Allison's log: Spanish (TAC 2016)

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Allison
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Location: New York City, NY, US
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Allison's log: Spanish (TAC 2016)

Postby Allison » Sun Dec 27, 2015 1:32 am

Hello, all! I'm glad to have found this community of language learners. I'll hopefully be using this log to keep track of my progress, but please don't hesitate to say hi, ask me a question, or comment on something I've said (and if you want to write it in Spanish, you're welcome to, though definitely not required).

Since I'm such a newbie that I can't even fill out my profile properly, let me introduce myself a bit: I'm a New Yorker and native English speaker who is learning Spanish. I took Spanish in high school, getting far enough that I occasionally thought in Spanish, which was very exciting. Then, for about 10 years, I didn't use/learn/maintain Spanish, except for maybe looking at a Spanish-language news article or something once a year.

A few years ago, I decided to go to law school and become a lawyer, for which Spanish would be useful. I made a handful of attempts at self-study, but none ever stuck. During my first post-grad job, with some percentage of Spanish-speaking clients, I got frustrated with my inability to speak or understand Spanish, so I finally made the decision to restart my Spanish study in earnest. Knowing that I had gone nowhere with my self-study, I joined a weekly class last April to give myself some structure and consistency, which has been hugely helpful.

With the class approaching the last of the five "levels" offered (after which, conversation classes are available) and with a burst of enthusiasm for the fun of learning Spanish, I'm exploring resources and trying to establish a routine that will help me improve my Spanish.

Right now, I'm reading some stuff (books, news articles, I got a bunch of books and 2 bilingual readers for Christmas), watching Destinos and Extr@ (Destinos has too much English for me right now, but I hear that improves, and I was so happy to find I understood most of Extr@ since I remember trying it last year and not understanding anything), listening to Buenos Días America (that it's the news means I have some context and the voices are generally clear, so I understand more than any other pure listening resource). I do some self-talk, but not much else on the production side of things outside of class; I should set up conversation exchanges and write stuff to be corrected on lang-8.

I'll end with some recent happy Spanish learning moments:
  • I finished reading a "chapter book" in Spanish, Dinosaurios al Atardecer, the first in the "Casa del Árbol" series, which is translated from the English-language "Magic Treehouse" series. The series is apparently popular and best-selling, though I first heard of it when I found the Spanish ebook through my library. It's for kids who are beyond picture books (though there are illustrations) and not ready for longer books (this book was about 5400 words). Even though it was clearly aimed at that age group, I enjoyed the story and want to continue reading the next books since there was a mystery that was left unsolved.
  • I've been listening to Buenos Días America, the news podcast, for the past couple weeks, and though my comprehension can vary from day to day and story to story, there are times when I understand the entirety of two sentences in a row!
  • I've sometimes written a paragraph-long thing here or there, but nothing longer until my homework for my most recent class. I was supposed to write a story and I didn't have any ideas, so I basically did an adaption of my memory of some scenes from the Buffy pilot. I was reluctant to start writing a longer piece, but by the time I was interrupted at about 350 words, I was very disappointed to have to wrap up and stop writing.

edited to include TAC 2016 in the title
Last edited by Allison on Sat Jan 02, 2016 2:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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James29
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Re: Allison's log: Spanish

Postby James29 » Sun Dec 27, 2015 2:17 am

Hi Allison - welcome to the forum. This is a great place to get ideas and motivation to learn. There are many people learning Spanish. It sounds like you are off to a great start. If you ever need anything or have any questions on resources or learning strategies be sure to just ask.
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Allison
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Re: Allison's log: Spanish

Postby Allison » Sun Dec 27, 2015 3:12 am

Thanks, James! As you can see from my join date, I've been lurking in the forum for a couple weeks. In that time, I've been reading some logs, and I have to say that I enjoyed reading yours.
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solocricket
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Re: Allison's log: Spanish

Postby solocricket » Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:09 am

Welcome to the forum! It sounds like your Spanish is already well on its way. I love Buenos Días America as well-- I've been listening for several months and my comprehension has improved a ton!
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Re: Allison's log: Spanish

Postby sfuqua » Sun Dec 27, 2015 5:57 am

Welcome!
I have found this forum to be a great resource over the past few years.
Have fun :)
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SC Romance
: 1577 / 5000 100 books
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ES
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: 14928 / 20000 200 movies
FR
: 2003 / 10000 200 books
: 1049 / 20000 200 movies
PT
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5HT
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Re: Allison's log: Spanish

Postby 5HT » Sun Dec 27, 2015 8:15 am

Suerte! Si sigues así, vas a tener mucho éxito.
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Spoonary
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Re: Allison's log: Spanish

Postby Spoonary » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:31 pm

Hola Allison, y bienvenida a la masa. Cada vez somos más los que aprendemos español :) Estaré siguiendo tu log con interés y te deseo mucho éxito en tus estudios hispánicos.
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Stelle
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Re: Allison's log: Spanish

Postby Stelle » Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:05 pm

¡Bienvenida! Hay mucha gente aquí que estudia español - ¡aprenderemos junt@s en 2016!
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iguanamon
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Re: Allison's log: Spanish

Postby iguanamon » Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:31 pm

I'll join the chorus with another hearty welcome, Allison. If I can help you, please let me know.
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Allison
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Posts: 247
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:21 am
Location: New York City, NY, US
Languages: English (native), Spanish (high intermediate-ish), American Sign Language (ASL) (I dabble occasionally)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5177
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Re: Allison's log: Spanish

Postby Allison » Mon Dec 28, 2015 3:08 am

Thank you to solocricket, sfuqua, 5HT, Spoonary, Stelle, and iguanamon for making me feel so welcome!


Today, I read the first stories in each of my parallel text short story books I got for Christmas. One story was "La indiferencia de Eva" by Soledad Puértolas and the other was "De lo que aconteció a un mancebo que se casó con una mujer muy fuerte y muy brava" by Don Juan Manuel. Both were unpleasant to read, in similar ways (for content reasons, not language learning ones—if you don't want to read about misogyny or the killing of animals, even in summary form, skip to the next paragraph). The former was from a man's perspective as meets a woman in a professional context and proceeds to repeatedly think she's unattractive, that she's incompetent, and that she should be more impressed with him, based on basically nothing. Once she surprises him by being good at her job, he hates her even more, takes her out for a drink, and (it is implied) convinces her to sleep with him. The latter was about a man who married a woman for her wealth, though everyone seems to think she is such a horrible person that he will literally die when left alone with her. On their wedding night, he brutally kills a cat, dog, and his only horse in order to intimidate her into obeying him.

So. Onward. Hopefully, the next stories will have less misogyny and violence against women, so that I can enjoy the stories more but also so I'm willing to revisit them to get more out of them for language learning.


I guess I'll figure out how to best present the log part of this log. Is a weekly update good? On Sunday? Just listing what I've done? Maybe. Anyway, I'm keeping a daily log for myself offline, so here's a summary of what I've done in the past week:

  • last class of Level 4: did my homework of writing a story, as mentioned in previous post. The teacher had us practice the verb conjugations covered in this level, most importantly giving us two several-page stories where we chose between preterite and imperfect and then went over the correct choices.
  • did Centro Virtual Cervantes Avateca A1 level lessons 1-10. This included figuring out the plugin situation so that it mostly works on my computer, which was the hardest part.
  • Extr@ Episode 2
  • listened to 3 episodes of Buenos Días America (I'll probably skip catching up on the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day ones)
  • got a bunch of Spanish-related books as Christmas gifts, yay!
  • read some news articles
  • read up to Chapter 27 in "Comedia de locos," which is a short ebook geared toward language learners. I'm actually finding it a little boring to read something where I know most of the words, and where the writing style is so intentionally repetitive, but it's kind of relaxing, so I'll probably continue.
  • read 2 short stories in bilingual readers, see above
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