American in Spain

Counting To Ten

July 24, 2012

Counting to Ten (thumbnail)We have been making slow, but steady, progress on Nora's counting abilities. She can more or less get up to about fifteen in both languages, and she's begun to make statements like "There are three cookies on the table" as well. The other day I thought I'd record a video of her counting to mark her progress, and she did very well, despite manifesting her most common errors. The video is below, but first a joke, best told in skit form, courtesy of my butcher, Bruno.

Come in, sit down. You're here to interview for the accountant position?

Yes, that is correct.

Okay, obviously you'll need to be able to count. Can you count to ten for us?

Sure. One, three, five, seven…

Wait, wait. What did you say your previous job was?

I was a mailman. First I'd go up one side of the street, and then I'd go back down the other.

Okay, I'm afraid you're not really suitable for this position. Next!

Good morning, I'm here for the accountant position.

Alright. Let's hope you're better than that last guy. Sheesh! We're going to need you to count to ten for us.

No problem. Ten, nine, eight, seven…

Wait, wait. What was your previous job?

I was an engineer at NASA, running mission control for rocket launches.

Well, I'm sorry, but I don't think you'll fit in here. Thanks for interviewing. Send the next guy in, would you?

Hi, I'm here for the accountant position.

Okay, great. Let's hear you count to ten.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven…

Oh my! You're doing very well! What was your previous job?

I had a government desk job.

Excellent! Keep going.

…eight, nine, ten…jack, queen, king.

The punchline works slightly better in Spanish because Spanish playing cards only go up to seven before the face cards start, but I still think it's good.

A few things to notice…

When I ask her to switch languages, she's confused and asks, "Why?"

Her Spanish numbers are spoken with an Extremadura accent, in which the S sound at the end of words is dropped, producing do, tre, sei, instead of dos, tres, seis.

For some reason, she always skips 7 in Spanish, but this was the first time I'd noticed her skipping 17 as well, which is an understandable side effect. When she skips 7, she's accustomed to someone correcting her, so she throws in a nervous laugh like she knows she's just made a mistake.

She's getting there, but she's not employable as an accountant quite yet.