15 abr. 2011

Antonio Machado

Tal vez la mano, en sueño,
del sembrador de estrellas,
hizo sonar la música olvidada

como una nota de la lira inmensa,
y la ola humilde a nuestros labios vino
de unas pocas palabras verdaderas.

Since I learned Spanish to read the literature in the original, I started reading almost immediately when I started learning the language. I started with Azorín and Matute, writers who are complex but who write in short phrases. The first literature class I took we read Ramón Sender, Antonio Buero Vallejo, and Antonio Machado. I still remember reading these poems by Machado and I still have some of them memorized, or nearly so.

I tended to learn the grammar of the language the first time I was exposed to it. Not that I haven't refined my grammatical knowledge later, but I just learned the grammar, the verb forms or whatever, the first time. In subsequent courses we just got taught the same grammar all over again, and over again and again. I think I even skipped some courses, because I was better off just reading the literature. I went from Spanish 1 in my Freshman year to an advanced level during the last quarter of my sophomore year. Then I went to Spain and actually learned to speak the language by refusing to speak to other American students in English.