My English teaching experience has grown tandem to learning Spanish. The frustration of expression in a second language surges with one part of my life, the other explores deeper into my first. And man, it has opened my eyes to one fact: I am not good at English.
To describe something beautifully isn’t a thing most people do with daily language. Describing something at all in a second language can feel repetitive. Everything is ‘grande’ o ‘fuerte’ because the vocabulary I want to use isn’t there on command yet. There is a constant tension between what you want to say and what you can say. The job of a language learner is simple – ease that tension by introducing more tools. But it is hardly conveyed in that manner. Learn grammar, drill cards, listen to podcasts, repeat. And that is all important, of course. But in my experience, the group on the other end of that process doesn’t feel they have adequate ability. They tend to feel short handed. I charge it is because of a lacking focus on the beauty of a language.
The tension in my second language has acted as a slingshot for my first. Everything, EVERYTHING, can be better described. I feel like a graffiti artist tagging a wall when I tell a story. Every detail matters because in this moment, with this set of tools, I can articulate them all. You see what I see.
I’ve started practicing describing things beautifully in Spanish. Sure, verbs and conjugations are important. But if you want to capture a room, if you want to connect and communicate with the full potential of a language, speak in sonnets.
Thanks for taking a sip,
I recently started describing things as beautifully as possible in English, then the same object in Spanish. It’s an interesting exercise because the gab is vocabulary just as much as it is knowledge of what is possible within a new language. Give it a try, let me know what you think!