Voy a hablar sobre Españoland. I am in Españoland. Where’s that, you might ask? It’s an imaginary place where people speak a peculiar variant of Spanish known as Españolandes. It’s a dialect spoken by a couple hundred people who happen to be in Españoland at any given time. Españolandores use just six tenses (present indicative, present progressive, future, perfect past, imperfect past, and subjunctive). They also have a functional vocabulary of about 1,000 words. They never use the familiar (tú) or plural (vosotros) forms, and they avoid any obvious English cognates like "software" and "desafortunadamente" (unfortunately). They always start conversations with "Voy a (put verb here)," which means "I’m going to (put verb here) and you better listen to my flawless Españolandes." And inevitably they always end conversations with "En pocas palabras, eso es todos." Roughly translated, this means, "I’m finished, now go do something else." Españolandores are quite competent when it comes to discussing nuclear disarmament, the ancient Roman concept of death, and the affect of methamphetamines on rural Bolivians, but they sometimes have difficulties buying goods in markets, ordering food in restaurants, or asking directions. It makes for lively conversations of numerous topics of dubious relevance. Those who care to speak on common Españoland topics typically speak English too well to put up with broken Españolandes, and those who speak Españolandes cannot communicate with those who need to speak Españolandes because they don’t have enough vocabulary and don’t know the appropriate verb tenses.
Life in Españoland is improving. I’m starting to plough through some of the rigidities of the language. I’m learning to give the teacher what they want to hear. The end is near. I have about three weeks before my Spanish test. Simply put, I’ve given up learning Spanish for the next month and am focusing on learning what I need to pass the final exam. I don’t want to do that. I’d rather learn Spanish than Españolandes, but I don’t have much choice. I learn by osmosis, meaning that I prefer to absorb as much as I can fix my mistakes as I go along. I rather make a mistake ordering food in a restaurant and using a seventh (gasp!) verb tense incorrectly than stay silent because I don’t have the vocabulary needed to order food and can express my wishes because I didn’t learn that tense. Once I leave Españoland in June, I’ll go back to learning Spanish. En pocas palabras, eso es todos.