Spanish fairwell

Some dear friends just emailed me from their boat that is already in the early miles of setting out across the Indian Ocean from Indonesia to South Africa. (Like Alegria, they can email while underway. What a wonderful ability that is.)

As I mentioned quite a while ago, in a previous post, when we lived in Mexico, I really liked the very common salutation, “Que le vaya bien.” Which I understand to mean, “May your travels go well.” Or, “May your journey go well.”

Kind of like the original intention of, “Fare the well.”

This parting phrase was offered to us by friends and strangers alike. Although I think friends would say, “Que te vaya bien.” Te being the familiar version of le. To me, it implies an affection, a caring, kind of a hug, or as many of us used to say a long time ago, some warm fuzzies.

There are many versions of the story explaining warm fuzzies. Here’s the first one that I found today:
http://www.emotional-literacy.com/fuzzy.htm

In my previous post, I certainly intended, “Que le vaya bien.” to convey the strongest possible affection, when I use it to refer to Janet leaving on her next journey. But, I certainly doubt that most of the people using that with us in Mexico, had that depth of affection in mind. Nonetheless, whether it is intended or not, I perceive it is a much more polite and caring way to say, “Adios.”

Before writing my friends, I was going to confirm that I had the right spelling, accent marks, etc., and so I did a Google and found among others, the following link:

http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/156723/is-que-le-vaya-bien-much-used-in-mexico

As far as I recall, this is the first time that I learned that it was a contraction of, “Espero que te vaya bien”. As explained on the webpage, that would mean, “I hope that your trip goes well.” Basically the same thing, but more of a complete thought.

Janet was the expert in Spanish, not me. Mostly I stayed close to her, and let her get me out of whatever mess I got myself into with my Spanglish. Spanish is quite a logical language. Unlike English. And, I have always enjoyed it very much. Even though I was never very good at it, even at my best. And through years of not using it for anything, I’ve forgotten almost everything of the little that I did know. But, in my mind it gives me a glimpse of what it’s like to be bilingual. And, many of our international friends speak five or six languages. Even their worst, being at a level better than my Spanish ever was.

I sincerely wish I could do that, but I do not seem to have a knack for language. This was especially apparent when I went to the following link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_pronouns

To learn how to use the plural familiar in my salutation to the above-mentioned friends now sailing across the Indian Ocean. But, nominative case, accusative case, dative case, prepositional case, comitative case, and genitive case, absolutely baffled me. It makes my head spin. Janet where are you when I need you?

So, rather than be so bold as to try to say it correctly, since both of my Indian ocean friends speak Spanish much better than I, I will just explain in my email to them, what I was trying to say and trust that they will understand my intentions.

For those of you who are far more knowledgeable with languages and how they work that I am, this post will probably seem kind of idiotic. And for those of you who care far less about languages than I do, it will probably also seem kind of idiotic. But hey. You are not surprised right? <grin>

Those of you who are native speakers of Spanish, and Mexican Spanish is probably just as different from the Spanish of other countries as American English is from the English of other countries, but, in any case feel free to help me understand these things. But, in fairness, your efforts are probably wasted on me. I enjoyed at the time, but it doesn’t seem to stick for a very long.

Janet and I used to say that motivation is very important in learning a language. It is usually quite a bit of work. And you need a good reason to go to that much work.

That is why having, ‘a sleeping dictionary’, seems to work so well. This is a lover who is fluent in the language are trying to learn. Fortunately, I was able to keep Janet from acquiring any sleeping dictionary’s over the years.

I think it is widely believed that Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn. The pronunciation is extremely regular. That alone, is certainly a vast difference from American English.

The Spanish sentence structure is unusually very logical. But, the above-mentioned complexity of pronouns, and the, as I recall, 27 tenses, are more than enough to keep me confused for quite a while. More unfortunately, they make me not want to try very hard.

When I was in high school, I read about Esperanto. It seemed a wonderful idea. I thought it was supposed to be an artificial language, that was very easy for anyone to learn. Whatever their previous language background.

I was more than a little confused to find that it had some irregular verbs. You just built a language from scratch, and you already included some confusion? Right out of the box? What’s wrong with you?

Now that was more than 50 years ago. And I have not looked at it since. So, so I may have that all wrong.

And, what little I know of some of the Oriental languages, they work on entirely different principles from English, Spanish, and Esperanto. And there then there are languages that involve clicks and other technologies that I find quite amazing and intimidating. I think I read somewhere that there were more distinct language types in North and South America, then and all the rest of the world combined.

Human seem to be hardwired to communicate. But we certainly have found a lot of diverse ways to do it.

What I dream of, is some large group a very wise people, who are familiar with all of the languages that are known, that would incorporate all of the best and most ingenious ideas of language, and come up with a really logical, simple but powerful artificial language. It would use sounds and concepts that are easy for everyone to work with.

I was told that Cambodian has no tenses. You learn that information from context. I go to market today. I go to market last week. I go to market tomorrow. I go to market if I can. Etc. That would certainly be better for me than the 27 tenses of Spanish, and all the irregular verbs. It seemed to me like, pretty much all of the useful verbs were irregular.

I think I’m a few hundred years too early on that idea. The Europeans have put up with a large variety of languages used in a relatively small area, for a very long time. Fortunately for me, English is becoming more or less the international language. But, I believe that my dream of a logical but powerful artificial language, is just a dream.

Well, summer is definitely coming here in Finike. It gets annoyingly hot in the afternoon. It is presently 8:05 AM local time. So, I better get some useful work done before it gets too hot.

Have a wonderful day wherever you are. I am flattered that there is such a large readership of my blog. Everything from very dear and close friends, to total strangers. But, I wish you all the best, and I truly believe that the bag of warm fuzzies is bottomless. The more you give, the better you feel.

Dave

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