Word frustration

Sometimes, I feel like I don’t have a language.

Let me clarify, because I know you’re thinking, but Abby, you speak English and Spanish, you have TWO languages!

Well first of all, my Spanish isn’t perfect, although a student made me realize the other day that I do know a ridiculous amount of obscure vocabulary. But even though I may be fluent, it’s my second language, not my first, and will always be like that.

And my English. Gah! Do you know how frustrating it is to not know a word in your own language? The other day I was trying to type the word “relaxtion,” which I was sure was a word, and the little red squiggly would not go away. I was so frustrated, so I yelled into Sara, “Hey, how do you spell relaxtion?” and she goes, “Relaxtion?? You mean relaxAtion?” Umm, yes, I’ll just go hide under a rock now.

Then in class last night I was talking about landladies for some reason, and of course a student asked me what a landlady was called if indeed she were not a lady but a man, and I could NOT think of the word. I knew it wasn’t landman, but I had no clue what the word was. I had to ask my friend R. and when she said “landlord” I almost died. DUH!

I realize that to make room for Spanish probably some of my English knowledge leaks out through my ears. But it’s really frustrating when you’re an English teacher who is supposed to know these things. Plus, I get so used to hearing my students speak Spanishized English that I begin to think it’s okay to say these things. My big question right now is, do we say “I have a doubt” in English like they say “Tengo una duda” in Spanish?

Before you know it, I’m going to think that it’s okay to say “I have 23 years old.” GAH!


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