Cenwalh's Spanish Conquista

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Cenwalh
Orange Belt
Posts: 192
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:14 am
Location: UK
Languages: English (N), Spanish (acquiring), Catalan (beginner).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=12467
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Cenwalh's Spanish Conquista

Postby Cenwalh » Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:13 am

After a decent time lurking on this forum, I thought I'd start my own log to track my progress.

A short summary of my journey so far:
End of 2016 - start of 2017: Got part way through Spanish Duolingo tree, gave up

Mid 2018: Decided to learn Spanish again. I'm somewhat bad at sticking to courses, but I do what I find enjoyable so what's the harm? Anyway, since then I've done the following:
  • Learnt ~3200 words from https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/2134488481 (started in June 2018, currently learning 19 per day)
  • Created my own Anki deck of ~600 conjugations of some of the most common verbs, I finished this a long time ago, but still review a couple of cards per day which can be useful
  • Completed Spanish All Talk (I have started many courses, but this is the only I have completed and I highly recommend it)
  • Created an Anki deck with 9000 cloze deletions which I am about 1,500 cards through, mostly revision for me, but it's really helping with the subjunctive which I feel I could use with ease in some cases now (you can download it if you'd like https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/1713698257)
  • Read 5 books, so far all graded readers which is fine, I'm currently finding a reader graded at B1 reasonable because I can get through most pages only needing to look up a few words (reading on a Kindle is excellent!), and sometimes I've gone pages or even chapters without looking up words, depends on the author
  • Listened to a few audiobooks of the above books I've read
  • Watched hours of Pablo's fantastic Youtube channel Dreaming Spanish (a must for Spanish learners imo), mostly intermediate videos as I prefer the pace, I usually speed them up as well to get closer to native speed speech, but I'm still not there
  • Watched several episodes of Extr@ in Spanish
  • Watched hours of Peppa Pig (my comprehension here is very good apart from words a beginner is unlikely to know like the words for pumpkin, hiccoughs etc

My challenge for 2019 is to get my listening comprehension to a point where I can watch some more advanced materials. I haven't done language exchanges, and for me that is OK, I am unlikely to enjoy them and learning Spanish is a hobby.

A day in the life of my Spanish learning would tend to be:
  • Learn 19 new words, 22 new cloze deletions and review everything in Anki
  • Watch a Dreaming Spanish video if there's a new one, or look in the back catalogue for an interesting one
  • Read a chapter of the book I'm reading, listen to the audio afterwards (sometimes the order changes, but this way is easier)
  • Procrastinate a lot

I'm trying to focus on Spanish from Spain with the distinción, yeismo, use of vosotros etc, so I am trying to consume material from Spain mostly especially when listening because I don't want to learn a new word that has an /s/ sound when it would really have a /θ/ sound with the distinction. It's for that reason that I never listened to Language Transfer or watched Destinos. Foolish? Maybe.
Last edited by Cenwalh on Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:34 am, edited 4 times in total.
9 x
1,000,000 sentences of Spanish: 725000 / 1000000
Double SC films: 156 / 200
Double SC books: 54 / 200

Cenwalh
Orange Belt
Posts: 192
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:14 am
Location: UK
Languages: English (N), Spanish (acquiring), Catalan (beginner).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=12467
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Re: Cenwalh's conquista of the Spanish language

Postby Cenwalh » Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:12 pm

Some resources I've used, note that they're very much geared towards someone learning Spanish from Spain with distinción. I've now highlighted things that I feel were most important in my conquista in each category with :!:

  • Anki:
  • Books:
    Graded A2:
    • :!: Spanish Short Stories for Beginners - Olly Richards (this used to be on Kindle Unlimited, but has been removed and replaced with another version) (audio is distinción)
    • :!: Spanish Short Stories for Beginners vol 2 - Olly Richards
    • Un hombre fascinante - Juan Fernández
    • La profe de español - Juan Fernández
    • Viaje a Singapur - Teresa Garviar (audio is distinción)
    Graded B1:
    • Año Nuevo, Vida Nueva - Juan Fernández
    • Misterio en la biblioteca - María Danander (audio is distinción)
    • Me voy o me quedo - Juan Fernández
    • Fantasmas del pasado - Juan Fernández
    Graded B2:
    • Una chica triste - Juan Fernández
    Written/translated for natives:
    • Charlie y la fábrica de chocolate - Roald Dahl
    • :!: Algo tan sencillo como tuitear te quiero - Blue Jeans (part reading, part audiobook)
    • Algo tan sencillo como darte un beso - Blue Jeans (audiobook)
    • Algo tan sencillo como estar contigo - Blue Jeans (audiobook)
    • Por trece razones - Jay Asher (audiobook)
    • Cuando me veas - Laura Gallego (audiobook)
    • Todas las hadas del reino - Laura Gallego (audiobook)
    • Diario de Anne Frank (audiobook)
    • Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal - JK Rowling (audiobook)
  • Courses:
    • Duolingo (audio is seseo)
    • :!: Spanish All Talk - Linguaphone, can't rate this highly enough for if you want to learn on your walk to work (audio is mostly distinción, but where seseo makes a difference, it's noted and demonstrated in distinción as well)
  • Podcasts:
    • A mi aire (distinción)
    • :!: Hoy hablamos (distinción)
    • Español con Juan (ceceo)
    • :!: Dreaming Spanish daily intermediate (via Patreon)
  • Other media of note:
    • :!: Dreaming Spanish Youtube channel (distinción)
    • Euronews' app in Spanish
    • BBC Mundo
    • Peppa Pig (version from Spain)
Attachments
Reading tracker.PNG
Update 20190716: slowed down considerably, but hoping to pick up again.
Reading tracker.PNG (17.47 KiB) Viewed 512 times
Last edited by Cenwalh on Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:32 pm, edited 20 times in total.
2 x
1,000,000 sentences of Spanish: 725000 / 1000000
Double SC films: 156 / 200
Double SC books: 54 / 200

Cenwalh
Orange Belt
Posts: 192
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:14 am
Location: UK
Languages: English (N), Spanish (acquiring), Catalan (beginner).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=12467
x 523

Re: Cenwalh's conquista of the Spanish language

Postby Cenwalh » Fri Mar 29, 2019 3:13 pm

I don't plan on updating this every few days, more like every week, but I thought I'd give a first bit of content whilst I put off doing Anki.

This week has gone about the same as most weeks recently, although the number of Anki reviews has been taking a bit of a toll recently. I've mostly got it under control, but 19 words per day and 22 new clozes has brought me up to around 400 reviews per day (does this include repeats of news cards? I don't know) which to be honest is a bit dull. Last night I cleared almost all upcoming verbs from my frequency list because people say that it's nouns and adjectives that add to comprehension, and looking at them I'd tend to agree. This move means it's only 64 days until I'm done with new cards for this deck and I can't wait! I thought last week to just try and get loads done in a day, but I managed 50 news cards and was sick of it by the end.

I watched an hour of Peppa Pig this week. It's comprehensible, and to be honest I find it entertaining, but it's far from the content I want to be able to consume. The reason I've gone for something so basic is that I want to understand without subtitles, a simple cartoon does this. If anyone has any suggestions of a cartoon that's a little bit harder with a Castilian accent dub, I'd be interested to hear it.

I've been reading Misterio en la biblioteca by María Danader who also offers a free audio recording of her reading it which is nice. I'm only about a quarter of the way through (it's 105 pages and has a page of summary every so often), but it feels different to other books I've read. The grammar is for the most part very simple (the narrator uses first person indicative present) but the vocabulary is sometimes a little thick for my level - a problem I didn't even slightly have with Año Nuevo, Vida Nueva (also graded B1), which I guess goes to show that these CEFR levels do not have a rigid definition. I looked up one word and then didn't know what the English equivalent meant! Anyway, what it meant was obvious from context so perhaps a bad example.

In other media, I downloaded Euro News last night to read in Spanish, and have had success reading about familiar topics - if anything will come from this, it'll be that I'll be able to talk about Brexit as well as any Spaniard can. I'll still probably look at BBC Mundo, but it's Latin American focus doesn't float my boat. I of course watched Dreaming Spanish this week which was entertaining as ever. Unlike his previous videos with a speaker of seseo, I did not avoid this week's one. I can't see that an odd Mexican influence here and there will have too much effect on me. After all, I consume lots of American media in English (and did as a kid), but my accent remains quintessentially British.

I'm reticent to set myself hard targets of what I should do outside of my new card setting on Anki. I basically read and listen when I feel like it which given I don't really have a reason for doing any of this seems reasonable enough to me, although I wouldn't like to lose my progress in Spanish. I have for a long time been enamored by Catalan which is really frustrating because it just contributes to the procrastination.

I have some thoughts on learning vocabulary as I have. It is the quickest way to get words and meanings somewhere in your brain from scratch (I think), but obviously you need to seek a translation every time. I think it's for that reason that my listening is so far behind, I can't translate fast enough. I don't think it's a problem though because it helps in reading, and eventually with enough exposure all of them will be in "instantly known passive vocabulary" rather than "have to translate passive vocabulary" (idk if they have actual names). I am not planning on studying vocabulary like this after this 5000 word Anki deck, although if I do it's likely to be hard nouns or simple adjectives. I'm hoping that once listening catches up I should have enough vocabulary to be able to watch normal children's cartoons (as in not as simple as Peppa Pig) without too much strain, and then I can see if that improves my abilities - I think it will.
2 x
1,000,000 sentences of Spanish: 725000 / 1000000
Double SC films: 156 / 200
Double SC books: 54 / 200

Cenwalh
Orange Belt
Posts: 192
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:14 am
Location: UK
Languages: English (N), Spanish (acquiring), Catalan (beginner).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=12467
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Re: Cenwalh's conquista of the Spanish language

Postby Cenwalh » Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:26 am

It's been a tough week for my conquista. I'm finding it hard to balance a full time job, working on a professional qualification, general life, and learning Spanish. Nevertheless, I've pressed on and have achieved a reasonable amount.

Some thoughts/achievements on the past week:
  • Continued adding 19 words of vocab, and 22 cloze deletions per day to Anki, and even added an additional 15 cards of vocab on Monday. I'm also suspending really easy cards because they take up time and I'm not going to forget them, although I'll only see the effect of this in 8 months - 1.5 years when they'd be due...
  • Finished Misterio en la biblioteca. I finished the audiobook first because I tend to have more time to listen than read, but I did complete the paper version last night. When I got to the end, I found a big vocabulary list which might explain why some of the vocab in the book is far from common. Mostly I thought this book could do with a go through by an editor, character speech has no quotation marks, no new lines, no dashes, it just appears mid paragraph, or sometimes it's written with the person's name then a colon, but that's not always. It kinda works when the author reads it on the audio book because she changes her voice a bit, but when I'm reading the paper book it's confusing as hell. I also thought that she used the present indicative a bit too much, it felt out of place talking about the past, present and future (there is no discussion of the future that doesn't use ir a + infinitive or just the present indicative). But then she slips in the odd imperfect subjunctive #What. Despite all this, the story kept me interested, and I liked the way she described things sometimes, it felt more like actual prose than noddy descriptions in places which I enjoyed.
  • Watched a few Dreaming Spanish videos, although I must admit I haven't finished his latest intermediate video because I got cut short watching it.
  • Smashed out some more Peppa Pig, I'm 3 out of 4 hours into season 1, still looking for something a bit more complex that's a cartoon, has lots of episodes, and is dubbed in a Castilian accent, but I'm happy to continue watching Peppa jump in puddles because a todos les encanta saltar en los charcos de barro
  • A Colombian colleague was reading a long Facebook post and was telling me about it, but I just told him I'd read it and understood pretty much all of it, just clarifying a few words here and there.
  • I've had a used copy of a Linguaphone course (the 70s one) for a while, but didn't get round to using it much, on my commutes this week I've been listening to the audio from it and understand it all pretty well first time and am not repeating them, I've got to lesson 22. They're sometimes quite funny as well! Perhaps I should have stuck with this course when I began.

Up for next week, I started reading Me voy o me quedo by my favourite Spanish author at the moment, Juan Fernández, so maybe I'll be able to finish that. It's 168 pages but of course as any of these learning books are, a few of them are dedicated to vocab so not too much actual reading.

I've added 14 books to my list of upcoming reads which includes what will be my first book written for natives (young adults/children anyway...) which I hope I'll be ready for when the time comes. I'm getting faster and faster at reading Spanish so hopefully these books - and maybe some more - should prepare me for real content, the kind I want to consume.
2 x
1,000,000 sentences of Spanish: 725000 / 1000000
Double SC films: 156 / 200
Double SC books: 54 / 200

Cenwalh
Orange Belt
Posts: 192
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:14 am
Location: UK
Languages: English (N), Spanish (acquiring), Catalan (beginner).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=12467
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Re: Cenwalh's conquista of the Spanish language

Postby Cenwalh » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:35 pm

I've crossed a threshold of 1,000 pages of books in Spanish read! Of course I've read other stuff, and it's all graded readers, but for me it's an achievement.

Books read.PNG
Books read.PNG (11.74 KiB) Viewed 980 times


I'm hoping that this will continue at about the speed of the last month, then I should see quite some benefit from it.
3 x
1,000,000 sentences of Spanish: 725000 / 1000000
Double SC films: 156 / 200
Double SC books: 54 / 200

Cenwalh
Orange Belt
Posts: 192
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:14 am
Location: UK
Languages: English (N), Spanish (acquiring), Catalan (beginner).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=12467
x 523

Re: Cenwalh's conquista of the Spanish language

Postby Cenwalh » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:29 pm

I've just started a new book (having read one between now and the last post), but I just read a portion of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in Spanish (I know it's cliché) and I understood almost every single word that I read in the few pages I looked at - I was astounded. After assuming words from context there were only a few unknowns for me which were all adjectives in a list of adjectives so made no difference to the story. After the book I'm currently reading I think I'm going to try and dive in to Harry Potter and see how it goes. I really thought I was a few months from this, but it turns out I might not be, and that's really good news for my journey conquista if I have reached that point where one can read materials written for natives (albeit simple) and enjoy oneself.

In other news, I've changed my Anki around to have 31 new words per day from the 5,000 top lemmas, and only 10 from the cloze deletions. This might seem like the wrong direction - maybe - but it puts me 30 days away from finishing to never return to that way of learning vocab (although I might do 5 new verbs a day or something after I removed them all). Here's a picture of my ballooning Anki review pile:
Capture.PNG
Capture.PNG (149.3 KiB) Viewed 946 times


Interestingly I keep adjusting the algorithm so that I get less reviews (which would mean that I'd flunk a higher %), but I'm not getting noticeably worse, meaning that the media I'm consuming really is sinking all of it into my head.
2 x
1,000,000 sentences of Spanish: 725000 / 1000000
Double SC films: 156 / 200
Double SC books: 54 / 200

Cenwalh
Orange Belt
Posts: 192
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:14 am
Location: UK
Languages: English (N), Spanish (acquiring), Catalan (beginner).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=12467
x 523

Re: Cenwalh's conquista of the Spanish language

Postby Cenwalh » Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:01 pm

Another tough week for the conquista. I have a professional exam soon and balancing things has been really hard. One would think I'd find the weekend easier, but I'm often so busy that I don't have time to do anything before bed time.

Regardless, I've kept up the Anki, and have added some more listening by way of podcasts, specifically I've been enjoying A mi aire this week, which is aimed for students at my level. I tried listening while driving, but I don't think it added much because my attention was too often drawn away and I found it hard to get back into afterwards which is disappointing..

I chose not to read Harry Potter quite yet, not that I started and gave up, I just want to keep things easy and I suspect that it will be a bit beyond that for me. Thusly I started Charlie y la fábrica de chocolate or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I'm enjoying it, and it's at a fairly good level, but I've not managed to dedicate much time to it. Sometimes Dahl goes into a page long description of something which can use unfamiliar vocabulary, but because I know the main plot points, I can generally pass over it without worrying, and I think when synonyms are used I'll be drawing associations naturally, and I'm not using the dictionary much because I'm finding I don't need it. I'll probably read some more books like this and some other graded readers as well. I'd like to get to a point where I can listen to the audiobook of a children's story and understand the plot - I don't have a time frame for this, but this year certainly, and I don't think I'm too far off.

Next week: more of the same, I am seeing leaps in my listening which was my medium term aim so I see no reason to change course.

Further beyond: I'm not sure what to do about vocabulary beyond my current decks in Anki. I don't think a simple word-word approach is right, so probably clozes, but I'm not sure whether I should make them in bulk or on the fly - the latter being far more time consuming. I was also thinking about a "simple nouns" deck for word-word to just get some depth to things I understand, with nuance in the words being limited so it not being a problem, but I don't know how to approach this.
4 x
1,000,000 sentences of Spanish: 725000 / 1000000
Double SC films: 156 / 200
Double SC books: 54 / 200

Cenwalh
Orange Belt
Posts: 192
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:14 am
Location: UK
Languages: English (N), Spanish (acquiring), Catalan (beginner).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=12467
x 523

Re: Cenwalh's conquista of the Spanish language

Postby Cenwalh » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:32 pm

I always prefer to listen to audiobooks in English over reading books - perhaps because of my dyslexia - but I always preferred reading in Spanish because I found the talking too fast. Well in the few short weeks since I started this log that is changing, I'm finding myself wanting much more to listen to A mi aire or Hoy hablamos or listen to an audiolibro than read, and I don't bother with the transcripts.

I know I am still listening to learner materials, but it is mostly my vocabulary that is limiting me which is expected at this point. I realised halfway through an Hoy hablamos episode on the income tax system in Spain that I really can understand complex topics even if they're phrased in a simple way. Progress!
Last edited by Cenwalh on Fri Apr 19, 2019 6:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
3 x
1,000,000 sentences of Spanish: 725000 / 1000000
Double SC films: 156 / 200
Double SC books: 54 / 200

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lavengro
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x 1240

Re: Cenwalh's conquista of the Spanish language

Postby lavengro » Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:29 pm

Cenwalh wrote: ...a todos les encanta saltar en los charcos de barro ....

Ciertamente!

Gracias for all the detailed concerning your approach and progress - makes for an interesting read.
1 x
"Blaming a bridge collapse on a school is like blaming owls for why I suck at analogies."
- Britta Perry, of course.

Cenwalh
Orange Belt
Posts: 192
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:14 am
Location: UK
Languages: English (N), Spanish (acquiring), Catalan (beginner).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=12467
x 523

Re: Cenwalh's conquista of the Spanish language

Postby Cenwalh » Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:18 pm

I shall be taking a brief break from conquering Spanish (so soon after I started this log) because a personal family obligation has come up that more pressingly requires my attention. With that, a full time job and a professional qualification with another exam soon, I do not feel that I can take the time to actively learn Spanish as well; one has to prioritise.

I shall still be doing Anki reviews and maybe watching a few videos on Dreaming Spanish. I shall return to the conquista with the same vigour as before.
2 x
1,000,000 sentences of Spanish: 725000 / 1000000
Double SC films: 156 / 200
Double SC books: 54 / 200


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