Kilgore Trout is an ill-famed science fiction author. He is currently living in Kabul, Afghanistan, amidst Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines. Here he would like to show you what he sees during his visit.

hola, yo hablo espanol

A couple weeks ago some Spanish books Olivia had ordered for me arrived. I cracked them at the beginning of this week, and I’m catching on surprisingly quickly.

She bought Spanish for Dummies and The Complete Idiots Guide to Spanish. The books break it down very well. Plus, in order for me to understand the verb conjugation better, I have a Spanish Verb Tense workbook.

While I was growing up, my mom insisited on my brothers and me taking Latin during some of Junior High and most of High School. She always used to say, “It will help you understand English better and help you if you ever want to learn a new language.” I always called Bull! whenever she said this. At those ages, Latin seemed like jibberish. It was tedious and a headache to learn.

Amo, Amas, Amat, Amamos, Amatis, Amant. That conjugation, one of many I had memorized with the aid of note cards, has always stuck with me. Well, that and the basic understanding of what conjugating a verb means.

Say you have “To learn.” Well, in English, there is no conjugation (the change a verb takes on when applied to a subject, or, the applying action to a subject by changing the verb). You simply add a pronoun, like “I learn.” The verb, learn, is the same. But in romance languages, like Latin and Spanish, the verb must take on a transformation in order to give a subject the action.

So “aprender” is “to learn.” The root of the word is aprend- and the verb end is -er. In Latin, I learned all about this, but didn’t think it was worth much, or applicable in my future. “Seriously Mom… no one knows Latin!

To change “aprender” from “to learn” to “I learn,” you have to change the verb end. If this was an irregular verb, either the end or the root would change. That’s a whole other story. “Aprender” becomes “Yo (I) aprendo.” Just like in Latin, except the endings are a bit different for the verb endings (but quite similar too!). In Latin you have the example I showed before. In Spanish, using the same word “to love” (the Latin example is I love, you love, he-she-or it loves, we love, you (all) love, and they love) which is “amar,” we will conjugate it. Notice in the conjugation the similarities and slight differences as compared to Latin’s “amo, amas, amat, amamus, amtis, amant.”

Amo (I love), Amas (You love), Ama (He, she or it loves), Amamos (we love), Amais (You, pl., love), Aman (they love).

Now what I’m getting at is this- the only thing I couldn’t remember in this little lesson wwas the word for “to learn,” aprender. So I looked it up.

Everything else however, was easy to remember because of all that damn Latin I felt I was choking down for 3 or 4 years. But I’m thankful to my mom now. I’m sure most of those painful bouts between her and I over Latin, she was praying and hoping that I get some use out of it later in life- otherwise she’d be kicking herself for putting up with me over it. She knew though. She knew exactly what she was doing. And thanks Mom, Yo te amo.

Now for an interesting and entirely unrelated bit of information to mull over:

Why Tweeting is for the Birds


1 Comment»

  Theodore Sturgeon wrote @

Most interesting. Complacency seems to be a peculiar American cultural trait (as well as being a common characteristic of all humanity, but at a lesser degree). It is undergirded by the notion of American empirialistic invincibility. It is, perhaps, the most dangerous of all our enemies — and it comes mainly from within. I must do something about it — perhaps next week.

As to Latin…it is strange how it has reared its head to aid you in your study of Spanish. Someone needs to let Latin know it is a dead language lest it keep trying to come back to life!

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