Advice to Keep Trying to Talk

Advice to Keep Trying to Talk Spanish is adapted from a book by James Michener: ‘Iberia Spanish Travels’, p.122.

“When I say that ‘I talked with this man or that,’ I am using the verb in a restricted sense.

I read Spanish fluently, understand it partially (when listening), and speak it poorly,

but I have memorized some twoscore old-style phrases and these I can rattle off,

so my speaking consists of something like this:

‘My esteemed señor, would you do me the favor of seeing...’

I begin rapidly, thus create the impression that I know what I’m talking about, but I end like this:


Encouraged by the speed of my opening, my listener responds at a natural rate,

and when he does I understand about two-thirds of what he says,

especially if it concerns a subject on which I know the basic vocabulary.

But I do not hold back because of my ineptness,

and I have talked for many hours with many different kinds of Spaniards.”


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