The Joys of Learning a Foreign Language
by Toni Sanchez
One day-shortly after moving to Ecuador and not knowing the language well-I offered a man something to read.
He said he did not have any money. I told him that was alright.
He said: "Mande?" This is a word that means "Would you repeat what you just said?"
Now, not knowing the language very well, I thought he said come back Monday.
When I told my friends what had happened they explained to me, with lots of smiles, the meaning of 'mande', and no, I did not have to return on Monday.
I have learned a lot since then. I am now learning a new language, Ecuadorian Sign Language. I will probably have some great flubs happening in the near future.
And remember, if you are learning a new language, do not allow the mistakes to discourage you. We all make them. And the people of your chosen new language appreciate you efforts to speak to them in their native tongue.