Category: Language Learning

Filed under: Language Learning

Spanish Learning Update Week 3

I have seen some small strides in my Spanish in the last couple weeks.

  • Doing Lingvist every day has been going well. Since beginning of October, I have done every day with goal of minimum of 100 flashcard review and minimum of those flashcards being new cards. According to the app, I have learned 1090 words which is approximately 71% of written text. There have been some minor annoyances with the app being that you can tell the creators are not native English speakers. Some of the “English” words don’t correlate correctly fully to the Spanish words.


  • I have not been doing well with writing every day. Main goal this coming week to do a paragraph every day next week. I think this will help me with thinking in Spanish better.


  • I recently went to the library and went through the children’s section of Spanish books. I found out it helps to read these books as the picture help with understanding the unknown Spanish words better without having to look up what it means. Another tip would be to read out loud. It really works those facial muscles you don’t normally use and can help with practicing saying harder words.


  • Watching TV with my son, I turn on cartoons that have Spanish Audio. He’s happy and I’m practing more. I am starting to here phrases easier! My wife just looks at me weird when I repeat the phrases I understand out loud happily. 🙂 I have also switched the TV audio to Spanish for when watching American Football. I don’t understand much of this, but I can catch some words and phrases here and there.


  • Lastly, I came across and audio course called Language Transfer (Complete Spanish). It is a little rough on the quality(Compared to Pimsleur), but the process in which he teaches is called the “Thinking Method” has really helped in teaching me working my way through Spanish and thinking about coming to the correct words and conjugations. He really gives a good framework on was to remember how conjugations and English words come over to Spanish. I am currently on about Episode 30 with a total of 90 episodes of around 10 minutes each.


Filed under: Language Learning

Have been Married to a Hispanic (for 7 years) and still can’t hold a conversation in Spanish

So over the past 7+ years, I have learned Spanish on and off…. mostly off….. with very little progress to be conversational. I would usually get around her family that many only speak Spanish. After being in that environment, I come back all amped up ready to learn Spanish again….. but that trails off as we get back to the weekly grind. I go back to slowly forgetting all that I had learned. And 7 years in, still can’t get beyond a simple conversation. Hola! Cómo estás?……

So from reading about goals and accomplishing those goals, you need to make a definable goal. Learn Spanish is not a definable goal. It is too abstract and has varying degrees to it. A more concrete definable example, visit a Hispanic restaurant and only speak Spanish with the wait staff the entire time. It is achievable and has a set goal that can be accomplished.

My Goal: Every year my family gets together for Christmas and New year’s with my wife’s extended family (and extend family to the extended family). My goal is to come to New Year’s and have a 10 minute conversation with one of the older Tios, that only really speak Spanish. This is about 90 Days away which gives me nearly 3 months to refresh my Spanish and improve my conversational skills.

The way I’ll be learning:

Listening on my commute. I have about a 50 minute commute, depending on the traffic. I am will be using the Pimsleur Language. Hoping to move on to podcasts when my vocabulary increases and listening is better.

Working on Spanish during my work breaks and Lunch breaks: In the past, I have used Memrise and Duolingo. I am going to try out Lingvist. It’s method is based on a smart algorithm to help you pick up vocabulary quickly.

Writing in Spanish Everyday: iTalki has a great reputation in the language learning world for 1-on-1 language teaching and Language exchange. I found that they also have a section for journaling that native speakers can correct your writings. In addition, I have also asked my wife to only text me in Spanish.

Watching TV in Spanish: Most every night I will be watching a TV show in Spanish. Great thing with Netflix is there are many shows in Spanish and majority of their own shows are dubbed in Spanish, which gives me a lots option…. and includes Subtitles. I also watch a lot of sports, so I have begun switching to the Spanish commentary when available.

Reading: I was given a tip to read comics/graphic novels in your target language. The pictures help with the story, and the speech bubbles are more likely to use language you would use in everyday speech. I’ll have most night reading with “Google Translate” as a companion for 30 minutes before bed. I’m testing this theory with a graphic novel I found at the Library. The Hobbit

Lastly…. Speaking: I have tried in the past to speak in Spanish with my wife on normal day conversation, but it has not gone as well as planned. One of us gets frustrated and switches back to English. Still working on plan to make it easier to practice speaking Spanish.

Interesting Books I have read on the Language learning subject.

Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner (Gabriel is currently in the process of creating an app based on his research from this book. It is currently halfway through the Kickstarter process)

Fluent in 3 Months by Benny Lewis