Miguel Bloombito: the incredible Spanish of Michael Bloomberg


26 Responses to “Miguel Bloombito: the incredible Spanish of Michael Bloomberg”

  1. Whatles warss says:

    What in the wwww hill?

  2. Snig says:

    My Spanish is probably not much better, but I can get by in medical situations.  With Spanish speaking patients who don’t speak English, I usually start by explaining “Yo hablo Espanol como un gringo.”  They almost always laugh, and we get by. 

    • ldobe says:

      I’m not in anything as vitally important as the medical field, and my Spanish is pretty grotesque, but I got by in retail.  Numbers are easy.

      I took two years in high school and another in college, was the top of my class even, but it rapidly degraded once I stopped using it all the time.

      It’s funny.  Not like riding a bike at all.  I can still write proficiently, but reading’s a lot slower, and speaking is out of the question for anything more complex than explaining who I am, what I do, where I want to go, how to get places, and what I want.  Anything beyond that and I sound like David Sedaris’ description of his French: like a hillbilly demon toddler.

      I remember his example: “when I having of myself eight, the mouth man make me wore a fence in my head.”

      • Snig says:

        Sedaris is great, BBC radio has a series of him reading his own stuff.  I do have someone close by who’s bilingual, if there’s anything the patient or I don’t understand, we get help. 

        • ldobe says:

          Yeah, when I was working in retail, and I had a hard time understanding, I’d apologize and ask them to write down what they wanted to say.  But usually the Spanish speakers either knew enough English for me to understand (incredibly embarrassing, made me feel incompetent and generally lame) or they came in with a friend or relative who was fluently bilingual.

          I was told on multiple occasions, “let’s just use English” and I’d sheepishly reply “that’s probably fastest.”

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        I can read French and Spanish pretty well 37 years after high school, but my attempts to speak it are pretty sad.  Unless I’m drunk  Or I’ve just flown from Cairo to Paris on a medical evacuation flight and have to negotiate a hospital stay for someone with acute delirium.  In both those cases, fluency kicks in hard.

  3. Jonathan Roberts says:

    It reminds me of when I opened google.es one day while I was living in Spain. I’m pretty sure this was the genuine front page, although I wasn’t able to find it the next day. It certainly worked in the same way as normal. (I was in an internet cafe, hence the use of IE)

    edit: I guess someone must have done this before I got there: http://beyondteck.blogspot.com/2010/11/google-easter-egg-change-your-language.html

  4. tudza says:

    I understand how this can happen very well.  You learn enough to speak and read Spanish at one point and it gets linked in to how you speak and just comes out from time to time.  It’s not like he claims to be Cervantes or anything.

    What would be interesting is to track the most obvious gaffes and see if he fixes them in later postings.  He must know where he’s reaching for Spanish vocabulary and failing miserably.  If not, well then he needs to seek professional help.

    What’s the going rate for conversational Spanish tutors?

  5. Ashen Victor says:

    As a native Spanish speaker I find it unbelievable funny.

    Rañdom Ñ for the wiñ!   

  6. oasisob1 says:

    “When asked if Bloomberg might next consider ditching Lydia Callis and incorporating his own sign language moves into his press conferences, Figueroa-Levin laughs, “Oh God, that would be terrible!””
    That twitter feed would suck. Besides, the mime already did it.

  7. Josh Jasper says:

    Inwood, where Levin lives is a pretty cool place.  I lived there for 7 years, and there’s a nice local twitter community.  Bloomberg himself thinks El Bloombito is funny, so no harm done.  New Yorkers like a mayor who dosen’t take himself too seriously.

    • Jonathan Roberts says:

      One of the big barriers that learners have to overcome is getting laughed at by native speakers for their poor language skills. If you can laugh at yourself making mistakes, you’ve made some good progress towards becoming fluent.

  8. mack says:

    If you haven’t been following @MexicanMitt (satirist Lalo Alcaraz’s domineering Republican alter-ego) then you’ve been missing a real treat. http://twitter.com/MexicanMitt

  9. RJ says:

    I’ve been told that the Castellano accent is abrasive here in the Americas, while the Latin American accents are equally abrasive in Spain. They think we sound like stupid hicks, while we think they sound fruity and pompous.

    I’d like to find a guide to learning Latin American Spanish, but the search has yielded little.

    • pjk says:

      There is no such thing as Latin American Spanish. It’s different in every country/region (though to varying degrees). 

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Trying simultaneously conversing with someone from Puerto Rico and someone from Chile. If you didn’t speak Spanish, you probably wouldn’t even recognize them as the same language.

    • mark says:

      I worked with some Cuban guys in Arizona, who told me the mexicans spoke “shit spanish”. The Mexican guys said the same thing about the Cubans.
      Go figure, everybody thinks they are better than everyone else.

  10. rocketpjs says:

    I guess I get the humour of it, but is the point to say that if we don’t speak a language, we should never bother to try learning it?

    I took Spanish for years, but it is very rusty now and I sound like Tarzan at best.  “Estoy caliente” is not a good way to comment on the weather.  My French is much worse, but I still harbor aspirations of immersing myself and getting better at both.  Does that mean I will deserve to be mocked for trying?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Does that mean I will deserve to be mocked for trying?

      if, over the course of multiple years of trying, you continue to gesticulate wildly while screaming, “The empty is yellow!”, then yes, you will be mocked.

    • BarBarSeven says:

      I guess I get the humour of it, but is the point to say that if we don’t speak a language, we should never bother to try learning it?

      Moot point.  Are you the mayor of a major city who is attempting in his own bizarre way to communicate to his constituents via your barely existent language skills? Nope.  Bloomberg could just step aside & let someone more fluent in the language translate what he says, but he doesn’t that is the crux of the joke here: It’s not his lack of language skills as much as his utter disconnect from what he is doing. His command of Spanish is reminiscent of someone who knows enough to tell their maid & butler what to do… ¿Comprende?

    • mark says:

      “Does that mean I will deserve to be mocked for trying?”
      yes. but keep trying, because the mocking will make you try harder :-)
      (How do you make the little box around the quote?)

  11. Lolotehe says:

    Wait…it gave her “something to do” while she was stuck inside during Irene. During Irene?

  12. cdh1971 says:

    Mi aerodeslizador es lleno de anguilas. Bájate los calzones, Sir William, no puedo esperar hasta la hora del almuerzo. Mis pezones estallan de alegría.

    Maybe Bloomberg has realized by now his tweets cause his twitter follower’s nipples to explode with delight so he continues for this reason. In any case, while we can legitimately giggle, Bloomberg pushing on with trying to use his newly learned Spanish skills w/o worrying too much about how he sounds is the only was to really become capable with a new language.

  13. dragonet2 says:

    I somehow managed to turn the TV to the news channel broadcasting this speech. My first thought was WTF?  My second one was, What the hell?  Could he not have had someone at least write the correct language down phonetically?  

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