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Clarity’s 2015 Log for Español

Posted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 3:43 pm
by Clarity
Wow! I went on vacation and came back to all sorts of changes. I still haven't finished reading all of the background on the Great HTLAL Debate, but it is in process. I am also one of those people who have been surprised by the lack of administrative support on HTLAL. When I first joined a few months ago, I created a profile and paid for a membership. I'm still not exactly sure what happened, but there was no way to log in to use my profile/username or get my money back without some involvement from the administrator. Eventually, I complained to my credit card company and got reimbursed. I thought it was strange that cash didn't encourage some conversation. My guess is that it probably would have been an easy fix for him. I'll be hanging out here until the dust settles.

For the last few weeks, Spanish has been on the back burner. I'm hoping to make some progress while I have some time off. Here's an estimate of where my 250 hour goal stands now:

250 Hour Goal
149 down, 101 to go

My vacation was spent in Canada where I heard lots of French. It was just lovely to listen to!

Re: Clarity’s 2015 Log for Español

Posted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 3:52 pm
by Clarity
Here's my member profile introduction from April 4th. Thanks to some great advice from the forum, I have my language learning plan. I generally have 2 sessions with my italki tutor every week and I listen to FSI Spanish in my car. I started watching Isabel. I had trouble getting El Ministerio del Tiempo to play on my computer, but I am well rested and ready to try again. I have been flaking on my Anki cards and Spanish work books (Practice Makes Perfect or the grammar books by Luis Aragones). I'm hoping I can get over the initial hurdle for these two things. Usually, starting is the worst part.

*Before I introduce myself, I do have a question about merging accounts? Whom should I contact? I created a profile, which must have been flawed, and purchased pro membership with it. Although I now have pro membership, my flawed profile has not been approved and so I cannot use its features. I created a new profile so that I could communicate with all of you and figure out how to fix it.*

Hello! It's my first entry on this site. I'd seen many language blogs referring to How To Learn Any Language (or HTLAL), but I had't actually spent some quality time looking at it until now. What an amazing resource! And what an impressive group you all are! I feel like a complete slouch after reading some of your logs.

A little about me. I'm a 44 year old school psychologist living and working in Southern California. I grew up here. When I was little, our TV picked up some channels from Tijuana. I used to watch telenovelas during the summer and found them fascinating. What did that lady say to make everyone look so shocked? Why did she run out of the room, crying? My family took trips to Baja from time to time and I fell in love with the culture and language.

My education in Spanish has been spotty. In high school, my Spanish classes were taught almost entirely in English and I left them without being able to say much of anything. I was totally unprepared for my college classes, which took the instruction up a few notches. During my first week in university level Spanish, more than one person said, "No offense, but your accent is really bad." Imagine speaking Spanish with a Valley Girl accent and you'll get the idea. At 19, I participated in a 10 week beginning immersion program in Mexico that rocked my world. Loved it there! My ability to speak and understand Spanish grew tons. If my course of study would have allowed it, I would have gone back for an entire year.

I've had a few immersion experiences since my first one at 19, though none of them have been over 5 weeks. I've also gone on vacation to several Latin American countries. I've been to Mexico many times. But I find it difficult to get over the intermediate hump. The subjunctive remains a mysterious world somewhere off in the distance. When I travel, I can communicate and get my needs met. I can carry on conversations with locals if they don't speak too fast and we don't talk about abstract topics. At work, I can convey basic messages to parents, but I feel like I sound like a Neanderthal.

About two weeks ago, I had another push to start my studies again. I was speaking to a family in Spanish and could not remember how to conjugate a simple word. I died a little inside. My goal is to be able to speak and understand almost everything when I work with parents and students. I would also like to watch Spanish movies and TV shows without subtitles. The good thing about working in education and living in Southern California is that I've been loaned or given lots of good Spanish learning materials.

My resources
Pimsleur IV (and eventually Pimsleur V - once I get off the library’s waiting list)
Speaking Spanish Like Crazy (all levels)
Practice Makes Perfect (verbs, prepositions, subjunctive)
A few DVDs of Mexican telenovelas (with English subtitles)
An assortment of Spanish Learning books I’ve collected over the years (e.g., 501 Spanish Verbs, Spanish dictionaries and textbooks.)

So here's the plan so far.

*Listen to Pimsleur, Spanish Like Crazy, or Platiquemos from 30-60 minutes, 5 days a week. I drive to several different school sites during the week. I have Pimsleur and Speaking Spanish like Crazy on my USB in the car. Depending on my schedule, I can listen from 30 minutes to 90 minutes in a single day.

*15 minutes a day in a Practice Makes Perfect Book or something like it

*120 minutes a week with a Skype tutor

*15 minutes a day watching a telenovela or another show in Spanish or 15 minutes a day reading in Spanish.

*10 minutes on my Anki vocabulary deck

*Take every opportunity I can to speak Spanish with Spanish speakers. Learning to speak a 2nd language can be humbling and I just have to get over my fear of bothering people.