Blog Archives

Learning Spanish 101- Two Week Update

My Spanish Journey has been much more fun than I would have expected! The progress has been steady, and it’s extremely rewarding to understand more and more of the Spanish radio station which I’ve been constantly listening to over the past two weeks. While I am still nowhere near semi fluency, I’m definitely not a novice, and I’m really close to moving out of the beginner level altogether.

I’ve made a few Spanish friends, and we help each other with our language goals. I correct them with their English, and they help me with my Spanish.  Sometimes, it’s rather crazy to hear us speak to each other.  He will ask me a question in English, and I will respond in Spanish! Having conversations in truly a vital part of learning a foreign language, as seeing a word on paper and picking it out in the midst of a spoken sentence are two extremely different things.

In the last two weeks, I’ve added 450 new words to my vocabulary.  This works out to be approximately 30 new words everyday, which I think is definitely manageable.  I use the software Genius to store these words and I frequently quiz myself to ensure that I won’t readily forget them.  Practice really makes perfect.

I have 10 weeks left in this project, and I have all faith that I can reach my goal.  I’m having a blast, I’m meeting new friends and I’ve only just begun.  Let’s see how far I can go!

 

A Note On Becoming Bilingual

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Venezuelan flag at a fort, while on a visit to South America

So, as I’ve mentioned in my last post, I’ve become determined to grasp a really good understanding of the Spanish language.  I have some previous education with the language, and although it was eight years ago since my last Spanish class, there are some things that I haven’t forgotten.  The most important skill which I’ve held onto was ‘pronunciation’.

Based on that, it’s been making the learning process a whole lot easier.  New words stick quicker, and once I repeat them a few times out loud, they ‘usually’ roll off the tongue.  However, this isn’t to say that I’ll be bilingual in a few short weeks at all.

I’ve been studying really, really, really hard.  As in, 4-6 hours a day.  I’ve been immersing myself with the language as much as possibly while currently residing in an English speaking country.  Thankfully, there’s a large population of people from Santo Domingo living in Antigua, and they even have their own radio station.  While I’m in the car, the radio is constantly tuned into the Spanish station, and I try to pick out as many of the words I can.  This helps in getting an ‘ear’ for the language.

Reading and writing can be practiced with a fair sense of commitment.  There are countless books to assist with Grammar and Vocabulary online.  Here’s a list of the resources that I’ve been using so far:

1.  Fundamental Spanish by Barbara Bregstein – A great ebook on Amazon for only $3.03

2. http://www.spanishdict.com – This website has an awesome translator, a help forum and even flashcards! There’s also audio buttons which pronounces words for newbies.  How cool is that?!

3. Youtube – Yep.  This helps a lot with my listening skills.  By simply watching cartoons in Spanish, I learn a lot of words everyday by watching the videos with the Spanish subtitles….sort of like being a kid again!

It’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but this is something I really want to do.  At the rate which I am currently learning, I should be at a proper conversational level in about 3 months. This of course, is considering that I don’t slow down my pace.  Giving myself a deadline to reach a particular level in a definite amount of time is an effective way of staying motivated.

By learning Spanish, the value of my travels will heighten exponentially.  I’ll be able to meet far more persons than I ever could with only my English tongue.  Thankfully, I have two friends who are perfectly fluent, so when I feel as though I’m ready to step up a bit, I’ll begin to have regular conversations with them for practice.

I’ve been making a lot of progress, and not a day goes by without at least 3 hours of dedicated focus.  I’m aware that 3 months sounds like an impossible timeframe, but others have done it.  This guy at http://www.fluentin3months.com swears by it.  Thankfully, with my previous education, I know that I can pull it off.  Will keep you guys updated on my progress! Have a great weekend 😀