Sam's Spanish Log

Continue or start your personal language log here, including logs for challenge participants
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samfrances
Orange Belt
Posts: 188
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 2:41 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Languages: Native: British English
Learning: Spanish (B1/B2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2967
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Re: Sam's Spanish Log

Postby samfrances » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:43 pm

Thanks iguanamon. :) I'll do that.
0 x
: 156 / 156 : Schaum's grammar, Fluent Forever
: 642 / 1000 : Learn / make flashcards for 1000 most frequent Spanish words

Sam's Spanish Log
Sam's Year of Reading Only Spanish
Dipping my toe into Latin

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samfrances
Orange Belt
Posts: 188
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 2:41 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Languages: Native: British English
Learning: Spanish (B1/B2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2967
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Re: Sam's Spanish Log

Postby samfrances » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:53 pm

Renewed reading log

This is a post to record all the books I read in Spanish. I'll add to it each time I complete a book. I might post a review or two if I have time.

Last edited by samfrances on Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
4 x
: 156 / 156 : Schaum's grammar, Fluent Forever
: 642 / 1000 : Learn / make flashcards for 1000 most frequent Spanish words

Sam's Spanish Log
Sam's Year of Reading Only Spanish
Dipping my toe into Latin

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samfrances
Orange Belt
Posts: 188
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Location: United Kingdom
Languages: Native: British English
Learning: Spanish (B1/B2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2967
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Re: Sam's Spanish Log

Postby samfrances » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:08 pm

I have come to a realisation.

I don't want to be a polyglot.

Don't get me wrong: I have enormous respect for polyglots. And in a perfect world, if you could guarantee me that I would live to 500 with my full mental faculties, I would learn many languages and it would be very interesting to see if it got easier with later languages.

But what I really want is to learn Spanish to a really high level. Then, rather than moving on, I want to spend time living in Spanish (even if not in Spain) and enjoying the language in culture the way I do with English.

No other language will ever mean as much to me as Spanish. It's the language of my ancestors, a language in which I could have (and sometimes feel I should have) been bilingual. It's the language that I wish I could have spoken to my grandma. It's a language that I probably won't get to pass on to any children I might one day have, although I really hope I can.

And although I love language learning, I love lot of other things too: music, software development, being as physically active as possible, reading, innumerable other crafts and hobbies that have fallen by the wayside due to lack of time. In the dreams of my youth, I have brains of Noam Chomsky, the body of Joe Wicks, speak 5 languages, play dazzling jazz guitar and can meditate like a Zen master - all while being professionally respected and raising a happy family. But reality isn't like that. If I added up all the hours I would like to spend on my interests, it would add up to more hours than there are in any given week, with no time for sleep or rest or chores or work or other people.

Also, I'm just not that good at language learning. I have been learning Spanish for years, and although I can hold a comfortable conversation with a sympathetic and patient conversation partner, I still probably wouldn't pass the DELE B2 exam, and can't follow film dialogue comfortably. One language is a big enough challenge for my little brain.

So there it is, Spanish is the one for me. I just need to get on with it. I need to find a way to focus in with laser-like precision on my weak points in Spanish, and finally get where I want to be. And then, just enjoy it!
10 x
: 156 / 156 : Schaum's grammar, Fluent Forever
: 642 / 1000 : Learn / make flashcards for 1000 most frequent Spanish words

Sam's Spanish Log
Sam's Year of Reading Only Spanish
Dipping my toe into Latin

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samfrances
Orange Belt
Posts: 188
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 2:41 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Languages: Native: British English
Learning: Spanish (B1/B2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2967
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Re: Sam's Spanish Log

Postby samfrances » Tue Oct 06, 2020 7:57 pm

I have decided to stop using duolingo. I'm sick of it encouraging me to drill basic stuff that I already know! Maybe if I was learning a language from scratch it would be helpful, but I think it needs some way of tailoring the experience to people who don't want to be asked how to say "the pen" 10,000 times, because they are already intermediate.
3 x
: 156 / 156 : Schaum's grammar, Fluent Forever
: 642 / 1000 : Learn / make flashcards for 1000 most frequent Spanish words

Sam's Spanish Log
Sam's Year of Reading Only Spanish
Dipping my toe into Latin

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samfrances
Orange Belt
Posts: 188
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Re: Sam's Spanish Log

Postby samfrances » Sat Oct 10, 2020 5:55 am

Found this drawing course in Spanish, and was surprised and delighted to find that I could understand much of what he was saying:

https://www.domestika.org/en/courses/13 ... s-level-1/

Might be a good opportunity to combine interests (I have wanted to learn some basic drawing skills for a while, although the desire has not been strong enough to actually make the time for it).

Other than that, my struggles with the subjunctive continue. I have the forms at my fingertips, and some usage situations are clear to me, but I make mistakes in others. My mental "uncertainty" heuristic isn't quite right. I keep hoping one day I'll have a moment of linguistic nirvana and it will all fall into place. I'm not sure if more comprehensible input will fix it, or if I need to finally sit down with one of my subjunctive-focussed workbooks and try to hammer it into my brain.
4 x
: 156 / 156 : Schaum's grammar, Fluent Forever
: 642 / 1000 : Learn / make flashcards for 1000 most frequent Spanish words

Sam's Spanish Log
Sam's Year of Reading Only Spanish
Dipping my toe into Latin

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tungemål
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Re: Sam's Spanish Log

Postby tungemål » Sat Oct 10, 2020 8:08 am

Subjunctive:
My understanding is that you need to learn all the different situations that it is used in. There is no simple rule for it. Both comprehensible input and a workbook should be good for acquiring it. I am far from mastering it but I have saved a couple of common expressions in anki and indicated that it needs the subjunctive. For instance, you can't guess these based on a rule:
- espero que ... (subjunctive)
- creo que ... (indicative)
- no creo que ... (subjunctive)
1 x

User avatar
samfrances
Orange Belt
Posts: 188
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 2:41 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Languages: Native: British English
Learning: Spanish (B1/B2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2967
x 285

Re: Sam's Spanish Log

Postby samfrances » Sat Oct 10, 2020 8:27 am

tungemål wrote:Subjunctive:
My understanding is that you need to learn all the different situations that it is used in. There is no simple rule for it. Both comprehensible input and a workbook should be good for acquiring it. I am far from mastering it but I have saved a couple of common expressions in anki and indicated that it needs the subjunctive. For instance, you can't guess these based on a rule:
- espero que ... (subjunctive)
- creo que ... (indicative)
- no creo que ... (subjunctive)


Thanks. Those are some of the situations I have pretty much mastered, except for I'm not clear if it changes in questions.

i.e.
Creo que + indicative

But what about ¿Crees que ...?

Is it indicative because its "crees que" or subjunctive because, as a question, it is expressing doubt?

Other unclear situations:

"No sé si voy a ir" or "No sé si vaya a ir"?

I also often get tripped up by which tense of the subjunctive to use in some situations.

There has to be some degree of learning a principle, too, right? You can't literally learn every single verb that triggers the subjunctive.
1 x
: 156 / 156 : Schaum's grammar, Fluent Forever
: 642 / 1000 : Learn / make flashcards for 1000 most frequent Spanish words

Sam's Spanish Log
Sam's Year of Reading Only Spanish
Dipping my toe into Latin

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jeff_lindqvist
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Re: Sam's Spanish Log

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Sat Oct 10, 2020 5:00 pm

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El Forastero
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Re: Sam's Spanish Log

Postby El Forastero » Sun Oct 11, 2020 3:52 pm

samfrances wrote:
But what about ¿Crees que ...?

Is it indicative because its "crees que" or subjunctive because, as a question, it is expressing doubt?


Both are right, but they are subtle differences:

"¿Crees que el asesino sea el mayordomo?": I'm asking if you suppose the butler can be the murderer, if you have that hypothesis, or even if this hypothesis could be plausible
"¿Crees que el asesino es el mayordomo?": I'm asking if you have already concluded that the butler is the murderer. In my question, I think you are pretty sure and I want to confirm it.

So, if you have only 30% of certainty, in the first question you answer "yes, he could be", and in the second question you answer "no, but he could be"
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iguanamon
Black Belt - 1st Dan
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Re: Sam's Spanish Log

Postby iguanamon » Sun Oct 11, 2020 4:26 pm

Sam, you're probably tired of my unsolicited advice, but I think you are ready to read the book "Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish" by Joseph J. Keenan. He writes the best explanation for the subjunctive use that I have seen. To me, his explanation makes it really clear. Mr. Keenan is not a native speaker of Spanish. He's a guy like us who learned it as a second language. "Breaking out" was an "aha" moment kind of book for me when I read it several years ago. I think you'd find it quite useful and it is for sale for a decent price used on Abe Books and Amazon.
Joseph J. Keenan wrote:This book is unusual because it was not written by a native speaker, much less a world-class expert on Spanish. Books that are written by these people are useful—indeed indispensable—because they shed light on the nuances of Spanish that foreigners only rarely manage to grasp. In fact, I used many of these books in preparing this one.
Instead, this book was written by someone whose Spanish was once halting and clumsy and, before that, simply nonexistent. I like to think that's what makes this book special and useful. I know about the frustrations of getting started in Spanish because I've been there. Many of the mistakes I warn against in this book are ones I'm familiar with because I made them. ... It may not work for everyone, but then again it may work for you. All I know is that if I wanted a guide through a minefield, I'd be inclined to choose someone who has made the trip before and not necessarily the person who drew the map. If this someone can also make the trip more fun and less frightening, then time's a-wasting! ¡Vamonos!

In addition, even though you are probably tired of courses, it could be a good idea to go through the FSI Spanish Basic Course. FSI Spanish Basic is not as the name would imply- a simple course. Many people here have used the course after reaching low intermediate level. It's free and legal. You can jump in where you like in the course- even straight into the subjunctive section. It's drill based and covers these grammar topics thoroughly. The drills help to consolidate the knowledge and make the use automatic. Or there's also Gramática de uso del Español. B1-B2: Teoría y práctica con solucionario which is a great aid in mastering Spanish grammar principles.

Understanding and using the subjunctive is key to becoming advanced in Spanish. Now that you won't be learning Latin, you can devote sufficient time and effort to making it happen, ;) . ¡Suerte!
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