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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DragonPolyglot

I finally spoke with a native Spanish speaker!

Okay, so this is a bit of a long story, but I'll keep it simple as I can.

So, recently I moved to a new neighborhood in another state, and in turn I started to attend a new high school. At the new high school, different clubs meet every Friday in the morning before classes, because they want each student to have equal opportunities perusing their interests. There is also a Latino population more than double of my old neighborhood, and I regularly hear Spanish accents and occasionally catch words of a Spanish conversation by native speakers while in the halls or eating lunch.

Today, I was invited to go to Drama club. I was interested in behind-the-scenes stuff like costume and make-up. There was a new girl there, too. How did I know? Well, despite having a larger Spanish-speaking population, the majority are still English-speakers. In the Drama club, someone was asking if someone can speak Spanish so the "Jamaican girl" (who is actually from the Dominican Republic, I later found. "Dominica" sounds a bit like "Jamaica" to untrained ears in a loud black box) can understand.

I introduced myself to her before we were interrupted by announcements, so I never caught her name and didn't realize it until the conversation was over. She seemed a bit shy; she went to the corner and didn't speak much to anyone else during the club activity (playing Kahoot on our phones and the computer, and she didn't have one). But she seemed to like talking to me for some reason. So I approached her again after the announcements, after our eyes met and we exchanged a smile and wave. I figured "she seems most friendly to me, I think I'll try to be her friend. I speak a bit of Spanish after all".

However, I am a bit shy too, and I found that I forgot most of my Spanish because I was like "what the heck do I say??". I asked her where she was from, and she told me the Dominican Republic. I told her I was also new to the school. She corrected me saying "nueva"; she pronounced it "nueba". I made sure to pronounce every "v" as "b" at that point so she could understand me better. She seemed impressed I could speak a bit more than "un poco de español".

The bell rung by the time I explained to her my family is in a new house. I asked if she liked the school and Drama club. She said "yes!". We walked and asked where we were going. I was going to Economics and she was going to English. We passed my class first and I waved goodbye. She seemed to be trying to say "hi" and "bye", but it came out in a very thick accent. Later we exchanged a quick greeting during the trip to our buses.

All in all, it was a nice experience and I hope to see her again in Drama Club soon, and finally catch her name, maybe help her learn English while she corrects my somewhat conversational Spanish. :)

September 17, 2016

15 Comments

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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BenZeller

That's great! Conversations with fluent speakers are one of the best ways to learn a language! I also think that it's really great that you help each other with each other's language (plus it's a great way to learn slang, a linguist's worst nightmare)

September 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DragonPolyglot

Absolutely, I do agree with all your points! It'll also help me build more confidence in actually speaking Spanish, and I since she speaks hardly a word in English I can help her in her own studies while speaking her language. And she can learn from my accent/dialect (since it's a bit different from my new area), and she can correct my pronunciation and/or grammar. Maybe I'll even get a bit of Dominican accent in my Spanish if I talk to her long enough, and I would like to try to get a bit more of an accent in my Spanish since a strong foreign-to-the-language accent can be a bit confusing for others. It's basically a win-win situation.

September 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BenZeller

Even if you try, you'll definitely get a bit of a Dominican accent. Once I had a Spanish teacher that was Peruvian, and when I switched schools and had a Mexican Spanish teacher, my new teacher told me that I had a bit of a South American accent, and I never even knew it.

Also, confidence when speaking a language is huge! I can't believe I forgot about it! I used to be so shy when speaking Spanish, but then I studied in Spain for a couple of weeks. I didn't want to speak at first, but when your bladder is about to explode and your only choice is to go to the McDonald's near you and ask for a bathroom, you're kind of forced to use Spanish. Even though I didn't learn a ton of Spanish vocab on that trip, I got much more confident with my Spanish, and it made the language so much easier.

Have fun chatting in Spanish!

September 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DragonPolyglot

¡Muchas gracias! :)

September 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jazztonight

Start thinking about the kinds of things you can talk to her about next time. I'd recommend asking about her family. How many sisters, brothers, aunts, etc. Be prepared to talk about your own family. Ask about pets, her favorite foods. Compliment her on her clothes, and name them, listing colors and styles. In other words, use the Duolingo vocabulary units to help you through it.

Most initial conversations are about daily and mundane things--music, tv, movies, church, etc. I think you'll do great!

September 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elizabeth261736

That was very nice nice of you. It was probably hard for her and you made it a lot easier. Hopefully, you will become friends. That's really the best way to learn.

September 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DragonPolyglot

I hope she becomes my friend. She seemed like a very nice person. Being new to this school myself, I can't imagine what it's like being new to a school AND hardly able to speak the language of the majority. I would like to help her adjust like I have been doing.

September 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elizabeth261736

Imagine not only going to a new school but an entirely new country!

September 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/falkego

Hi. I am a native spanish speaker from Venezuela. I am learning english because i like it a lot! I congratulate you for your advances in this beautiful and sometimes confusing language, which is spanish. I recognizes the effort made by the english speaking people and I would like to chat via facebook with you or someone else. Thanks a lot to the ones who could answer this proposal and my excuses for my grammatical mistakes. Bye.

September 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DragonPolyglot

Gracias. I don't have a Facebook so I can't practice with any one there, but I wish you best luck in English! :)

September 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Judy_Blue_Eyes

How nice for you both!

September 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aamira828

Cool!

September 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rosemary781002

Conversations!

September 19, 2016
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