Learning languages makes you more literate. Right or not ?
In my case, I sometime wonder. My accent contributes to communication errors. A variety of spellings causes my writing to look as if I'm uneducated. And, sometimes local words or phrases mean the opposite of what they, literally, mean.
Before coming to Ecuador to learn Spanish, I spoke Canadian English and French, each having some variation in the spelling or meaning of the same words or phrases. For example, my employment largely involved national security and counter-terrorism. So, when, in French, I heard "Met la bomb", (Place the bomb), I became concerned. However, it is a colloquialism meaning "Put the kettle on."
Canadian English is different from American English and Canadians are never sure what to write. Frequently, American spell checks tell you that you are wrong, when you are really only writing Canadian. Is it color or colour ? Is it traveler or traveller ? etc. I think that I once saw that Microsoft Word caters to about 20 English dialects.
I moved to this Spanish speaking country as a single man and entered the world of romance. Apart from the obvious, there are linguistic challenges to be alert to.
When I want to say " I love you very much" - "Te quiero tanto", my accent can make it sound like "Te quiero, tonto" which means "I love you, stupid".
Recently, I encountered another "interesting" twist; - when what is said is the opposite of what is meant. I was driving up a mountain road and my lady said "Suba, no mas". Literally translated, that means "Climb, no more". I stopped, to her bewilderment. Locally, it means to keep going up. A variation was later noticed in a mall. When a woman asked to have one of the chairs from our table. My lady replied "Siga, no mas." or "Continue, no more" ( Literal translation sounds terrible). She was not denying the woman the chair, she was telling her to go ahead and take it.
All this to say to my dear friends, my readers - If you think that I don't know what I am talking about and am terribly illiterate, you may be absolutely right.
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