Learning English

Many of us know the challenges of learning another language. For me, it’s Spanish because I live in a Spanish speaking country. But, many people here have learned, or are in the process of learning English. The country as a whole wants to be bilingual, I imagine because of all the international business here. English is required in school, and even my special ed teacher friend a year from retirement was required to take a 6 week English class.

English is difficult! There are so many thing that make no sense. Read this sentence out loud with all then”ough” words.  Though I coughed roughly and hiccoughed throughout the lecture, I still thought I could plough through the rest of it. Google “English makes no sense” and you’ll find many more examples of things that must be really hard for an English student.

This video which starts with the sentence example above made me laugh out loud!

I’m so glad English is my native language! Spanish, which does make sense, has been challenging enough but it’s been so worth it. My life here is richer and more interesting, and my most cherished friends here are Panamanian. They say learning a language is good for your brain too, so maybe I’ve decreased my chances of getting CRS (can’t remember sh…). 😁

On other subjects, yes we had an earthquake last night and some after shocks since. All is well and everyone is fine. I heard it took down some utility poles in Costa Rica and Puerta Jiminez was without power for a while, and that was the worst of it. We were in the car on the way to a gig and didn’t feel anything. The gig was amazing. We played for four hours to dancing gringos and enthusiastic Panamanians! I still don’t have my feet quite back on the ground.

I’ll leave you all with a photo of a beautiful little gold bug that visited me one day.

About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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18 Responses to Learning English

  1. Tooth/teeth, foot/feet, woman/women…


  2. Robert&Helen. says:

    I am Dutch. As a small mayor trading country we had to learn at school English, French and German. English is not phonetically consistent and more difficult than German or French. Before I had to work in Spain for 13 years, I went to an individual crash course for 3 weeks 5 hours a day.


  3. jim and nena says:

    Hola Kris,
    Vaca female, voco male? No, toro.
    Toro male, tora female? No, vaca.

    But yeah, on average, Spanish is weigh easier. To learn English is too hard; usually needs two or more tries.
    Nena spoke zero English when we met. When she arrived with me in the midwest, there were no Spanish speakers. She learned most of her English listening to soap operas. The vocabulary was current, the tone and cadence were common, and the dialog was very obvious as to the meaning. It did take her forever to learn can not versus not can, and the idioms for any language are the last bits that fall into place. Soon we left for Texas and it was both of us who had to learn an entirely new set of idioms. All y’all that live in Texas know what I’m talking about.

    Still, 40+ years later, I can not discern her meaning when she says, “Cafe viejo?” or “Cafe, viejo?” the first thing in the morning.


    • Even vaca and toro, you know how to pronounce them because the vowels and letter are always the same. And, I think things like this are much more unusual in Spanish.
      Yeah, when this New Yorker moved to Arkansas I had to almost learn a different English 😁. All y’all in TX talk funny too sometimes but I think I was around enough Texans that wasn’t so difficult.
      Getting the meaning of cafe in the morning is good enough. Maybe both coffee and men get better with age 😏


      • jim and nena says:

        Consistency in pronunciation is a huge plus for Spanish. Since our wedding was in English, I read the vows to Nena beforehand and she wrote them out as she heard them. We gave the paper to her sister to read and it sounded like perfect English. Years later, Nena wondered how I knew then that, in the future, we would be living in (for better or) for worth?


  4. oldsalt1942 says:

    Here’s one for you…What is THIS WORD….GHOTI?

    Obviously it’s FISH, dumbies! The F comes from “GH” as in “enouGH. The I is from the “O” in wOmen and the “SH” from the “TI” like definiTIon.


  5. Robert&Helen. says:

    The most difficult languages in Europe are Basque, Hungarian and Finish. These have nothing in common with the other languages. I lived in the Basque region of Northwest Spain. It is very phonetic. I learned some words and short sentences. Bai=yes. Ez=no. Zabalik= closed. Ezkerrik asko=thank you very much. Egunon=good morning. ETA (the terrorist group) stands for Euskal Ta Askatasuna=Long live a free Basque nation.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ooh no, I’m challenged enough learning just one new language. I admire people who have a talent for languages. Unfortunately I’m not one of them.


    • oldsalt1942 says:

      The owner of Chez Charlie’s Pub over in Antibes, France, spoke SEVEN! He’d be talking to you in English, turn around and say something to his wife in German (their native tongue) and then chew out one of the bar maids in French. He also knew Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. I asked him how he’d added Russian to the mix and it was because he was a Russian POW in WWII!


  7. Kristin says:

    Wowsa I’m just moving along with my Spanish, I am really surprised how quickly it comes back. But I too am slowly falling victim to the dreaded CRS disease and will tell myself I know that word, I know that …. olh hell I forgot.


  8. Robert&Helen. says:

    My wife and I are not fans of CNN. However my wife is watching it to improve her Spanish. The reporters speak better and clearer Spanish than the Panamanians.


    • True… though I’m not much of a fan of news. I used to watch interesting short videos on line from the BBC in Spanish. Since I’ve been here most of my experience has been conversations with local people.


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