It’s been 9 years since I last attempted to start a new language; it was Russian and I had just started studying it at university. Only now, I have decided to pick up another language – Spanish.
When people ask me, “why Russian?”, I can never really answer. I think there was a little intrigue involved, but mostly I just revelled in choosing a slightly obscure and more-difficult-than-average language. This time, at least I can say “because Spanish is the 2nd most (natively) spoken language in the world”!
So far, I have started myself off easily by choosing Duolingo as my main source of linguistic learning. I say easy because it’s fairly simple to fit 15 minutes’ worth of language into the working (and non-working) day.
However, I know, as a seasoned language-learner, that I’m going to have to ramp things up a bit a lot, if I want to progress at any real rate. Especially as I, like Clare, am going to try to keep to the “fluent in 3 months” challenge. No pressure!
So, progress so far…
2 weeks in
Well, Duolingo tells me that I’m 32% fluent. Result! … Erm … not quite. I see what they mean, in that I’ve so far learnt basic grammar and vocabulary that may well recur 32% of the time in spoken and written Spanish, but I think I’ll take it with a pinch of salt!
My thoughts so far on learning Spanish in this way are:
- It’s handy to know French, as there are often comparable (and therefore memorable) similarities between words and sentence structure;
- Duolingo is awesome for working language-learning easily into your day;
- But it has quite a heavy focus (at least at this stage) on receptive language and multiple-choice questions – this means that I feel that I can often deduce the answer, rather than having to produce it;
- Having already learnt how to learn languages, I feel a real desire to do certain things, such as:
- Learn pronouns (subject and object) and possessive pronouns
- Learn verb conjugation in a more systematic way
- Flash cards!! Both for grammar and for vocab. Clare, as always, is already ahead of me with this! 😉
I’ll be acting upon my urges by covering those 3 things. I’m really enjoying Duolingo, so I will continue with that, but it’s time to diversify…