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 May 13, 2018 11:01 am

I finished Assimil French this morning. I've been doing it in bits and pieces over the past few years. I go in waves where I'll work on it daily for a week or two and then not do anything for a couple months. I did lessons 1-49 fairly thoroughly. I went through those lessons twice and listened/repeated the audio a few times. For lessons 50-113 I just read the lessons a couple times and moved on without even listening to the audio. By the end of the book I could read the lessons pretty well and understand pretty well without needing to look at the translation. I'm not really sure what to think about my French. I don't have any need for it and I'm only doing it as some sort of fun experiment. I like the language and wish I knew it better, but I don't have a very strong desire to put too much brainpower or time into it.

I am going to be going to Montreal this summer for about a week. My French really only ok for reading. My speaking and comprehension are probably close to zero. I'm going to try to find a place to get French lessons or tutoring. I really enjoyed doing that in Ecuador and the Dominican for Spanish. I'm looking forward to going to Montreal and being part of a French city for a few days. Hopefully this motivates me to put in some more effort into my Spanish over the next couple months.

My Spanish is really not at a "study" anymore. I can simply read/watch/speak/understand without much effort at all. All I really do now is watch series/novelas on Netflix. I'm watching the second season of Casa de Papel and really like it. It is definitely not as good as the first season. The first season was simply the best. The second season continues, but there is something missing. I'm not as "on the edge of my seat" as I was with the first season. I'm also watching Tiempos De Guerra. It is fine, but it is not grabbing me as much as I would like. I'll finish both of these series in the next week or two so I'll have to move on to something else. I may tee up Narcos. It is on my list to watch and I've had a break from Narco shows for a while so I think I will be able to handle it. The other option is to do a Kate del Castillo binge and watch all of her shows that I have not see yet. I read an article that there will be a season two of La Reina del Sur! That should be great. I could probably watch the first season over again as I am sure my comprehension was not that great. I believe that was the first novela I watched. With a new season of La Reina del Sur and another season of Ingobernable coming I'll be able to get in some good quality time with Kate. There is also the show Duenos del Paraiso that I have not seen yet.

I've slowly been working through Atlas Shrugged in Spanish. I love the book, but must say I am regretting it a bit. It is so incredibly long and I am only able to find about 30-60 minutes a week to read it... it is taking forever! Well, summer is coming and hopefully I'll finish it soon so I can get some beach books in hand.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Sun May 20, 2018 10:51 am

I'm still using Spanish every day. I don't have much desire or motivation to do anything with French. Spanish is completely on auto-pilot. I watch TV every morning when I run on the treadmill. I finished the second season of Casa de Papel. I really liked this show. I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone. It is from Spain and the accents are obvious, but it is not hard to understand. The second season was definitely not as good as the first, but still very well done. It is highly suspenseful. Netflix has the audio description feature. I'm also watching Tiempos de Guerra. It is more or less fine, but certainly not the best show ever. I'm going to have to search Netflix to find my next series. I'm going to try to find one with more episodes to tackle. I'll leave Narcos for later. I'm thinking of watching Duenos del Paraiso with Kate del Castillo. It seems to have the same story as half of the telenovelas out there... drug leader dies and his wife takes over the business... but it has a few good things going for it from my perspective. It has an A list star so the acting/quality must be pretty good. It takes place mostly in the US and for some reason I've found that seems to make the stories more interesting to me. It has 70-ish episodes which seems like the perfect amount.

I'm still working my way through Atlas Shrugged. I got more done this week than I usually do. I probably read about 3+ hours. I've still got a good 170 pages left. I just got to the most boring part of the book. There is one chapter where there is just a long 2 hour plus speech. I'll slog through it, but each time I get to this part of the book I contemplate just skipping the speech. Today when I was reading I consciously looked for words that were unknown. I really did not find any. There are words where I would not know them in a stand alone setting, but in context I basically know almost every single word. My passive vocabulary is great.

Not too much going on in my world of Spanish. I get together with friends on weekly basis and speak in Spanish and I often go to a local Mexican restaurant for lunch and speak with the staff there.

I've been writing back and forth with my oldest language exchange partner again. We've been sending each other audio messages and then providing corrections/suggestions. My "off the cuff" spoken Spanish is very good but I definitely don't have the perfect "feel" for the language. I apparently often say things correctly but not always in the way that sounds most natural. I get many suggestions that sound like this "your phrasing is correct but we would never say it like that... try saying it like this...".

Sooner or later I really should put in some good hard "studying" effort into Spanish and try to bump up my Spanish more. It has been a very LONG time since I "studied" Spanish.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby NoManches » Sun May 20, 2018 3:02 pm

James29 wrote:The other option is to do a Kate del Castillo binge and watch all of her shows that I have not see yet. I read an article that there will be a season two of La Reina del Sur! That should be great. I could probably watch the first season over again as I am sure my comprehension was not that great. I believe that was the first novela I watched. With a new season of La Reina del Sur and another season of Ingobernable coming I'll be able to get in some good quality time with Kate. There is also the show Duenos del Paraiso that I have not seen yet.



I CAN'T wait for the next season of Ingobernable to come out. I will probably watch the first season over again because it was so good and now my comprehension is better.

I watched most of La Reina del Sur but quit when the Spanish from Spain was used almost all the time and I had problems understanding it. I think I'll have to watch the entire first season from the beginning.

I'll have to check out the other shows you mentioned/suggested. Thanks for talking about them. I think my Spanish is good enough where I need to start listening to other accents


How are you finding watching TV on Spanish while running? I think we talked about this and long time ago. I need to get back into running but find that I get too distracted sometimes when running and listening to podcasts/audiobooks. Maybe I need to get into better shape so I can focus on the Spanish and not the pain in my body.

I enjoy reading your log. I feel like you are always at the level I am trying to get to, and reading about what you do helps me out quite a bit (at least it gives me a lot of motivation).
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Sun May 20, 2018 7:49 pm

NoManches wrote:
James29 wrote:The other option is to do a Kate del Castillo binge and watch all of her shows that I have not see yet. I read an article that there will be a season two of La Reina del Sur! That should be great. I could probably watch the first season over again as I am sure my comprehension was not that great. I believe that was the first novela I watched. With a new season of La Reina del Sur and another season of Ingobernable coming I'll be able to get in some good quality time with Kate. There is also the show Duenos del Paraiso that I have not seen yet.



I CAN'T wait for the next season of Ingobernable to come out. I will probably watch the first season over again because it was so good and now my comprehension is better.

I watched most of La Reina del Sur but quit when the Spanish from Spain was used almost all the time and I had problems understanding it. I think I'll have to watch the entire first season from the beginning.

I'll have to check out the other shows you mentioned/suggested. Thanks for talking about them. I think my Spanish is good enough where I need to start listening to other accents


How are you finding watching TV on Spanish while running? I think we talked about this and long time ago. I need to get back into running but find that I get too distracted sometimes when running and listening to podcasts/audiobooks. Maybe I need to get into better shape so I can focus on the Spanish and not the pain in my body.

I enjoy reading your log. I feel like you are always at the level I am trying to get to, and reading about what you do helps me out quite a bit (at least it gives me a lot of motivation).


Good idea to watch Ingobernable again. I cannot get enough of Kate del Castillo and she was at peak performance in that series. I only wish she did more telenovelas that were not about narcotraficantes.

I absolutely love watching Netflix on the treadmill. I run hard on the weekend (outside) and mostly pretty easy during the week. I go super slow so my focus is pretty good and I don't think at all about the running. It has really helped my running as I can go for a 90+ minute run every day and hardly notice it. Try running at a much slower speed than you would ordinarily run. That's what I did initially and it was great for both watching Netflix in Spanish and also getting lots of time on my feet running. If you run alone try starting with something where you have to speak a response (like Pimsleur, Paul Noble, FSI, etc). If you are speaking/talking when running you are going to be going plenty slow to be relying entirely on your aerobic systems.

My running hero always said his secret to success was to make running a pastime. I am thinking the same thing about Spanish now... it needs to be fun and essentially be a hobby. Everything else then becomes easy.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Sun May 20, 2018 7:50 pm

NoManches wrote:
James29 wrote:The other option is to do a Kate del Castillo binge and watch all of her shows that I have not see yet. I read an article that there will be a season two of La Reina del Sur! That should be great. I could probably watch the first season over again as I am sure my comprehension was not that great. I believe that was the first novela I watched. With a new season of La Reina del Sur and another season of Ingobernable coming I'll be able to get in some good quality time with Kate. There is also the show Duenos del Paraiso that I have not seen yet.



I CAN'T wait for the next season of Ingobernable to come out. I will probably watch the first season over again because it was so good and now my comprehension is better.

I watched most of La Reina del Sur but quit when the Spanish from Spain was used almost all the time and I had problems understanding it. I think I'll have to watch the entire first season from the beginning.

I'll have to check out the other shows you mentioned/suggested. Thanks for talking about them. I think my Spanish is good enough where I need to start listening to other accents


How are you finding watching TV on Spanish while running? I think we talked about this and long time ago. I need to get back into running but find that I get too distracted sometimes when running and listening to podcasts/audiobooks. Maybe I need to get into better shape so I can focus on the Spanish and not the pain in my body.

I enjoy reading your log. I feel like you are always at the level I am trying to get to, and reading about what you do helps me out quite a bit (at least it gives me a lot of motivation).


Good idea to watch Ingobernable again. I cannot get enough of Kate del Castillo and she was at peak performance in that series. I only wish she did more telenovelas that were not about narcotraficantes.

I absolutely love watching Netflix on the treadmill. I run hard on the weekend (outside) and mostly pretty easy during the week. I go super slow so my focus is pretty good and I don't think at all about the running. It has really helped my running as I can go for a 90+ minute run every day and hardly notice it. Try running at a much slower speed than you would ordinarily run. That's what I did initially and it was great for both watching Netflix in Spanish and also getting lots of time on my feet running. If you run alone try starting with something where you have to speak a response (like Pimsleur, Paul Noble, FSI, etc). If you are speaking/talking when running you are going to be going plenty slow to be relying entirely on your aerobic systems.

My running hero always said his secret to success was to make running a pastime. I am thinking the same thing about Spanish now... it needs to be fun and essentially be a hobby. Everything else then becomes easy.

Edit: by the way, when does the next season of Ingobernable come out? I searched and could not find an answer.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby NoManches » Tue May 22, 2018 3:51 pm

James29 wrote:
My running hero always said his secret to success was to make running a pastime. I am thinking the same thing about Spanish now... it needs to be fun and essentially be a hobby. Everything else then becomes easy.

Edit: by the way, when does the next season of Ingobernable come out? I searched and could not find an answer.


Thanks for the running inspiration and advice. I actually started to read Nacidos para Correr and just never finished it for whatever reason (its the translation of the popular book Born to Run). Maybe I'll try to read it again after I catch up on my current reading list.

I also Googled Ingobernable season 2 and could not find anything other than that it did get approved for a second season. If I get an update I'll let you know!
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Sun May 27, 2018 11:08 am

I just keep going with my Spanish. I don't really make any sort of conscious effort to use Spanish anymore. It is more just a part of my daily routine. I have one more episode of Tiempos de Guerra. I'll do a short review when I finish it. It is not great, but certainly not the worst thing I watched. I'm probably going to start spending more time on the treadmill with Netflix pretty soon so I'll get more Spanish time in. I spent yesterday searching through telenovelas on Netflix to update my list. There is not anything I am really excited to watch.

I'm still slowly working my way through Atlas Shrugged. I'm trudging through the one part I don't really like... the long speech on the radio. It is not that I don't "like" it... it is more that it is just way too long. I'll finish the book fairly soon as I only have 150 or so pages left. Then, I'd like to get some good summer beach reading in on my kindle.

I go to the local meetup which is really hit or miss depending on the week. I don't think it really helps my Spanish much other than it gives me an opportunity to have some weekly output.

That's it for now.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:47 am

It is amazing how the days come and go. I have lost track now of how long I have been studying Spanish. The days, months and years keep moving on. My Spanish builds and builds on itself like a snowball. Spring is here in full force and soon it will be time to hit the beach with some good books in Spanish!

I am still moving along with the same approach to my Spanish. I finished watching Tiempos de Guerra this past week. I'll write a short review in the telenovela tread. It was not the greatest show. I'm also slowly working through Atlas Shrugged. I am near the end and in the most boring part so it is kind of dragging on. I'd like to finish it soon so I can start a good beach book. I don't like to have two books going at the same time because I only read on the weekends now and one book is plenty.

There is a little "hole in the wall" El Salvadorean restaurant in a nearby city I have wanted to go to for years. I was there during the day with a colleague during the lunch hour so we went there. It was cool. I felt like I was immediately beamed into some town in El Salvador. We walked in and the place was tiny, but overflowing with people. I had a nice chat with a woman I assume was the owner. It was obviously a little family restaurant. It was kind of funny because my friend had no idea I could speak Spanish so well. Most people assume I have "tourist" level Spanish. The food was amazing. I felt like I checked off a box that has been on my Spanish list for a long time.

I do my local meetup regularly and occasionally talk with old exchange partners from various countries who are now simply friends.

I really would like to get back into the habit of listening to the VOA news in the morning when I commute to work. I had a great habit going with that. It is a great supplement for what I need with Spanish... just more time with the language and listening to varied accents and varied subjects. I have no idea how that stopped. Maybe I'll make that my resolution for this week. We'll see how that goes.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:35 pm

I did not have a chance to update my log yesterday as I typically do on Sundays. This past week I pretty much just bounced around with various movies and random shows on Netflix. There were some dubbed shows I wanted to watch and a few Mexican comedy movies that turned out to be really bad. Then, today, I started in on Duenos del Paraiso starring my friend Kate del Castillo. The good thing about Telemundo and Kate del Castillo is that their novelas are pretty much guaranteed to be watchable.

I rolled my eyes quite a bit in the first two episodes, however. I knew what I was getting into in terms of the narco plot, but it still annoys me. How many telenovelas can have the same plot? Wife/girlfriend of drug dealer takes over drug dealing business. Anyway, the Spanish is super easy to understand. I usually watch the first episode of any new telenovela with subtitles just to make sure I don't miss anything critical in the first episode. That was totally not necessary with this. It is too early to tell, but I'll probably be able to watch the whole show despite the cheesy violence scenes.

I really don't do much more in Spanish. I speak every now and then (probably once a week now) at work with a customer. I also go to the local meetup. I go to lunch at the local Mexican restaurant so often that they have started giving me extra stuff. I order the same thing every time and they have it ready for me as soon as I walk in the door. They all speak Spanish there which is cool. I've gotten to know everyone there including the owner and the cooks out back.

I was traveling last week and visited a different Mexican restaurant and my Spanish was impeccable. I mean I felt like a genuine native speaker. It was a great time... I just wish I liked Mexican food more.

I really do not feel like I am "learning" or "studying" Spanish at all. It is just part of my life and I don't even really think about it. When I went into the new Mexican restaurant last week I just launched into Spanish with the hostess and waitress because they obviously spoke Spanish. It just seems easier. It is not something I even think about anymore.

Well, that's it for this week.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby NoManches » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:56 am

James29 wrote:I did not have a chance to update my log yesterday as I typically do on Sundays. This past week I pretty much just bounced around with various movies and random shows on Netflix. There were some dubbed shows I wanted to watch and a few Mexican comedy movies that turned out to be really bad. Then, today, I started in on Duenos del Paraiso starring my friend Kate del Castillo. The good thing about Telemundo and Kate del Castillo is that their novelas are pretty much guaranteed to be watchable.

I rolled my eyes quite a bit in the first two episodes, however. I knew what I was getting into in terms of the narco plot, but it still annoys me. How many telenovelas can have the same plot? Wife/girlfriend of drug dealer takes over drug dealing business. Anyway, the Spanish is super easy to understand. I usually watch the first episode of any new telenovela with subtitles just to make sure I don't miss anything critical in the first episode. That was totally not necessary with this. It is too early to tell, but I'll probably be able to watch the whole show despite the cheesy violence scenes.

I really don't do much more in Spanish. I speak every now and then (probably once a week now) at work with a customer. I also go to the local meetup. I go to lunch at the local Mexican restaurant so often that they have started giving me extra stuff. I order the same thing every time and they have it ready for me as soon as I walk in the door. They all speak Spanish there which is cool. I've gotten to know everyone there including the owner and the cooks out back.

I was traveling last week and visited a different Mexican restaurant and my Spanish was impeccable. I mean I felt like a genuine native speaker. It was a great time... I just wish I liked Mexican food more.

I really do not feel like I am "learning" or "studying" Spanish at all. It is just part of my life and I don't even really think about it. When I went into the new Mexican restaurant last week I just launched into Spanish with the hostess and waitress because they obviously spoke Spanish. It just seems easier. It is not something I even think about anymore.

Well, that's it for this week.



I've mentioned before how I'm a big fan of Kate del Castillo too. I'll have to check out that show, it sounds like it will keep me busy until the next season of Ingobernable (which I still can't find a release date for).

I can't wait for the day when my Spanish is so good that I feel like a native speaker. I've had a few days really close to this level, but normally I make a few mistakes or say something that reminds me I need to keep working. It's always a good feeling when you make friends and acquaintances because of a foreign language. I used to be a "regular" at a Mexican restaurant before I moved, and it was always a great opportunity to speak Spanish. I need to seek out some new Spanish speaking friends.


I just wish I liked Mexican food more.


My love for tacos is probably the reason why I normally suck at running. I've cut back drastically and my running has improved. I think anything is good in moderation but my love for Mexican food was holding me back :D

And one more thing, what are your thoughts on the grammar books you have used? (Based on your log it seems like you have used Gramática de uso del Español. B1-B2 and the C1-C2 book).

It's only been a few years since I took a Spanish grammar course in college, but I feel myself getting really rusty. I think going through a grammar book at my own pace will be very beneficial for me. I'm not sure if I should go with the B1-B2 book or the C1-C2 book. My Spanish is still somewhere in the B2 range. I've covered all the verb tenses and advanced grammar on college but it's been a few years.

I've probably mentioned this before but your log is a huge inspiration for me. I feel like I can relate to many of the things you talk about (especially when I look at your older entries). I've only been learning Spanish for around 4 years during a 5 year span (after taking a year off due to work training). Im a few years behind you but I can look at your log and almost predict where I will be based on the things you have done and experienced in your Spanish journey. I'm sure I've mentioned this before but it's worth saying again.
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