Spanish Redux

04/20/2009 at 10:32 AM Leave a comment

When I was one year old my parents decided to start a business in Madrid, Spain. I therefore learned Spanish as my first language. However, we returned when I was 10 and to my misfortune my parents felt I would learn English faster if they did not speak Spanish. The actual result was my loss of Spanish.

Over the last decade I have had an increasing minority of ‘spanish only’ patients. Being the only Spanish speaking primary care doctor in the area, I began to attract a crowd ( Hopefully , there are now other spanish speakers, nearby somewhere).

What occurred a few weeks ago is remarkable. Despite being able to communicate reasonably well. Not fluently, but it’s not high school spanish either. Whenever I needed to speak spanish I would have to steel myself, it is extra work having to think of the language. It made the interaction more stressful.

So when I realized a few weeks ago that something had clicked in the brain and most of the interaction was now automatic, I could hardly believe it. It has been decades since I could use spanish without it being a conscious effort. I have kept tabs and it is consistent. Only when trying to explain something difficult do I have to focus on the language.

Now if I could only get a larger vocabulary.

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