Subject: Learn the lingo
Hi Ziners, Happy New Year to all. When we were first married my husband was stationed at Torrejon AFB. I had taken high school French but knew very little Spanish I would sit in our apartment trying to learn new words everyday and thought I was doing quite well so my husband always had me talk when we went shopping or out to eat. We went to El Corte Ingles, the large department store in Madrid looking for sleeping bags for our upcoming camping trip. They spoke no English in Madrid so I had to do all the communicating. The man showed us a red bag and a blue bag. I asked "Cual est mujer?" Trying to say "Which is better?" He looked at me strangely and asked if it was for la senora? I kept asking him the same thing since my Spanish was very limited. We wound up buying one of each since we couldn't get anywhere with him. When I got home I looked up the word mujer and found out it meant woman and I meant to say mejor. They were so similar to me. He must have thought I was a strange person. I had American friends visiting Madrid and they would ask for helado (icecream) for their water when they meant hielo (ice). People look at your strangely and don't realize you are trying to say a similar word. We've hosted many exchange students and a Swedish boy had learned British English and he sounded so odd here. Talked about his pantaloons and eating flesh and needing a rubber for school.

Carol Mueller in San Antonio TX