What I talk about when I talk in Spanish

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booksandtrains
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What I talk about when I talk in Spanish

Postby booksandtrains » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:10 pm

Good evening reader of this post,

I should currently be doing anything that isn't this. I should be finishing my unpacking, washing up, tidying my room, brushing my teeth, actually learning the Spanish I want to learn rather than spending hours researching methods and resources which I never ever seem to apply to my learning. Not today, sir. As soon as this post is written I will do all of those things and much more.

I've tried to learn Spanish about seven or eight times in my life. I really want to prove myself wrong since for several years now I've copped out by telling myself I'm only able to learn languages if there's extrinsic motivation in the form of a language class. From afar I've admired those who spend their spare time doing useful things even if they don't enjoy it 100% of the time. I seek instant gratification, but I simultaneously feel pressure exerted by abstract societal constructs and forces I don't understand to be "productive" 100% of the time because reasons. OK, veering off topic a little here, let's segue into language learning... I'm reaching the maturity level where I'm aiming to find a balance between this "productivity" construct and allowing myself to scroll mindlessly through my YouTube and Instragram feed. And with language learning independently without the groundwork of a teacher and the comaraderie of fellow students I think a balance is the very thing I've failed to strike.

So this is my millionth attempt at learning Spanish. And it's been going well because I've found resources I basically like and I'm actually using them. And I'm beginning to manage my own expectations. Also goalsetting. Let's address this.

Goal-wise I've got no plans in the near future to spend any extended period of time in any Spanish speaking area of the world. However I quite fancy learning about Spanish-speaking culture since it encompasses so many different nations and I'm sure through this I can uncover a lot of history and literature which I don't even know the existence of. Language learning has always been the first step into cultural interest for me. If I'd never learnt Russian, I can guarantee my interest in all matters Former Soviet Union would be non-existent today. And I find that so hard to believe. This cultural rather than pragmatic emphasis means I'm not too worried about focusing on what I perceive to be boring practical stuff. I can fill in the gaps later. This also has implications for output skills. I'm basically uninterested in learning to speak very well at this point. It would be nice to be able to use Spanish actively, but I'm telling myself (probably naively) that if I focus on the passive, the active will come to fruition later with little effort on my part. I can make my peace with working through this later down the line since I've got no urgent need for active Spanish skills.

I've been using several main resources so far. The most comprehensive is the second edition of Living Spanish from 1979 which I got in an Oxfam several years ago for 75p. Just today I was in a Waterstones and found the up-to-date version of this book and was pleased to see that the initial chapters actually been amended that much. I also found out the current edition has audio free to access via the Teach Yourself app so I've downloaded that and hope to use it alongside the book. I find the book really nice to use for self study and have completed three chapters so far. I'll probably start chapter four tomorrow.

I've also been using Lingvist whilst out and about (definitely never whilst on duty!). I like the no-nonsense layout of the site since I always found Memrise and Duolingo so cumbersome.

I have a Russian published Spanish grammar book I may add to my arsenal at some point when I can be bothered and I bought a book of Spanish stories for beginners on my Kindle, but that happened this evening so I haven't started working my way through them yet, but I definitely will this week since reading is the one. There's also a few podcasts I've started listening to on Spotify aimed at beginners but I've been pretty negligent about that so far.

So why am I keeping this log? I can't be the only person to have fallen into the trap of spending more time researching methods and resources for a thing than actually doing the thing. I used to spend hours browsing forums such as this one for recommendations and making elaborate study plans with arbitrary margins for "success" calculated by minutes spent on activities plucked out of thin air. I'm hoping with this log I can motivate myself to keep going by tracking the journey whilst holding myself to account and satisfying that urge to waste time pretending to do the thing (Spanish). And my only "rule" is I must do something everyday. And if I don't I must make it a matter of public record on this log. So now I'm actually going to finish unpacking, tidy my room and do my Lingvist flashcards or you'll be hearing from me tomorrow.

Goodnight
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booksandtrains
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Re: What I talk about when I talk in Spanish

Postby booksandtrains » Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:46 pm

Good evening,

Today I've done my 100 flashcards on Lingvist and started lesson 4 in Living Spanish. I also downloaded FSI Spanish on my phone so I've been walking round the house talking to myself. I'm going back to work tomorrow but I'm on late shifts this week so I imagine I will utilise the mornings and early afternoons to finish lesson 4 of Living Spanish.

Tonight I'm going to try and relax with a book because I've been mentally stimulated by job applications and interview preparations and need to switch off. Tomorrow I'm going back to work but this week I'm on lates so I'll be able to do Spanish before work.

Spanish plans for this week
I'm going to continue with FSI since I'm quite enjoying it so far. I'm trying not to read the transcripts too much to focus more on listening comprehension. I also plan to finish the exercises associated with lesson 4 of Living Spanish and do lesson 5. I've been meeting the 100 flashcards goal each day on Lingvist and am quite happy with that so plan to continue, although I do find myself starting to get bored so I'm not sure how long this flirtation with Lingvist will continue. But it is useful as I start to recognise vocabulary items and grammar points from Lingvist in Living Spanish.
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Fenderman
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Re: What I talk about when I talk in Spanish

Postby Fenderman » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:00 pm

Hello and welcome to the forum! If you haven't gone there yet, make sure to checkout the Spanish Group since there's a ton of valuable resources on there for learning.

Good luck!
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booksandtrains
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Re: What I talk about when I talk in Spanish

Postby booksandtrains » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:57 pm

Fenderman wrote:Hello and welcome to the forum! If you haven't gone there yet, make sure to checkout the Spanish Group since there's a ton of valuable resources on there for learning.

Good luck!


Hello, thank you for the recommendation! When I get bored of the resources I'm currently using and decide to branch out I will definitely check out the resources in that group. For now, I'm pretty happy trundling along at snail's pace...

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booksandtrains
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Re: What I talk about when I talk in Spanish

Postby booksandtrains » Thu Jun 20, 2019 11:29 am

I'm back at work after my long weekend, on lates, which is good because I tend to be more focused on language learning in the morning and early afternoon.

I've finished lesson 4 of Living Spanish and will start lesson 5 today. I've also been doing my 100 flashcards on Lingvist per day. My premium free trial after downloading the app is officially expired so there is a limit on new words and flashcards per day, which I can live with. It can be tempting to pay for these subscriptions but they soon add up, so I'm trying to avoid anything more than one-time purchases for now.

I felt the need to practise verb conjugations so turned to Курс испанского языка для начинающих (A Spanish course for beginners) which I purchased in Russia about three years ago. It's a standard dry language textbook which is very typical of Russian publishers. However, I realised that there aren't any answers in the back. For now it's fairly easy to Google the answers, so it's a fairly minor inconvenience but I'm not sure that'll be viable when the grammar inevitably becomes more complex. Therefore I may have to invest in a better self-study grammar for Spanish. That all depends on whether I give up on this project by the end of next month or actually endeavour to do the thing and learn the language as I've been telling myself I would since 2012.

I've also started unit 2 on FSI Spanish. However I need to use it more wisely since there's not a chance in heck that any of the phrases I covered yesterday have stayed in my brain, so I'll probably try writing down new vocabulary by hand since I find that quite satisfying. For a hot second I thought about creating Quizlet/Anki decks but I actually really dislike SRS. I find it so boring and I'm not sure how effective it's actually been for me in the past, although it has been a while since I've done serious intensive language study so my opinion is highly liable to change. For now 100 flashcards on Lingvist per day is enough for me.
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Charlar_mas
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Re: What I talk about when I talk in Spanish

Postby Charlar_mas » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:02 am

Good luck on your goal! You seem to have a good strategy for how to use your resources.

What sort of phrases is the FSI course turning up?

Also that tortoise walking a snail is hilarious. :lol:
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booksandtrains
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Re: What I talk about when I talk in Spanish

Postby booksandtrains » Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:15 am

Charlar_mas wrote:Good luck on your goal! You seem to have a good strategy for how to use your resources.

What sort of phrases is the FSI course turning up?

Also that tortoise walking a snail is hilarious. :lol:


Thanks! My strategy can always be improved and definitely could be better if I was less lazy and more focused and disciplined but I have amassed many years of language learning experience and 18 months of language teaching experience, which I'm finding a huge advantage. After doing no language study for over a year it feels nice to get back into this world.

I was making my way through Unit 2 and a lot of it was classroom phrases, which isn't the most immediately useful thing to me but I still need to learn those words and pronounce things. At this point any exposure to vocabulary in context is better than no exposure. I haven't done any FSI since writing that post, though.
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booksandtrains
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Re: What I talk about when I talk in Spanish

Postby booksandtrains » Sat Jun 22, 2019 10:05 am

Unfortunately the last few days have been rough as I've not been sleeping much at all. I started chapter 5 of Living Spanish and it's introduced me to quite a few new grammar points, which is a nice challenge. There's also been a lot of new vocabulary in this unit. I'm working my way through the exercises this morning, which are more difficult than the previous chapters but I can live with it.

I've also decided to abandon Курс испанского языка для начинающих because there are no answers to the exercises. I'm now looking for another book to supplement Living Spanish since I clearly need more practice with these new topics. I'd like something with a heavy grammar focus that's also European Spanish. In terms of vocabulary I found a book that appealed to me but it's not Castellano. I'm not opposed to exposure to Latin American Spanish but I'm much more likely to go to Spain in the next bit of time than any other Spanish speaking country.

I haven't done any FSI because I've been naughty. I'll get there at some point. I've been doing Lingvist every day, though.

This week I also read a book in German. I finished Tanz am Kanal by Kerstin Hensel. I really enjoyed it, I love literary fiction and a riches to rags story with an interesting female protagonist. I have loads of German books to read and a huge mental block which makes the idea of picking them up really daunting because my German vocabulary has loads of holes and German syntax can be quite hard for me to follow. I did indeed come across quite a few words I didn't know but it didn't really impair my overall understanding. I also know the only way to overcome this hurdle is by not ignoring it... but...
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booksandtrains
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Re: What I talk about when I talk in Spanish

Postby booksandtrains » Mon Jun 24, 2019 3:44 pm

Hola

Today there was a Spanish woman who didn't speak English in the wrong portion of a train which split to go to two different destinations. This gave me a chance for some real-life Spanish practice in which I forgot the word 'tarde' so I failed to explain to her that she was too late and the portion she needed was gone. That was quite exciting, a motivating interaction that has helped me understand that one day in real life this thing I am doing could come in handy. Also the interference of Russian is real.

Having finished lesson 5 of Living Spanish, I'm now working my way through the revision exercises for the first five units. I definitely feel the use of my brain. It doesn't help that I'm on earlies this week and I'm so tired this afternoon that using my brain is the very last thing I want to do. However, I'm determined to push through.

What's even more exciting is that I spontaneously ordered a couple of Spanish grammars the other night, the first of which arrived today. I decided on Gramática de uso del Español A1-A2 because I like the idea of having all the completed books of that series on my shelf one day in a distant, dreamy future. Flicking through it, I'm impressed with the layout and like the fact everything is in Spanish.
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