Hedgehogs: Creatures of the Night (ES)

Continue or start your personal language log here, including logs for challenge participants
Online
User avatar
coldrainwater
Orange Belt
Posts: 148
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:53 am
Location: Hugh's Town
Languages: English (N), Spanish (A2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?p=65330#p65330></
x 134

Declare @Constant varchar(6) = ´Change´ [Newsinslowspanish review]

Postby coldrainwater » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:52 am

In one of my favorite personal development and learning texts, the authors of Five Elements of Effective Thinking choose change as the fifth and constant element. I have noticed that every day I study seems a little different and that is the best and most honest portrayal of how I live my current study life. It definitely keeps things interesting. If you asked me yesterday, ´is there any chance you´ll spend all day hopscotching about listening to newsinslowspanish?´, I would have marked it as a low probability event.

But alas, that is exactly what I did. To boot, I also didn´t consume sustenance beyond a couple of late night cups of coffee here in the small library that I now attend on the regular.

News In Slow Spanish

This learning site impressed me and today reminded me of exactly why I had originally subscribed to it. Given that I self identify as an A2 level Spanish learner targeting B1, it provides material appropriate for my stage. What do I think it does well?

  • Offers fast and slow speech that both sound very good and natural.
  • Offers a news blurb directly followed by natural and native conversation between a man and a woman
  • Provides an all Spanish grammar lesson illustrating a theme much like you might find by typing something into linguee.
  • Provides one weekly episode, each replete with a whole all Spanish discussion section on one particular expression (idiom for example)
  • Has over 400 episodes available
  • Offers shortcuts, download, and print to PDF options for offline work
  • Offers a pronunciación section where you can practice your speech with a few sentences spoken by the narrators and check to see how closely it matches. Done well in that it only takes a minute and if you have doubts you can here just how you sound. First time I have seen this done well.
  • Weekly episodes take some time to listen to but are typically broken into short bursts that are less than ten minutes each. This definitley has a language learner in mind and recognizes that most people are not going to be able to hard focus for long stretches at first.

Some negatives include that it offers Spanish from Spain and Latin America, but makes you pick one and stay with it. That is typical however, and I can understand why they charge separately. Their subscription rates offer many possibilities but they are all a bit higher than I would have expected. I suspect they factor in the notion that one can get a one month sub and download content (within their rules). I know I would be better off paying one month at a time since I seem to use it in spurts. Another negative is built into its very foundations in that they only offer news stories mostly following current events. Tends to be too political for my taste and the subject of deportes (sports) often does not proffer enough learning challenge and also seems to crop up often. At the same time though, I hardly fault them, since their website name makes it abundantly clear what is offered and you probably should not embark on that site if you aren´t cool with immersing in news.

I am clearly biased in favor of the site, but I can see it as a positive stepping stone on multiple levels (it looks like they also have an advanced section that I haven´t looked since I am not ready for it). The narrators offer pleasant personalities and voices for the listening.
0 x

Online
User avatar
coldrainwater
Orange Belt
Posts: 148
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:53 am
Location: Hugh's Town
Languages: English (N), Spanish (A2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?p=65330#p65330></
x 134

HTLAL

Postby coldrainwater » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:52 am

Created new section in my language resource spreadsheet for HTLAL procrastination threads. I have been using them Pomodoro style with about 50% procrastination and 50% language study in earnest. Good margins.
0 x

Online
User avatar
coldrainwater
Orange Belt
Posts: 148
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:53 am
Location: Hugh's Town
Languages: English (N), Spanish (A2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?p=65330#p65330></
x 134

On Track (for the most part)

Postby coldrainwater » Wed Mar 08, 2017 4:57 am

I have been going strong with newsinslowspanish this week. I am learning how much I don´t know. Probably the most challenging aspect has been staying on track with listening and avoiding the tendency to veer off and follow interesting Spanish links. To stem the tide, I just drop said interesting link right onto my working word list for later review as time allows. This GTD style backburner idea has kept me in line thus far and I haven´t wandered too far off track searching for challenging prose (and thereby neglecting listening).

I am taking a similar stance right now with respect to audiolibros that I find interesting. I know that there is some brain benefit to sticking with one series for some time as I am now doing with newsinslowspanish to help assimilate new language patterns. I also picked up the notion of shadowing the narrators as I think their speech is a very reasonable proxy for good. For what the news lacks in subject matter, it makes up for in practical diction and verb choice.

I am also practicing a certian fashion of mindfulness with respect to study breaks. I have caught myself toying with old and inútil emotional notions around finishing each episode. To counteract nature´s proclivity, I practice mindfully moving from one episode to the other. It reminds me greatly of how humans often separate objects into ´things´ (for example, who decides where a tree starts and ends if it were not for societal conventions). From a mindful perspective, the world could as well be one process rather than a set of objects and unrelated events. Deeply woven are our habits of convention.

Enjoying the process is important, and the notion of grasping or rushing can counteract the type of flow and deliberate learning state that I seek to enjoy.

Onward,

Erizo
1 x

Online
User avatar
coldrainwater
Orange Belt
Posts: 148
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:53 am
Location: Hugh's Town
Languages: English (N), Spanish (A2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?p=65330#p65330></
x 134

Log (ES), hoy en día

Postby coldrainwater » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:29 am

Progress: 3+ hours of newsinslowspanish. I broke up the listening by choosing one weekly episode upon waking followed by listening to 2.5 hours in a quiet library in the evening after the day´s festivities. I am working backwards in time and I believe I am somewhere in November 2016 or therabouts now.
Cardio: Stairs at lunch, 5 miles jogging after work.
Cognition: Good on account of cardio and salad + fruit + mixed nuts + coffee as sustenance.

Again managed to successfully avert veering off track into linguistics or excess HTLAL reading. I have been using short, Pomodoro style breaks with occasional physical shifts in position to keep on track. Mindfullness is helping here. So far I am keeping most of my programming work in office and language study separate. The contrast is nice, but I fear not mixing them from time to time.
0 x

Tomás
Blue Belt
Posts: 554
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2015 9:48 pm
Languages: English (N). Currently studying Spanish (intermediate), French (false beginner).
x 631

Re: Hedgehogs: Creatures of the Night (ES)

Postby Tomás » Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:25 pm

You're probably ready for NHK news or VOA Noticias, not to mention Veintemundos.
1 x

Online
User avatar
coldrainwater
Orange Belt
Posts: 148
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:53 am
Location: Hugh's Town
Languages: English (N), Spanish (A2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?p=65330#p65330></
x 134

Re: Hedgehogs: Creatures of the Night (ES)

Postby coldrainwater » Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:13 am

Tomás wrote:You're probably ready for NHK news or VOA Noticias, not to mention Veintemundos.


Thanks for the suggestion! I´ll take a look at those and put them high on the to listen list. Veintemundos I have heard of but the other two are knew to me.

-Erizo
0 x

Online
User avatar
coldrainwater
Orange Belt
Posts: 148
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:53 am
Location: Hugh's Town
Languages: English (N), Spanish (A2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?p=65330#p65330></
x 134

Incremental Progress

Postby coldrainwater » Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:37 am

Progress: 3.5 hours of newsinslowspanish.

Meta-Thoughts: I took yesterday´s success pattern and repeated it with a few natural feelers and tweaks. Same 2x/day cardio. Same diet. I managed to log extra evening time by staying mindful of my focus efforts (and imbibing an extra cup of coffee) and not letting Rex get ahold of my conscious actions. I avoided the ´distraction´ of forum posting here until I had truly had enough of listening for the night. I toyed with a few new study techniques. First I closed my eyes and listened without reading. This went decently until I would come across words that I didn´t know. Most often these were toponyms and people names that are entirely unfamiliar to me. It is a big help to have the reading to look at in those cases and to have the general use of my eyes. I did this with my hand on the spacebar (pause) and arrow keys (go back or forward five seconds). Keeping this physical stance allowed me to maintain flow. In tonight´s studies, I may have come across 15 words that where either new or needed a refresher. I used quick alt-tabbing to get them on my word list. Here I am mindful of the number of seconds of wait time before I get back on task. If I recall, there are some studies that speak to delays of 0-2 seconds, 2-10 seconds, and 10+ seconds with respect to breaks in workflow. My stratifications may be off, but what I think my memory reconstructed properly were the primacy and recency aspects. The first 0-2 seconds had virtual no impact on concentration while the 10+ second gap had deleterious written all over it.

Secondly, and with much greater success, I turned the hare loose (there is a tortuga which is default pace on newsinslowspanish). Their speech was so clear that I didn´t have trouble following it at a fast pace so long as I could see the transcript at the same time. This is no surprise given that I believe we can read far faster than they can speak, so keeping up was hardly an issue (when 90+ percent of the words were known). I clearly haven´t tried the common technique of just listening without pausing much. In good time I suppose. My analyst side hasn´t really let me explore that nicety yet.

On Creating Additional Study Time: One obvious advantage of moving toward intermediate levels is that I will have the opportunity to listen to some podcasts once I have enough of an ear to handle material that is interesting to me. This can then add an additional 1-2 hours daily to my practice if I so desire. As a corollary, I experimented with a technique where I take Pomodoro-like study breaks between various and sundry tasks, where I give full attention to the task and then switch to giving full attention to listening. This is a nice contrast. For example, I can iron clothes or do sets of weght training (which typically leave a gap of unused time between sets suffcient to listen to a chunk of audio). From a focus perspetive, this may offer as much benefit as listening while multi tasking.

Tengo hambre ahora, así que te veré pronto,

-Erizo
0 x

Tomás
Blue Belt
Posts: 554
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2015 9:48 pm
Languages: English (N). Currently studying Spanish (intermediate), French (false beginner).
x 631

Re: Hedgehogs: Creatures of the Night (ES)

Postby Tomás » Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:13 pm

coldrainwater wrote:
Tomás wrote:You're probably ready for NHK news or VOA Noticias, not to mention Veintemundos.


Thanks for the suggestion! I´ll take a look at those and put them high on the to listen list. Veintemundos I have heard of but the other two are knew to me.

-Erizo


NHK is very boring, but the print stories on the website are exact transcriptions of the audio.
2 x

User avatar
iguanamon
Blue Belt
Posts: 956
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 11:14 am
Location: Virgin Islands
Languages: Speaks: English (Native); Spanish (C2); Portuguese (C2); Haitian Creole (C1); Ladino (C1); Lesser Antilles French Creole (B2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?t=797
x 3776

Re: Hedgehogs: Creatures of the Night (ES)

Postby iguanamon » Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:44 pm

Congratulations on your progress so far! Well done! I'll second Tomás' recommendation of NHK World Spanish News. These are broadcasts intended for native-speakers with consistent, native-speaker, presenters... accurate transcripts and free. I used NHK when I was learning Portuguese. The broadcasts are about 15 minutes long. I wrote about how to navigate and use NHK here. Another good, free resource is Democracy Now! en español with free transcripts and access to the English version of the stories. Have a look at my post on the thread for Understanding spoken Latin American Spanish, where I describe the process in more detail. The most important things when learning to listen are to listen a lot; listen regularly- preferably daily; work with a transcript until you don't need it anymore; and it's going to take time- a lot of time.

VeinteMundos is a vastly under-utilized, totally free site with magazine articles about varied topics of interest from all over the Spanish-speaking world. The site has downloadable mp3 audio of the articles and pdf transcripts with your choice of Latin American or Iberian narration. The articles' audio length is about 10 minutes long. The text online has mouse over definitions/explanations of vocabulary and expressions that may be new for you. The intermediate articles are at your level. This will help you with both reading and listening. There are a ton of articles in the archive library.

Please consider dropping by the Spanish Group where you can connect with other forum members learning/speaking Spanish. It'd be nice to see you there.
1 x

Online
User avatar
coldrainwater
Orange Belt
Posts: 148
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:53 am
Location: Hugh's Town
Languages: English (N), Spanish (A2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?p=65330#p65330></
x 134

Consejos

Postby coldrainwater » Sat Mar 11, 2017 6:25 am

iguanamon wrote:Congratulations on your progress so far! Well done! I'll second Tomás' recommendation of NHK World Spanish News. These are broadcasts intended for native-speakers with consistent, native-speaker, presenters... accurate transcripts and free. I used NHK when I was learning Portuguese. The broadcasts are about 15 minutes long. I wrote about how to navigate and use NHK here. Another good, free resource is Democracy Now! en español with free transcripts and access to the English version of the stories. Have a look at my post on the thread for Understanding spoken Latin American Spanish, where I describe the process in more detail. The most important things when learning to listen are to listen a lot; listen regularly- preferably daily; work with a transcript until you don't need it anymore; and it's going to take time- a lot of time.

VeinteMundos is a vastly under-utilized, totally free site with magazine articles about varied topics of interest from all over the Spanish-speaking world. The site has downloadable mp3 audio of the articles and pdf transcripts with your choice of Latin American or Iberian narration. The articles' audio length is about 10 minutes long. The text online has mouse over definitions/explanations of vocabulary and expressions that may be new for you. The intermediate articles are at your level. This will help you with both reading and listening. There are a ton of articles in the archive library.

Please consider dropping by the Spanish Group where you can connect with other forum members learning/speaking Spanish. It'd be nice to see you there.


Thanks for the detailed response iguanamon. I should have time this weekend to peruse at least one of the resources proffered above. From a perpective of intrigue, I may go for NHK. Fifteen minute stretches seem about right at my current level. An oft used trick of mine when estimating time is pretty simple. Since I figure on it being possible to get from Aish to somewhere in the Bish listening skill in ~500 hours, I just mentally double that and set an initial guess at 1000 hours. I will take a look at the Spanish study group thread as well as soon as I can prise myself away from my new listening habit practice long enough to read forum threads in more detail.
0 x


Return to “Language logs”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: coldrainwater, LesRonces, Robierre and 1 guest