Thursday, December 14, 2006


Mmmmmm, cake

My family and I lived in Costa Rica during 1989 and into 1990 a little. We were down there for language training. (Spanish) My parents would go to language class and other missionary type activities all day while my brother and I would go to school at Sonlights which was a Christian school and we also had an hour of spanish class too.

Sonlights was great. We got snacks during the day (although I did NOT like the fig bars, gimme a fig newton anyday, and the cold beans and sour cream on tortillas were okay, there were other snacks but that is all I remember right now) and during the summer instead of school, we would go to different activities. The activities were swimming (one motherfucker almost drowned me, don't remember his name but I think he was the son of the director or something, and he had red hair) and there was roller skating. We also did played some soccer and wrestling. I remember wrestling a HUGE 6th grader when I was in 3rd grade. He had at least a foot on me but it was still fun. I remember him being very hairy but I think that is mostly because I didn't have much hair. Don't remember his name but his last name was Sexton. A very nice family who had sons around our (my bro and me) age. They went to Uruguay if memory serves. If you were a missionary that needed language training, odds are that you were going to Costa Rica for a bit to try and pick some up before you went off to your chosen (or assigned) Spanish speaking country.

Dammit! I was trying to find where I taught everyone how to speak spanish, or at least pronounce the vowel sounds, but googling myself brought up no results for vowels. So we'll briefly run through it. And unlike English, this is the only sounds that Spanish vowels will ever make.
A, pronounced like when the dentists asks you to open your mouth. Say aaaaaah.
E, pronounced like someone indifferent. Did you like the movie. Eh, it was okay. Also sounds like the "e" in egg.
I, pronounced like the english ee. Tree, or bee.
O, pronounced like o in english but shorter. Really hard to explain. Um.....I got nothing.
U, pronounced kind of like eeeewwww, but again shorter. Sounds similar to the sound monkeys make, as in "oo oo aa aa".

The whole point of this focuses on the spanish "I". It sounds like a double "ee" in english. Occasionally this will present a problem for translators not super familiar with english but not as bad as Japanese translations. There is (was) an english language weekly newspaper that was printed in Costa Rica. I never really read it because I had a Nintendo, a little brother, the outside and friends that were my age. But one day my dad showed me a recipe that appeared in the paper.

It was a recipe for "Shit Cake". Gross and very funny. But it was actually a recipe for Sheet Cake, they just forgot that while ee and i sound the same to spanish readers, those words mean two very different thing to anglo readers.

And my apologies to you for the way the Spanish vowel lesson ended. O and U are just very hard to explain in writing.


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