Reading to Learn Spanish

(This blog is the English translation of this week’s primary blog, which was originally written in Spanish.)

This is the first blog entry that I’ve written in Spanish. I started learning the language a little more than a year ago, around fifteen months. In that time, I haven’t done much traditional studying. Instead, most of my efforts have been in reading books and watching television. I have also used apps for learning languages, like DuoLingo and Rosetta Stone, but that has gone down over time. The more I know in Spanish, the less I need things like those apps. Nowadays, almost all the time I spend studying the language is done with books.

You can probably see that this method of language learning is based on input. I don’t have much practice in language output, and as such, I’m sure this blog has several errors. Someday I’d like to take speaking lessons with tutors, because I’ll need to practice using the language in a real way before I could say I know Spanish. Right now, I can understand a lot, especially when I’m reading, but I can only talk a little bit. I am very slow, and I have to think a lot about what I am going to say before saying anything.  Writing this blog is taking a long time, and even then, I’m not sure everything’s correct.

I chose this method of learning after a lot research. I follow the input-based theory for learning languages, developed by Stephen Krashen, a linguist. This theory suggests that people learn languages ​​through content they can understand, instead of the traditional methods used in schools. When I was a student in high school, I studied Spanish for three years. After that time, I hadn’t learned much, and a few years later, I couldn’t remember the most basic words of the language. Well, I knew things like hello, goodbye, good night, and I could count to ten, but I could do those things when I was five years old. My efforts to learn Spanish in high school were useless.

In contrast, after fifteen months—and really after nine or ten months—I can now understand so much more than I could understand in school. The difference is drastic. I think this method really works, at least it works for me. I am not ready to speak with people comfortably, nor to use the language fluently, but I know that one day I’ll be able to do it. I just need time and effort.

I decided to write this blog because I want a little more practice using Spanish. I read a lot of books, but I almost never speak or write, and I think it’ll be easier if I try to use the language more. I’ll take lessons with tutors when I’m ready, but right now I’ve been wanting to write sometimes. If someone wants to help and give me corrections on this blog, or something, I’d be very grateful, but it’s not necessary. I imagine that these blogs will improve in the future, as my abilities also improve.

I’ll provide a translation of this entry in English tomorrow morning. All the other entries are in English, and I don’t want the blog to be difficult to follow. If I could do it, each entry would have two versions, one in English, and one in Spanish. Unfortunately, I do not have time to do that, so only one entry per month will be Spanish, with a translation the next day.

Now, let’s see this week’s numbers.

Tuesday 3/12

  • Duolingo: 10 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 1/4 of Brujerías, ~160 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Wednesday 3/13

  • Duolingo: 10 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 1/4 of Brujerías, ~170 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Thursday 3/14

  • Duolingo: 10 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 1/4 of Brujerías, ~160 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Friday 3/15

  • Duolingo: 10 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 1/10 of Pirómides, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Little Witch Academia, 2 episodes of Daniel San GMR, 1 episode of Club de Cuervos, ~120 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Saturday 3/16

  • Duolingo: 10 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 1/10 of Pirómides, ~90 minutes
  • Writing: ~1000 words written, ~150 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Sunday 3/17

  • Duolingo: 10 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 1/5 of Pirómides, ~180 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~20 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Monday 3/18

  • Duolingo: 10 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 1/5 of Pirómides, ~180 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes
  • Total Duolingo: 80 XP, 0 minutes
  • Total reading: 1 and 1/3 books read, 1,030 minutes
  • Total watching/listening: 2 tv episodes and 3 youtube videos watched, 140 minutes
  • Total writing: 1000 words written, 150 minutes
  • Total speaking: reading out loud, 210 minutes
  • Total Time: 22 hours 0 minutes

A pretty good week. There’s a view behind the curtains for this blog, because you can see that I write these entries on Saturdays. I usually write the first section before the numbers on Saturdays, and this section on Mondays after studying for the day. This week, I wrote both sections on Saturday, and edited this section on Monday, so I could spend most of my time on Monday studying. That meant I needed to have a good week to make it look like how I had written about it.

I finished reading Brujerías this week, and I liked it a lot. I’ve liked the other books in the Discworld series, but Witchcraft was the first that I really loved. So far, I really like Pyrómides (yes the title is spelled like that, no, I don’t know why.  It’s spelled correctly in the original), but not as much as Brujerías I don’t think. The characters aren’t as interesting. However, maybe it’s too early to be making predictions, and I might end up loving it as much as Brujerías at the end of the day. There are a lot more books in Discworld to read, and I hope I love them too.

On Friday I practiced listening again, a little soon compared to the previous time. This time, it was easier to understand some things, but still harder than I’d like. I watched Little Witch Academia, a show that I watched more or less a month before, and I could understand it much better than I could then. That said, both Daniel San GMR and Club de Cuervos are still incredibly difficult to understand. I can follow them okay, but many sentences turned into noise for me. I can only understand a few words and follow the basic idea of ​​the story. I am improving, anyway.

And, of course, after Friday, there was a new video from Daniel San GMR, so I watched that on Sunday. There wasn’t any change to my listening comprehension between Friday and Sunday, but I still liked the video.

Apart from this entry, which was difficult to write and took a long time to do, the rest of the week was normal. I want to spend more time reading than I could this week, but there’ll be weeks like this sometimes.

That’s enough for this one. TTFN.

One thought on “Reading to Learn Spanish

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