It's a leap year, let's learn Spanish

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Chupito
Yellow Belt
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Languages: French* and English
Learning: Spanish (beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... php?t=9658
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It's a leap year, let's learn Spanish

Postby Chupito » Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:43 am

So far, Spanish and I have been very on-again-off-again, with an emphasis on the off. So much so that when I mentioned taking up Spanish once again, my dad was unsurprised "Ah, he said, this must be a leap year". Out of curiosity, I looked up when my last attempt took place: 4 years ago. Like clockwork. So since it's a "leap year", let's learn Spanish. But let's actually do it this time.
8 x
Corrections welcome in any language.

Day 102 of learning:
Duolingo level 1: 81 / 115 Bitácora 1: 4 / 11
Double super challenge listening only: 47 / 200 Fullmetal alchemist: 117 / 120

Chupito
Yellow Belt
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:57 am
Languages: French* and English
Learning: Spanish (beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... php?t=9658
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Re: It's a leap year, let's learn Spanish

Postby Chupito » Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:56 am

My current learning plan includes:

A) watching TV shows in Spanish. This will be an important focus of mine as I want to get to a point where I can comfortably listen to interesting audiobooks and podcasts by May, as I might start a new position with a long commute and want to be able to make the most of it. I intend to complete a double super challenge audio only and I want audio native content to represent at least 50% of my study time.

B) preparing for a placement test. I will do this by doing more traditional courses and learning proper grammar. I started with "Mi vida loca".

C) do a bit of duolingo. This is mostly because I tend to grab my phone first thing in the morning, before I am awake enough to get up, and I might as well do something useful. About 15 mn + 1 story max a day. I don't want this to be my main activity.

D) using Anki to build up vocabulary. My goal is to reach 3000 words by May 2019 and 5000 words by December 2019 to be able to read or listen to almost anything without too much difficulty. I have found a list of the 5000 most frequent Spanish words, which I am using in addition to entering the words I learn in B and C (and occasionally A).
1 x
Corrections welcome in any language.

Day 102 of learning:
Duolingo level 1: 81 / 115 Bitácora 1: 4 / 11
Double super challenge listening only: 47 / 200 Fullmetal alchemist: 117 / 120

Chupito
Yellow Belt
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:57 am
Languages: French* and English
Learning: Spanish (beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... php?t=9658
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Re: It's a leap year, let's learn Spanish

Postby Chupito » Sun Dec 02, 2018 7:12 am

November report:

A) 23 hours of Spanish TV shows watched. I watched the integrality of Legend of Korra in 3 weeks as I quite enjoyed it, took a break as I got overwhelmed by the end of the school term, and I have just started Fullmetal Alchemist. I like to start with animes. The dubbing doesn't bother me since all animes are dubbed and there is no issue of matching the mouth movement and the dialogs. The visuals, with their overexaggerated facial expressions and the like, are very helpful. The stories are easier to follow and entertaining enough, even while missing some lines, compared to genre like comedy or crime which are more reliant on dialog. The first episode of Fullmetal Alchemist was hard and I was initially discouraged, but I got the hang of it.

B) 10 lessons done/4 hours of studying in a month. Obviously not what I intended. I thad planned on having finished this, as I was using it as a simple introductory course, and moved on to the actual course I am interested in. But it's been a busy month, I'm giving myself a pass.

C) 34 units done in 6 hours. It went super fast at first, due to just testing out of units done on my previous attempt. I'm doing new units now and it's going much slower. I expect to take 3 more months to finish the tree at level 1 (so about 20 hours for 80 units), deliberately conservative estimate.

D) 833 "words" learned. 7 hours of making cards, 3 hours of reviewing them. I was hoping for slightly more but I am still very happy. At this rythm, I will reach my goal.
1 x
Corrections welcome in any language.

Day 102 of learning:
Duolingo level 1: 81 / 115 Bitácora 1: 4 / 11
Double super challenge listening only: 47 / 200 Fullmetal alchemist: 117 / 120

Chupito
Yellow Belt
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:57 am
Languages: French* and English
Learning: Spanish (beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... php?t=9658
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Re: It's a leap year, let's learn Spanish

Postby Chupito » Sun Dec 02, 2018 7:22 am

December plan:

A) keep watching the Fullmetal Alchemist. Probably finish it.

B) need to finish Mi vida loca ASAP as I intend to start with the next material this week. I have 22 weeks before May and the new material contains 22 units (10 units + 1 test per level, hoping to finish 2 levels). This means 1 unit per week, starting now. I wanted Mi vida loca to be an introductory course, not to have an overlap, so I hope to finish it within two weeks, to limit the overlap.

C) Just keep moving down the tree.

D) Aiming for 800-900 words this month. Finishing the animal theme and hopefully the body theme lists.

Again, time watching content in Spanish should be at least 50% of study time.
0 x
Corrections welcome in any language.

Day 102 of learning:
Duolingo level 1: 81 / 115 Bitácora 1: 4 / 11
Double super challenge listening only: 47 / 200 Fullmetal alchemist: 117 / 120

Chupito
Yellow Belt
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:57 am
Languages: French* and English
Learning: Spanish (beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... php?t=9658
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Re: It's a leap year, let's learn Spanish

Postby Chupito » Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:47 am

A belated recap' of December:

A) I did finish Fullmetal Alchemist, which I thoroughly enjoyed, although the plot devolved into a lot of nonsense in the last few episodes. I binge-watched it in the first third of the month. After that, I took a break of sorts. In two weeks, I watched the movie, which sucked, and the first episode of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, which I have decided to also watch. In the last week, I watched the first 13 episodes or so. They follow the same plot line as the first serie, since it's not a sequel but a new adaptation of the same original material. The revision was quite welcome. Even so, I had to watch the first episode a couple times. Going into January, I am going to be on new grounds in the same universe. All in all, I spent 21 hours on TV this month.

B) I took forever to finish Mi vida loca, finishing on the 27th rather than on the 12th (of November or 21st of October) and I'm not even sure it was worth it. I don't feel like I learned all that much. I thought about quitting several times and I am still not sure whether seeing this through was the better choice. I don't think I would recommend this course, unless the person actually did a lesson a day for 22 days straight as a "first look" or in preparation of a trip (it was very tourist-oriented). My issue might simply have been outpacing it. Still, it was not a huge investment (8 hours, free material) and it did provide repetition. It's also the only place where I've seen the present perfect so far, although it was only a quick glimpse, so that's at least one thing I can take from this course. This delay translated to a delay in starting Bitacora. I only finished Unit 0 and started Unit 1. My plan was to have finished Unit 5 so that's a big fail. I'm not too worried about it though, since I'm progressing thanks to my other activities.

C) I missed 9 days and spent a little less than 6 hours on Duolingo total, which is a tiny bit less than last month but still OK. I'm progressing down the tree but a bit slower as all units were new and I purposefully slowed down once I hit the preterit. I think at the end of December, I was around skill 55. I decided to not test out of units already done in the distant past (this strategy was fine for early units but I won't do it for more "advanced" content) and to take extra time each time a new tense is introduced, as I did for the preterit. This means my revised estimate is that it should take another 3 months to finish the tree.

Cbis)The stories are getting slightly longer, I missed 9 days, which is fine. I read/listened to 22 stories in a little over an hour this month. I would recommend them to any beginner. They are a great way to access 'native-ish content' for the first time and work well in coordination with the Duo tree.

D) 744 "words" learned. Again, I missed my target by about 150 words but I'm perfectly fine with it and still on track for my long-term target. 6 hours of making cards, 5 hours of reviewing. I was not very consistent at making cards, resulting in perhaps too heavy days and lazy days. I want to spread things more evenly in the future, although I won't hesitate to skip days of adding cards when too busy. I skipped 7 days of review, most in the middle of the month, which is too many.

Lastly, I came short of 50% of my time spent listening to native speakers, reaching 48-49% depending on whether I count TV only or TV + stories.
Last edited by Chupito on Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2 x
Corrections welcome in any language.

Day 102 of learning:
Duolingo level 1: 81 / 115 Bitácora 1: 4 / 11
Double super challenge listening only: 47 / 200 Fullmetal alchemist: 117 / 120

Chupito
Yellow Belt
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:57 am
Languages: French* and English
Learning: Spanish (beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... php?t=9658
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Re: It's a leap year, let's learn Spanish

Postby Chupito » Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:21 am

January plan:

I delayed posting my plans as I am still debating some parts of it but the first week of January is over and I can't postpone this any longer.

A) Keep "working on" Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. While my only commitment is to reach episode 40, I anticipate that I will actually finish the show or be in the final few episodes by the end of January. If so, towards the end of the month, I should start thinking about my next show. I know I'm at risk of dropping out when I'm in-between. I think the next step in my progression will be some live-action serie or movie.

B) I'm undecided on Bitacora. I am unsure whether it's an efficient use of my time or whether I should find another way to use this material or even drop it entirely. I will do the next few units, before making a decision.

C) I do feel like I am getting something out of Duolingo and plan on continuing down the tree. Still limiting myself to about 15 mn + 1 story a day max.

D) Aiming for 800 words.

E) I'm considering participating in the output challenge, which would require me to write 500 words and record myself for 30 mn every week (half challenge). I find the idea of recording my progress in that manner fascinating and I know that my output skills are lagging behind. OTOH, I am committed to spending at least 50% of my time on listening skills and I am busy. I have dedicated 1.5 hour to language learning per day on average so far and I see this going down, not up. I'm reserving my decision for now. One potential solution would be to drop Bitacora or just use the grammar review part of it and use the time saved for output.
0 x
Corrections welcome in any language.

Day 102 of learning:
Duolingo level 1: 81 / 115 Bitácora 1: 4 / 11
Double super challenge listening only: 47 / 200 Fullmetal alchemist: 117 / 120

Chupito
Yellow Belt
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:57 am
Languages: French* and English
Learning: Spanish (beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... php?t=9658
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Re: It's a leap year, let's learn Spanish

Postby Chupito » Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:45 am

Forgot to add that I've been thinking about consistency and missed days, comparing my two months.

For Duolingo, I would prefer to have no more than 7-8 missed days per month, which means studying 75% of the month. Same for TV/audio. For anki reviews, I will try to limit the missed days to a couple of days. Frankly, ideally it should be none. Making new cards is less important, I'd be fine with 10 or even possibly 15 days missed (assuming I was truly busy and did well in the other categories, for the latter). The course is simply not my priority, so I'm not even going to set a target.

Ideally, the missed days wouldn't line up too much. 4 days off per month seems reasonable to me.
0 x
Corrections welcome in any language.

Day 102 of learning:
Duolingo level 1: 81 / 115 Bitácora 1: 4 / 11
Double super challenge listening only: 47 / 200 Fullmetal alchemist: 117 / 120

Chupito
Yellow Belt
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:57 am
Languages: French* and English
Learning: Spanish (beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... php?t=9658
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Re: It's a leap year, let's learn Spanish

Postby Chupito » Sat Jan 19, 2019 8:47 pm

I finished the 3rd unit of my course a week or so ago and have come to the conclusion that it takes too much time for what I gain from it. I am going to keep using it but I will decide by myself which exercises to do, to modify, or to skip entirely, rather than doing every single lesson and exercise as intended. Hopefully, I can still get the same benefits while expanding less time this way. I am committing to this for 3 Units and will reassess afterwards.

I'm on Unit 3, which is about family. One of today's exercises was a writing one, which I think is very useful. Here are the instructions:

Piensa en alguna familia famosa de tu país y escribe un texto breve como este.

Los Alterio son una familia de actores que vive entre dos culturas y dos identidades: la argentina y la española.

Héctor Alterio (Buenos Aires, 1929) ha trabajado como actor en más de 110 películas y en unas 60 obras de teatro. En 1974 sus hijos Ernesto y Malena y su mujer, la psicoanalista Tita Bacaicoa, abandonan Argentina para reunirse con él, exiliado en España por razones políticas.

Su hijo Ernesto (Buenos Aires, 1970) es el protagonista de películas como El método, Días de fútbol o El otro lado de la cama. Su hija Malena (Buenos Aires, 1974) ha trabajado en El palo o Días de cine y en series de televisión de gran éxito como Aquí no hay quien viva.


Here is my attempt:

Los Lévy-Dombasle son una familia francesa muy famosa.

Bernard-Henri Lévy, conocido como BHL, nació en 1948 en Argelia. Creció en Argelia y Marruecos, cuando todavía pertenecieron a Francia, y él abandonó Marruecos por Francia en 1954. Él es intelectual, filósofo y escritor. Además ha trabajado un poco en la industria del cine y del teatro como actor, director y guionista. También es famoso por otra cosa: Ha recibido más pasteles en la cara qué cualquier otro francés. Muchas personas piensan qué él es pretencioso. Entonces, muchas personas rieron cada vez cuando él recibió un pastel en la cara.

Su esposa es Arielle Dombasle. Ella es francesa y estadounidense, pero creció en México antes de venir en Francia. Es actriz, directora y guionista de obras de teatro, de películas y de series de televisión. Desde 2002, ella también es cantante.

BHL tiene dos hijos con su exesposa. Su hijo menor es abogado. Su hija, Justin, también es escritora. Su más famosa obra es “rien de grave”. En este libro, ella conta la historia verdadera de como su esposo la abandonó por la novia de su padrastro, Carla Bruni, la ex-primera dama de Francia. Sus otras novelas son sobre su madre y su relación con ella.


I would love if anyone could correct me. It's 203 words in total and took me ridiculously long (45 mn) for such a short text. Granted, it's the first and I had to look up some info as I went. I used dictionaries (with conjugation) and Word spellchecker to try to reduce my mistakes as much as possible. The first draft had an unbelievable number of them.
4 x
Corrections welcome in any language.

Day 102 of learning:
Duolingo level 1: 81 / 115 Bitácora 1: 4 / 11
Double super challenge listening only: 47 / 200 Fullmetal alchemist: 117 / 120

hagestolz
White Belt
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Location: United Kingdom
Languages: English(N); German (C2); French (C1); Spanish (C1); Czech (B2); Italian (B2); Dutch (B1); Russian (A2); Greek (Beginner)
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Re: It's a leap year, let's learn Spanish

Postby hagestolz » Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:27 am

Enhorabuena, Chupito! You shouldn't see 45 mins for your text as a ridiculously long time, I don't think. Especially as you mention that this is your first serious attempt at writing in the language. If you look at it positively, you've produced a very good text, which reads fluently, completes the task and contains no serious errors. The time spent editing and checking will have been of great benefit in the long run.

Hopefully a native speaker will give their opinion/corrections in due course!
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Brun Ugle
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Languages: English (N), Norwegian (~C1/C2), Spanish (B1/B2), German (A2/B1?), Japanese (very rusty)
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Re: It's a leap year, let's learn Spanish

Postby Brun Ugle » Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:50 am

I agree with Hagestolz, 45 minutes is not a long time for a text of that length in the beginning. It still often takes me a good 20 minutes to write a 200 word text in Spanish even after all the writing I did last year. There are still a lot of things I don’t know how to express and have to look up, and that takes time. I might be able to write a bit faster if I stuck to what I know, but I don’t see the point in that.

One thing that I’ve noticed can make my speaking or writing more fluid, is to get into “Spanish mode” before I start. If I watch some videos or read for a while in Spanish, so that I’m already thinking in the language when I start, it makes it much easier. So, I try to order my activities so that I’m doing production activities after getting some kind of input.
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