The aim of this series is to give you a clear response to the question “is Spanish hard to learn?” These articles demonstrate what I’ve been up to during my trips in and around Spain studying the language. My aim is to show that this kind of progress is ACHIEVABLE FOR ANYONE. I don’t use any scripting in my videos nor think about what I’m going to say. Everything you see is natural.
Dear oh dear Spanish learners. I’m a bit late with this one aren’t I? Perhaps you can forgive me as I’ve spent the whole of this last week travelling (I’ve been in three separate cities) and surfing on couches. Perhaps not. I know how you guys roll. Indecisive at best.
Anyway let’s move on to the more interesting stuff shall we? Today marks the anniversary of something very important. My first whole week back in Spain. Yep that’s right. Gone are the Christmas jumpers, Christmas nuts and, erm, Christmas trees and in comes the afternoon Andalusian sun, shouty Spanish people and the endless headaches that come with trying to comprehend what on earth both parties (I and them) are saying. Still I wouldn’t have it any other way. Besides there’s a mission to complete. Remember that fluency goal I set for myself? Yeah well it expires at the end of this year.
This weeks video catches me at the top of a mountain – where I often seem to find myself in the opening chapters of my journey. There I was joined by Dani, a rather nice Spanish chap who took me to the hot spring you can see below. Yes I saw a lot of penis, but I, not ready to divulge my own wares, slipped in with nigh but a ropey old pair of swim shorts. The coward I am.
Onward to the progress report.
Is Spanish hard to learn? Spending a month back in the UK does make it harder that’s for sure. The last report showed you how I was struggling to reach my targets, this new report isn’t too different.
Let’s see how I got on.
1. Converse in Spanish for 10-Minutes a Day
10 minutes a day may not seem like much but when you’ve got a crapload of “computery” things to do finding time on Skype suddenly becomes a bit tough. Ah who am I kidding? I was just plain lazy.
Despite having some conversations (thanks to mi amigos David and Alex – props to you two heroes), the 10-minutes a day target fell by the wayside. Achieved? Fail
2. Read one short story in Spanish
I’ve been reading a lot more in Spanish lately thanks to the old Kindle and I’ve definitely noticed an increase in my reading speed and overall comprehension. Although I didn’t read complete short stories I did do a healthy amount of reading each day. No I may not have looked up words, but by getting the gist I was able to still enjoy them. You know what? Because of that I’m going to go ahead and award myself a big fat “complete”. Achieved? Complete
3. Learn 10 New Words Per Day
Oh Anki how I’ve been enjoying you, erm, sporadically. Again I didn’t quite find the time for rigorous Anki practice and vocabulary learning last fortnight but then I bet you’re all sick of hearing more excuses. One thing I have noticed however – especially from the reading – is how lazy I’ve become at recording the new phrases and expressions that I come across. I used to be so diligent. Now I just wade past them because I feel the constant need to look things up or remember them is just a massive energy sap. I wonder what would happen if I slid back into my old ways. Faster progress? Achieved? Fail
4. Listen to Notes in Spanish Intermediate Podcast and Write 150-200 Words Each Day
Jesus. How can a man evade the holy sounds of Ben and Marina for so long? Surely I have to finish this series one day right? The truth is I didn’t listen to a single podcast last fortnight – instead I was much too busy brushing my hair back and stroking my beard. Oh and watching my two front teeth grow crooked. Shit. I should really have put Notes in Spanish on in the background during all that. Achieved? Fail
So if I retrace my steps back and cast my mind back over all those past weeks of progress, when was the last fortnight I actually completed all my goals? Oh wait. Never.
No wonder my motivation has been waning.
Perhaps it’s time to recalibrate my goals, make them more manageable and motivate myself a little more. Yes, my target is still on the horizon for this year, but I also have to feed and clothe myself in the progress (that’s a rather uncreative way of telling you I have to work).
Here’s what I plan to achieve over the next two weeks. It’s going to be that little bit different.
1. Remain only in Spanish between the hours of 3pm-7pm
2. Read each day and register 10 new words in Anki to practice directly afterward
3. Find several intercambios or language exchanges and maintain a conversation on a different topic every time
4. Introduce myself to two randoms each day for the sake of practice and embarassment
5. Write 200-250 words about myself in Spanish (with a link to this website) each day and leave them in random places around Spain
So that’s it! Now that I’m back in Spain I really need to get this show back on the road. If I can help keep my motivation up, by changing my goals somewhat, then that is certainly going to help.
Check back with me in a week (because I missed my own stupid deadline) for another episode and to see how I did.
Is Spanish hard to learn? It can be if you don’t fix broken strategies.