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Allison's log: Spanish, 2017-2018

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 12:49 am
by Allison
Hello and welcome to my 2017 log! My previous (and first) log can be found here: Allison's log: Spanish (TAC 2016). My new log's title is not any more creative. :D

The history of my relationship with Spanish (originally written for the Spanish Group)
I learned words and phrases of Spanish in elementary school, then started learning Spanish for real in junior high, continued in high school, and ended up taking AP Spanish my junior year. By then, I was a decent though not spectacular level in reading and writing, a terrible level in listening, and somewhere in between in speaking.

Then I stopped learning Spanish. On the strength of what I remembered of my high school Spanish, I tested out of my college second language requirement. Every so often, I would try to read a news article or advertisement in Spanish, but largely I didn't see the need for it, so I didn't focus on it.

Then about ten years later, I became a lawyer and it turns out Spanish is incredibly useful in the kind of lawyering I'm doing. I'm learning Spanish in order to be able to use it professionally, but I also enjoy learning and using Spanish in and of itself and would continue with it even if it stopped being useful professionally.

In about May 2015, I started learning Spanish again as a false beginner. I went to classes for the structure and consistency. They were incredibly helpful. Around December 2015, I started incorporating materials outside of class into my routine, including joining LLORG and reading and listening to native materials. The leveled classes ended about March 2016, then I did a conversation class until June, which was both helpful and not ideal, since the teacher chose conversation topics that I was not necessarily interested in. I've been participating in the Super Challenge since May, and I kept up the pace until I fell behind starting in October. These past few months it's been tough to find the time and energy to put toward Spanish, but I'm keeping contact with it, however minimal some weeks.

At this point, I can read a book without outside help (including dictionaries and the like) and understand and enjoy it. For listening without outside help, some podcasts/shows/etc., I understand and enjoy, and others, depending on accents/speed/topic/distractions/etc., I can get the gist and miss details. I have not been practicing my speaking or writing recently, but I'd put those in the "can get by" category.

I'm excited to reset my Spanish studying to be more consistent in 2017. I'm also looking forward to bringing up my output skills.

How I use my log
I try to at least update weekly with what I've done along with any thoughts or comments that have struck me throughout the week. I welcome any comments, questions, musings, jokes, advice, etc., from my fellow forum members. I welcome posts written in Spanish and will probably respond to those in Spanish, but mostly I'll write in English here, because that's the language I've decided to use for my meta learning.

Any other languages?
I have a lifelong fascination with American Sign Language (ASL) that I've never done much with. I've only occasionally gone past fingerspelling, but my interest in it has been consistent since I was a kid, so maybe this is the year I get serious about it. Maybe.

An interest in German snuck up on me last September, and I dabbled in some of the free internet resources for a couple weeks. I haven't done anything since then, but I've barely done any Spanish since then either since it's been a busy/tough couple of months! I don't know why I would learn German since I wouldn't have any use for it (and I know some of you don't understand that statement!), but it's been pulling at me for a while. We'll see if I do anything with it.

The start of 2018

Re: Allison's 2017 log (Spanish)

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 12:49 am
by Allison
List of Spanish media I've consumed in 2017:

Celia, 80 episodes [ongoing]

El príncipe de la niebla by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, 236 pages — liked it more than I disliked it, but the plot takes a long time to heat up and the characters aren't interesting enough in the meantime
El último jurado by John Grisham, translated by Antonia Menini, 457 pages [ongoing]

Re: Allison's 2017 log (Spanish)

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 12:50 am
by Allison
reserved for progress reports

Re: Allison's 2017 log (Spanish)

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 12:51 am
by Allison
reserved for resources or something? I'm reserving three posts

Re: Allison's 2017 log (Spanish)

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 12:51 am
by Allison
I'm done reserving posts now.

I'd like to post about my goals for 2017 or at least how I'm going to approach Spanish in the immediate future, but life is still a bit hectic for me, so I think I'm going to say that my goal for right now is to set an approach by February. In the meantime, I'll continue reading books, watching TV, and keeping track of both for the Super Challenge. I think I'll try to write more (meaning, at all). I'd like to work on my speaking skills, but I'm not sure if I can set that up while everything is hectic. I have a bunch of grammar workbooks, and I'd like to make a plan to work through GdUdE B. In reading through what I've done in 2016, I realized I've partly forgotten about GLOSS and the Avateca exercises. I've been thinking more and more about taking the DELE, though my thoughts haven't been serious so far. Anyway, for right now, I'm taking a more one-day-at-a-time approach and trying to keep up contact with Spanish until the rest of my life settles down some.

Re: Allison's 2017 log (Spanish)

Posted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:04 pm
by westminstress
Such a good approach. I've had to do that for the last six months or so but have continued to make regular improvement without working too hard. I've resolved to really tackle speaking this year, but I won't be able to start focusing on that until probably February.

If you would have interest in sharing a private tutor to practice speaking let me know (feel free to PM me)! I might be up for something like that if we can make our schedules align.

Re: Allison's 2017 log (Spanish)

Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 1:54 am
by Allison
Well, that was a long break from the forum. I'm back now, and I'm going to catch up with some forum posts after I post this update. I'm still using the one-day-at-a-time/do-as-much-as-I-can approach.

What I did the last three weeks:
  • watched Celia episodes 9, 10, and 20 minutes of 11
  • read El príncipe de la niebla pp. 91-133, for a total of 42 pages

Re: Allison's 2017 log (Spanish)

Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 2:44 am
by tastyonions
Your avatar is cool. Did you make it?

Re: Allison's 2017 log (Spanish)

Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:20 am
by Allison
tastyonions wrote:Your avatar is cool. Did you make it?

Thanks! No, it's a Pythagoras tree, from Wolfram|Alpha:

Re: Allison's 2017 log (Spanish)

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:08 pm
by Allison
Well. In the last few weeks since I posted, I got sick and then sick again, even spending a few days in the hospital. I'm home now and back at work, so I'm recovering, but that was an unpleasant time and, relevant to my log here, a disruption in my Spanish. The last few days, though, I've been getting back into it. I've watched an episode each of the last three days, and read over 70 pages in the same amount of time to finish off one book and I've started another. I'm delaying making my grand plan for 2017 for a little while longer, but I'm happy with what I've done the last few days.

What I did from January 22nd to February 11th:
  • watched the rest of Celia episode 11, then 12 and 13
  • read El príncipe de la niebla pp. 133-236, finishing it, for a total of 103 pages
  • read El último jurado pp. 8-20, for a total of 12 pages
  • participated in two Spanish language lunches at work

Some comments
El príncipe de la niebla
I finished this book yesterday. It took a long time to get going, plot-wise, and unfortunately, the characters weren't terribly interesting in the meantime, but I'd say I liked it more than I disliked it.

El último jurado
I think I mentioned a long time ago that I had borrowed El último jurado and 11/22/63 (hard copies, and Spanish translations each) from the library. Once I finished El príncipe de la niebla, I decided to start El último jurado by John Grisham. I enjoyed the John Grisham Spanish translation I read before, so I'm looking forward to this one, too. 11/22/63 is my next book, I guess, in order to get both books back to the library before I run out of renewals, but that was much longer than El último jurado, which played into my decision on what order to read them.

Spanish at work/speaking and listening
I have a few Spanish-speaking clients and my co-workers have started a weekly lunch where we speak Spanish. It's been motivating in the sense that I realize just how inadequate my Spanish speaking is. It's been quite a while since I had regular practice speaking Spanish, and I'm rusty. My Spanish listening is pretty good, but not always up to the task. That needs refining, whereas my speaking needs a lot of work.

I added some columns to my challenges spreadsheet to calculate what pace I need to complete the Super Challenge and to catch up to an even pace in the next 90 days. Currently, I have to read 17.4 pages and watch 23 minutes a day to catch up to an even pace in the next 90 days. I also wrote some Spanish for the first time in 2017 today! 173 words. I haven't signed up for the Output Challenge, but I've put it in my challenges spreadsheet as if I have.