Too Old To Learn Spanish – Not

23 Oct

Some people have a knack for languages. Research shows that the earlier you start, the easier it is to learn. Rolling your r’s and softening your d’s is just some of the oral gymnastics required to speak Spanish.

We drove out of Texas on September 1, 2013. Lisa’s first foray into learning Spanish was translating highway signs. Many were self explanatory. Others not so much.

Si toma no maneja – If you drink don’t drive

No deje piedras sobre el pavamiento – Don’t leave rocks on the highway (sometimes a form of civil protest)

Más vale tarde que nunca – Better Late Than Never

Works for us and it’s free!

After nine years of using the application Duolingo, Lisa can hold her own in most conversations. I joke that I can’t talk about her behind her back any more because she understands almost everything. Her main skill is not being afraid of sounding foolish. I remember overhearing her tell a friend’s Mexican parents to “talk to me like a two year old “. She is not afraid of making mistakes. Locals really appreciate her effort.

Lisa at the pyramids of Teotihuacan 2017.

For me, I lived in Mexico and learned Spanish in my twenties. In the beginning of our time in Mexico, I was doing all the translating. Today Lisa thinks nothing of heading to the hardware store, pharmacy or market by herself. I’m still in charge of phone calls, government documents and doctor’s appointments, although I sometimes need help with technical language. God bless Google Translate.

Living with a Mexican family in 1974.

Living in the country who’s language you are trying to learn helps, but so does determination and perseverance. It is said that learning a second, or third language helps keep your brain sharp and “young”. I guess for us, we’re getting younger every day.


9 Responses to “Too Old To Learn Spanish – Not”

  1. Karen Hodgens October 23, 2022 at 10:27 am #

    Being afraid to sound foolish was and continues to be my main deterrent in speaking Spanish.

    Liked by 1 person

    • afish25 October 23, 2022 at 10:32 am #

      You and lots of other people. Practice making mistakes! It’s good for you.


  2. Lois LeahyLois October 23, 2022 at 1:55 pm #

    I started learning Spanish in 1971/1972 in Bolivia and along with it began my love affair with Latin America. Thanks for this post and the encouragement to others to learn a second (or third) language. It is most empowering! We are never too old to learn and the tools to help us just keep getting better. I agree, there is no substitute for emersion, just being there and operating in that language every day. Gracias chicas!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jack Scott October 24, 2022 at 5:07 am #

    It’s so important to learn the lingo when living abroad so well done! I hopelessly failed to learn Turkish, though Liam did better. My excuse is that Turkish is a non-European language with few familiar words. I was rubbish, I’m ashamed to admit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • afish25 October 24, 2022 at 6:37 am #

      It does make a huge difference. I know people who have lived here 20 years and their Spanish makes my ears bleed.


  4. Emilie October 24, 2022 at 6:17 am #

    My Spanish gets reasonably decent when I’m in Mexico for a while. But then I go home and it seems to disappear. I will be back in Mexico in a few hours, staying through dear Día de Los Muertos and then heading back home. To a different spot, for me. Puerto Peñasco rather than Bahía Kino because I have a friend there and have been invited to stay. Just gas and food, so why not go?

    Liked by 1 person

    • afish25 October 24, 2022 at 6:35 am #

      I find that there’s a lot in my brain. When given the opportunity it comes out and surprises me. Have fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Yuna November 30, 2022 at 5:45 am #

    Hi, I just new to learning spanish using Duolingo

    Liked by 1 person

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