Hasta luego, español

And so we continue southward onto Portuguese-speaking Brazil. In summary, I think my Spanish skills have consolidated nicely on this trip, to the point where I could almost describe myself as bi-lingual. Almost.

At the end of our Argentine stint in 2007, I expressed disappointment that my skills hadn’t developed further, and I understood that this was due to a lack of immersion: i.e. When you surround yourself with English speaking foreigners (and girlfriend, for that matter) it’s very difficult to break through the fluency barrier.

So I wasn’t expecting much to change this time. And although not much has, another couple of months of activity and problem solving has substantially increased my confidence with the language. My vocabulary might only be fractionally larger, but my ability to pull out the right words at the right time – and comprehend in context – has really excelled.

My yardstick is that now, I never hesitate to approach strangers and ask questions to find answers and solve problems. I don’t have blank, silent moments – I can persist with the interrogation until I can understand the response and gain the necessary information.

That’s undoubtedly a hugely useful tool for traveling. The flip side is that I still cannot have more general, sociable conversation with native speakers. Those can still only skirt around the regular “where are you from”, “how do you like my city” topics.

Portuguese, well that’s another matter entirely. I’ve got the Lonely Planet phrase guide here, and it’s looking rather challenging. But those nasal vowels, phew, what a trip ;-) I think I might enjoy trying.

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One Response to “Hasta luego, español”

  1. Fenn says:

    I found Portuguese utterly baffling in terms of pronunciation particularly transitioning from Spanish. The written words are similar enough to get by reading (well, at least as well/badly as my Spanish) but listening/speaking I was completely lost at sea.

    For a good few days in Portugal, I thought there was just a lot of eastern-european/russian tourists around until I realised that _was_ Portugese.

    Mind you, Brazilian Portugese is probably different all over again :)