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Log: Spanish and German

Posted: Thu May 28, 2020 6:50 am
by Zenman
Hello, all I have made this log to go back to the basics and focus on what's important. I spend most of my time working on my weaker language which is German I'm basically a beginner still however I plan to change that. I'll speak to this in a moment.

As for my Spanish, I was raised bilingual but like most people, I haven't really worked on it. I just said to myself well I could understand people and I could explain myself to others in Spanish if necessary. But it is obvious that I don't practice at all when I speak. Therefore even though I have a high amount of passive vocabulary and grammar knowledge I want to work to go back to how I used to speak when I was younger. As many of us know there is an abundance of resources out there therefore I will focus on things I want to improve. Which is as follows increasing overall vocabulary, reading comprehension, listening skills, and speaking. Therefore the tools I'll use will be aimed at this.

Spanish Tools:
1) Assimil: A lesson per day.
2) Reading books: Currently reading Harry Potter.
3) Audiobooks/Podcasts/TV: Audiobook: 7 habits of highly effective people. Podcast: Unlimited Spanish TV: The Pier/ Elite
4) Memrise/Clozemaster: Don't use this as much because this is low-intensity work yield low results with a high investment of time.
5) Anki: This will be used when I find a new vocabulary that I want to know and phrases.

I will speak briefly to what I've done in the past month that helped immensely improve my speaking/listening/reading comprehension:

By focusing on what is called high-intensity tasks, I made more improvements then doing hours of memrise or clozemaster I think they have their place but not as the core of study plans.

First thing is to do an Assimil lesson doesn't take that long since I am already somewhat fluent. However, this does allow me to do a task a little bit more worthwhile. Which is translation? By translating I am able to see where I lack proper knowledge even though the sentences may seem pretty simple. There may be things that are overlooked since we may take for granted the complexities of easy sentence structures.

Secondly, I listen to either a podcast or a little bit of an audiobook while I am walking. If I listen to a podcast I make sure it has a transcription I cannot tell you how much this helped. Once I finish a podcast I allow some time to consolidate the information then I sit down and go through the text that I printed out. Without the audio to see how much I understand. I then go and try my best to read aloud the entire text. After this, I then go through the entire text again and find words I don't know and define them on the margins. Also, there are great dictionaries online I'm sure you'll are aware of that really help in this process.
Pronunciation is also a large part of this process even though I know Spanish pretty well I don't know how many of the words are actually spelled out. Therefore this process is very effective for me. If need be I break down difficult words into syllables. I find this helps me be able to pronounce better.

Third, any free time I have watch television it is in Spanish. So many television shows are in Spanish and over time I will be switching from English subtitles to both Spanish which I've already noticed a difference in how I speak along with everything else I am doing.

Lastly, is things such as Anki/Clozemaster/Memrise all are great tools but I revolve my studies around this for a couple of reasons. There are good at giving you positive reinforcement which is positive however this isn't where the learning is taking place depending on your goals. If you need to improve on passive and overall vocabulary this is great. I won't say I don't use it I only use it to add maybe 5-10 words per day which actually over the course of several years will really add up if you could use the words for reading/speaking/listening. Therefore I do maybe 5-10 minutes of these max per day however I believe being consistent is what is most important.

Now onto German:

My German is a little less complicated to be quite honest I'll list the tools and then break down my plan so therefore from now on it would be known what I am talking about.

Now the approach here is very different because I am at different levels in these languages for example I am basically a native speaker in Spanish that just didn't use it actively for 15+ years. On the other hand, German is a brand new language that I tried to dabble with a while back however now I've made a plan that doesn't matter how busy I get I will still be progressing in this language in one manner or another.

Tools:
1) Assimil: Doing a lesson every other day.
2) Anki/Memrise: The goal here is to add 25-30 words per day.
3) Books: Right now I am not able to use books but as soon as I can I'll be doing so.
4) Podcasts: I want to listen to all German podcasts however I still am not able to recognize even 20% of what they're saying so I'll leave this to when I am a little bit more advanced.

This is a lot more simple then my Spanish plan however I'm still very new to German and I want to move from this lower level to start to read and listen as soon as possible.

Assimil is done just like the Assimil method says however I always end the session with translation. This consolidates the information and I know for a fact I know the message. Also, I've made a review audiotape of each 7 lessons so that I could easily listen over and over again while doing chores around the house. In these tapes, I shorten them to just include the core lesson and I've removed the silence from the tapes as well I could almost listen to the audiotapes twice as I would if I didn't make these modifications. It is worth the time investment to make these so if I ever feel that I don't have time to do a lesson I could just listen in to these reviews.


Any feedback or comments are welcomed.