Thursday, September 16, 2010

En La Clase De Español

I always think of not attending
my Spanish class
with its boring teacher
who only talks, talks, talks


words I cannot comprehend
a dead language
trying to be revived
like old music
like old memories

En la Clase de Español,
Insomniac's Call, I Second Year

I was a sophomore when Spanish was introduced. It was part of the curriculum: a directive from the frailes behind the Royal Pontifical University. The estudiantes were eager to learn. We were after all, men and women of letters. However, all hopes of learning suddenly faded when the maestro finally came to class. The disappointment happened when he spoke in fluent Spanish during the first day without translating all the words he said.

"This is how you learn Spanish."

Spanish used to be the political, intellectual and business language of Manila. That was in the 1900's. Today, it is spoken mostly by the old rich and by those who can pretend to be members of the upper class. It is a dead language in this part of the world and despite the loaned words including the dialects which traces their mother tongue in Spain, it will never become the lingua franca of the country again.

This sad reality must be the reason why the professor never pushed forth the goal of learning. He would talk in Spanish while the students were pretending to listen. I was more obvious with my protestations. Aside from doodling in front of him (and making a lousy poetry out of frustration) I once submitted an assignment mistranslating an entire paragraph by substituting English with Spanish word for word.

"Ese hombre es un tonto"

Once, I asked another instructor if she could allow me to sit in her class. It was a desperate attempt to catch up and learn from the subject since the preliminaries was fast approaching. The snooty teacher, who is also the assistant dean, was gracious enough to welcome my presence. She only allowed me to observe but the exposure had given me a sneak peak at how the language was taught elsewhere.

Fate pulled a bad joke when the professor assigned to our section became ill and was unable to attend our afternoon class. He was confined to bed for the rest of the semester and was replaced by a moderate instructor who would at least translate the Spanish words she taught.

At least.

I received a passing grade in Spanish 101. The next time the subject was offered in my junior year, I had to become Sra. Soresca's pet just to get a grade of tres. By then, we learned that languages not used in conversations are bound to be forgotten. It was how Latin disappeared in the tongues of civilizations. It was also how I converted back to my mother tongue after two semesters of trying to learn a dead language.

Me Llamo Sueño. Estudio Español

That was until I discovered that a student must pass a language exam before he could begin his Thesis in Masters.


Nimmy said...

ooooh! i find men speaking in Spanish sexy and masculine. hihi.

Eternal Wanderer... said...

eres el papi calliente di mis sueños.


maginoongbulakenyo said...

Medyo similar yata ang spanish sa filipino..tama ba ko sir mugs?

Back in college, nihonggo ang kinuha ko. Potek dumugo ang ilong ko sa hirap..Lol! Trip ko matutunan ang french, astig pag nagsasalita sila parang ang sakit sa panga. hahaha

soltero said...

Spain never really intended to teach us Indios their language because they believe we are beneath them. Ganyan din inasal ng mga prof mo hehe..:P

Anyways, dito advantage talaga pag alam mo mag converse in spanish kc dami latinos na di marunong mag ingles LOL

Alterjon said...

no hablas español. :)

Anonymous said...

would've loved to learn the language din pero ala kami ganyang keme sa college.

oh well, once i am done with whatever it is i am doing now... THAT cervantes school is my next hello-world-here-i-come recipient. hehehe.

Mu[g]en said...


Huwag ka mag-alala, soft spoken ako kapag nag eespanol ako.

Tsaka mas nakakalibog yung mga nagfre-french, lalo na pag in-heat.


I will get back to you later. Kelangan ko pa ng babelfish. Hahaha!


Siempre, marami tayong salita na halaw sa wikang Castila. Pero marami dito iba ang meaning natin sa meaning nila.

Ayos yun, nihongo. Dati gusto ko matuto nun

Mu[g]en said...


Hindi ko naisip yun ah! Siguro tanggap lang niya na walang saysay yung ituturo niya kaya hesitant siya ibuhos lahat.

Actually prelude pa lang ito nung main entry ko. At may reason bakit dumarami nag-aaral ng Spanish ngayon.


No habl(o) espanol. =)


Yup maganda nga daw dun. Yung mga dati kong classmates kinuconvince ako na mag-enrol dun.

red the mod said...

Language is a tricky thing. To be able to learn one, one must be able to effectively revise his structure of communication. Each language has its own syntax and paradigm. Thus, inherently, to speak or know a language is essentially to be able to think in their method, and react with their process.

Language becomes a barrier when stubborn structures are retained from your own lengua franca, becoming a stifling and debilitating hindrance to the possibility of communication.

For to communicate requires a message and a method, and often, the method becomes the filter by which this message is experienced and understood.

Ronnie said...

Naalala ko yung elementary school na pinasukan ko, would you believe na Spanish ang language ng school hymn namin? Feeling ko that time, ako si Marimar haha.

"Colegie de mis amores
Concordia mansion querida
Remanso de mis ensuenos
Vivero y plantel del ninas."

Not sure kung tama yung lyrcis, eto naaalala ko hehe.

Pero mas bet ko matuto ng Portuguese kasi dream ko makapunta ng Brazil. ;)

Kryptonite User said...

For lack of something worthwhile to do on saturday afternoons, my friends and I decided to take Spanish at Instituto de Cervantes near La Salle for about a year and I was already going in Spanish chat rooms displaying my proficiency when my friends decided to drop the Saturday routine and just play badminton. A couple of years later, I went to the US and tried to give instructions in Spanish to our chicano laborer but my words just came out so horribly labored from years of disuse, their faces were just saying, "Why are you even bothering when we can understand english?" hahaha! I swore that would be the last time I'd use the Spanish language.

Anonymous said...

spain will be needing a lot of skilled workers in the next few years..and the Philippines will be one of the sources of the manpower they will need. most of the spaniards do not speak english very well. the government, together with instituto cervantes, have this program that aims to teach spanish to those who want to work in spain..

Mu[g]en said...


Punyemas! Dumudugo ilong ko sa pagtranslate!

"eres el papi calliente di mis sueños."

"You are the hot daddy __ my dreams"

Asi ba?


Offers are now trickling in. Multilingual speakers are being offered premium pay in call centers. That is why many agents are studying Spanish nowadays.

Mu[g]en said...


That's my concern. I might be able to learn Spanish, but my efforts to study it will all go to waste - unless I decide to work in an environment where Spanish is the preferred language.

Or I'd find myself a Chicano boylet. Lolz.


Dumugo na yung ilong ko dun sa pagtranslate ng sinabi ni Ternie. Lalabas ang utak ko pag pinilit ko intindihin yang school anthem niyo. Hahaha!

Good luck on your endeavor!

Mu[g]en said...


We have this phrase at work, " he thinks in Filipino but he writes in English." Of course its a quality issue, but since a lot of Filipino English Speakers think of their culture while speaking another language, local speakers may find it challenging to understand them.

Those who speak many languages are truly gifted.

kaloy said...

Que bonita es tu casa Cecilia!

--> this is the only remnant of my attempt to learn Spanish back in college... Naalala ko nagpapakain pa ng cake yung prof pag final exams... Hahaha. Good luck! :)

Désolé Boy said...

que barbaridad! ang propesor mo ang tonto, pakisabi!! hehe..
my mother and my uncle can speak a bit of spanish. i was envious. not so much now. mas interesado pa ko sa japanese para bongga pag nanonood ako ng mga anime..hehe

Justine said...

mi espanol es mal!

i can still remember my spanish teacher in college, i learned a few words but i never learned how to express myself.

right now my arabic is getting better hehehe

Mu[g]en said...


Hala! Yan ang mas astig! Marami pumupunta sa Middle East ngayon kaya mapapakinabangan yan. Yung sa akin eh pasosyal lang. Pag feeling ko makipag elbow rubbing sa mga matronang mayayaman sa Forbes Park. Lolz

Desole Boy:

There was a time I tried to translate an Ultraman trading card with Katakana (tama ba) symbols as text dun sa likod niya.

Mu[g]en said...


Suwerte niyo naman, may libreng cake pa. Sa UP ba yan?