anyway.

Now, between my laughing at the commercials (known brands doing very similar campaigns in Spanish as their English campaigns, mostly), she was more patient this time, but wanted me to translate what was being said.  There’s the problem – as a few folks have said in the Esperanto Learners’ group on Google+, trying to translate real time is really hard.  I’m listening to the broadcast and trying to both listen and talk at the same time…

Once I dumbed it down to the gist of it (and with some help from Wikipedia for items in stories that I didn’t know – factual information, like who the FMLN is, or trying to explain more fully what Sendero Luminoso is…) it got easier.  And, according to her, it at least sounded coherent without my sounding like I was grasping too much for the context.

Course, I need more than the gist to get by with my goal in sight…

One Comment
  1. I hear you on the interpreting. I have no problems understanding an English newscast, but live translating like that is nearly impossible for me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Autism Mom

An autism blog sharing ideas, news, strategies and tools, and lessons-learned from one mom with one child and one experience on the autism spectrum


Many Teams. One Nation.

Cailyn's Dad

The story of a father's battle with his daughter's battle with Autism

My Least Favorite Child Today

A daily ranking of my children

Autism Odysseys

Life with 4 neuroexceptional kids.

Summer all year round12

#Summerallyearround #4PawsforAbility #4PawsforSummer #ServicePaws4Summer


Changing the Way We Think About Learning Differences

developing dad

fatherhood, family, life and love.

Carrie Cariello

Exploring the Colorful World of Autism

Mommy Catharsis

Writer, Autism Advocate

Autism Uncensored

Capturing our Autism Journey

Autism Awareness

Wish you could see the world through my eyes

Dad Enough

A dad, his son, and dealing with Autism

Candice Curry - W3

Your story could be the key that unlocks someone else's prison. Share your story


The journey with our daughter, Cara.

Language Boat

immersion language learning

Different, Not Less

My Daughter On The Autism Spectrum

%d bloggers like this: