Spanish learning log #4
Stats: 1050 total flash cards. 960 mature, 90 young+learn.
This one is a happy retrospective, as I’ve enjoyed some of the fruits of my labor already. Between now and the previous blog post, I’ve:
- Created my 1000th flash card for Spanish.
- Finished the Duolingo Spanish tree, all the available conversations, and hit level 15.
- Traveled to Panama and enrolled in a week of Spanish lessons at a school.
- Been the best Spanish speaker in my group of random hostel-found travel companions on several occasions!
- Attended a Spanish conversation group I found on MeetUp.com for “intermediate and above” speakers in my home city.
- For the first time, I would describe myself as conversational (but not fluent).
So far I’m proud and satisfied with my progress. I’m much further ahead of where I was even after the end of three years of high school education, and I spent much less time to get here!
The 10 hours of private lessons was the boost I needed to become “conversational.” The first 2 hours were strange. I awkwardly knew a lot of vocab thanks to my tarjetas but my grammar was not smooth at all outside of phrases I had used to memorize flash cards! My teacher was excellent and spent some time teaching me the grammar for past, present, and future.
I still don’t say anything in the subjunctive ever, and would be looking to take a lesson in it once I’m a bit more comfortable listening/speaking in general. Lessons may be in my future again soon.
Nowadays I’ve been spending maybe 10-20 minutes per day studying digitally with flash cards and Duolingo. For Christmas I got a subscription to News in Slow (Latin American) Spanish for 6 months which I’m excited to try, since my listening skills are mediocre. I’m thinking of cutting Duolingo from my daily routine since it seems to be encouraging me to think like a translator instead of a native speaker. Gabe convinced me that translation is not a good thing!
Flash cards are difficult to make nowadays. New cards require a ton of creativity since there are so many things that don’t have good pictures. For instance, imagine creating a card for the phrase “Five years ago.” If I’m learning how to say “ago”, what picture do I use? I do wish I could see how much time I’ve spent constructing the flash cards; it feels like they take forever!
I made less than 200 new cards since my last blog post! Lots of those were grammar related, or based on content I picked up in the lessons, or picked up from my reading of El león, la bruja, y el ropero. I think it will take me years to reach the 2000 flash card milestone!
On my mind now is:
- Where should I spend my Sabbatical? Maybe I can combine my love of snowboarding and Spanish somehow?
- How bad is my accent?
- Is there an end to this experiment? When am I done?