I love love love the sound of Spanish. I watched Shrek just to hear Antonio Banderas’ voice coming out of that adorable cat in the thigh-high boots. When Chef Boyardee went to a football match in Barcelona, we could hear people chanting “Barça, Barça!” — pronounced the Castilian way so it sounded like “Bartha”— inside the stadium. Never has a lisp sounded so sexy.
When I visited Mexico in my twenties, the only Spanish I knew (aside from hola, adios, and gracias) was “una cerveza con limón, por favour.” Since beer with a lime wedge was a hobby of mine at the time, I thought it was the most important sentence to learn. (I’m hardly original in this — I once saw a forum entry somewhere online that asked why ordering beer is the only Spanish foreigners bother to learn. Guilty as charged.)
The last time I was in Mexico, I amused the resort staff by mangling their language as I tried to speak it. (Yes, I’m well aware that they were laughing at me much more than they were laughing with me.) My favourite barista Jesús asked me — with a straight face, bless him — where I learned my Spanish, so I guiltily outlined my unorthodox approach to language acquisition.
- ¿cómo se llama? from a Shakira video,
- lo siento from a Madonna video,
- ¡ándale! from a Speedy Gonzales cartoon,
- chico from the TV show Chico and the Man,
- vamos from Dora the Explorer, and
- me gusta from Sesame Street.
Jesús looked at me for a long moment. Then he said solemnly, “I think television has been very good to you.”