Tuesday, December 4, 2007

So...what DID we learn?

We have been here for 3 1/2 months - not that long in the grand scheme of things - but here we are getting ready to end the trimester. We have come a long way - here is the nitty gritty for those who want the down and dirty. For more details, keep reading.

Vocabulary words learned: 685
Verbs learned: 310

Over 900+ words we were given to learn...

Keep in mind that these are words that we were given to learn. These don't include the hundreds and hundreds of other words we have learned along the way - after the 4th time your teacher says, "por ejemplo", you figure out she is saying "for example" - this is an example of vocabulary we weren't given to learn, we learned from immersion por supuesto (of course).

Now, for the details (stop reading if you are already bored, or could care less):

  • Conjugation of verbs in present tense - both regular and irregular verbs

  • Conjugation of verbs in two forms of past tense

  • We only have 12 more ways to conjugate verbs we have to learn....sigh....

  • We learned that EVERY word is either masculine or feminine, and each has an article that goes in front of it: la casa (as an example), or una casa, or unas casas, las casas (the house/es)

  • Then of course your adjective has to agree with the masculine or feminine tense as well. Do you live in a red house (rojo)? Then of course it's not rojo - it's raja - because it must match casa - yo vivo en una casa roja.

  • Boring you yet?

  • We learned about Estar and Ser - both "to be" verbs - and the 20+ different reasons you have to know to determine if you use either Ester or Ser

  • Then we learned about "perifrasis verbales" - different phrases to say different things

  • Then came direct objects - easy you may say - well, that's in English - Spanish is entirely a different thing!

  • Indirect objects, of course, came next.

  • Then substitutions of both the direct and indirect objects (Ellen went to the store....changes to "she went to it"...oh so easy you may say? Even third trimester students confuse when/how to use these)

  • How to phrase a question - different format than regular sentences

  • then comes reflexive verbs. It's used when something directly affects you - such as you look at yourself in the mirror. The sentence structure is different. A VERY different way of thinking about things.

  • Intransitives - You think you like the cookie, but in Spanish, the cookie is pleasing to you. In English, "You" is the subject of the sentence, but in these type of set-ups, the "cookie" is the subject of the sentence.

  • All of the above is JUST what we learned in our grammar class. We have two other classes

  • In our phonetics class - we spent the whole trimester trying to sound like a Spanish speaker, not a gringo - learning diphthongs, accents, syllables, intonation, etc. We have had some success with it :-)

  • In our conversation class we try to pull it all together! Each week we have a different topic we discuss. House, family, foods, animals, occupations, etc. We learn words and verbs about each topic, then discuss them in class.

Well my friends - that's it in a nutshell. I've only covered our main topics - we learned so much more, but if you are still reading, I don't want to bore you even further. I've included a picture of the flash cards I made, and vocabulary lists of words I didn't make flash cards for. Enjoy!


Aaron said...

Your floor looks just like my desk! Flash cards, grammar sheets, and verb conjugation guides all over the place. But 900 words?!? Oh my.

Ben said...

If you ever start feeling too sorry for yourselves, I could start telling you about how German has three grammatical genders (it also has a neuter) that have no "-a = feminine, -o = masculine" pattern, four cases (nominative, genitive, dative, and accusative) into which every article and adjective must be declined ("Ich wohne in einem roten Haus"), reflexive verbs that can use either the accusative or dative, syntax that tends to, with the least bit of provocation, launch the verb to the end of a sentence that would look like a Christmas tree if you diagrammed it...

Just sayin'...

Melanie said...

Is that all you learned? Love you!

Melanie said...
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Melanie said...
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CA RN to Honduras Missionary said...

Sorry, didn't mean for this to sound like a competition, just wanted to let you all know what we are learning - and sometimes, if I seem a bit stressed out, it's because of how much we are learning.

Ben said...

Eek, now I think I came across as kind of a jerk there.

My comment was really all in fun. A foreign language is a foreign language, and there's not much use in arguing about which one's hardest to learn (though Melanie's probably got us beat).

It sounds like you guys have done a fantastic job over there. Bravo to you for keeping track of how much work really goes into developing even a baseline competency in a new language - I think your blog has been a pretty incredible source of insight into what missionary life is like.

Anyway, thanks for posting, and sorry if I came across as "that guy."