Although I have been learning Spanish off and on for most of my life, I decided to get serious about it at the first of 2016. As I stated before, my goal is to carry on a 30-minute, general interest conversation, by the end of the December 2016 in nothing but Spanish.
I am using a lot of tools, resources, and approaches to get where I want to go.
From a tools perspective, I am making use of a variety. Duolingo is the foundation and provides me with a reliable source of learning vocabulary. While some of the vocabulary likely will not be part of my end-of-the-year conversation, I’d say a good 80% of it will be. I relish learning new words; but, just as importantly, I review previous lessons on a regular basis. Duolingo makes this easy by providing end of lesson review exercises. So, you click on that option, and you can review an entire section in one exercise. Occasionally, I will redo all of the exercises in a section. This helps to reinforce the lessons and vocabulary, which can slip away into the ether without such review.
Immersion is another method I am using to reinforce the language. The purpose with this method is to acquaint my ear with the cadence and sound of spoken Spanish. So, I watch a couple of Spanish language broadcast channels. Often, they are on in the background, and I really am not paying a lot of attention. Just hearing the words and the music of the language. Oh, and I do listen to Spanish music, too. The styles and genres of Spanish music are numerous. So, it is pretty easy to find something you can tolerate, if not outright like. I like a lot of it. Last night, I watched the first episode of a Spanish language series on HBO. I didn’t catch it all; however, between what I do know, and the few words I did look up, I was able to follow the story and plot. I plan to repeat it until I do get it all. Luckily, it comes with Spanish subtitles, which is a help right now.
I also translate stories from local Latino periodicals – available for free at most of the local taquerias. Since, as a native of the Southwest, I consider Mexican food to be my native cuisine (along with chicken fried steak), I am able to pick several different papers up on a regular basis . Most newspapers are written at an eighth grade level; so, it’s perfect for exposure to a level of communication the general population is expected to know. It’s interesting to see words actually used to communicate complex ideas. I find that I am beginning to recognize conjugated verbs when I read them. That is gratifying.
That’s it for this post, but I have a LOT more to share. On Thursday, I am going to discuss a couple of translation tools I use. Next Sunday, I’ll discuss more with regard to my general approach thus far.