Learning Girlie Country Spanish

Ξ July 26th, 2005 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Costa Rica, Humor, Whatever |

When I came to Costa Rica, my Spanish language skills were about non existent. I was down on “Where’s the bathroom”, and the more popular “Una Mas, por favor!”, but that generally limited my making meaningful relationships with Costa Ricans.

I then attended Spanish classes for about a month. I had to end that when my teacher kept hitting on me, (I am devastatingly attractive!), and besides it was too far to drive, too early in the morning for learning. I am also waaaay to old to have to deal with homework.

After a couple of years, my language skills got better, and I guess I ranked myself at “survival level”.

Then ML came into my life. My good friend Ray, himself el esposo of a fine Tica woman, gave me a call. I was invited over to his house for dinner to meet this gorgeous, English speaking Tica (a Costa Rican female person), have dinner and whatever. i.e. a blind date. Now there are a ton of gorgeous Ticas here. A trip to the super can bring on heart failure if one is not careful. The women here are pretty much known world wide!


He was half right!

She was gorgeous. Tall (rare for a Tica), thin, and with the high cheekbones of the original Spanish mixed with the indigenous tribes of early CR. Nice lookin’ woman! But… She spoke nary a word of English. More on this shortly.

Chemistry reared its ugly head, however, and we hit it off. Brunch was set for two days later.

Note on brunches!

Brunch has always been my preferred first date. If all works out and there is something going on, the day can often be extended ’til whenever.

If you find you made a terrible error in judgement, perhaps as a result of alcohol ingestion, and you simply cannot wait to get gone, you can gracefully make your exit and still have the benefit of having a fine meal! Maybe you lose 1-2 hours. If it is a Sunday, you can still make it home for the game! Sunday brunches are better anyway!

The above technique also works well for women! Low life dude? Made the same alcohol related error? Get the meal and get out! Then go home and blog about the guy! Win-Win right?

So anyway, brunch turned out to perfect, and we spent the rest of the day together, and a fair amount of the evening. Hell, we are still together!

Now, I DO believe in lust at first sight, but I also am a talker. Communications (other than THAT!) was going to be a problem with a woman who spoke little English.

OK… as I am here in CR, I figure it is my job to learn the language here. So we begin. We commenced a great relationship (we’re getting married in September) with never a fight! This of course was because I did not speak enough Spanish to say anything stupid or thoughless, both well-known and well-documentsed causes of relational conflict.

And learn I did… I was even able to actually talk with Jeanette when I needed housework done! Jeanette is Nicaraguan and also speaks no English.

So after maybe 6-8 months, I am CRUISIN’ in Spanish.

Then it happened.

About a month ago, I began to think about how language is learned naturally. Kids pick it up from the parents and never miss a beat. They hear mom and dad talking and they learn….. Hold it! WAIT! Mom and DAD? I was learning Spanish from two women! I had no male language role model! Worse, my sweetie is from Guapiles, a small town in the Limon province! A compasina! A country gurl! Was I learning country-Costa Rican-Nicaraguan Spanish from two women. Was I learning Girlie-Country Spanish?

I had to know… so last night when her family came over for dinner, I cornered her son Carlos (28) and two other guys and asked them if there were things that women said that men did not. A manner? Inflection? Specific words? Adjectives?

This turned out to fairly hard to ask, but finally they got it. After much discussion in Spanish Ricky Ricardo style, I sadly learned that I do speak girlie-country Spanish. I use Tica words like preciosa) I use sacar instead of tomar when referring to taking photos…. There were dozens of other examples. I made a list. This morning, I was afraid to speak to my (male) Tico clients! Sheesh… How do I get into these things?

Oh, and now we DO have the occasional argument as I am now able to say stupid or thoughtless things in two languages. Progess.


Leave a reply


TicoGrande's photos More of TicoGrande's photos

Search Me