Louis habla Espanol?
July 17, 2012 12:03 PM   Subscribe

The comedian Louis C.K. is Mexican, having grown up in Mexico with Spanish as his first language. His family is still in Mexico too. Can anyone help me find audio/video of Louis actually speaking Spanish?
posted by vacapinta to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
He speaks a tiny bit of Spanish in the newest episode of Louie, but I imagine that might have been the impetus for this question.
posted by COBRA! at 12:04 PM on July 17, 2012

Wait you are in the UK - did you know this was sort of a plot line from last weeks show? Unless he's lying he basically gave the "I can understand it, but can't really speak it" line.
posted by JPD at 12:05 PM on July 17, 2012

Response by poster: I haven't seen this episode! He supposedly only spoke Spanish until age 7. I dont see how one forgets a language after that...
posted by vacapinta at 12:10 PM on July 17, 2012

It's pretty easy to forget a language after seven, since you don't really get proficient in language until the end of high school.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:13 PM on July 17, 2012

The Mexican side of my family moved to the US in the 1950s, when it was probably more common, but a bunch of the ones who were born in Mexico are not even vaguely Spanish-fluent because the family's emphasis on the time was "learn English and blend in", and if you haven't really spoken a language in a very long time, you really can get that rusty.
posted by gracedissolved at 12:14 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

As anecdata, I worked with a guy who moved to the U.S. from Korea at six years old; he actually had a fairly thick accent in English but could not speak Korean at all.
posted by XMLicious at 12:15 PM on July 17, 2012

Yeah he touches on this in the latest episode, which is of course semi-autobiographical fiction so take it with a grain of salt, but he says that he's forgotten most of his Spanish. When he does say a line or two in Spanish it's with an American accent.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:21 PM on July 17, 2012

It's pretty easy to forget a language after seven, since you don't really get proficient in language until the end of high school.

Yes and no.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:21 PM on July 17, 2012

I had a bunch of first-generation emigre ESL students who had forgotten their first language almost entirely by college. I leaned this by asking whether it was easier to write their papers in their first language and translate them into English, and I was surprised by how many of the students with poor English skills said they had worse or no skills in their first language.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:22 PM on July 17, 2012

Best answer: Yeah my husband was born/raised in Russia, to Russian speakers, but he moved to the US when he was 7 or 8, and he is frequently frustrated speaking to his parents in Russian because he says he never learned to speak Russian beyond a 1st grade level. He hasn't completely forgotten it, but he says it's pretty awful compared to his parents or older brother. Meanwhile, he speaks English perfectly and accent-free. I would imagine that if Louis CK never spoke Spanish regularly once coming to the US he'd be in much worse shape with it than my husband is.
posted by agress at 12:38 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Spanish was my first language for the first few years. But we lived in a place with very few other Spanish-speaking people and for all intents and purposes, I've forgotten it. If I strain really hard (and filter everything through my knowledge of etymology) I can puzzle a little bit out, but not enough to have a real conversation. If you don't practice a second language pretty frequently, it's easy for you to lose that skill. I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing happened in CK's case.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 12:44 PM on July 17, 2012

Best answer: According to one of his Mexican cousins, 22-year-old Louis spoke limited Spanish when he went to his grandmother's 90th birthday party in Mexico City (http://cinecronicas.blogspot.com/2011/09/mi-primo-nominado-al-emmy.html).
posted by derforsher at 12:58 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

Yeah this is me. My language at birth was Mandarin, I moved to the States when I was around 6, and started the first grade here. I'd forgotten the majority of it in my adolescence, and I've had to relearn all of it as an adult.

My accent today varies from normal to pretty embarrassing.
posted by danny the boy at 2:54 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

In deforsher's link it says
en una escena el pasatiempo de uno de sus personajes era poner en una bandeja helado, quitarse los pantalones y sentarse sobre él.
Can someone help me with that? Is it literal? The character's hobby was to take off his pants and sit on an ice cube tray? Or is that some bizarre slang expression whose meaning eludes me?
posted by Lame_username at 6:15 PM on July 17, 2012

Lame username,

The full paragraph provides the context. The author is describing Louis CK's sometimes surreal sense of humor. As an example, he cites a scene in the short film Ice Cream, which Louis CK made in the 90's, in which the character did in fact take off his pants and do just that.

Ice Cream is available on You Tube if you're interested. . .
posted by seachange at 8:03 PM on July 17, 2012

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