https://www.duolingo.com/Samsta

(Update) Small Spanish Encounter

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Setting: At a testing center to take another CLEP test (Western Civilization II) (CLEP = College Level Examination Program).

The woman helping me to get set up told me that the College Board now requires that you sign into an account before taking a test. I didn't have an account, so she started helping me to set up when we ran into a problem that wouldn't let us create the account. She finally called someone to ask if they knew what the problem was and how to fix it, and at the beginning of the call she said, "Oh, yes, we can talk in Spanish." So she was right next to me talking in Spanish on the phone for a while. I understood pretty much everything, so that was good, but I knew I would feel like a wimp if I didn't try to practice my Spanish with her. Finally, after the call, I said (referring to a text field), "¿Qué escribo aquí?" ("What do I write here?"). So she responded in Spanish, saying "Oh, you speak Spanish? Okay, let's speak in Spanish". So from there, we just went on and off, switching from Spanish to English. I felt like she was talking a lot more than me, but at least I understood (almost) everything.

I actually ran out of time before we could finally get it to work (it's a 90 minute test, and I had somewhere to be) so I'll see her again tomorrow when I actually take the test. So, although I wasted a lot of time trying to create that account, at least I got some Spanish practice in. Any similar stories?

UPDATE: I returned to take the test and passed. I talked with her again, and this time I felt like it was more of a conversation than last time. I got to ask all the things that I wanted to and it was overall a great experience. I even told her about Duolingo, and she seemed pretty interested (she wrote it down for later).

4 years ago

6 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
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Since you asked, I have a similar success story I can share. I was travelling and stopped to buy gas and take a bathroom break. When I came out of the bathroom, an hispanic guy was standing at the cash register trying to talk to the cashier. He spoke no English and she spoke no Spanish. It turns out that he had pre-paid with cash, but the pump had cut off before his full amount of gas was pumped out, so he came back for his change or to get her to re-start the pump. It was hard going because I didn't know the word for pump, but I struggled through with lots of pantomiming. They were both super greatful even though I know my Spanish was disastrous. I looked up "pump" at my first opportunity and I don't think I will ever forget la bomba. The word "fireman" (bombero) makes a lot more sense now, too. They're pumpers!

It's a little scary forcing those few words out of your mouth but the experience is exhilirating.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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That's so amazing!! I'm glad you got up the courage to engage in conversation. Looks like it was worth it :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Samsta
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Definitely. The interesting thing is that, after we started speaking in Spanish, it felt like the "ice" was broken immediately. If you share two languages in common, talking with someone is a lot more enjoyable and relaxed (I'm not a very good conversationist).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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That's a good observation! I prefer finding people I have things in common with for the same reason. I hadn't thought of the language thing though. (Well, I suppose dialects count. I'm always excited when I meet people who share that in common with me. :D) This is very encouraging though.

There are people who work at the laundromat who speak English and Spanish. But, I haven't tried to talk to them. I am afraid of offending them by assuming they have any interest in practicing with me. I know where this fear comes from. So many people expect people from my culture to be their educators automatically and immediately no matter where we are. It takes a lot of energy sometimes and so, I'm afraid to just approach without a little more familiarity. . (Though, I've heard that people are often very receptive to helping someone practice. But, still, I'm so nervous!! That's why I think it was very brave of you. That and also being willing to make mistakes in front of someone else :D)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/spenser92

Happened to me a while ago, but I didn't have the courage to speak back in spanish! The cashier at a gas station spoke spanish to the customer in front of me, and I almost said Hola. Close! hahaha

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/J324
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I had a short, mostly one-sided conversation in Spanish yesterday. I was a spectator at a national debate tournament, and I was bored between two of the rounds, so I asked one of the competitors what languages he knew. He said he knew English, a little Spanish, and some Latin. I can't remember exactly what I said, but I explained to him in Spanish how I was learning Spanish, and how my German was much better. He then told me, "No comprendo tu." I responded, "Yo tambien!" I have found that it is quite awkward to start a conversation with a complete stranger by asking him what languages he speaks, but sometimes it results in some pretty cool conversations!

4 years ago
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