James29's Spanish and French Log

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James29
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:03 am

Spanish is still great, as always. I am enjoying the series El Vato. I wish it had more seasons. The characters are likable and the story is interesting, believable and different. I'll finish it pretty soon. I'll probably do a bit less Spanish this coming week as I have some real life things that will take some extra time. When I am done with El Vato I'll move on to watching the new Argentinian Netflix series Edha with Juana Viale :)

I am still slowly working my way through Atlas Shrugged. I'm about 3/4 of the way done now. I am only reading on the weekends. I manage about 1.5 hours a week. There is a ton of high level vocabulary in the book so it is good to see so many words. I'm listening to the audio book as I read so I'm getting quite a bit of Spanish pounded into my head.

I go to a nearby meetup nearly every week too. This is a fun change of pace and the group of people seems to change from time to time which is kind of nice. I have also started the habit of going to a local Mexican restaurant for lunch once a week. This habit seemed to just start by accident. I have gotten to know the owner as he comes out and talks with me each time I am in the restaurant.

My Spanish is as good as it needs to be for basically everything I need to do. I had to write a short letter in Spanish this past week and I felt a bit embarrassed about my written Spanish, but I got the job done just fine. At first I was going to have one of my native speaking friends review the letter, but I just sent it out anyway as I knew it was basically fine. Writing is my weakest Spanish skill, by far.

My life is such that I really need my Spanish time to be relaxing. The thought of turning my Spanish time into something that requires a taxing mental effort is not appealing. I'd love to learn French to a usable level, but I just don't think I'd be able to handle serious "studying" right now. I've thought about just taking three or four months and pounding out French to a level where I can just take input. Hopefully sometime soon I'll develop the motivation and inspiration to just put in some hard work with French for a few months. The frustrating part is that I don't think it would take too much to get me to a usable input level in French... I just need to make the commitment. I will be scaling back my running this summer so maybe I'll just try to devote 20 minutes a day or something like that to French.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby reineke » Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:44 pm

James29 wrote:
reineke wrote:"Every two weeks we will update this list of shows available on USA Netflix with audio description tracks in languages other than English. This is the ONLY such list in the USA!" They added a couple of shows just yesterday. I don't use subs much but hopefully they'll keep doing this. FL audio description is a cool tool.

I've noticed that sometimes when I switch languages I can no longer find a particular audio track. Having Portuguese on all the time has helped me discover some new shows. Of course, I might be imagining things.


Are you guys saying the entire audio track itself disappears as an option? I have not noticed that, but I have not been thinking about it. I have noticed that Netflix seems to notice my "preference" in the sense that it will play shows in Spanish.... but if I watch a few shows in English or French for a while it will then seem to automatically change my "preference" when I go back to the show I was watching in Spanish. I was thinking of setting up different profiles in my Netflix account depending on the language I want to watch.


Hello James

Yes, the entire soundtrack disappeared from the menu. Btw, try book2 Spanish-French and Spanish-Port combinations and play with the audio a little. You'll get around 6 hours of audio divided into 100 easy 4 minute audio files.

Type book2 in Google, click on Spain on the world map, choose French as the second language and then click on "descargar audios bil. ES>FR".
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James29
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 10:47 am

My life in Spanish is continuing. I'm watching shows on Netflix every weekday morning. I have been watching El Vato and I like it. I have two episodes left. I've noticed that telenovelas and series that appeared on Telemundo are always good solid shows. I'm going to take that into account whenever picking out a new show. El Vato is a great change of pace from the typical shows in Spanish. Hopefully they'll come out with season three sometime soon.

I also started Edha today. I watched the first episode. It is about a woman who owns a fashion design company with her dad. Juana Viale stars. I'm not at all into the fashion industry but it is a nice change of pace and I'll likely watch the entire series because it is so short... 10 episodes. I am a big Juana Viale fan and would probably watch anything she is in. It is also on Netflix with the audio description feature which I love. It is Argentinian Spanish but I'm having a pretty easy time understanding it. It is much easier than the last Argentinian show I watched. The production quality is quite high.

I'm also plugging along with Atlas Shrugged. I am on page 942 of 1252.

I do the local Spanish group every week too. That is always just a good time to get some speaking practice. Right now I don't get in much more speaking practice.

This weekend marks my transition in jogging. I'll start jogging less which means less time on the treadmill. That means less Netflix in Spanish. I'll still get in a decent amount.
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James29
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:53 am

I am still chugging along with Spanish. I finished the series "El Vato" this week. I wrote a short summary/recommendation in the telenovelas and series thread. It was a good show.

I also started Edha. This is an Argentinian series about a fashion designer. I've only watched the first two episodes so I will reserve judgment. I don't really like it so far. It seems slow to develop the plot and I am just not into things like fashion and modeling. I am, however, a huge fan of the star, Juana Viale.

I am slowly working my way through Atlas Shrugged. I only read about an hour or two a week as I am only able to find time to read on the weekends. I am on page 967 now. When I get in striking distance of the end I'll probably pick up the pace.

I am speaking Spanish at work on a weekly basis I'd say. This is great. I have gotten to a point, however, where using Spanish at work is not like it used to be. I am so busy and stressed during the day that when I have to switch to Spanish it often makes things a bit worse as it adds a bit more pressure to my already frantic brain. I feel like I need to go a mile a minute because I am always behind and then when I have to switch to Spanish things seem to slow down a bit and it makes me stressed out that I feel like I am falling more behind. I do like it at the end of the day when I realize how much Spanish will really help my business in the future.

I do the local meetup ever week but nothing seems to change with that.

I'm starting to get itching for spring and summer. This means the beach is just around the corner. I'm going to start looking/thinking about beach books pretty soon. I'm thinking more and more about doing some serious French for a few months and seeing how far I can get if I devote all my language time to French for about three months. I was thinking doing something like one quick Assimil lesson each morning followed by watching about 45 minutes of Netflix in French while on the treadmill and then reading easy books in French on the weekends. The only hard part is finding something to watch on the treadmill. My French is just not good enough to get too much out of any sort of "regular" shows. I might just try to find some sort of video lessons to watch. We'll see.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Sun Apr 08, 2018 10:41 am

I am running on my treadmill less now so I have less time to watch shows in Spanish on Netflix. I am slowly working my way through Edha. I'm glad it is a short series because I would not be able to watch it too much more. I have four episodes left. I cannot wait to watch season two of Casa de Papel. That was the greatest show and they just released season two.

I'm still slowly moving through Atlas Shrugged. I only read for about an hour or two each week. The end is finally within sight. I am on page 1005. But, with another 247 pages it will still take a while.

I'm wondering now how much my Spanish is improving. It must be improving because I usually get about 10 hours of Spanish use in each week... maybe more. I'm watching a ton of native shows on Netflix and I can understand them very well. I can also read books pretty easily. I don't see the progress because it is so slow at this level. I do notice my confidence level has improved dramatically. I interviewed a Dominican woman recently and I now have no reservations at all about my Spanish. Even if I get confused or don't understand something I can simply just joke about it in Spanish and carry on the conversation.

I've always felt that my ability to understand regular conversations is the most important thing to me. Soaking up conversations from TV shows is a great way to do that. I just want my comprehension to become totally natural and "native-like." I'd like to feel as comfortable with my comprehension as I do with my speaking. In actuality I'm thinking my comprehension may be more advanced than my speaking, but it is really comprehension that will hold me back. Speaking is 100% within my control. I can say whatever I want. If I don't sound perfectly elegant or "native-like" that does not really matter much to what I am doing. I can still easily say a thing here or there in a clumsy way and it will not impact the conversation. However, with listening if my comprehension is not "native-like" it causes problems. This is my basic philosophy and what I will continue to work on. My long term goal is really tied to my business. I want to be 100% confident that any Spanish speaker can call me on the phone and speak to me about something totally random when they are emotional. I want to be confident that I will be able to fully understand anyone who calls me... no matter for their accent, education level, phone connection, etc. I'm getting there but still have a way to go.

I am likely going to need to go to Montreal this summer. I am hoping this is a good kick in the butt to get me going with my French. We will see.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby BOLIO » Sun Apr 08, 2018 2:33 pm

I think I am going to change my handle to Chasing James. :D

When you type stuff like this post, it helps me keep moving in the right direction. It is exciting to think about communicating at work the way you do and the effortless way you will one day. Keep moving forward. I’ll be here chasing your progress.

BOLIO
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James29
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:51 pm

BOLIO wrote:I think I am going to change my handle to Chasing James. :D

When you type stuff like this post, it helps me keep moving in the right direction. It is exciting to think about communicating at work the way you do and the effortless way you will one day. Keep moving forward. I’ll be here chasing your progress.

BOLIO


Thanks, Bolio, one step at a time. I'm moving slow now, but at least I am still moving.

Speaking of using Spanish at work, this week I had a big marathon 4+ hour meeting entirely in Spanish. It was amazing. There were two people from my business (me and my Dominican assistant), two people from another office (one who spoke Spanish similar to me and another who needed a translator) and two customers who spoke only Spanish. I was mostly there for observation and giving advice/suggestions every now and then. Everything went great. I cannot remember having any problems with Spanish at all. If I am accustomed to someone's manners of speaking I seem to have no problems. Also, if I am "in the groove" my Spanish really flows well. Every now and then there is some sort of word or concept that I don't know in Spanish. Most of the time it turns out to be something that is non-existent in Latin America or there is simply not a word.

Then, again, on Friday I had another meeting in Spanish with customers. This was much shorter. We probably met for about 45 minutes. My Spanish was flowing quite well. My meetings in Spanish now simply feel the same as they do in English. There is not really any difference.

I do note, however, that I am not sure what to do with my notes. I feel a bit strange writing in Spanish because I really need to record things in English for the business. But, I feel strange taking notes in English on a conversation I am having in Spanish. In the end I just do whatever feels most natural at the time and then at the end I just translate/summarize everything in English.

Also on Friday I had a big meeting (in English) in which I felt I needed to keep some things confidential. I wrote my notes in Spanish so nobody would be able to read my notes. I feel like Spanish is my "secret code" sometimes.

Other aspects of my Spanish slowed down a bit this week because I am in a down period for running on my treadmill. I watched a few more episodes of Edha. I have one episode left and I'll be glad when it is over. I also watched the movie "7 anos" on Netflix. It was ok. I'm trying to gobble up everything on Netflix that has the audio description feature. I'm getting close to being done with everything. There are a few movies I have not watched yet. The big one I have not tackled yet is Narcos. I have actually heard good things about this show, but I'm just not ready for another series about Narcos. I'll probably watch it this summer sometime. There are also a couple series from Spain that were just added. I've got those in my list.

I've been slowly working my way through Atlas Shrugged. I probably only read for about 30 minutes this week. I am 90% done but at this rate I'll still be reading for a long time.

As always, I have the desire to know French but simply have not put any effort into it. Maybe someday that will change and maybe it won't.
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James29
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:39 pm

I missed my log update last weekend because I was traveling. I have not gotten in too much Spanish in the past few weeks, but I think I managed to do something every day for at least a little while. I watched a couple movies in Spanish on the flights. I also chatted with a number of strangers in Spanish at various points.

Since I've been back from my trip I've been watching more Spanish on Netflix. I finished Edha. I would not recommend it unless you are a Juana Viale fan. She is great, but the show itself is lacking. I also started watching Tiempos de Guerra. I've seen 2 or 3 episodes now. It is ok. It reminds me of Chicas del Cable. It is set in Spain back in one of their wars in Africa. It is about a corps of nurses in the Spanish army. I'll keep watching and finish it because there are only something like 13 episodes.

I brought my French Assimil with me on my trip and worked through quite a few lessons. I am on lesson 109 right now so I'm almost done. I like French. Even though I don't ever spend much time on it I feel like I am not losing anything. I can still usually read the lesson for the first time and understand most of it. Hopefully someday I'll take French seriously.

Well, that's it for now. Now that I'm back in my regular routine I expect to get some more time into languages.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby Andy E » Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:19 am

James29 wrote: I also started watching Tiempos de Guerra. I've seen 2 or 3 episodes now. It is ok.


Snap! I've just started Episode 2. The jury's still out on that one at the moment. I was interested in the historical context as I knew nothing about the Rif War and the disaster at Annual.
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James29
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Sun May 06, 2018 2:58 pm

Yup, the jury is still out on Tiempos de Guerra. It is certainly not bad or a snoozer, but I'd say it is a bit more geared toward the "chick flick" crowd which is interesting because it is a war movie. I've got a few things going now so I'm moving through it pretty slowly. I'm also working through the second season of Casa de Papel and loving it. I watched a few movies in Spanish this week also. I'm still thinking about which series will be my next major undertaking. It seems like less of a commitment to start shows with only 10-13 episodes. As much as I hate narco shows I think I might watch Narcos on Netflix. I've heard good things about it. Most people who have seen it really like it and it has the audio description function which I love.

My time with Spanish no longer feels like "work" or "studying" or even any real effort at all. It really just seems like Spanish is simply my second language now. I no longer feel like I am trying to learn or improve the language... it just feels like it is there and part of my life.

I've been slowly working through my French Assimil when I have time. I only have one more lesson left! It is amazing how far I have gotten by just doing 20-30 minutes a week. I suppose doing that much over the past five years adds up to something. It is also amazing how much more committed to Spanish I am. I just don't have the same motivation for French. I'm not sure if I'll do anything else for a while with French or not.
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