Chatting with children

Wow.  Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted anything.  Truth is, I haven’t done much worth posting about!

Class is going swimmingly.  The last thing we learned was how to structure concessive sentences, another use of our good friend the subjunctive tense.  Concessive sentences are ones that “introduce a phrase or clause denoting a circumstance which might be expected to preclude the action of the main clause, but does not” (thanks, WordReference.com!); any sentence that uses even though/although/despite/in spite of, etc. is concessive.  The subjunctive comes in when you’re not sure whether the circumstance you introduce will happen:

Aunque me lo pidió de rodillas, no lo perdoné. / Even though he begged on his knees, I didn’t forgive him.  (Here I use indicative because I know for a fact that he begged.)
Aunque me lo pida de rodillas, no lo voy a perdonar. / Even if he begs on his knees, I won’t forgive him.  (Here I use subjunctive because I don’t know if he will beg or not.)

It’s been a while since I’ve given a grammar lesson here. ;)

In other news…this weekend two of the grandkids came to stay while their parents were away on a trip.  Cata is 5 or 6, and Ramiro is 2.  Talking to little kids in your own language can be hard enough; they mumble, they screech, they don’t always form their words fully, and they get frustrated when you don’t understand the special slang that only their parents can decipher.  Talking with a small child in a language that’s not your own is even harder.  It’s interesting because little kids haven’t always developed the social niceties that adolescents and adults have.  Whereas most adults are very patient with non-native speakers, little kids can be tougher—they talk extremely fast, and they will very bluntly correct you, poke fun at you, or just simply ignore you, all of which can be embarrassing and discouraging.  I had a very basic, kind of one-sided conversation with Cata yesterday in which she listed all the uses for a deflated* balloon (and believe me, there are way more than you or I could ever imagine) and I nodded and threw in the occasional comment about how practical (or silly) something was.  Naturally I fumbled a couple things but she was good about overlooking that. :)

*It took me the longest time to remember how to say “deflated” just now.  Desinflado –> desinflated –> deinflated –> deflated.  This is what language immersion does to you!  I’ve also offered Leah “grapes” numerous times when I was clearly holding a packet of raisins (grapes = uvas, raisins = pasas de uva, I don’t know why that’s so hard for me) and very matter-of-factly translated “nobleza” as “noblety” (rather than “nobility”) at dinner one night, which got some laughs.

One last news item: on Monday I’m being moved to another homestay.  One of Carlos and Cristina’s daughters was supposed to move in here (along with her husband and their two kids) in December after all of us girls had left, because she and her family are in the process of buying a house and need a place to stay while the details are being worked out.  As it turns out, they sold their old house quicker than expected and are being asked to leave it sooner than expected, and as nice as this house is there’s just not room for all of us in it.  Luckily our program was able to find spots for Casey and I with a lady in Belgrano (which is closer to school), and there was a place for Leah at the residencia in Palermo where lots of other CEA kids are living.  I’m sad to be leaving Carlos and Cristina, but I know that these things happen and there’s just no way around it—and I’m so, so grateful to them for all that they’ve done for me!

All for today!  Expect pictures with my next post. ;)

Kim

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2 thoughts on “Chatting with children

  1. Oh, Kim! You sound like you’re having such a wonderful time. Thank you for sharing your travels with us!!!! We’ll see you next semester. Cheers!

  2. Holly Morris says:

    KIm,
    No sabes la alegría de leer tus palabras. Desde la gramática hasta hablar con los niños – me has hecho acordar de unos recuerdos míos…de mis primeras semanas en Salta—y eso fue en enero del 1.989. Y saber que yo tuve la oportunidad de conocerte como alumna y mujer – ¡qué alegría!

    Gracias por compartir tu experiencia. Mientras tenés ya menos de la mitad (creo), no olvidas de disfrutar de todo, pero TODO, ¿meta?
    Un abrazo fuerte, hermana
    besos,
    Holly

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