Oy vey! Spanish is hard. In its favor, it’s a MUCH easier language to learn than English. For starters, each vowel has ONLY one sound in Spanish. Another huge factor is that there is almost always only ONE verb per action. Most consonants have a single sound. There are almost NO silent letters. Every word is spelled phonetically.

Spelling phonetically is especially helpful for Mo. Mo spells English phonetically. You might even say creatively. So gerbil becomes jurbull. Even if he knows he should use "steal" instead of "steel", he uses "steel" because, he says, it’s more interesting. What’s interesting is the way Mo’s mind works.

Yesterday at our Spanish lesson, Hal and I were studying verbs. In Spanish, you are ALWAYS studying verbs. Maybe you are always studying verbs in every language? I don’t remember. I went to high school in Kentucky. We didn’t agonize over picky little details like specific dates in history, naming conjugations, knowing when you were splitting infinitives. We wanted to get to the parking lot and smoke pot. My husband cracks up when I remind him I got straight "A"s in high school. He points out this says more about public schooling in KY than my scholarship. I would be offended by this but I had to ask him the best word to use for "scholarship".

Isak, our infinitely patient Spanish instructor, is teaching us definite past and future perfect conjugations. At least we think that’s what they are. I ask how to say "I’m going to get my boys from school." Isak stares at me for a second, looking a bit confused. Then a slow smile began… a slow wicked smile.

Here is where Spanish goes a little crazy. Gets a little over-the-edge specific. Isak answers that there are more than a couple of choices for "get" and he writes two on the board. Later, at home, I looked up "get" on Verbix, my online Spanish verb conjugator. Do you know there are 80 different verbs and idioms for "get", depending on which kind of "get" you are gettin’? Plus there are options imbedded in those 80, bringing the total into the 90’s. In KY, we just used "git" fer everthang.

For "give", there are only 41 different verbs and idioms. Sounds so much more do-able suddenly. As if learning 41 different verbs, and when to use each one could ever be simple. So I’ll be learning how to give en Espa├▒ol before I learn how to get… here’s hoping you can teach an old dog new tricks.

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