Challenges While Learning a New Language

Real Estate Agent with GreatWest Realty DRE# 00827565

At the beginning of last year, as a 2017 New Year Resolution, I vowed to learn Spanish as a second language. And, for the past year and a half, I’ve enjoyed time almost daily with DuoLingo, the free on-line language tutor! Originally, I experienced a little irrational exuberance, believing I could become fluent in a year.

While navigating lessons, I had mostly ignored accents while trying to get through the lessons as quickly as possible. DuoLingo accepted my answers, but also reminded to "pay attention to accents." I recently learned why!

While communicating via email with a friend who speaks Spanish very well, I had sent a picture of Reuben, one of my cats, and thought I had described his age. However I learned without the proper use of a tilde (accent) over the letter “n”, I had been declaring my cat had five buttholes instead.

In short:

"Mi gato tiene cinco años." = "My cat is five years old."

"Mi gato tiene cinco anos." = "My cat has five buttholes."

Because it can be time consuming to keyboard in proper accents, a friend suggested I use a “Spanish keyboard.” I spent time searching Amazon for one to buy, before learning it is something you can either download, or you can use a Spanish keyboard on-line instead.

The Spanish keyboard should help provide accents and tildes where needed, and hopefully I won’t accidentally say "butthole" in Spanish again!


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Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Who knew a tilde could make so much difference!  I applaud you for being committed to learning Spanish! 

Jul 27, 2018 08:03 AM #13
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

I applaud you for learning a new language, you will be fluent before too long!  I am sure your friend got a good kick out of your mistake.

Jul 27, 2018 11:07 AM #14
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good afternoon Myrl. A spanish key board would make a big difference. 

Jul 27, 2018 11:28 AM #15
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thanks for sharing your experience and for adding smiles to our faces.

Jul 27, 2018 11:40 AM #16
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Myrl Jeffcoat - We could be related. You don't even want to know the mistakes I made by trying to learn Japanese and the trouble I got into.

I was laughing so hard, I thought I was going to pee in my pants. I wish there was bonus points for funniest post for the day. Humor is good for the soul! Sometimes, it gets too serious around here.

This is by far, the best post ever! Also, kudos to you for the progress you are making. As they say, we learn from our mistakes and this is a GREAT example. I knew you were learning this language. You are truly committed!

By the way, I haven't read a Reader's Digest for a long time. Many, many years ago, they had opportunities to submit stories like this and people could win money. I think you're a winner with this one!

Jul 27, 2018 11:42 AM #17
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Patricia Feager - I am going to hang my hat heavily on that part where you say we learn from our mistakes.  I certainly hope so!  Perhaps there are far fewer mistakes in life, but far more lessons!

Jul 27, 2018 11:55 AM #18
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Oh my goodness.  That is a classic story.  Yes, tildes are very important.  The lack of one can turn a year into a butthole.

Jul 27, 2018 02:56 PM #19
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Anna yep that could have been a little embarrassing.  Second languages are tough enough to speak, I can't imagine trying to write in another language as well.  

Jul 27, 2018 04:05 PM #20
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

What a wonderful laugh I had when reading this, Myrl!. I remember hearing that JFK, in his speech in West Berlin where he said "Ich bin ein Berliner" (I am a Berliner) REALLY said "Ich bin ein Berliner" (I am a jelly doughnut!)

Good for you for learning a second language, something I think we all should do.

Jul 27, 2018 07:01 PM #21
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale

Hello Myrl, what a hoot you are and such a fun post and congrats on learning another language ;o)

Jul 27, 2018 07:43 PM #22
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Lottie Kendall - I had heard that claim about JFK's speech before, and thought it hilarious.  However, here is what Snopes has to say:

Jul 28, 2018 12:33 AM #23
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

Myrl, your post was so interesting and informative and at the same time, soooo funny.  Have a great weekend.

Jul 28, 2018 11:36 AM #24
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty, Martha Hilton, Broker - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Too funny Myrl. I applaud you for learning Spanish.

Jul 28, 2018 08:20 PM #25
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

I never think of checking Snopes, Myrl Jeffcoat - perhaps I should.

How's the Spanish coming along? Our guide on the Machu Picchu trek and his wife have students of Spanish stay at their house in an immersion program until the desired level of fluency is achieved--that's on my dream list now! 

Jul 28, 2018 08:43 PM #26
Cathy Criado
Criado Realty - San Antonio, TX
Making Real Estate Profitable

Learning a second language is certainly fun and challenging. Anyway we can grow our minds is a good thing! Mahalo nui loa. Gracias. Danka schoen!! I'm not tri lingual but I know some of all those languages plus English having either lived in places that spoke it or family/heritage. 

Jul 29, 2018 03:54 AM #27
Curtis Van Carter
Better Homes & Gardens Wine Country Group - Yountville, CA
Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire


I can only surmise, there are probably a few days you would like to leave the tilde off when talking about Reuben. Thanks for the good laugh, cheers cvc

Jul 29, 2018 07:51 AM #28
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

I noticed that I follow everyone who has commented on this post.

Jul 29, 2018 09:09 AM #29
Mary Douglas
United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado - Red Feather Lakes, CO
REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

That is too funny Myrl!  Spell check has put some interesting words in my sentences but that was in English! I admire you for learning Spanish it's a 2nd language I wish I knew.

Jul 30, 2018 03:49 PM #30
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

You made me laugh out loud this morning, Myrl. You know, today's Spanish lesson for me was arroz con mango. I thought it meant rice with mango. No, it does not. It means "total mess."

Aug 01, 2018 07:11 AM #31
marti garaughty - Montreal, QC
a highly caffeinated creative type...

As a cat lover, I'm truly laughing out loud reading this ! :-)

Aug 06, 2018 07:01 PM #32
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Myrl Jeffcoat

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