Vagrant - Spanish Log and and Introduction

Continue or start your personal language log here, including logs for challenge participants
User avatar
thevagrant88
Yellow Belt
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:30 am
Location: USA
Languages: English (N), Spanish (B2) Japanese (paused)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =14564#top
x 171

Vagrant - Spanish Log and and Introduction

Postby thevagrant88 » Tue May 19, 2020 1:13 pm

This is probably overdue. I've been poking my head in and out of here for some time, but I really want to make an effort to become ingrained in the community. I've been studying Spanish for a little over four years now and I'm at the point where I really want to own it, so to speak.

I'm pretty confident that I'm at least around the B2 range and my tutor told me I could probably pass the C1 if I studied for it. I've read a handful of novels, about half of Juegos de Tronos, played a bunch of video games in Spanish that were heavily text-based, and just generally try to consume whatever media I would normally consume but in Spanish. I could have made more progress, but I've probably done more than I give myself credit.

My biggest problems holding me back is lack of consistency and being too content with not challenging myself. I've held off on reading Borges and Bolaño out of fear of them being too difficult, I'm very sporadic with my tutor sessions which are the bulk of my speaking practice, I avoid speaking with my wife's family in Spanish out of fear, etc. I have a really bad mental block whenever the opportunity to speak Spanish comes up and it generally takes me a minute or so to "get in the Spanish flow" and speak without having too many issues. One of my biggest goals is getting over this hesitation I get and just jump into Spanish.

So now I'll keep a log! Right now I have an hour in the morning, maybe two depending on how early I wake up and if my kids sleep through the night. This time is usually used for listening/watching material on youtube. I'm trying to branch out a bit by watching videos covering a larger range of topics, accents, forms of discourse, etc. I also want to get back to intensive listening as it is far and away the activity that has helped the most with my comprehension skills. I've used Radio Ambulante for this in the past and it was invaluable to me. I don't know how practical shadowing is at this point, but it's something I'm willing to explore as it's how I used Assimil. I enter new vocab and structures into anki and study throughout the day. One thing that has helped a lot is reviewing the forgotten cards several times to really engrain everything.

After work, I walk the dog and listen to Noticias Telemundo. I've also been listening more and more to a podcaster named Chente Ydrach. He is Puerto Rican and has a very strong accent and uses a lot of slang and curse words. Each episode is an interview with another person with some kind of relevance to Puerto Rico, which is perfect. It's very, very difficult to follow at times but every time I listen I understand more and more. I'm probably going to try to do intensive listening with this to really build my comprehension of the dialect, but there are no transcripts apart from youtube's auto-transcribe function.

I'd also like to listen to more Spanish language music, but to be honest I've found it very challenging. I feel like I can find boatloads interesting music in every language but for some reason Spanish language music has eluded me despite my best efforts. The few that I've found that I've enjoyed have been Cafe Tacvba, Rosalia, Calle 13, and Izal.

I usually read in the evening. Right now I'm about a third of the way through El Alquimista. It's definitely a pretty breezy read, but at night time this is preferable. Inspired by Vladimir Skultety, I want to try reading comics in Spanish since all of the text is dialog. For Christmas I got the omnibus for Alack Sinner, a fairly well-known Argentian comic series. Apparently, Argentia has a very developed comic scene with a very long history. I also have a copy of El Túnel lying around somewhere. I knew very little about Spanish language literature before learning the language so I'm excited to explore and see what I'll find.

As far as output is concerned, well...I just gotta do it haha. I wanna do the one thing I never did before and actually have a regular schedule to speak with my tutor. We are going to be going to my wife's family's place regularly when the quarantine is lifted and I want to commit to only conducting myself in Spanish. I've been trying my best to speak more Spanish to my children and with my wife, but it's challenging considering the entire foundation of our family dynamic has always been English.

As far goals outside of Spanish are concerned, there is a smattering of possibilities. My family and I want to relocate and depending on whether we go to Canada or Italy, I'd like to learn French or Italian respectively. Chinese is a pretty obvious choice for me as I work as an online ESL teacher to an entirely Chinese student base and live near a fairly robust Chinatown in Philadelphia. Seeing as I speaking to Chinese people every single day of my life, this is almost certainly my next venture. At the beginning of the year, I threw myself into Japanese and while I really enjoyed it, it was simply too much of a juggling act between this and Spanish.

And that's the gist of it. I'm really anxious to jump into another language but it's really important for me to build on my Spanish. Hope to get to know you all better and share in our language journeys together!
20 x

User avatar
philomath
Green Belt
Posts: 319
Joined: Wed May 11, 2016 2:57 pm
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Languages: English (N), Spanish (B1/B2), French (A1)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=12205
x 740

Re: Vagrant - Spanish Log and and Introduction

Postby philomath » Tue May 19, 2020 2:22 pm

Hello, and welcome to the forum! It sounds like you have a good level in Spanish and a good plan for improving. I'm also learning Spanish and have an interest in Chinese, so I look forward to following your log. :)
0 x
French Goals (Starting August 15)
: 470 / 600 Listening
: 12 / 20 FSI French Phonology
: 13 / 27 Le Petit Prince

User avatar
thevagrant88
Yellow Belt
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:30 am
Location: USA
Languages: English (N), Spanish (B2) Japanese (paused)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =14564#top
x 171

Re: Vagrant - Spanish Log and and Introduction

Postby thevagrant88 » Tue May 19, 2020 10:01 pm

philomath wrote:Hello, and welcome to the forum! It sounds like you have a good level in Spanish and a good plan for improving. I'm also learning Spanish and have an interest in Chinese, so I look forward to following your log. :)


Thanks so much! Yeah I'm still really torn about whether to continue with Japanese or put it on hold permanently for Chinese. I've already done a ton of work. I'm about a third of the way through Japanese For Everyone and really feel like the structure of the language is starting to work with my brain. Part of me wants to finish it and then just maintain Japanese for casually reading. There's also the possibility of doing an intro course like Linguaphone for Chinese so that I can just work with the language a little and then jump back to Japanese. I know I'd like to learn both. If I want to get really crazy I could really put the effort for Japanese and then learn Chinese with a Japanese textbook!

I'm getting a little ahead of myself. First I have a few hundred episodes of telenovels to work through haha.
3 x

User avatar
thevagrant88
Yellow Belt
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:30 am
Location: USA
Languages: English (N), Spanish (B2) Japanese (paused)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =14564#top
x 171

Re: Vagrant - Spanish Log and and Introduction

Postby thevagrant88 » Thu May 21, 2020 11:03 am

So far things have been hectic around the house, but I managed to get a decent chunk of time in this morning. I was really intimidated at first to start watching movies and tv shows without subtitles, but I think I have a better handle on thing than I realized. I watched Coco in Spanish this morning and it really wasn't a problem. I mined a couple of sentences for grammar purposes, but there wasn't any vocab I didn't already know. There was maybe a line or two that I didn't catch at first, but I think it was more from my mind wandering or the background music being too loud. Even still, the few times I did rewind a bit to listen again, I understood it fine. I honestly don't think I'm going to bother finishing the movie as I've seen it before and I don't feel like I'm challenging myself.

El alquimista is going fine as well I suppose. It's written with pretty simple language. This is fine as a nighttime reading book, but as with Coco I don't feel like I'm being challenged. One thing that's a little jarring is the fact that the main character is supposed to be a Spaniard, yet the translation I'm reading seems to be geared toward a Latin American audience and therefore lacks the use of vosotros. Not a big deal really, just something I noticed.

Overall I feel like I really ought to push myself harder when it comes to input. I was thinking about revisiting Assimil's Using Spanish before jumping into a Netflix series. I did the first half of it a few years ago and found it very challenging. As to not retread familiar ground, I may start from the last lesson and go backward. I'm a big advocate for shadowing as I feel like it helps more than anything to hammer the language into my brain. It's really been the best thing for me outside of speaking to a native to improve my speaking abilities as well.

So yeah. I feel like I'm giving myself exposure, which is important too, but not pushing myself enough. We'll see what tomorrow brings!
3 x

User avatar
thevagrant88
Yellow Belt
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:30 am
Location: USA
Languages: English (N), Spanish (B2) Japanese (paused)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =14564#top
x 171

Re: Vagrant - Spanish Log and and Introduction

Postby thevagrant88 » Thu May 21, 2020 7:59 pm

Welp, be careful what you wish for I guess. I just watched the first episode of "La Doña" and that was rough. I followed the story for the most part, but it would be charitable to say that I understood even half of the dialog. I wrote down all of the words and phrases that I could make out and will be entering them into anki. By the end of the episode I could feel myself getting into a comprehension groove but was exhausting. I'm trying to follow the same regiment that iguanamon posted so I wrote a synopsis of the episode immediately after finishing. Apart from that, I'm going to be coordinating with my wife about what day would be good to have a regular weekly session with my tutor.

So yeah, I'll call that a small victory.
2 x

User avatar
iguanamon
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1845
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 11:14 am
Location: Virgin Islands
Languages: Speaks: English (Native); Spanish (C2); Portuguese (C2); Haitian Creole (C1); Ladino/Djudeo-espanyol (C1); Lesser Antilles French Creole (B2)
Studies: Catalan
Language Log: viewtopic.php?t=797
x 9705

Re: Vagrant - Spanish Log and and Introduction

Postby iguanamon » Thu May 21, 2020 9:04 pm

Don't get discouraged. The first episodes are the hardest. When I started this in Portuguese, I had to watch the first episode at least three times- maybe four. It got better for me after I got used to the actors' voices and the story started to make sense to me. No doubt about it, those first dozen episodes are tough. Trust that it will get better. Check online for a synopsis and check your comprehension against it. You can search by "name of episode" and then "S01E01"; then "sinopsis" or "recapitulación". Wikipedia is also good for this sometimes. Or... you can use the subtitles to check your comprehension.

In the beginning doing this, I watched the first time just watching. Then I took notes in my own shorthand in L2 and with timestamps. In your case, since it's netflix, you can go back and use netflix to check yourself.
1 x

User avatar
thevagrant88
Yellow Belt
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:30 am
Location: USA
Languages: English (N), Spanish (B2) Japanese (paused)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =14564#top
x 171

Re: Vagrant - Spanish Log and and Introduction

Postby thevagrant88 » Thu May 21, 2020 11:56 pm

Thanks for the encouragement. When I watch it again tomorrow, I'm going to take my time with it. Relisten to a tricky part as many times as I need to, turn on captions while paused, etc. After that I'll watch it through one last time without pausing before moving onto the next episode. I'm not really under any pressure apart from the pressure I put on myself and I know rushing through things is just going to bite me in the ass in the long run. I'm glad I decided to jump in and give it a shot, I can definetely see how well this can work if I remain disiplined.
1 x

User avatar
thevagrant88
Yellow Belt
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:30 am
Location: USA
Languages: English (N), Spanish (B2) Japanese (paused)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =14564#top
x 171

Re: Vagrant - Spanish Log and and Introduction

Postby thevagrant88 » Fri May 22, 2020 9:50 pm

Ok so a couple of takeaways from today. The objective today was to focus on comprehension by re-listening and referencing the transcript of the same episode of La Doña that I watch yesterday. Because of this, I'm only about fifteen minutes into the episode while yesterday I watched it in its entirety. Even without re-listening to sections and the transcript, I was able to make out WAY more than the first listen. While I only got a quarter of the way through the show, I almost doubled the number of unknown words that I was able to pick out which I've added into my anki deck. Consequently, I was able to make out a lot more of the nitty gritty bits of the story. Nothing that totally changed my understanding of the plot as a whole, but the details became much clearer. It's exciting because I can already see how effective this can be if I stick with it. Hopefully by the end of the series, I'll just be watching it like any other show.

I also created a new youtube account and only subscribed to Spanish language content. So far I'm liking it and not getting distracted by English language videos.

El Alquimista is kinda lame. I'm gonna finish it for the sake of Spanish reading practice, but this is so not my kind of book at all. I was afraid that it was going to be a shallow, armchair-philosophy book for soccer moms and that's what I'm getting out of it. No offense if anybody here likes it, it's just really not my speed.
3 x

User avatar
Tomas
White Belt
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun May 10, 2020 1:07 am
Location: Portland
Languages: English (N), Spanish (low intermediate), Italian (lower intermediate) French (terrible!)
x 69

Re: Vagrant - Spanish Log and and Introduction

Postby Tomas » Fri May 22, 2020 10:48 pm

I also created a new youtube account and only subscribed to Spanish language content. So far I'm liking it and not getting distracted by English language videos.


Great tip! I'm totally stealing this idea. Thanks!
0 x

User avatar
thevagrant88
Yellow Belt
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:30 am
Location: USA
Languages: English (N), Spanish (B2) Japanese (paused)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =14564#top
x 171

Re: Vagrant - Spanish Log and and Introduction

Postby thevagrant88 » Sat May 23, 2020 12:40 am

I give it to you freely! Here's a pretty decent list of channel reccomendations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNi0agPqwp4&t=
1 x


Return to “Language logs”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests