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Friday, January 28, 2022

Learning Spanish: The Never-Ending Story

“Who doesn’t speak Spanish?” is the punchline in this scene from the comedy series “You’re the Worst.” I am bombarded on Facebook with advertisements for Spanish courses for English speakers, and most of them are completely stupid, making outlandishly stupid promises about how quickly and easily you can pick up Spanish. I’ve never found learning Spanish anything like easy and quick, but in my defense, my IQ is probably very low.


The same is true about learning piano, at least at my age. The thing is, I’ll never make it to Carnegie Hall—few musicians do—but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the hell out of playing at whatever level I find myself at today. The same is true for learning Spanish. If I had my own course, I would make outlandish promises as well, like that you can learn Spanish in 60-70 years, if you work hard at it. That’s right, even you! Maybe even me!


There is no finish line, there will be no banner unfurled proclaiming “Mission Accomplished” when you take on learning another language. What you will get is the daily frustrations of how impossible the task can be, but you will also get the reward of communicating with someone in another language, a remarkable act that I have always found thrilling.

If you can read this, I will buy you an ice cream.

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