Google Hogar

Earlier today, Aaron sent me a link to this: Meet the bilingual Google Assistant with new smart home devices

When I got home, I switched our Google Home to the two languages we’re learning: Spanish and Japanese.

Then I went to my office and realized I had to ask Google to turn on the lights. Hilarity ensued.

Eventually, I figured out both the verb and the conjugation to turn the lights on and off. Imperative tense FTW!

However, Google seemed to recognize only 30% of the lights in the house, none of which were in my office. I eventually figured out I had to rename “office” to “oficina”. Finally, I had light.

A non-English speaking Google Home is either going to be really good for my Spanish, or really frustrating, because if I can’t get what I want from Google I’m going to have to resort to Alexa, who can’t even understand me in English.

Sin Ingles

When I want a digital Chinese character, it’s easier for me to translate my way to it than to try to write it.

In the past, this meant translating from English.

Now, because all my translation tools default to Spanish, English isn’t even in the picture.

Being able to operate across two non-English languages feels incredibly satisfying.

Also, in today’s episode of todo en Español, I logged into my Kaiser account and was greeted with “Bienvenido, Vivian.”

Might as well. Es bueno para la plasticidad del cerebro.

Banco de América

I’m not sure when this happened, but today I realized I’ve been interacting with my bank in Spanish.

This isn’t something I purposely set. While I was pleased that it actually took me a few weeks to notice the change, I don’t trust my Spanish enough to bank on it.

I’m guessing their app picked up my phone’s language setting and propagated it to my account.

In other news, I started a Spanish podcast this morning and understood everything in the first few sentences. It felt kind of surreal.

I18NFC

I’ve started noticing the last couple weeks that when I use Android Pay and Fitbit Pay, the terminal presents me with text in Spanish.

I was pleasantly surprised when my Android Pay purchase was aprobado at Powell’s.

I was totally caught off guard when I had to navigate options for my Fitbit Pay purchase at Sharetea.*

All of a sudden, there’s someone watching me try to translate in real-time. The pressure!

Pressure aside, I find this really cool.

* Fitbit Pay is super convenient! I especially love when I use it to buy junk food.

En Espagnol

Earlier this week I stumbled upon a Spanish fiction podcast in which the main characters spoke Spanish, but pronounced their r’s in the back of their throat.

In what part of the world do they speak Spanish like this?

It turned out the main characters were French.

It’s normal to depict and understand nationality by accent in English, but when I encounter it in Spanish it’s a total mind warp.

Frenish

I have space in my brain for 3 languages:

1. English
2. Cantonese
3. French/German/Italian/Spanish

I studied French for 6 1/2 formative years, and it has long been the dominant 3rd language. Dabbling in German and Italian resulted in crossed wires for a bit, but French stood strong.

Spanish is starting to challenge the podium.

This morning, I dreamt I was in a shop, and a lady there was giving out tasty treats, but only to those who asked.

This was a French speaking establishment, so I had to ask in French.

She had three different treats. I wanted two of them.

This one y that one.

Wait… it’s not y.

This one y that one.

Et! It’s et!

My alarm went off before I could correct myself and receive my treats.

¡Pesadilla!

Hola Google

Yesterday, I took the plunge. I set my Android system language to Spanish.

This changed not only system text to Spanish, but also application text in apps that use the system setting.

No big deal. I’m used to deciphering headers and menus now. I’ve been doing it for a couple months.

The big deal is that Google Assistant now listens for Spanish first, and translates my English into Spanish garble unless I Speak. Super. Slowly. And. Enunciate. Very. Clearly.

It’s easier for me to speak Spanish. So I do. Google even understands me most of the time.

In other news, I realized today that I don’t translate peligro and advertencia to English. These words are all over the place, so I’ve learned them from context. It’s interesting to understand a word simply for what it is.

Spañish

I walked by a sign today, read it, and continued on.

After I rounded the corner, I realized it was in Spanish.

Score one for not noticing!

As I thought about the sign, I considered how all the word endings matched in terms of gender and quantity. I wondered if I would have remembered those details if I’d crafted it. In that moment, I empathized with crafters of Engrish signs around the world.

I wonder what the español equivalent of Engrish is. Espanol?

Consecuencias

Consequences of setting my Google default language to Spanish.

As Mike! points out, my email reply headers are now in Spanish. You have been warned.

My Google Takeout archive is structured in Spanish. I guess this means I can’t just forget it all when I’m done. ;)

My Project Fi payment notification email is now in Spanish. Thankfully, the statement itself is in English, so finance won’t get mad when I submit my expenses.

Google searches return a combination of Spanish and English. This is probably because my searches are in English. I’m not quite at the point of searching in Spanish yet, although it would be interesting to do parallel searches in both languages to compare results and sources.

Mi Amigo Google Traductor

I’ve been approaching this Spanish thing from several fronts.

Progress is good. I’m starting to read fast enough that I can keep up with internet video subtitles. I don’t understand every word, but I can get the gist of things. I’ll periodically pause to look up words or phrases I don’t know.

Listening is the hardest part. Once I build a little more structure in my head around verb tenses I’ll dive more into listening activities.

¡Adelante!