I worry that when I speak in Spanish, that maybe I sound like the sign above. People seem to be able to understand me, but sometimes I get some curious looks. I believe that one of the greatest acts for social justice a person and mental health worker can do is learn another language. And so I am pushing on. I think only people who don’t take themselves too seriously can learn a language. You have to be willing to look foolish--it is an absolute requirement. When people tell me they don’t want to speak until they know the language better, I know they will never learn a language. I have started classes focused on verb conjugations and I am trying to read a newspaper or something each day in Spanish. Next week I am going to track down some of Ignacio Martín-Baró’s writings in Spanish. I think it will be useful for me to start reading more about liberation psychology in Spanish. I was thinking of buying Harry Potter books in Spanish, but that probably won’t help me gain the vocabulary I need to learn!
I really love languages and accents. I love how the Spanish I have learned has given me access to worlds I may have never known. Learning a language teaches so much more than language. It teaches about culture and class and new ways of feeling and different ways of thinking. There are some words for which there is no exact equivalent in another language. If I controlled the universe (or university), I would require that all clinicians take language courses.
Classes. Friends who speak the language. Reading. Movies in Spanish. Any other recommendations?