The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

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Ogrim
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Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?t=873
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Re: The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

Postby Ogrim » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:27 am

Hi Iguanamon,

I have been away from the Forum for a while so just caught up with your news. I am really sorry about the situation on your island, but glad that you made it to Europe. I hope you enjoy your stay on the Iberian peninsula and that you will sort out your future to the best.
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iguanamon
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Re: The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

Postby iguanamon » Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:32 pm

To everyone who has been concerned, I am fine and am in the US at present, helping my partner get settled up here. I will return home at the end of the week for a while. There's still no electricity at my house and I don't know when it will come back but I will be able to survive. Life sometimes throws you for a loop but you have to roll with it and I will. I'll be commuting up here for at least a week out of every month for a while.

For me, it's reverse culture shock in the US. The country has changed so much in the past 12 years. The traffic, the technology, the malls... I don't deal with it very well at all.

Language-learning became language use on our trip. I spoke Portuguese a lot with my partner and everyone else in Portugal. I spoke a lot of Spanish in Spain. I was in Barcelona on October 1. There was a large protest on September 30 and we got stuck in a bar (not bad) while it was going on. I spoke with several locals about the situation and learned a lot by listening to them. Emotions were running high. We had tickets for the Barça match but it was cancelled and they played it before no spectators due to the political situation. Catalan was omnipresent on signage but, everywhere in Barcelona, Spanish is spoken. We met many Latin American immigrants. Many were from the Dominican Republic, one of my neighboring Caribbean islands.

For those who may think that Brazilian Portuguese and Iberian Portuguese are not mutually comprehensible, once again, this is wrong. I spoke with my Brazilian accented Portuguese and usage and had no problems. We met up with my friend Luso. He spoke with no problems with my partner and her Brazilian immigrant uncle. He understood them perfectly well, and they understood him and the other Iberian Portuguese-speakers, etc. It's really not that big of a deal... at all. While neither my Portuguese nor my Spanish is perfect, nobody switched to English with me. I feel confident that if I were to be able to live in a TL country, I could function more than adequately. I was also able to experience Ladino culture in Toledo and visited the historic Jewish quarter and the Sephardic Museum. I can't figure out how the Arabs managed to conquer Toledo or how the Castilians managed to take it back. The roads are so narrow and twisty, they must have gotten lost a lot, just like we did.

Speaking Spanish and Portuguese makes for a rewarding travel experience. It's a great way to go behind the touristy facade, make friends and really get to know a place and its people.

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Re: The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

Postby zenmonkey » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:11 am

Glad you are doing well. Your Spain travels sound great. For Portuguese, I have not found them to be that different either but, like in Spanish (my L1), there are regionalisms I struggle with.

I hope things get better in the Caribbean quickly.

(and I'll stay out of the weather conspiracy discussion... ;) )
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iguanamon
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Re: The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

Postby iguanamon » Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:52 pm

Just a quick reply to let everyone know that I have returned home. I have no electricity. No internet service other than through my phone. This is my reality now. The devastation here is heartbreaking. It will take a long time to recover from this and there's always another disaster looming around the corner... i.e. next hurricane season. Will every storm become a Category 5 monster storm now? Is that our future? With the entire northeast Caribbean being devastated from Barbuda and St Martin to the VI and Puerto Rico, I believe that our recovery here will take much longer. We have no vote. Our Congressional Representative has no vote. We're less than a hundred thousand people and have no large expat community in the mainland US to lobby on our behalf- unlike Puerto Rico. We are the forgotten Americans.

The VI Governor has included a request to the federal government for funds to bury electric transmission lines. However, I have little hope that the current administration and Congress will authorize the funding. If electricity and internet were working, this disaster would be manageable. However, human nature is to be reactive instead of proactive and that also extends to governments- especially when there is a huge upfront cost to be paid. So, there will be hardship for me. No electricity means no hot shower, no cooking. No refrigerator and no cooking means limited meal choices. Agricultural devastation means adaptation for me since I am a vegetarian and depend heavily on local produce- which is now non-existent. Hey, I need to lose weight anyway!

I am running my computer off of an inverter and a car battery with my phone as a hotspot. The inverter technology works with a 12 volt battery to produce mains power. I couldn't get the deep cell battery that I wanted because the battery store only had regular car batteries. I do have a friend with a charger and generator, so, everyday I will be lugging the heavy thing up and down the stairs and driving it to his place to charge. Hopefully, this will enable me to work and make a living. Still, I count my blessings. I have a roof, water, work to do and good friends.

Anyway, this is my 1000th post. I'm sorry it has to be under these circumstances. My activity here will be diminished for several months... I will be back eventually. Thanks to everyone for the kind thoughts and good vibes being sent my way. Remember folks, be prepared. Everything is ok... until... it isn't. So long for now.

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Ogrim
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Re: The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

Postby Ogrim » Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:18 pm

Iguanamon, I am really sorry to hear about the state of affairs on your island and for your personal difficulties. Whenever your read this be assured that we are thinking about you and I wish you all the best and that things will improve over time.
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Jar-Ptitsa
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Re: The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

Postby Jar-Ptitsa » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:07 am

I'm so sorry for you and for your beautiful island.

When the sky in London today was orange and spooky because of the hurricane in Ireland and the fires in Spain and Portugal, I thought of the Caribbean, where the hurricanes were so destructive. it's apocalyptic

Good luck.
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iguanamon
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Re: The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

Postby iguanamon » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:51 pm

Thank you, Ogrim and Vogletje for thinking of me. Life without electricity and reliable internet is very difficult in the 21st Century. There is so much work that needs to be done on the island to restore electrical service that it appears to me the VI Governor's promise of 90% restoration by Christmas is overly optimistic. Utility poles have been snapped in half or are in splinters. Many of them are hanging like the sword of Damocles over the roads and electrical cables are even on the road surfaces themselves. Not a stoplight is working on the island which is making driving extremely stressful.

My inverter idea is basically not a viable solution. I am sharing office space with one of my clients in town. At night, I am returning to no electricity and all that this means in the tropical heat- hardship.

Language-learning is on hold for a while. Well, it's not really language-learning- more like language improvement. I've been commuting back and forth from the mainland US- 1 week up there, 1 week here, but that will end in a few weeks. A crisis like this puts things in perspective. Since I've been speaking more Portuguese now, it is more apparent than ever to me how much I need and want to polish it. Spanish is always there. Ladino/Djudeo-espanyol is not a problem to maintain. Haitian Creole is what needs more work.

My languages have been a solace to me. Without power and limited cell phone internet, my collection of podcasts has been getting a work out lately. I listened to a two and a half hour podcast on the history of Brazil, a bunch of Radio-Libros in Spanish. I've also been listening to podcasts in Ladino and Haitian Creole. I have an old cell phone that I keep alternately charged and loaded so I don't have to burn up the battery in my phone for communication and internet. All this makes for a good language workout in listening. I always say, if you want to get better with listening, listen more! I can't wait until the power comes back so I can get back to watching series again.

With so much to do with my limited internet time, I've not had the time to keep up with the forum so much these days. Still, I know you all are here doing amazing things and helping each other to learn languages. That's what it's about.
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:13 am

That’s one shock to your pre-hurricane existence. Wish I could pop over for a good chat and lend you some useful items. Hang in there iguanamon. I hope you can find some peace and solace in the harsh situation. Thinking of you....
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Stelle
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Re: The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

Postby Stelle » Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:59 am

I'm thinking of you, and of everyone affected by these terrible catastrophes.
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iguanamon
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Re: The iguana's tale- Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Ladino

Postby iguanamon » Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:21 pm

Ogrim wrote:Iguanamon, I am really sorry to hear about the state of affairs on your island and for your personal difficulties. Whenever your read this be assured that we are thinking about you and I wish you all the best and that things will improve over time.

Thank you, Ogrim, PM, Stelle and vogeltje. Things are improving, slowly. I got electricity back yesterday and it was glorious! I had a hot shower, home-cooked food, comfortable night's sleep with a fan, lights and a fridge with ice! I still have no internet... using my phone as a hotspot is slow and cell service is still sporadic. I used to have wimax internet over the air, but the cable company bought the internet provider and disabled wimax service to switch us to wired internet which, is hung from poles. So, it may be quite a while more before it comes back. Most of the island, about 80% is still without electricity but it is slowly returning.

A common phrase where I grew up was: "You don't miss the water til the well runs dry". Try living without electricity for a couple of months in the 21st century, then you'll appreciate it, I guarantee it.

I've been watching videos downloaded at work on my old cell phone. I've seen quite a few episodes of Sai de Baixo, one of my favorite Brazilian comedies from 20 years ago. Some humor is timeless. Sai de Baixo is about 50 minutes long. It's a small cast of usually five actors and sometimes a guest. It's set in an apartment in São Paulo and the characters are never seen anywhere else. It is ridiculous to the point of being a farce. The fifth wall is routinely broken and shattered. It was filmed before a live audience in a theater in São Paulo, so there's no canned laughter. The actors are definitely "over the top" as the English say.

I've also been listening to radiolibros en español. These are audio short stories from Dutch and Belgian authors translated into Spanish. They are also available in French, English and Dutch, with some available in Afrikaans too. There are about 40 hours of these stories available. Each one is about half an hour long and starts with an introduction about the author and a short biography. The stories are without a transcript, so it's real listening. If you want to challenge yourself and you are learning Spanish, French, Dutch or even English, it's definitely worth your time. The audio stories are free and legal to download.
http://www.radiolibros.eu wrote:Se trata de narraciones nuevas, escritas especialmente para ser escuchadas y que no se publicarán en papel

Of course you could listen in English first and then the translation.
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