Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Spanish Update No. 3

My second Spanish task, like the first,  was also a failure, hence the reason I did not post an update last week.

Although it has not really been a flop, because instead of just concentrating on verbs, I discovered another way of learning a new language: DuolingoIt's great! My current favourite app. There are written lessons and dictation, along with some speaking practice too. Skill points are gained when you complete each lesson and items that you struggle with are somehow remembered by the system and tested again in an alternative format.

OK, so it was a bit too easy for me to begin with - I managed to get to Level 6 within 2 days, with minimum practice time. And yes, most of the words (thus far) I already know.

But ...  this little self-study programme has given me a bit of a confidence boost. It really has. When spoken to at the local shop, I don't immediately blurt out "No entiondo", but instead try to respond, albeit in pigeon-Spanish! Even this morning, when asked by one of the builders, none of whom speak English,  if I liked to live near the city or the country, I managed to give my answer in Spanglish, and proceeded to tell him a bit about where we lived in England - although I later realised that I kept saying 'yo quiero' (I want) instead of 'me gusta' (I like). But you know what, he didn't seem to mind and understood what I was saying  - or at least he gave the impression of knowing what I was talking about!!

Admittedly, with Duolingo, I have learned some odd phrases this past fortnight: for example, 'el oso bebe vino rojo con carne' and 'yo tengo un vestido blanco y un sombrero rojo pero mi hijo tiene una camisa verde' (I will leave the reader to translate). These remarks might not get me very far in the real world, but they are certainly helping my awareness of Spanish sentence structure, which is very different to English. 

So my goals this week are:

  • to practice with Duolingo at least thirty minutes every day.
  • to only read the Spanish subtitles on TV programmes like The Big Bang Theory or Two and a Half Men rather than enjoy the humour (btw, from what I can translate from sub-titles, the jokes are much funnier in English than in Spanish).
  • speak with a cashier in Spanish at the bank or grocery store.

Not difficult goals, but doable goals!


Jason Holland - International Living Costa Rica Correspondent said...

What a fun post! You really show that the best spirit in which to learn Spanish - or any other language. It's all about learning a bit and then putting yourself out there to practice. You might make a few mistakes but everybody appreciates you made the effort.

stella B said...

Thanks Jason.