HomeQ&ASpeaking to Spanish-speaking children

Speaking to Spanish-speaking children

0
votes

I have a friend who is Mexicana and has little brothers and sisters who are just adorable. When I go to her house, I would like to be able to engage in atleast some conversation with her family.

My Spanish is not perfect... I am still learning and often try too hard to make the translations word-for-word from English to Spanish, or I use the wrong verb tenses and the like.

My question is, I know older people understand my Spanish despite some nonfluent sounding aspects, and even correct me sometimes... But would children understand me if I didn't say things exactly correct? Ex: "ir" instead of "fue", or using versions of words they are not used to.

2520 views
updated OCT 12, 2009
edited by SavviVague
posted by SavviVague

6 Answers

4
votes

I teach kindergarten. I get to talk to five-year olds with my scrambled spanish every day. Whether or not they understand depends on their individual intelligence and how badly I mess up. If I use the wrong subject or put the verb in the wrong tense they might not get it, but if I mispronounce something, or mess up the gender agreement they don't have a problem. If they look at me really blankly, I slow down or try to say it a different way. Little kids don't tend to make fun (at that age) of a grown-up smile

On the other hand, when I was even less proficient, I discovered that I am much less intimidated by children than adults. And kids seem delighted to find someone speaking words they understand!

I don't think people would be upset that you wanted to talk to their little sister/cousin, etc. Lots of people are glad when people take the time to talk to their children. As far as the older people mocking you.... see the other recent thread about how nice the spanish speakers tend to be about our attempts to express ourselves in their language. Unless they're just rude people... I wouldn't worry about it. smile

updated OCT 7, 2009
posted by Valerie
1
vote

Play Play Play...

The best way to learn is through play. If the child feels like she is teaching you, that´s a win-win situation.

She´s six, you have to warm up to kids by acting a little silly. If you play the clown with her, she may open up just so she can tell you what is correct. You´re boosting her confidence, she´s boosting your knowledge of the language.

I´m jealous. Go for it!

updated OCT 7, 2009
posted by quépasa
0
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Spanish speaking children will understand in the same way that English speaking children would. They will make fun of you a bit [most likely] but will understand that you're struggling with the language. Give it a try! They're the best teachers!

updated OCT 12, 2009
posted by zenejero
0
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i understood you just fine, so i don't think she would find you otherwise. i learned my bits and pieces of russian from children, and they loved teaching me but made fun of how slow i was at learning.

i think if you say to her something like "my español no es muy bueno, pero me gustaría que me enseñaras más" (my spanish is not very good but i'd like it if you taught me more) she'd appreciate it.

at least my 5 y/o niece would love it.

oh, and one more thing: keep in mind that the vocabulary of a 6 year old child is [generally] not vast, so try to use simple words and it will help you and her.

good luck, and write if you have any doubts.

updated OCT 7, 2009
edited by zenejero
posted by zenejero
One other thing, is I feel that her older sisters (my friend and her older sister) would find it odd that I was so interested in talking to their little sister, or notice/mock if I sounded incorrect. - SavviVague, OCT 7, 2009
yeah well.. you can always tell the other sisters too... that you are interested in learning spanish and would like to talk to the little one too. being honest doesn't hurt anyone. - zenejero, OCT 7, 2009
I talk to my friend in Spanish often. I haven't talked to the older sister (we are aquaintances, not really friends) and she doesn't know I know any Spanish. I just really love children, and this one little girl in particular seems to me to be very specia - SavviVague, OCT 7, 2009
l and ignored, and I would like to get to know her better, and I believe I could learn more natural Spanish from children.. - SavviVague, OCT 7, 2009
you should give it a try. plus, children are wonderful! - zenejero, OCT 7, 2009
0
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Have you considered talking to them in English so they could learn English. They could also talk to you in Spanish to help you learn.

updated OCT 7, 2009
posted by Seitheach
The girl is very shy. She will just stare at you if you speak English to her. I'm not sure if she really understands or not, but I believe she does to a certain degree. She only seems to be comfortable at home and in situations in her mother tongue. - SavviVague, OCT 7, 2009
Give it time and try Spanish with her. Simple phrases you are comfortable with. When she gets more comfortable with you then you can start using English. - Seitheach, OCT 7, 2009
0
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I am always embarrased to talk to them. La niña (6 años) es muy reservada, y ella no gusta hablando Ingles. I'm sure she isn't confident in her English, and I am not very confident in my Spanish. Do you think she would appreciate my attempt to speak to her and would respond, or would she not understand me and find me odd?

updated OCT 7, 2009
posted by SavviVague
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