Think Figurative, not Literal
So much of the challenge of learning Spanish is switching the way we think about language.
We often overlook how strange our own expressions are until we start learning the ways other languages say things. For example, think about these common expressions. How would you describe their meaning to someone who didn't speak English and would likely take them literally?
"We'll catch up later" (Does that involve a ball?)
"We broke up" (What did you break exactly? Why up?)
"Where are you headed?" (Your head is going where?)
"Let's hang out" (Hang on the monkey bars? Or hang laundry?)
The same types of expressions exist in Spanish. They say things like: "I have cold" instead of "I'm cold" and "She falls well with me" instead of "I like her" or "I gave myself an account" instead of "I realized"
When you improve your figurative thinking, you will improve your Spanish communication. Language is both logical/literal/left brained- in the sense that there are clear patterns and rules. AND creative/organic/right brained- in the sense that a random expression that has nothing to do with the present meaning can create meaning through metaphor and abstraction. That's why learning Spanish is an incredible way to become more creative, think more whole-brained, and furthermore challenge everything we know about how to communicate. Keep trying, keep practicing! ¡Vamos!
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Brittany is a bilingual Spanish teacher who has lived in Spain and Argentina. Through this blog, she hopes to relate her travels, insights, and Spanish speaking journey!