Tuesday, March 14, 2006

on the tip of my lingua

Tomorrow is my last day of work. I can't express the joy I feel even in typing that sentence. I don't think the old office is going to do anything to mark my leaving, since no one seems aware that I am, in fact, leaving. Even my supervisor, who I have told possibly 1 billion times that my last day is March 15, seems to be hazy on the fact that I will no longer be working here after tomorrow. I guess they'll figure it out when I vacate my cubicle and the office collapses into disarray in my absence.

Today, after my (final) Portuguese lesson, my professora and I went to lunch at an Italian place near here called Andiamo. It was cute, with little stone fountains springing out of the walls and bottles of (crappy Brazilian) wine on all of the tables. We chatted (em português, claro) about the difficulties of learning languages as an adult and some of the problems that people of various nationalities have learning Portuguese and English.

My personal theory on English -- since you asked -- is that it is one of the simplest languages for Romance language speakers to learn because the grammar is SO much simpler, but the pronunciation is just ridiculous, for anyone. I mean, it doesn't make sense -- if you try to teach yourself English phonetically out of a book, it won't work, because the spellings don't match up with the sounds in most cases. However, once you memorize all the weird words and irregular pronunciations, you're golden.

I read somewhere that children who grow up in countries that speak Spanish become literate much faster than children in English speaking countries, because they have a standardized pronunciation-spelling system and don't have to worry about "sounding out words" the way English speaking children do. If you're learning to read Spanish, you can sound out ANY word, because all of the letters correspond to regular pronunciations. Whereas in English, if you see the word "bought" for the first time, it's a crapshoot as to how to pronounce it. Then again, maybe English speaking kids are just dumb. Present company excluded, I'm sure.

In other news, today would be my dog Towser's 16th birthday (that's like... 97 in dog years) if she hadn't passed on two years ago. I picture her in dog heaven, peeing on the carpet in delight and eating loads of forbidden chocolate. Once she ate an entire chocolate Santa at Christmas. This dog weighed 8 pounds and the santa was about 1/2 that size -- she was a dog after my own heart.

Tomorrow my cousin Amanda gets here, I am very excited. We are going to spend a week in São Paulo doing all the stuff I have been unable to do for the last 8 months of being cooped up in the office -- shopping, spas, restaurants, beach, etc. More news to come.


  1. Anonymous1:33 AM

    I have to say, you brought a tear to my eye with your memorial for Towsie, the sweetest dog ever born

  2. Anonymous1:34 AM

    Oh, one more thing. What does "claro" mean?

  3. "Claro" means "clearly," or "of course," or, in another context, "sure/okay." Like, if someone asks you to do something for them, you can say, "claro," like, sure I will, buddy!