¡No Manches! - Uses "learning Spanish" as a cover so he can watch telenovelas all day and not feel guilty

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NoManches
Blue Belt
Posts: 653
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 2:21 pm
Location: Estados Unidos (near the Mexican border)
Languages: English - (N)
Spanish - B2 +
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7942
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¡No Manches! - Uses "learning Spanish" as a cover so he can watch telenovelas all day and not feel guilty

Postby NoManches » Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:51 am

I've decided to abandon my old log and start fresh with this one. Since my hiatus, I've realized that many of the goals I once had have now changed. Before, I really wanted to *speak* Spanish. Although I put an emphasis on listening, my studies involved more output than input. I feel like due to my new geographical situation, the opportunity to speak Spanish has diminished drastically. My desire to absorb Spanish media however, is at an all time high. I have nostalgia when I think about my trips to Mexico, and the time I spent watching and reading tons of Spanish material in order to prepare for those trips.

My desire to go from a B2 to C1 still exists, although there is less pressure to do it. Now, I'm more focused on making Spanish a part of my everyday life as long as it is in an enjoyable manner. I use Spanish as a way of relaxing, it is my way of escaping from the stresses of everyday life. If I happen to go from a B2 to C1 while enjoying Spanish media every day, then so be it!

I really am focused on improving my listening comprehension, so my new approach won't be totally relaxed and unorganized. As a matter of fact, I'll be striving to improve my comprehension every single day, but I'll try to have more fun while doing it.

My methods of study will be:
-Lots of TV
-Lots of FUN reading (no more forcing myself to read things I don't like)
-Lots of podcasts.

I've made watching the news in Spanish a daily habit, so at the very least I know I can do that and maintain my skills. If I only manage to speak Spanish with my dog or the occasional person at work, well, I'm fine with that. I'm perfectly happy with my speaking abilities since very rarely do I have problems expressing myself in Spanish. I can speak in a manner where others understand me, and have been able to do so for some time. Sure, it might take a few extra words to describe something I don't know the word for, but I can get it done. I have a full grasp of all Spanish grammar and a very solid "B2 level" vocabulary. The problem I've always had however, has been understanding the other person (particularly groups of people talking to each other or those who use lots of slang or have thick accents). I'm usually pretty good with 1 on 1 conversations, but could use work on the more difficult stuff. Movies still remain difficult for me and I only have decent comprehension on some TV shows (after watching a few episodes). I'd like to reach a level where I can watch TV shows and understand them as if I were watching in my native language (English).

Thanks to everyone who has given me advice since I've been a member here, and thanks to those who follow my log and take the time to leave comments! I hope I can be helpful to others and give back to the community.

2018 Movie/TV/Reading List
*books/movies may be rounded up or down in page count/length*
2018 Reading List

Los Crímenes Azules
: 93 / 375 ~375 pages

Dos crímenes
: 0 / 210 ~210 pages
__________________________________________

Pedro Páramo
: 0 / 125 ~125 pages
__________________________________________
La Tumba
: 34 / 136 ~125 pages
__________________________________________
Nacidos para Correr
: 350 / 350 ~350 pages
__________________________________________
La mesa: Historias de nuestra gente
: 250 / 250 ~250 pages
__________________________________________
Jorge Ramos
Morir en el Intento: La Peor Tragedia de Immigrantes en la Historia de los Estados Unidos
: 200 / 200 ~200 pages

Tierra de Todos
: 0 / 200 ~200 pages
__________________________________________

¿Quién mató a Ángela Blanco?: Una novela negra de crimen e intriga
: 85 / 85 85 pages
___________________________________________
Por: Raul Garbantes
La Caída de una Diva
: 197 / 197 197 pages
La Última Bala
: 212 / 212 212 pages
Goya
: 159 / 159 159 pages
Tiroteo
: 230 / 230 230
Fuego Cruzado
: 0 / 237 237
El Ausente
: 225 / 225 225 pages
_________________________________________
Por: Paco Ardit
B2 Language Bundle (4 books in 1)
: 430 / 430 430
C1 Language Bundle (3 books in 1)
: 220 / 220 220
__________________________________________
El ladrón del rayo
: 216 / 288 288 pages
__________________________________________
Escalofríos HorrorLandia #1: La venganza del muneco viviente
: 140 / 140 140 pages
Escalofríos HorrorLandia #2: Espanto Marino
: 144 / 144 144 pages
Escalofríos Horrorlandia #9: Bienvenido al Campamento de las Serpientes
: 160 / 160 160 pages
Escalofríos HorrorLandia #10: ¡Auxilio! ¡Tenemos poderes extraños!
: 140 / 140 140 pages
Escalofríos HorrorLandia #11: Escape de Horrorlandia
: 160 / 160 160 pages
Escalofríos HorrorLandia #12: Las calles del Parque del Pánico
: 160 / 160 160 pages
__________________________________________
Por: Isabelle Allende
La Ciudad de las Bestias
: 300 / 300 ~300 pages
El reino del dragon de Oro
: 325 / 325 325 pages
El Bosque de los Pigmeos
: 300 / 300 ~300 pages
__________________________________________

2018 TV List
Dueños del Paraíso (40 minutos/episode)
: 5 / 71*
Enemigo íntimo 53 episodes (40 min/episode)
: 53 / 53
El Chema 84 episodes (40 min/episode)
: 23 / 84
La Reina Del Sur (40 min/episode)
: 63 / 63
Dogma- 13 episodes (40 min/episode)
: 13 / 13
El desconocido 5 episodes (~45 min/episode)
: 5 / 5
Por Amar sin Ley (40 minutos/episode)
: 87 / 87
Ingobernable Season 1
: 15 / 15
Ingobernable Season 2
: 3 / 12
________________________________________

2018 Movie List
Amar te duele: 90 minutes
Perdida: 90 minutes
__________________________________________
2018 Documentary List
Hijos de las Estrellas(45 min/episode)
: 0 / 10

__________________________________________
Last edited by NoManches on Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:31 am, edited 91 times in total.
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Spanish Books
: 4415 / 10000

NoManches
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Location: Estados Unidos (near the Mexican border)
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Re: ¡No Manches! - A new beginning...

Postby NoManches » Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:33 pm

I'm very satisfied with my Spanish language studies during the last week. I've had a few interactions in Spanish at work which went very well. (I got "the job done" but to me it felt sloppier than I'd like).

Listening:
Most of my time is spent at work, but fortunately I can listen to Spanish music/radio while driving to different work areas. Sometimes I get really tired of only listening to podcasts so I'll switch back to music. This week I've been listening to the Cuatro Caminos album by Café Tacuba and the Jefe de Jefes album by Los Tigres del Norte. I have some trouble hearing all the words in these songs (even in English I'm bad at understanding song lyrics). If I look up the lyrics and read them at least once before listening my comprehension jumps up to nearly 95%. I am considering working more on my understanding of these songs in order to improve my comprehension for Spanish music (Although I'm not really convinced that music alone will better help me understand spoken Spanish).

Watching:

I've been watching the Spanish news almost everyday. It's great when you are getting ready, making dinner, or doing something where you can only partially pay attention and want to squeeze some extra Spanish in.

Iguanamon would be happy to know that I'm starting my intensive work with telenovelas again (as he's talked about in many different threads...check out his response to my first post ever on this forum: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =17&t=2420 )

If I have time I will turn the novela into an intensive viewing exercise. If not, I'll just watch and try to enjoy it as much as I can. My comprehension is already pretty good (for this show) but I'm hoping to bring it up to near 100% by the end (I still have around 70 episodes left). I just realized that I can download some episodes on the Netflix app on my phone. I'm thinking about listening to some of the shows I've already watched to get a double dose while driving at work. I obviously wouldn't be able to watch (because I'd be driving) but getting to hear the audio a second time might be beneficial, especially since I wouldn't be "streaming" and using data to do it... which would put my phone bill through the roof!

I watched the first few minutes of a new show on Netflix called "Pickpockets". It takes place in Bogotá and looks like it might be a cool show, but I want to watch more episodes of El Chema first.

Reading:
I wish I had more time to read each day. With whatever time I'm left with after work, I have to decide between watching a show or reading. I almost always choose television since my goal is native like listening comprehension. My reading does need word and has deteriorated a decent amount since last year. I know reading will help my listening comprehension so I'd like to make a better effort to read each day. Maybe focusing on reading for 30 days while making television less of a priority will help me get to a new level of reading which will in turn help my listening. It just seems so wrong to ditch television for reading when listening is the skill I want to work on :roll:

Either way, I bought just about every Goosebumps book I could find in Spanish (5 books total, 3 are on the Kindle and 2 in paperback format). After I binge read them I will jump back to adult material. It would be nice to finish them sometime before the Super Challenge. For now they are getting me back on track with reading. I understand nearly 100% of the books (which is good since they are translated into Spanish and written for 8-10 year olds). There are a few words I come across which are new to me but I don't even have to look them up to understand what is going on.
4 x
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Spanish Books
: 4415 / 10000

NoManches
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Re: ¡No Manches! - A new beginning...

Postby NoManches » Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:46 pm

My normal routine for practicing Spanish is as follows:
-Wake up and watch Spanish news or a novela
-Go to work and listen to Spanish podcasts/music/audiobooks
-Come home and prepare dinner, while watching TV in Spanish
-Read for a few minutes before bed, normally passing out after about 15 minutes

My routine during the last week:
-Upon waking up, brew some coffee and read in Spanish for 30 minutes
-Go to work and listen to Spanish podcasts/music/audiobooks
-Come home and try to squeeze in some more reading
-Watch TV in Spanish while preparing dinner
-Take the dog for an extra walk in order to listen to a Spanish podcast
-Read in Spanish before going to bed


Reading:

It seems like the one skill I have always neglected in Spanish has been reading. I don't think it is a coincidence that the one skill I am not good at is listening (more precisely: listening comprehension).

There have been a few times over the years when I really start to get into reading, but it is the one thing I never stick with. Last year during the super challenge I started to really see the benefits of extensive reading and I cannot figure out why, for the life of me, I never stuck with it :roll: . Despite my ability to speak Spanish at a high-level using very specific and academic vocabulary, my ability to comprehend is not as good. I blame this on a weak passive vocabulary due to a lack of reading.

I've finally admitted to myself (again) that my reading sucks and I need to work on it. I've spent the last week reading as many of the Spanish Goosebumps books as I can (in Spanish they use the word "Escalofríos" instead of Goosebumps). The books are written for ages 8-12 (according to the back cover) and I find them pretty easy to read. I still have a few more to read and then I will jump into something written for young teens, preferably something written originally in Latin American Spanish (anybody have any recommendations for me????)


My goal is to improve my passive vocabulary, fluency in reading, and overall comprehension. My end goal is an improvement in listening comprehension skills.

Listening:

I have been listening to a 7 part audio series titled: Mejor Vete Cristina

I can not recommend this series enough. It is really, really, good.


It tells the story of a Mexican woman who comes to the US (without "papers") against incredible challenges. She then starts a restaurant which is nationally recognized. This is a "must hear" story and for Spanish learner's it is very similar to something from Radio Ambulance.

Check it out here (with transcripts!) Note: I listen to it on iVoox and just discovered the Univision link with transcripts
https://www.univision.com/noticias/inmi ... e-cristina

I find the series very easy to comprehend although I do a lot of rewinding because my brain starts to wander and I miss stuff :roll:

Television:

Nothing! Normally if I have free time I'll pick a novela over reading something in Spanish. For the first time ever I've been making an effort to read before doing anything else. For a person like me trying to improve listening comprehension, it seems so weird picking a book over television or a podcast. We'll see if the added reading really boosts my listening.

I'm not feeling too good today so I will probably sit back and watch a few television series, but today and the rest of the week will be focused heavily on reading.
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: 4415 / 10000

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iguanamon
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Re: ¡No Manches! - A new beginning...

Postby iguanamon » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:46 pm

NoManches wrote:It seems like the one skill I have always neglected in Spanish has been reading. I don't think it is a coincidence that the one skill I am not good at is listening (more precisely: listening comprehension).
There have been a few times over the years when I really start to get into reading, but it is the one thing I never stick with. Last year during the super challenge I started to really see the benefits of extensive reading and I cannot figure out why, for the life of me, I never stuck with it :roll: . Despite my ability to speak Spanish at a high-level using very specific and academic vocabulary, my ability to comprehend is not as good. I blame this on a weak passive vocabulary due to a lack of reading.
I've finally admitted to myself (again) that my reading sucks and I need to work on it. I've spent the last week reading as many of the Spanish Goosebumps books as I can (in Spanish they use the word "Escalofríos" instead of Goosebumps). The books are written for ages 8-12 (according to the back cover) and I find them pretty easy to read. I still have a few more to read and then I will jump into something written for young teens, preferably something written originally in Latin American Spanish (anybody have any recommendations for me????)...

You might want to give Isabel Allende's YA trilogy of La ciudad de las bestias, "El reino del Dragon de Oro", and "El Bosque de los Pigmeos" a try. She also wrote El Cuaderno de Maya. All of these are young adult novels.

You've noticed that the skills tend to reinforce each other. Reading does indeed improve listening and vice-versa. Reading also has the added advantage of being able to pause more easily to look up words when needed. Reading novels by the same author means words often repeat, which is good, but it's a slower way to get exposure to a wider range of vocabulary. I used a combination of everything, straight up news, magazine type features, short stories and novels for building vocabulary. You might also try going through the Intermediate VeinteMundos articles. They're downloadable in pdf and mp3 so you can do both listening and reading. I get a lot of my US news through Spanish via the AP en Español, New York Times en Español and also El Nuevo Herald from Miami and locally, El Nuevo Día from San Juan, PR. You can't beat El País from Spain for international news.

The thing I like about news and magazine articles is the wide variety of language I come across. Not too many years ago, pre-internet, people subscribed to actual newspapers and magazines. When I was young, I devoured them all and would read articles that I wouldn't normally read if I had a choice. If it was on the page I read it. The difference today is clicks. Much of the time, we only see what we want to see. So, as a consequence, we don't get exposed to as much of a wide range of vocabulary when we stay within our comfort zone as people used to before the advent of more choice.

We always see a lot about reading intensively and extensively here on the forum, but seldom do we see much about reading widely. This can be remedied consciously. To do so, try to make sure you read at least one article every day that you wouldn't normally read otherwise.... just one. It's just an article, maybe taking five minutes to read. It won't kill your soul and it will expose you to a wider range of vocabulary naturally. There's less of an investment with an article than with a novel, so if you don't like it, it's not such a big deal. Reading widely also allows for serendipity. Serendipity is an often over-looked benefit that tends not to happen as much these days. Serendipity tends to get lost in narrowed exposure and specialization. Try pijamasurf and muy intersante as starters for reading widely. If you're not ready for the full adult version of muy interesante, there's muy interesante junior too.

People were once described as being "well read", meaning they'd reached a certain level of general intelligence and perhaps wisdom. Once again, these folks read widely. They weren't people who, say, just read fantasy novels, science fiction novels, or mystery novels. People who are "well read" read all kinds of literature both "high brow" and "low brow"- classics of fiction and non-fiction plus sports novels, biographies, science fiction, mystery, etc., as long as it's good and well-written.

Imagine someone who only listens to metal music who can't understand why Benny Moré was worthy or why Johnny Cash was cool, or what Elvis Presley meant to rock and roll or why Jobim mattered. Conversely, if someone only listens to pop, they'll never be able to appreciate Ozzie Osbourne or Rachmaninoff. People are entitled to their own tastes, but there's something to be said for being a bit more well-rounded... it can help a person to be more relate-able to a wider range of other people and to be able to appreciate more in life and enrich their own life as a result. There's a great big wonderful world out there ready and waiting for those who will go outside the box, leave the comfort zone and find it.
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NoManches
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Re: ¡No Manches! - A new beginning...

Postby NoManches » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:22 pm

iguanamon wrote:You might want to give Isabel Allende's YA trilogy of La ciudad de las bestias, "El reino del Dragon de Oro", and "El Bosque de los Pigmeos" a try. She also wrote El Cuaderno de Maya. All of these are young adult novels.

You've noticed that the skills tend to reinforce each other. Reading does indeed improve listening and vice-versa. Reading also has the added advantage of being able to pause more easily to look up words when needed. Reading novels by the same author means words often repeat, which is good, but it's a slower way to get exposure to a wider range of vocabulary. I used a combination of everything, straight up news, magazine type features, short stories and novels for building vocabulary. You might also try going through the Intermediate VeinteMundos articles. They're downloadable in pdf and mp3 so you can do both listening and reading. I get a lot of my US news through Spanish via the AP en Español, New York Times en Español and also El Nuevo Herald from Miami and locally, El Nuevo Día from San Juan, PR. You can't beat El País from Spain for international news.

The thing I like about news and magazine articles is the wide variety of language I come across. Not too many years ago, pre-internet, people subscribed to actual newspapers and magazines. When I was young, I devoured them all and would read articles that I wouldn't normally read if I had a choice. If it was on the page I read it. The difference today is clicks. Much of the time, we only see what we want to see. So, as a consequence, we don't get exposed to as much of a wide range of vocabulary when we stay within our comfort zone as people used to before the advent of more choice.

We always see a lot about reading intensively and extensively here on the forum, but seldom do we see much about reading widely. This can be remedied consciously. To do so, try to make sure you read at least one article every day that you wouldn't normally read otherwise.... just one. It's just an article, maybe taking five minutes to read. It won't kill your soul and it will expose you to a wider range of vocabulary naturally. There's less of an investment with an article than with a novel, so if you don't like it, it's not such a big deal. Reading widely also allows for serendipity. Serendipity is an often over-looked benefit that tends not to happen as much these days. Serendipity tends to get lost in narrowed exposure and specialization. Try pijamasurf and muy intersante as starters for reading widely. If you're not ready for the full adult version of muy interesante, there's muy interesante junior too.

People were once described as being "well read", meaning they'd reached a certain level of general intelligence and perhaps wisdom. Once again, these folks read widely. They weren't people who, say, just read fantasy novels, science fiction novels, or mystery novels. People who are "well read" read all kinds of literature both "high brow" and "low brow"- classics of fiction and non-fiction plus sports novels, biographies, science fiction, mystery, etc., as long as it's good and well-written.

Imagine someone who only listens to metal music who can't understand why Benny Moré was worthy or why Johnny Cash was cool, or what Elvis Presley meant to rock and roll or why Jobim mattered. Conversely, if someone only listens to pop, they'll never be able to appreciate Ozzie Osbourne or Rachmaninoff. People are entitled to their own tastes, but there's something to be said for being a bit more well-rounded... it can help a person to be more relate-able to a wider range of other people and to be able to appreciate more in life and enrich their own life as a result. There's a great big wonderful world out there ready and waiting for those who will go outside the box, leave the comfort zone and find it.


As always Iguanamon, thank you for the advice, suggestions, and reinforcement! There are a few people on this site who have helped me a lot along the way, but you have been by far one of the most helpful!

I actually finished that series by Allende in June of 2016. HOWEVER, I remember that book being just a tad above my level at the time, so I didn't fully enjoy it (I got the gist of the book but missed out on a ton of important details). When I finish the 2 books I am working on now, I think I will re-read the ciudad de las bestias trilogy. I remember really enjoying them at the time and being frustrated at the same time when I couldn't understand some things without stopping and looking up words. I have a bad memory and can't even remember what happens in the books, so visiting them a second time might do me a lot of good.

I really like your advice on reading widely. I have definitely noticed that when it comes to topics I enjoy, I can talk for hours on end and have a vocabulary large enough to pass as somebody who has been fluent in Spanish for quite some time. If the topic changes to something I'm not familiar with, my weaknesses are exposed very quickly. A lot of this comes down to my history of only reading things that interest me, and spending so many damned hours with Anki, where I developed an incredible active vocabulary in only a small range of topics. Now is the time for me to build my passive vocabulary in a wide range of topics. The thought of doing so is exciting. I like the links you shared and have already bookmarked them. I will start reading a little out of my comfort zone each day, and if I remember, I'll try to post any results I notice within the next few months.

***

On a side note, I watched a few more episodes of "El Chema" today and the amount of times I had to pause, and rewatch a scene with subtitles was too high. I'm not really having a problem with hearing what is being said, it has to do with comprehending what is being said. There is just so much slang in the show that I think I might abandon it for a while for something more realistic. I've talked to hundreds of Spanish speakers and I can't think of a time when somebody talked to me the way they do in this show (the same goes for El Señor de los Cielos). I realize now that I can understand the parts when they speak normally, the parts I don't understand are when lots of slang or idioms are used. Making it worse, 90% of the time the slang and idioms have to do with drugs, killing, and other stuff I could care less about. I'll continue to watch these shows because I need the exposure to this kind of slang and idioms (to understand it when I hear it), but I need to spend more time watching other material (preferably stuff not related to drug dealers :evil: )
3 x
DOUBLE Super Challenge
Spanish Movies
: 10475 / 18000

Spanish Books
: 4415 / 10000

NoManches
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Posts: 653
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 2:21 pm
Location: Estados Unidos (near the Mexican border)
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Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7942
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Re: ¡No Manches! - A new beginning...

Postby NoManches » Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:00 am

Amazing!

I stopped watching "El Chema" today and started watching a Univision novela called "Por Amar sin Ley". My comprehension for this show is through the roof!!! Now I'm really looking forward to watching the rest of the shows (I only watched the first episode).

After the recommendations Iguanamon gave me I have probably read a dozen articles on the website Pijamasurf. I then came across an app called "Despertar Sabiendo" which is loaded with really cool articles. I don't think I've ever done so much reading on my phone until now. As a matter of fact, this is probably the most time I've spent reading things in Spanish in one day.

I then started looking at Muy Interesante and went to the website and realized they have a magazine which is available on Kindle. Well, I just subscribed to it and I think this is some of the best money I've spent in a long time! Also, I got a new Kindle today (the Paperwhite version) which will allow me to read in bed with less problems. I'm currently reading an article in Spanish about Stephen Hawking and the pop-up dictionary is way better than the one on my old Kindle.

Hopefully somebody reading this will benefit from the resources I've mentioned, which are all thanks to Iguanamon
5 x
DOUBLE Super Challenge
Spanish Movies
: 10475 / 18000

Spanish Books
: 4415 / 10000

NoManches
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Posts: 653
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 2:21 pm
Location: Estados Unidos (near the Mexican border)
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Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7942
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Re: ¡No Manches! - A new beginning...

Postby NoManches » Thu May 03, 2018 1:09 pm

I've had a pretty successful week in regards to practicing Spanish.

Listening

I haven't been able to watch as many TV shows as I'd like, but I've been able to make up for it with podcasts. I'm really into this podcast called "Historias del más allá". Basically, people call in and tell ghost stories and talk about creepy things that have happened to them. The audio is really good but some people call with bad connections which makes listening really challenging. I still find that after listening to one caller, I have to listen at least one more time to fully comprehend everything that was said. Sometimes a third listen is necessary. I'd say on the first listen I'm understanding close to everything but there are always a few things I miss that make me second guess stuff I heard.

Reading

My reading is getting a lot better. I'm spending more time each day reading random articles on the internet which is helpful. I'm also trying to follow along with some Facebook groups, although I haven't participated much yet. I'm finishing up another Goosebumps book in Spanish and just received another one in the mail :lol: Also, I just bought the book El Soñador because it was highly recommended and seemed perfect for extensive reading. I opened it up and it looks like it might be a bit too easy, but I could be wrong. Either way it will be worth a read. My main book I'm reading is La Ciudad de las bestias (which I previously read before). I won't get into the pros and cons of rereading books, but I'm already seeing the benefits of rereading it. It is an awesome book (the whole trilogy Is), which is why I am rereading all 3. I'm picking up on things that I missed on the first time which is really cool

I do find that reading right before bed is difficult because it will almost always result in me falling asleep quickly. I think I'll save extensive reading for the night time and I'll work on harder material (requiring more concentration) for during the day


Super challenge

I'm really excited for the challenge! I'm hoping to finish a double challenge and think the extra input will be very beneficial to me. Good luck to everyone participating!
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DOUBLE Super Challenge
Spanish Movies
: 10475 / 18000

Spanish Books
: 4415 / 10000

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Re: ¡No Manches! - A new beginning...

Postby NoManches » Wed May 09, 2018 3:21 pm

I've been really busy at work the last few weeks but I'm still finding time for practicing Spanish. When I come home I'm usually too tired to do any serious reading but I usually have enough energy to watch a novela or the news while making dinner. I've been using Spanish at work maybe 2-3 times a week. I'm now running into the same Spanish speakers and they just start talking to me in Spanish which is really cool. I think it shows that I speak Spanish well enough that they feel more comfortable using it with me than English (which some of them speak very well). I like being seen as "a guy who speaks Spanish" rather than "a guy who is learning Spanish".

Learning Armenian would probably be very beneficial for me but it just seems like it would be incredibly hard to do (and I'm not that motivated to learn it). I asked a question about it on the forum and received no responses. The members of this forum are so incredibly helpful and quick to give advice that I blame the lack of responses on the fact that not many people are learning Armenian and there are barely any resources to learn the language. I think I'll hold onto the idea of learning Armenian in the future, but for now I want to focus on my one true love: Spanish.


Listening
I've been watching Por Amar Sin Ley and really like love it. There is a bunch of drama in it, but for the language learner I think this is great. I have almost no problem following along with the show, although occasionally I'll have to rewind and turn subtitles on to pick up on certain things. This is very, very, rare...and even when I do rewind it is almost always so I can pick up on a minor detail that isn't super important. I can not express how happy I am that I am able to watch this show with such a high level of comprehension :D :D :D . I spent countless hours trying to reach the same level of comprehension with El Señor de Los Cielos and later El Chema, and was just so frustrated. Although with El Señor de Los Cielos I developed a really high level of comprehension, it took a lot of work and even now I find that the slang and vocabulary used is really challenging for me. I finally came to the conclusion that those two shows use an almost unrealistic amount of slang, modismos, and use vocabulary that I'll probably never use in my life. Maybe one day I'll return to watch them when I'm a little more advanced.

I am a little upset that episode 3 of Por Amar Sin Ley wasn't included on UnivisionNOW, but I've gotten over it :roll: . My goal is to catch up with the show so I can just watch new episodes as the come out. I'm on episode 14 and last night they released episode 46. I've been saving the news for when I'm doing chores and don't mind missing out on a few things as I walk around the house or am making a lot of noise. I find that I can focus in whenever I want and pick up on the story rather quickly. The visual aids and text on the screen is a big help for this, and I find that watching the news in Spanish is just as easy as watching the news in English. I still can't believe I avoided watching the news in Spanish for so dang long.

I've been busy at work and just haven't had the desire to listen to podcasts like I normally do. I normally have some music in Spanish playing which I find makes the time go by quicker and allows me to listen in whenever I want to. I could probably benefit from looking up the lyrics and learning them for some of my favorite artists because sometimes it can be hard for me to pick up on lyrics.

Reading

I've been doing okay for reading random articles on the internet. I've not been doing good when it comes to reading books. I'm currently working on La Ciudad de Las Bestias and find that it is a lot easier to read now than when I read it more than a year ago. My problem is that reading makes me tired so I can only manage to read for a few minutes each night before falling asleep. I subscribed to the magazine Muy Interesante (the Mexican version) and find this is a good way of squeezing in a few interesting articles. I need to get back in the habit of waking up early to do a little reading (lately I've been lazy and watch the news in the morning instead of doing what I really need to work on, which is reading).

I'm really excited to start Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo as part of the Spanish Group's read along https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... &start=350


I have a feeling that this book will be a little tougher to understand (I hear it can be confusing and may take two reads to fully understand it). Either way, I think it will be totally worth it.


Well, I should probably stop here so I can get back to my book. I'm hoping that next week I can check in and say I've been doing a lot more reading. That was certainly not the case this week.
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Re: ¡No Manches! - A new beginning...

Postby NoManches » Wed May 16, 2018 2:49 pm

The last week has been really busy for me so practicing Spanish is something I have to really force myself to do after work each day. Fortunately it is something I love doing so it isn't that big of a deal, but it takes a little extra discipline to watch something in Spanish rather than English.

This is the first time EVER where I have been doing a lot of daily reading and listening, with hardly any speaking. I have been practicing once a week with an online tutor and get to practice with native speakers for an average of 20 minutes during an entire week, but that is about the most I spend speaking each week. My ratio of input to output is about 6 to 1. The old me would have been doing a lot more speaking and a lot less reading and listening. I have noticed that my speaking seems really weak now, which has never happened before. I'd like to say that it only seems weak becase my other skills are flourishing and now I can spot other weaknesses that I have. Unfortunately I don't think this is necessarily the case, but maybe I'm wrong. Squeezing in some extra speaking practice each week might be beneficial, but right now I'm happy working on my comprehension (both oral and written).

READING
Well, I started off the week by doing a ton of reading, but that quickly died down. I am glad to say that I have been reading for a minimum of 30 minutes each day in Spanish. I think this is a pretty attainable goal, and although I think an hour would be more beneficial, 30 minutes is better than nothing and is a short period of time I can squeeze in each day without excuses. I finished reading la Ciudad de las Bestias last week (I read almost half the book in one day so I could start Pedro Páramo on time with the Spanish study group). I think that amount of reading in one day is a really good thing, although I need to take more breaks because I reached a point when I was reading in a zombie like mode. I have been reading the second book in the series, el Reino del Dragón del Oro and really like it (I've read this trilogy before about a year ago, but the second time around the books are way better since my reading skills seem to be better).

I was trying to squeeze some random reading in each day but I only managed to do it on days where my brain wasn't completely fried after work.

Today I will do my 30 minutes of reading and after I'll start on Pedro Páramo. I might consider buying a guide for this book just because it is such an important piece of literature and fully understanding the book could serve me well.

TELEVISION/LISTENING

I've been watching Por Amar sin Ley almost every day, although I find myself having to break the show into chunks in order to squeeze it in around work. My comprehension is terrific and even when I'm super exhausted after work, I can watch the show with little effort. I think I'll try to binge watch the show this week in order to boost my listening skills.

I have been watching the news almost every morning, but normally it is on in the background while I get ready. It's a good way of squeezing in a few minutes each morning and a great way of catching up on current events.

I watched the movie Overboard in the theater a few nights ago and I thought it was really good. It is definitely a type of "chick flick" but there was enough Spanish in it to keep me happy while my wife got to watch a romantic comedy. Some of the dialog between the day workers was tricky especially since it would go from English to Spanish really quickly, but I think it was good practice.

I think that is all for now.

Here are my goal for the upcoming week:

-Continue with reading a minimum of 30 minutes each day in Spanish
-Try to get back on track reading "random" articles each day.
-Squeeze at least 1 television show in each day in Spanish. While watching, put my cell phone in the other room so I'm not so distracted.
-Start listening to podcasts at work again! The last week was busy and I didn't feel like listening to podcasts. I need to get back into that habit.
-Finish Pedro Páramo and if I can muster the energy, finish el Reino del Dragón del Oro AND El Bosque de los Pigmeos
-Basically do whatever I need to do in order to kick this Super Challenge's butt

Good luck to everyone on your language learning goals!
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Spanish Books
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NoManches
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Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 2:21 pm
Location: Estados Unidos (near the Mexican border)
Languages: English - (N)
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Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7942
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Re: ¡No Manches! - A new beginning...

Postby NoManches » Thu May 24, 2018 5:59 pm

I've had a busy week at work but still I have found the time to study use Spanish every day, before or after work. This is a win for me. I haven't used Spanish at work too much this week, but in my job every week is different and the opportunity could arise at any moment...I have to always be ready.

Reading:
I have been reading every morning for a minimum of 30 minutes. This is a habit I would like to maintain forever, although I hope to find the time for an hour of reading each day. On most days, I keep reading well after 30 minutes has elapsed. Some days I have to go to work early, so 30 minutes is all I can manage. Either way, forcing myself to read for 30 minutes upon waking up was a great decision I made, and I'm already starting to see results with my reading fluency and comprehension. I plan on finishing El reino del dragon de Oro sometime today. I haven't been reading Pedro Páramo like I wanted, but I have been reading a ton of articles each day from the magazine Muy Interesante. Also, I have started to read Nacidos para Correr by Christopher McDougall. This book is really interesting and is based around a tribe from northern Mexico called the Tarahumara or Rarámuri. The members of this tribe are capable of running crazy long distances without shoes, have incredible health, and live very peaceful lives. I started to read this because I'm trying to get back into running (I always try to "get into running" but always fail or give up after a few months. I'd like for running to be as much of a part of my life as Spanish is). I have been listening to Spanish music on my morning runs which I find a lot easier to do than listening to a podcast or audiobook. I think when I develop my endurance and can run for more than 20 minutes straight :oops: I'll be able to have better mental concentration when running. I look forward to the day I can run and listen to good Spanish media at the same time.

Listening/Television:

I have been trying to squeeze in at least an episode of Amar sin Ley every day, but I find it hard to do since I have been doing a lot more reading. Ideally I would consume a good balance of written material and audio each day in Spanish. Since I have neglected reading for so long, I think I am okay with doing more reading than television watching. I watched the movie Amar te Duele last week, starring Martha Higareda. The movie is pretty corny but because it's in Spanish I can justify watching it and saying that I like it. I watched it sometime last year (or maybe 2 years ago?) and my comprehension is MUCH better this time around. I think I'll try to watch a movie in Spanish each week. For developing comprehension I still prefer to watch television shows.

I haven't been listening to podcasts at work like I used to (even though last week I said I would) :oops: . I have been listening to Spanish music though...which can still help develop comprehension skills, right?? Like I already mentioned, I'm hoping to get my running endurance up so I can listen to podcasts and run at the same time. I have the audio book for Nacidos para Correr which I will start listening to this week. If I'm going to listen to music when I run and work, I think I should spend more time reading over the lyrics and making sense of them.

Speaking:

I'm back to practicing each week with my online tutor. I have noticed that my speaking is getting really bad. I have trouble formulating sentences that used to be no problem for me. There are a lot of grammar concepts that I once had no problem with, but now I find myself questioning the proper way of saying certain things. Before, words would just roll off my tongue with almost no mental effort. What happened? I thought lots of reading and listening would help my speaking? I think in order to benefit from lots of input, you still have to be working on output. This is definitely a skill that can deteriorate if neglected. My writing is not so great either. In college when I was taking tons of Spanish classes my speaking and writing were better developed than my comprehension skills. Now it is the other way around. Either way, I'd prefer to have better comprehension skills than speaking/writing skills. I will try to be more "rounded" but I will continue to put an emphasis on listening and reading for the next few months at least. I might benefit from breaking out some grammar books. I used to practice speaking (face to face or online) for at least 4-5 hours each week. This has dropped to about an hour a week. If I find the time I will try to get another language exchange partner online so I can work on my Spanish and help somebody with their English.


As always, I hope to check in next week and say that I've made improvements and completed my goals. This isn't always the case though. But, as long as I use Spanish every day I think I'll be somewhat happy.
5 x
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Spanish Books
: 4415 / 10000


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