I have not written about my Spanish language learning attempts in quite some time. Part of the reason is that I have not made it much of a priority but I have been plugging away at learning this language. So far, I have borrowed my Learn Spanish in Your Car CD from the library 3 times. The first time, I made it only through disc one and I still was not doing all that well by the end. This method is not how I plan to learn the language but just help with practicing, listening and comprehending, and picking up new vocabulary. It seems to work well as a supplement to lessons (online ones for me) that teach the foundations and explain things (not that I have been doing many of these lessons on a regular basis lately!). Well, as I said, I barely made it through the first disc of 3 when it was recalled by someone else. So, I had to return it and re-order. The next time it came in, which was after a few months, I was surprised how much I remembered from the previous time. I started making connections and understanding how the words fit together. Once you understand how a language works, you can start predicting and I always feel this is when you really can realistically start learning.
I had to return the CD and am on the wait-list for it again. However, I noticed I have very little motivation to do the online lessons regularly. I do a whole bunch and then do not look at them again for a long time. This is not a good way to learn and I think my reluctance is the lack of convenience and time-sitting down with a notebook and pen seems like a commitment. So, I found two apps that will help keep things fresh and are available in short batches on the go-which has been working much better. The first is Duolingo and the second is Memrise. Both are easy to use and kind of fun. At this point it is a bit too easy but I am sure it will get more difficult. Also, they are keeping some basics firmly in my head…and introducing new vocabulary. For example, types of animals! I now know the words for horse, spider, monkey, dog, cat, etc. If nothing else, the apps are easy to access and provide learning in short spats so I tend to use these apps once or twice a day while I wait to get motivated to do an online and more academic lesson.
As far as I am concerned, it is better than nothing! The good news it that, due to these casual lessons and apps and CDs that I have been slowly absorbing, I have actually been able to communicate with Spanish speakers that have dropped into work looking for one thing or another. Most are seniors from Latin America who do not speak any English and it has been great to be able to speak with them….and be understood!! That means something is working!!