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  • Thursday, February 02, 2006

    Spanish Level II

    After successfully completing Spanish Level I, I am now enrolled in Spanish Level II (intensive). The intensive part means that instead of being 2 hours a day, 4 days a week, it is now 4 hours a day 5 days a week. This is a lot of Spanish.

    Once again we have an interesting mix of people. There are only 3 others from my original class (one being my wife) and 13 new people. We now have people from Sweden, Finland, Georgia (nothing like Russia), Poland, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Korea, and Palestine. Almost everyone speaks perfect English which is a little surprising since it’s definitely not true for most of the Spaniards. Not that I’m complaining. Talking with the other students in English is my favorite part of the whole class.

    One thing we learned was that the Spanish big numbers go from “millones” to “billones”, but while “millones” corresponds to the English word millions, “billones” corresponds to the English word trillions. The word for billions in Spanish is just mil millones (one thousand million). I guess this wouldn’t bother me so much except that “billones” is so close to billions. The German guy told me that billions in German is also 12 zeros. My theory is that America wanted to be the only country that had billionaires. Of course Italy followed suit and made it so you could have 1,000 lira and not be able to buy a cup of coffee. But when everyone is a billionaire, it’s just not as much fun, so they ended up scrapping the whole thing and going to Euros.

    We also had two interesting exercises about food. When we were learning the ordinal numbers (first, second, etc.), we had an exercise where we had to order the steps required for making the special Catalan garlic bread (Described in my post Can Borrel). There was the step to squish the tomato, the step to rub the garlic, and the step to add olive oil. I found this funny because you can really do this in any order, but whoever put together our book figured everyone would know the correct Catalan way for preparing such an important food.

    The second exercise required you to guess different Spanish foods based on a Spanish description. If you got the entire foods right, they spelled a hidden word down the middle. If you’ve been reading this blog, you should be able to guess the word. It’s the Spanish food we found everywhere. It has 5 letters. It is … I’ll put it at the end just in case you want to guess.

    Our homework assignment was also interesting. We each drew an outline of our home country on a piece of paper that was passed around the class. When a person got a sheet of paper, they added a word they associated with the country. When you finally got your sheet of paper back it was filled with Spanish words. You then had to write a composition about your country that included every word on your sheet. My sheet included Buffalo, Uncle Sam, The Death Penalty, Hot Dogs, Opportunity, NFL, War, Hamburgers, Hockey, Bush, Baseball, NBA, Ben Laddin, Great, and McDonald’s. My composition included wonderful sentences like, “The idea of America is that a person can get everything they work for and nothing more, from lots of money to the death penalty.” I’ll find out tomorrow what grade I get on this jewel of Spanish literature. By the way, if you couldn’t already guess, the mystery food was jamon.

    2 Comments:

    Blogger Ilona said...

    Oh, what a great assignment! And... what fun talking to all those different people.

    9:52 AM  
    Blogger Andrew said...

    I like your homework better than mine.

    4:42 AM  

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