My Failures Learning Spanish

If we don't discuss my errors, do we still have to acknowledge them?

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

Most of the time I talk about my successes in these blogs. There are a few reasons for that: because successes make me happy, because it’s better to share something if it works than if it’s a failure, and because something that works can help someone who needs support. Learning languages ​​is not an easy activity, and many people give up after a short time, so giving advice and help is more useful than demonstrating the wrong techniques. That said, I think there’re great reasons to share failures too, at least when it’s the right time. And to be honest, I still am failing at something, and I think it’s the right time to talk about it.

I write this blog every month, around the middle of the month, in Spanish. I write them each in Spanish first, and then I translate them into English. I do that to practice the use of language. I see and hear it a lot, but I don’t use it very often. I talk to some people sometimes, face to face, but it’s a rarity. The Spanish blog of the month represents almost all of the effort producing Spanish that I attempt.

And good. These blogs aren’t bad, I enjoy writing them, and they don’t matter to me that much. Understanding a language is much more important than forming it, language production can wait until later. I can improve my skills producing Spanish with speed in the future, I think, so I don’t need to worry, right?

Well, yes, in part. I don’t try to write every blog in Spanish because I know that it isn’t the best use of my time, a blog each month is enough. But I’ve been wanting to add other ways to practice Spanish outside the blog, something specific. I wanted to find a place online, something like a chatroom.

It seems like a perfect solution. I am a child of the internet after all, and I grew up in the chatrooms of the past. I should be able to find somewhere today, right? Well, not really, by all accounts. I’ve searched, I’ve been searching everywhere, and I haven’t found the right place yet.

There are some places I tried. I talk to some people on Twitter, and I’m a member of a Discord or two, but there are problems. With Twitter, I feel like I’m talking into the wind, and if someone answers, it surprises me. With Discord, I think I’m too old for most servers. Kids these days with their memes, you know? But seriously, I’m a shy person, and many places make me nervous. And that’s to say nothing of the fact that when I speak in Spanish, a lot of people respond to me in English. I don’t think my Spanish is that terrible or anything, but they recognize it in me and talk to me like, “Ah, y ¿tu idioma nativo es inglés? Excellent!  How’s the weather in the United States?  I hear it’s snowy this time of year.”  That action doesn’t mean anything, but it’s discouraging.

Such a problem can be depressing, but it doesn’t have to be. I’m still looking for a suitable place, and I think I’ll find one someday. Until then, it’s really not a big deal. I don’t have an ideal outlet to practice, and that’s fine. I can practice in other ways. A failure like that won’t defeat me if I don’t let it, and that’s the important thing. Sometimes you can’t do the things you want, and you have to settle for what you can.

Well, let’s see this week’s numbers.

Tuesday 1/14

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 5% of El Mundo Según Garp, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Kiwillius, 1 episode of Arte Divierte,1 episode of Seis Manos, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Wednesday 1/15

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 5% of El Mundo Según Garp, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Kiwillius, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Thursday 1/16

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 6% of El Mundo Según Garp, ~110 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Kiwillius, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Friday 1/17

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 6% of El Mundo Según Garp, ~110 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of TED en Español, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Saturday 1/18

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 2% of El Mundo Según Garp, ~30 minutes
  • Writing: 1100 words written, ~150 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Sunday 1/19

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 3% of El Mundo Según Garp, ~60 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Kiwillius, ~90 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Monday 1/20

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 11% of El Mundo Según Garp, ~180 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Kiwillius, 1 episode of Radio Ambulante, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes
  • Total Duolingo: 140 XP, 0 minutes
  • Total reading: 1/3 books, 670 minutes
  • Total watching/listening: 6 YouTube episodes, 1 tv episode, and 2 podcasts, 390 minutes
  • Total writing: 1100 words written, 150 minutes
  • Total speaking: reading out loud, 210 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 hours 10 minutes

A pretty good week. I began my new work schedule, which starts at eleven in the morning and ends at eight in the evening, which is much later than my previous schedule. But, well, I’m a night owl, and I had to get up so early that I couldn’t stand it. This schedule is much better for me. Also, there are work hours I’m allowed to read in. It’s fantastic.

I like El Mundo Según Garp, and I’m going to finish it soon. I’m not sure which book I should read next, but I still have time to decide. Maybe I’ll go back to the fantasy series or something. I miss Discworld. I heard that a new Dresden Files book is coming out in English soon, and that’s good, but I want the translation of Ghost Story, damn it.

I saw another episode of Seis Manos this week and I think I like the show. It’s weird and dark, but it has good style, I think I’ll try to watch more of the show. Though, uh, I’m not sure when I’m going to do that. I’ve got a lot of other shows still. There’re so many things I need to do!

I’m not sure, but I think this week is going to be the new normal (except Monday, which was Martin Luther King Day and I had a weird day at work). My schedule is permanent for the moment, and unless the evenings get busier, I’ll have plenty of free time. I’m going to enjoy it, if I can.

Well, I’m going to leave it there. Until next time, TTFN.

3 thoughts on “My Failures Learning Spanish

  1. Very helpful! I’m relearning spanish. And I’m in the upper beginning level. Thank you for these tips! Has your Spanish improved through reading out loud? What do you do in the moments where you don’t have a friend to practice Spanish with?
    Best wishes 👑

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The reading out loud hasn’t done much to improve my ability to speak Spanish, but it has helped with my pronunciation and speed when speaking. I started doing it a long while ago when I found myself struggling to use a lot of the sounds of Spanish in actual speech. Like, for example, I’ve always been able to roll my Rs, but I was finding myself having problems actually saying words that had rolled Rs in sentences, I’d have to pause and focus on the words or I’d just stumble over them and make the R sound incorrectly. After a while or reading out loud, my pronunciation and speed of talking is a lot better. Not perfect or anything, but better.

      As for having people to practice with, I generally don’t have anyone. Most of my learning time is spent alone, I do a lot of reading books and watching/listening to tv/movies/podcasts/youtube shows. There isn’t a ton of output practice doing any of those things, basically my only real output practice is writing the once-a-month blog that’s originally written in Spanish (I don’t count the reading out loud, as that isn’t really output practice), so there isn’t much of an interactive aspect to my learning as of yet. I’m planning on working on more output practice in the coming months, as my listening comprehension has gotten to a solid enough level I think it’s worthwhile to start working on talking soon. Even then, it’ll probably be to a limited level compared to my time spent reading and listening.

      Liked by 1 person

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