Helen (heleninwales) wrote,
Helen
heleninwales

Starting to learn a new language

Over on Habitica I'm the leader of Long-Term Goal Accountability guild. The aim of the guild is to help people achieve long-term goals and cheer one another one.

I've always wanted to learn languages. When I was at school I thought it would be so cool to speak multiple languages, but French was taught badly and though I can still get the gist of written French, I could never really speak it. In my teens I once tried to learn Russian from a BBC course on the radio, but only picked up a few words. Not surprising really as I had no way to repeat and practise lessons.

Living and working in Wales, Welsh became my priority, but when I was working full-time and writing fiction, there was little time for anything else. Having now learned (very slowly and painfully) how to learn languages, I thought it would be interesting to learn one from scratch and see if I can do it better and faster this time. For various reasons, but mostly because there is a Say Something in Spanish course and I know that method works, I've chosen to start to learn Spanish.

OK, I say "start to learn". I actually started last summer and reached Challenge 6 or 7 on the course, but then there was the winter and my brain started to run slow and Brexit was stressful and so I haven't done any more since. But I think I've got the Spanish study under way again by redefining my target.

In order to keep up my progress in Welsh, I just log the number of hours I spend doing something that will improve my speaking, listening, reading or writing. My target is 147 hours between 1 January and mid-July. (This apparently arbitrary date coincides with the end of the annual summer school.) I'd been trying to do the same with the Spanish, but I'd slipped woefully behind and was feeling despondent.

After some thought, I realised that what works for me as a reasonably fluent speaker of Welsh just doesn't work for a total beginner. So I've redone my Spanish goal and instead of tracking hours, I'm simply going to set a target of number SSiS challenges done and Easy Spanish YouTube videos watched.

I'd been stressing about getting nowhere with the Spanish, but it wasn't the case that I should be trying harder, it was because I hadn't done the target setting very well in the first place. Since deciding to redefine my target, I've done a Spanish challenge and listened to my first Easy Spanish video on YouTube. I've only done 3 challenges with SSiS but I did manage to pick out a couple of words I knew. The Easy Spanish videos are just one of the languages on offer in the Easy Languages series. They have subtitles and seem very watchable. Quite a few other languages are available.
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