Monday, October 5, 2009

Losing My Spanish

While I wholeheartedly agree that 40 million people can’t be wrong, I have to admit that the Spanish spoken in Argentina is a bit different, and definitely takes some getting used to. Last year I began to pick up the usage of ‘vos’ while living in Ecuador, though they never really conjugate verbs in the vos form, but rather sometimes use it instead of ‘tu.’

Ever since getting to Argentina, however, I’ve been taking a cue from the people around me and learning, rather quickly, how to conjugate vos. I wrote about this in a blog last week, noting the differences between the conjugations. But now I’m starting to notice that I’m losing my Spanish. That is to say, I’m losing my ‘normal’ Spanish.

After working so hard to become fluent in Spanish for close to three years, I’m now in a country where those rules are broken and a different Spanish is spoken. So basically, I need to unlearn what I spent so long learning in order to assimilate better. And after all, I’ve wanted to sound more Argentinian for a long time.

The other day I was trying to remember how to say something in the ‘tu’ form, and it took me a minute to remember. I’m getting all jumbled up now between ‘tu’, ‘vos’, and ‘usted.’ What makes it worse is that sometimes you still have to use the word tu here, like when saying ‘your.’

The bumbling is not a surprise to me, and I am sure that I’ll sound like an idiot for a while until I really get a grasp on this way of speaking. I just find it a little interesting that I am trying to unlearn what so many other Spanish-speaking natives understand as the correct way to speak. And though they might understand the Argentinian Spanish, to them it will sound different.

I wonder why they never try to teach ‘vos’ in the United States. After all, they force us to learn ‘vosotros’ which is only used in Spain. If you ask me, it seems a little short-sighted, since so many people travel to Argentina when coming to South America. The important thing is to not forget the forms of Spanish I’ve already learned, even if I’ve moved on to a different style.

¿Me entendés?


wairinginthedark said...

Te entiendo. No es fàcil adaptarse... Anyway, I believe this is also part of the local culture. In a similar way, the French they speak in Québec is rather different from the one spoken in France. And I'm sure you won't lose your Spanish. Just enrich it.

Un saludo,

Jon said...

Thanks for the friendly comments. I've heard about the differences between the French in Quebec and France. It's just one of those things that happens in different regions.

Hope you keep reading!