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

Filed under: Language Learning