Language Learning With Split Attention

Speaking of attentions being split, today's the election. AHHHHHHHHHH!

So I’m at a little bit of a rough patch at the moment, because this week I am due to write a blog about language learning and recap the month of October, but I am at odds with actually completing that task, because my interests are heavily divided at the moment.  Over the weekend, The Owl House finally got added to Disney+, which is a show I’ve been interested in watching for months now based on general buzz and some light youtube coverage I’ve watched.  I’m kind of an easy mark for it, so this shouldn’t surprise anyone, but my goal was to watch it in Spanish and mix it in with this project, and unfortunately, it wasn’t added to Disney+ with a Spanish dub available.  After a kind of hard week in a kind of hard month in an extremely hard year, I decided to indulge and watch something in English for once, and … hoo, boy, this one got me good.

I’m usually not one for really binging on stuff, just looking back over the history of this blog, which has involved me watching some of my favorite media ever for the first time, and I tend to be good for an episode or two of something a day.  I watched all of The Owl House season one over this weekend and felt disappointed when I ran out.  It’s really got its claws in me now, and if the fandom around it proves sticky enough, I may be in for the long haul with it.  This is a thing that happens sometimes, if rarely for me, and I welcome the novelty, but, yeah, it’s split my interests a lot this week.

Which, in its own way, is an appropriate topic to talk about when it comes to language learning or projects like it.  I’ve been an advocate before of doing what you can to incorporate your other interests into language learning, which was my original goal of watching this show in Spanish to begin with.  But, much like what happened here, sometimes that merging isn’t easily available.  You can maybe make do in certain ways, like I could seek out Spanish-speaking segments of the fandom to spend time in, or possibly delve into Spanish language fanfic (something I’ve considered but have been terrified to do for other fandoms so far), but some interests just don’t lend themselves well to being incorporated at all.  Like, I enjoy drawing and painting, for example, and while I can (and do) consume media about those topics in Spanish, one can’t really draw or paint in Spanish as it were.  It’s just not a thing.  I can draw while watching something in Spanish, but that sort of multitasking is the best you can really get.  Some things just can’t be mixed.

And that is fine.  Not everything can be mixed, and not everything ought to be mixed, and it is totally okay to have split interests.  The real pitfall of the idea of incorporating interests is that it suggests that one’s activities and interests need to be geared toward a monolithic goal, or at least a set of goals, and can make you feel guilty that you’re wasting your time if you’re focused on something outside of those goals.  I am guilty of that myself sometimes.  I’m usually pretty good at giving myself permission for exceptions, like my weekly allowances for football when applicable, or indulging in following FGC competitions, but other stuff often gets accompanied by a lingering malaise of guilt.  I could be using this random stretch of time for something related to Spanish, I’d tell myself, or writing, or something else.  I have to actually give myself permission to indulge, like I did this past weekend with watching The Owl House in the first place, and while that’s good for keeping oneself productive in a long-term manner, it has some problems for sustainability and invites burnout.

I’m not sure where this current interest level in The Owl House is going to lead me for the moment, and I definitely don’t know how it’s going to impact how I spend my time outside of my usual must-dos, but I do know that I’m not going to beat myself up over it being a “waste.”  I’m allowed to like things, and they don’t all have to be related to Spanish.  You’re allowed to like things, too.

Let’s take a look at the numbers for the week.

Tuesday 10/27

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 3% of La Gran Cacería, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Kiwillius, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Wednesday 10/28

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 3% of La Gran Cacería, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Kiwillius, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Thursday 10/29

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 3% of La Gran Cacería, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of Kiwillius, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Friday 10/30

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 3% of La Gran Cacería, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of Kiwillius, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Saturday 10/31

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 4 episodes of Kiwillius, ~120 minutes

Sunday 11/01

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 3 episodes of Kiwillius, 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~120 minutes

Monday 11/02

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 3% of La Gran Cacería, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes
  • Total Duolingo: 140 XP, 0 minutes
  • Total reading: 1/10 books read, 450 minutes
  • Total watching/listening: 15 YouTube episodes watched, 540 minutes
  • Total speaking: reading out loud, 150 minutes
  • Total Time: 16 hours 30 minutes

A normal week overall.  The weekend numbers were a little low, as I was rather busy binging cartoons, but I still did stuff those days.  Frankly, Spanish time slots in really well around my work week, so those days have gotten to a point where they pretty much take care of themselves, while the weekend is more deliberate choice for actually getting to stuff.  Plus I have all this other crap to get to that I don’t typically have time for the rest of the week.

I’m making my way comfortably through La Gran Cacería and just crossed the halfway point.  I expect to be finishing it in the next few weeks if things continue normally.  I don’t think I’ll need a break like I did last time and will probably continue on with the series for now.

I’m feeling a little adrift with watching/listening time at the moment, as I finished a longer series by Kiwllius, then watched a shorter one, and … kinda … need a break from him?  Don’t get me wrong, he seems like a sweet guy and it has nothing to do with him, but he scratches a specific let’s player itch of ‘hilariously incompetent’ for me, which is fun, but starts grating on my nerves after a while, so I think I’m gonna step away from regular watching of his channel for a bit, let my taste for that sort of content recover.  I switched over to a Daniel San GMR stream archive for the moment, but I’m considering a rewatch of something to take up my time for a bit, maybe Bojack Horseman or She-Ra.  I dunno, I’ll think about it.

Week aside, we also finished up the month of October, so let’s take a look back at those numbers for the month as a whole.

  • Total Duolingo: 620 XP, 0 minutes
  • Total Watching/Listening: 15 tv episodes and 44 youtube videos watched, 2,250 minutes
  • Total Reading: 1 and 1/3 whole books read, 2,070 minutes
  • Total Writing: 800 words written, 60 minutes
  • Total Speaking: reading out loud, 810 minutes
  • Total Time: 73 hours 0 minutes

And here’s the breakdown for money spent.

  • La Gran Cacería, Fiction, ebook, Amazon, $7.27
  • Netflix Subscription Standard HD Plan, Television and Movie Streaming, $10.99 per month, $10.99
  • Disney+ Subscription, Television and Movie Streaming, $6.99 per month, $6.99
  • Amount Spent on Fiction Books: $7.27
  • Amount Spent on Services: $17.98
  • Total Spent: $25.25

A reasonable enough month.  I’ve been in a pretty comfortable groove here since work calmed down and got more manageable again, so things have been rather smooth.  Part of me is concerned that I’ve let it get too smooth and am not pushing myself enough, and looking back, it isn’t entirely an unreasonable concern, as I’ve talked about pushing myself toward working on speaking practice more, and that is something I just haven’t focused on.

I’ve had a general, primary goal related to speaking practice of wanting my listening comprehension to be at a high enough level to where working on speaking felt worthwhile, and the truth is that I think I might have passed that level a while ago.  At this point I basically understand all the media I try to consume, with little to no ‘background noise’ in what’s being said.  Not perfect, but I catch, like, 95+% of stuff now, which can and ought to be considered an extremely functional level of listening comprehension.  But, well, that’s with the stuff I listen to, which has not been the benchmark I tend to try and measure myself against in terms of determining readiness, because while I can follow the youtubers and stuff, I’ve been able to do that pretty well for quite a while (not as well as now, but pretty well), while I’ve been regularly flummoxed by media like Club de Cuervos, which is not in any way designed to treat language learners in a gentle manner.  Stuff like that’s my usual benchmark, and I haven’t even tried anything like that in ages.

It is, perhaps, a good a time as any to try my ear at that sort of thing, and reevaluate plans for speaking practice, so maybe that will be a tertiary focus for my month of November.  I’m not sure at the moment, but I will definitely think on it.

In terms of writing numbers, which I normally post now, I still haven’t written any fiction in ages and I just can’t right now, so I’m just going to leave that be.  I wrote these blogs that went live over October, that’s my writing, there you go.

Now then, next week’s going to be a bit of a weird one, as I am scheduled to work Saturday with Thursday as my replacement day off.  Also the US presidential election is happening today as this blog goes live and holy shit, so that might impact things for the week.  We shall see.  I am gonna get back to work now, and by work, I mean reading The Owl House fanfic, because I am exactly that sort of trash.  TTFN.

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