Some time ago someone suggested I blog about a Portuguese word.  I think the one suggested was desembarancando (that c should have a cedilla and it’s read like ss) which is sort of “how to make do forward” i.e. how to improvise, elbow, scratch your way forward.  Desenrascando (no cedilla, the c is read k which as you can tell sounds more dire) is the more severe form of that, because it presupposes that you’re “a rasca” i.e. in serious trouble.

As any linguist will tell you when words like that exist in a language, it’s because they’re needed.  Portugal is, in its way, as unlikely a survival as I am – it’s the only one of the many tiny countries that once dotted the Iberian peninsula, which hasn’t been absorbed by Spain.  It has other things going against it, including a very long shore line (Portugal IS a long shore line.  I managed not to live by the sea, but most people assume I did), an inherited Roman political culture, where nepotism is not a bug, it’s a feature, and a kakistocracy who learn their bad manners in the rest of Europe and come home to exploit the land they despise.  (I don’t despise it and I never went back to stay.)

The end result is a country that is so far gone in the rules-and-regulations-no-sane-person-can-obey department that rule of law exists more in theory than reality.  Everyone works under the table, and the best way to resolve a traffic accident is NOT to call the police.

That said, things are much better now than they got in the seventies.  I often find myself nodding agreement when I read stories of Russian immigrants and how they procured things by barter, trade and devious means, because it was never a matter of just going to the store and buying something.

So, you see where those words would be needed.  And you’d see too – I suppose – how someone like me come from such a culture would have a terrible craving for security.  Which is why it’s so funny that I am, after all, a writer and at a time of no security at all.  It probably accounts for the panics too, and the stress which right now had my body in one long eczema eruption from the neck down.  (Yes, I’ve tried everything, prescription and non.  No, I’m not willing to have steroid shots.  When steroid cream doesn’t work, steroid shots are only going to complicate matters.  I know several people who’ve had these too, and if the cream doesn’t work, the shots don’t seem to also.  I’ve sent for the cream I used to use in Portugal and HOPEFULLY it will arrive soon and make a difference.  Until then I suffer and try no to rip my skin to shreds.  (Right now my right arm is in shreds.)  It doesn’t help that my husband’s job seems “okay” for ten months.  No, I’m not complaining.  In ten months tons of things can happen, and yes we know people who are much worse off.  It’s just for someone addicted to security it’s a difficult place to be.

However, both my craving for security and my Portuguese training in desembaracando and desenrascando are probably the only reasons I still have a “job” writing.

Think about it.  You’re ten years old and about to go to school out of the village for the first time, in the nearest (still small, but I didn’t know it) town.

In the village everything gets done very informally.  It has been known for kids to be signed up for school at the right age even if the parents forget, because everyone knows “so and so little so and so goes to school this year.”  But outside the village you come across the Portuguese love for form a in slot b.  And also the disorganization that makes it almost impossible to fulfill.  You march to the nearest phone booth and sob out to your parents “I need to buy stamp form c to sign up, and the paper store doesn’t have any.”  And the answer comes back, “Well, what can I do about it?  Desenrasca-te.”  

Turned out while I didn’t have money to bribe a secretary to pretend I’d given in the form and it had been lost, I had enough to buy the stamp paper off a kid who was not as interested in signing up.

Was this not excellent training for finding my first series dead in the water and shrugging and going “Okay, so much for literary fantasy.  Let me try historical mystery and urban fantasy and…  One of these doors go to open.”

The person who wanted me to blog desembaracando wanted me to explain how it is human wave.  Well… do I need to explain?  Part of what seems to be built into the dystopian sf is that people get stuff done to them and they just fold and die.  Guys, even people who have suffered horrendous dictatorships – Russia, China – find ways to cope with it, to escape, to still have hope for a future and to work towards a better day.  And that’s human wave.  If it had a motto it should be the Heinlein quote “The Future is Better Than The Past.”  Even if you’re not writing sf, that belief is human wave.  The individual can make things better.  Humans can overcome trouble and horror.  Keep trying.  Giving up means you already died.

And if trying means coming up with ever more inventive ways to forge forward through showers of shit and alligator attacks, then do so.  A human got to do what a human got to do.

(On what this human got to do, since she’s a rasca and the future is uncertain: I need to get a fundraising earc out and get the zazzle shop going.  Oh, and get an indie novel out too.  All of these are of the essence and should be done yesterday.  However, I’d like them done WELL.  Yesterday was lost to a doctor’s appointment – no resentment on that. I not only am not seriously ill but the annoying issues seem to have resolved – and today I deal with electrical (that oven vent thing?  Line to it went dead – long story – and it doesn’t seem to be wired through the breaker box.  Fun, uh?)  Then I’m going to Liberty con this weekend – if you’re in TN or NC or even SC and can come on down to Chattanooga, do.  It IS great fun. – and somewhere along there the revision needed for that e-arc will happen.  The way I’ll do THAT at least as a fundraiser is to set a “donation level” and a time and if you send it, you get that.  If you send more than that you’ll get a bonus story, and more than that, you’ll get schwag – hey, I have posters, t-shirts and a magnet on hand that I can send.  And then I need to set up the fun stuff shops.  And then Kate Paulk and I need to rewrite our stories from Valdemar – which are incredibly popular – and make them into novels set in our own world (yes, by contract we CAN use them as is.  No, we don’t want to.  In our own world, we can then continue in ways we want to.  So we have hammered out geography and history and Jem and Ree are going to get a new world and a FAR more detailed account of their adventures with some new stuff happening.) which Naked Reader has agreed to bring out.  In between and around that, I HAVE to deliver Noah’s Boy and write the 2nd Earth Revolution Book.  I’m not sure how I’ll find the time for all this, but hey, I’ll be all right, I’ll continue desenrascando.)

87 responses to “Desenrascando

  1. Donation swag? Sweet, I’m there!

  2. Life without scrambling is NOT the norm. Too many take our current societal wealth for granted — until half the corn crop fails and suddenly turning it into an engine corroding fuel seems like a less than good idea. May Fortune smile on you and the Devil get distracted. Keep the long view, not the Now and remember, the one true thing Keynes ever said: In the long run we’re all dead.

    • Also one thing that Dave Drake said “If you can solve it with money — even if you have to beg and borrow — it’s not a real problem.”

      • “As long as the body is warm and the bowels move regularly no problem can be other than minor and temporary. ”

        Or, as I used to tell the office manager who would report that her computer had “a serious problem” when it was being stubborn, “Serious problems involve smoke and flame. So long as your computer has produced neither, it is a temporary inconvenience.”

        • Distinguo: If a machine remains steadfastly and irremediably inert, producing nothing whatever, so that even smoke and flame would be an improvement, this too may be a serious problem.

          By the way, my body remained warm and my bowels continued to move regularly a year ago, when I had my stroke. That particular problem was, thank God, mostly temporary, but I’ll thank you or anyone not to call it minor.

  3. Cool, I learned 3 new words, 2 Portuguese and kakistocracy ! E-arc plus swag, fuigure out the donation level and I’ll hand you cash this weekend. And i like the Drake quote

  4. ppaulshoward

    See you at LibertyCon!!!

  5. I can understand this attitude. Being the oldest of nine children, I got to do a lot to keep our family afloat. My dad did everything from selling vacuums, electrician work, farming, to cutting wood. My mother made stuffed dinosaurs and when that wasn’t enough she worked at a restaurant. I ended up working there too at fifteen. My dad is not good with money. When my mother finally took over the finances, things stabilized a bit.

    What I am saying is that I would rather see change than security because change means you are doing something new, living something new, and enjoying something new. There are times though that I wish life was a little easier.

  6. Something that just occurred to me. Looking at our people in DC, are you sure you didn’t exchange one kakistocracy for another? Yes, I’ve been overseas and I do have a clue how bad it can be but, I think our congresscritters is getting worse.

  7. Free-range Oyster

    Aprendi palavras novas! Xique! 🙂

    I never heard those words used in Brasil, but I saw the principle borne out every day – if the regular way won’t work, find another. Since I was mostly among the poor or lower middle class, we saw that ability is a vital life skill. Although, the problems were more circumstance- and means-based rather than issues of red tape. I don’t know if bureaucracy is less common there, or if people had just taken to ignoring it altogether.

    I’ve started looking lately for ways to desenrascar-me, both in the sense of boot-strapping and in dodging the bureaucrats with their red tape and blue hands. As the regulatory mess continues to grow – and it will – we’ll see more and more of that. There’s a small, crazy part of my brain that relishes the problem solving challenge, but mostly it just makes me sad.

    Re: your addendum, I just wanted to confirm: did you get my email a few days ago?

    • One of the things I did to stay afloat between jobs was to be the regional representative for a foreign exchange group. I handled about 30 kids. The only two that EVER gave me a problem was one Japanese who hated the United States and ended up shoplifting so she could be sent back, and a young lady from the Brazilian upper class. Let’s just say she had expectations that weren’t being satisfied by our middle-class host families (I moved her twice before she voluntarily went back to Brazil).

      Our current political situation has many solutions. Some of them aren’t very pleasant to think about, but may prove necessary. We may even have to resort to the same solution the Portuguese did. If we do, we need to ensure we don’t replace one set of devils with another. Not easy to do when lawyers are involved… 8^)

      • Free-range Oyster

        “Not easy to do when lawyers are involved…”
        Must… resist… Shakespeare…

        • I am professionally obligated to point out that the reason that character wants to kill all the lawyers is that he knows they would be the biggest obstacle to the hypothetical plan to take over the country.

          Of course, he wants to establish a benign dictatorship, which some people might prefer to the current system, but all I can do is agree with Mr. Weatherford: Pick your devils carefully.

          Or, as a villain once advised, “Never raise up a devil you can’t lay down.”

          • er… Heinlein said it too. BUT that universe was weird.

          • A favourite quote from Robert Bolt’s magnificent play A Man For All Seasons (coincidentally, about the patron saint of lawyers) speaks to that:

            William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
            Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
            William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
            Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

            Of course, to compound his lawyerly sin, More was also a writer, creator of the word Utopia.

          • I don’t want to kill ALL lawyers. We obviously need defense lawyers, as a means to resist thuggish prosecutors like Angela Corey in the George Zimmerman case, and we need prosecutors–albeit different ones from the bought-and-paid-for group in that job now–to bring Democrats to justice.

            But can’t we at least kill all the tort lawyers? Please?

            • No, it must be acknowledged that some tort lawyers do some good, and that without them many manufacturers would take less care than they now do. Limits on contingency fees, “loser pays” rules, and other less extreme solutions (one involving honey and fire ants comes to mind) are more appropriate.

              Frankly, the tort lawyers are not the problem; stupid jurors are.

            • There are good lawyers. Most of them don’t try to be politicians.

            • At the very least, we must keep all the lawyers — and judges — who have dry lawyer-snark. Lawyer-snark is an art-form, and one that should not be lost!

        • why? First thing we do…

        • I resisted using the quote, so I do understand. Just remember that lawyers have five different definitions of every word (two for, three against), including “is” “to” and “the”.

          • AND they can sue us. So, let’s all be VERY nice to them 😉 Except those who go into politics.

          • Ah, but words have meanings, and in any language the verb ‘to be’ always has numerous meanings. A lawyer has to have careful definitions for all words they use because contracts carry obligations.

    • Oyster,

      No. As I said, could you try sahoyt – at- hotmail – dot – com?

      • Free-range Oyster

        I did! Did I get junk mailed, maybe? If not I can just resend it. Sorry for the confusion!

        • UNLESS you’re emailing me about enlarging what I don’t got or offering me some Nigerian dictator’s bank account, didn’t get it. Try the same with tazwriters instead of hotmail.

          • Free-range Oyster

            Sent, though it will show up with my real name and not my handle. If you don’t get it, just drop me a line I can reply to at freerangeoyster ~at~ gmail ~dot~ com.

  8. Ms. Hoyt;
    My daughter had terrible excema and the only thing that helped was Crisco. Yes, the cooking lard (?). It was much better than anything the doctors had. Try it–it’s cheap and it should help.
    Paul Inman

    • Crisco is imitation lard — a hydrogenated vegetable oil. It is like what margarine is to butter.

  9. Yes. After dissuading me on it then persuading me back on it you better get Noah’s Boy out. 😉 :p

  10. Larry Patterson

    Algarve dialect for desenrascar is amanhar. You need a building permit or a licence for a sign for the shop? Well, desenrasca-se or see a cousin (Everyone has one) that works in the bureaucracy and see if they will give you a jeitinho. I had been in Portugal a few weeks when I got a really cheap ticket to see Faro play Porto. The thing is, there must have been five tickets sold for every seat available. So, I was told “desenrasca-se.” Started climbing the fence to the visitors section, but a cop said uh-uh. Then a kind man who wanted to desenrascar the foreigner showed me a gap in the same fence.

    Final score, by the way, Faro 1, referee from Braga 1, to desenrascar his fellow northerners.
    ; {)

    • well! How can you say that? Referees ONLY steal for the Southern team. Amanhar (not from the same root as Amanha = tomorrow) is the direct translation of Southern US “fixing”. As in “I’m fixing to do this” only with a bit more cunning thrown in.

      • This isn’t the Southern ‘fixing’, but the Yankee ‘fix’.

        ‘I’m fixing to do this’ only implies intention; it is one of the numerous Southern verb constructions by which Dixie English attains some of the fluid and graceful versatility of classical Attic Greek, a matter upon which I would write a very interesting monograph if my Greek had ever gone beyond the elementary. (Another example: ‘I’m gonna get me a 12-gauge and shoot me that possum’ — the two instances of ‘me’ accomplish in Dixie English just what the middle voice and the ethic dative, respectively, do in Greek.)

        No, Ma’am: think of the sordid Yankee fix, as in, ‘The fix is in,’ or ‘I know someone who can fix that for you.’ Not the same beast at all; this isn’t a polite little ‘empty’ word (as the Chinese say) thrown in as a grammatical crutch; no, this kind of fixing has teeth.

  11. Well, you did it. You made me look at my writing schedule so that I realized that I am playing too much and not writing enough. ARG…

    • Cyn, I have that problem, too. I keep leaving my writing and coming back here to see what new has been added. Right now, I’m waiting on my SIL to get here so I can go get my car from the repairman (New windshield and a couple of other things, courtesy of the Jun 6th hailstorm we had. New roof later this week). Ah, well… 8^)

  12. Ooh! Language trivia! Its things like this that are the reason I love studying languages – the way one language can express in a single word something that another has to take a whole phrase to say.

    On a semi-related note:
    how to type ç: if you don’t use it (or other accented, etc, characters) very often, copy and paste it from the Character Map. if you do use such characters frequently, you can set the keyboard layout to United States-International, and do things like this: ‘ + e = é; ‘ + c = ç; ” + o = ö and the like.

    • Or if you’re on Linux, you can set a key to be the “Compose key” (I use the left Windows-logo key since those keys aren’t used under Linux), then hit sequences like Compose+’+e for é, Compose+^+o for ô, or Compose+=+e for €. There are lots of them — has a pretty complete list — but the cool thing is that they’re usually the sequences you’d naturally think of. For example, ø is Compose+/+o (or Compose+o+/ — just about every compose-key sequence can be inverted, so Compose+’+e and Compose+e+’ both yield é).

      If you’re using Linux, do yourself a favor and Google “Compose key”; you’ll be glad you did.

      P.S. If you don’t know how to set the Compose key, go to System Settings and pick Keyboard Layouts (not Keyboard, that’s a different set of options), then click the “Options…” button in the lower right corner of the settings window. You should find the Compose key settings there. (These instructions are for the latest version of Ubuntu Linux, since that’s the one I use. If you use a different Linux flavor, hopefully you can figure out how to adapt these instructions — remember that Google knows everything and you’ll probably be fine.)

      • you learn something new everyday. I dual-boot windows and ubuntu, but I’m far from knowing as much about linux’s ins and outs as I do windows. I’d found a way to change its keyboard layout, but its US international is just different enough from windows that the same tricks won’t *quite* work in both. Thanks! I shall now go and delightedly tinker around 🙂

        • *comes back*
          ohh, that *is* nice! does all funny characters without the moving-a-few-random-keys side affect that switching the whole shebang to the international layout has. Very nice. Now I just wonder if there’s any way to do a compose key in windows… (probably not)

    • character map? It’s like you don’t believe I’m technology illiterate.

      • Hey I understood – I just don’t have the brain power to remember though. *snort

      • its a thingy in windows which contains every character, ever, so that people can copy and paste the obscure ones. In windows 7, I just type character map into the start menu and it comes up. In XP, I *think* it would be under Start menu –> all programs –> accessories –> system tools. Or at least something similar (I don’t know what kind of computer you’re using). Or you can just google ‘e with accent’ or ‘c with cedilla’ and copy and paste it from that.

        • Thanks muchly. I iz enlightened. 🙂 (Not sarcasm. I spend so much time in my own head that stuff like this confuses me.)

        • I created an HTML page that gives the numerical value for all 256 characters in the typical Windows setting, along with the symbol. I used it when I was making pages for my stamps. It’s a great reference if you’re coding HTML.

    • I told my kids “until you know other languages, you don’t even know your own.” They said “Moooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom” Which is kid for “you’re nuts go away.” They won. :/

      • Oh, but its so true! I never know just how little I actually knew about english grammar until I started to learn spanish. I had a very good intuitive understanding, but it didn’t go much farther than ‘sounds right’ and ‘doesn’t sound right’.

      • No, they lost, because their foolish kid-brains refused to ingest a valuable heuristic. My mother spent considerable time trying to teach me Spanish when I was a kid; I never made much headway with it, for various reasons, but I would never have learnt English half so well if I hadn’t had the Spanish to compare it with, and see that the things monoglots take for granted are only the contrivances of human ingenuity and not the Writ of God.

      • Heh. I grew up with bits of Yiddish floating around, followed by early doses of Spanish and Latin, mostly Latin (church choir – corrupting low church Protestants for a century or so). Latin stuck, especially Latin grammar, and now German, Spanish and other things all filter through Latin grammar. Mom minored in classical Greek and Dad reads German and Spanish, and both know enough Italian to have fun in northern Italy. Sib is fluent in Spanish and went to university in Puebla, Mexico for a semester. I really, really enjoy etymology and old-school linguistics – the history of languages.

        Now I’m making up languages for my fiction and bashing myself when I find misspellings and grammar errors! *shakes head*

        • Are you familiar with Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, by John McWhorter?

          Book Description
          Publication Date: October 27, 2009 | ISBN-10: 1592404944 | ISBN-13: 978-1592404940
          A survey of the quirks and quandaries of the English language, focusing on our strange and wonderful grammar

          Why do we say “I am reading a catalog” instead of “I read a catalog”? Why do we say “do” at all? Is the way we speak a reflection of our cultural values? Delving into these provocative topics and more, Our Magnificent Bastard Language distills hundreds of years of fascinating lore into one lively history.

          Covering such turning points as the little-known Celtic and Welsh influences on English, the impact of the Viking raids and the Norman Conquest, and the Germanic invasions that started it all during the fifth century ad, John McWhorter narrates this colorful evolution with vigor. Drawing on revolutionary genetic and linguistic research as well as a cache of remarkable trivia about the origins of English words and syntax patterns, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue ultimately demonstrates the arbitrary, maddening nature of English— and its ironic simplicity due to its role as a streamlined lingua franca during the early formation of Britain. This is the book that language aficionados worldwide have been waiting for (and no, it’s not a sin to end a sentence with a preposition).
          (per Amazon)

          This is a rare situation where I recommend the audio book over the dead tree or electronic versions, for reasons that should not need explanation.

          • Oh my. That looks delightful. I shall have to investigate 🙂 I’ll have to see if I can find a bio on the author as well – my family knows a few McWhorters down in this neck of the woods, and while I don’t know that any of them write, I don’t think its all that common a surname either.

              John Hamilton McWhorter V (born 1965) is an American linguist and political commentator. He is the author of a number of books on language and on race relations. His research specialties are how creole languages form and how language grammars change as the result of sociohistorical phenomena.

              Early life
              McWhorter was born and raised in Philadelphia. He attended Friends Select School in Philadelphia, and after tenth grade was accepted to Simon’s Rock College, where he earned an A.A. degree. Later, he attended Rutgers University and received a B.A. in French in 1985. He received a master’s degree in American Studies from New York University and a Ph.D. in linguistics in 1993 from Stanford University.

            • McWhorters in Texas? That’s my maiden name.Could be relatives of mine, my Dad was born in Amarillo, his little brother in Houston, IIRC.

              • I’ll have to ask about Amarillo and Houston. The ones we know are in the Dallas area (or, at least, were in my childhood. They may have scattered to the winds since).

          • ppaulshoward

            Nice, it’s now on my “after LibertyCon To-Be-Purchased” list.

          • I just downloaded it to Kindle for pc. It’s a bit expensive but hey, it might be worth it…

            • If you are not fluent in the … um, what do you call the specific phonemic symbols used to write sounds? … characters used by the … typesetter? you may have some problems fully appreciating this book. I hope you got the audio friendly Kindle edition (is there one?)

     books, purveyor of, well, exactly what the name suggests, offers a sample of the book (as read by the author) at this link: for those who use their service it is worth watching for the book to turn up on sale.

        • TXRed – my mother read and wrote Kanji. The first time I learned about it was when I was 15, and had a Japanese penpal. She wrote me something in Japanese, and I was dismayed in finding someone who could translate it. For Mom, it was a breeze.

          She was one of the the Navy WAVES that worked translating intercepted Japanese navy code. Totally amazed me!

        • I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one to do this…

      • I am not by any means fluent, but when I had to take two years of German to get my English degree, I learn more about my own language ever. It was pretty interesting.

        • You were required to take German to get an ENGLISH degree?
          /scratches head/

          • Uh. I was. To get a “real” English degree in Portugal, you had to minor in German. You could get a degree that wouldn’t “got as far” by taking a minor in French or — yuck — Portuguese, but those weren’t “real” English degrees.

          • Sure – German is one of the primary roots of the English language. One of the strengths of English is is has a far larger vocabulary than other language, a consequence of its absorption of German (Saxon), Norse (all those viking invasion in the latter 9th Century), French (Billy Conqueror & Friends) and German again when the Stuarts wore out their welcome (or whatever – it is gotten late and all that comes to mind is an Old Blind Dogs song sneering at a leek-loving German Lairdie.)


            Wha the deil hae we gotten for a King,
            But a wee, wee German lairdie,
            And when we gaed to bring him hame,
            He was delvin in his yairdie.
            He was sheughin kail, and laying leeks,
            Wi’oot the hose and but the breeks,
            An’ up wi’ his beggar duds he cleeks;
            This wee, wee German lairdie.

            And he’s clapt doon in our guidman’s chair,
            The wee, wee German lairdie;
            And he’s brought fouth o’ foreign trash,
            And dibbled them in oor yairdie;
            He’s pu’d the rose o’ English loons,
            And broken the harp o’ Irish clowns;
            But oor thistle taps will jag his thooms –
            This wee, wee German lairdie.

            Come up amang oor Highland hills,
            Thou wee, wee German lairdie,
            And see how the Stewarts’ lang-kail thrive
            They dibbled in oor yairdie;
            And if a stock ye dare to pu’,
            Or haud the yokin’ o’ a plough,
            We’ll brak your sceptre ower your mou’,
            Thou wee bit German lairdie.

            Oor hills are steep, oor glens are deep,
            Nae fitting for a yairdie;
            And oor Norland thistles winna pu’,
            Thou wee bit German lairdie;
            And we’ve the trenching blades o’ weir,
            Wad prune ye o’ your German gear –
            We’ll pass ye ‘neath the claymore’s sher,
            Thou feckless German lairdie.

            Auld Scotland, thou’rt ower cauld a hole
            For nursin’ siccan vermin;
            But the very dogs o’ England’s court
            They bark and howl in German.
            Then keep thy dibble in thy ain hand,
            Thy spade but and thy yairdie;
            For wha the deil now claims your land
            But a wee, wee German lairdie.

            Footnote : A Jacobite song poking fun at the Hanoverian King George I, who succeeded the last of the Stewarts, Queen Anne, daughter of King James VII and II. This week marks the 258th anniversary of the entry, by ruse, of the Jacobite army into Edinburgh during the 1745 Rising.
            Lyric courtesy:

      • Oh, but that is so true. I realized that when I was studying Koine.

        High School Spanish I took in Philadelphia never counted as language study. Our class went through five different teacher who spoke five different kinds of Spanish freshman year. None of us recovered. We were exposed to a South American dialect, a Mexican dialect , a Carribian dialect, Castilian and something else. The teacher from southern Alabama was the worst. She may have been a perfectly competent teacher of Spanish but we couldn’t understand her English, no less her Spanish.