Friday, January 19, 2007

To Be Or Not To Be

Every language has its subtle nuances or better said the things that make one want to yank their hair out in frustration while trying to master these grammatical hurdles.

In spanish there are two verbs to express ´to be´. This is basic stuff. We are talking first week of classes material. But it continues to plague me to this day.

One verb is used to describe characteristics. She is blonde. The house is yellow. The other for conditions. The door is open. I am in the park.

Seems simple right? And I really do think I have a grasp of the basics. I know being happy is a condition and being tall is a characteristic. But then we come to yesterday when in the midst of a lengthy exercise when my brain is thinking of about a dozen grammatical concepts I translated the sentence ¨the house is haunted´ using the wrong verb. Apparently it is a condition not a characteristic. Personally I still think it could go either way.

My teacher then proceeds to tell me that it is obvious I don´t really understand this utterly basic concept. I couldn´t decide if I wanted to cry, punch my teacher in the head, tear up all my notes or run screaming from the school. Perhaps a combination of all four. Instead I opted for yet another cup of coffee and settled myself back at my desk for another three hours of banging my head over these subtle nuances.

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