Beginners Blog

Joseph1680 July 21, 2017, 4:11 am
According to the programmers, we are to blog, sharing our thoughts and lending support to each other.  As a new learner, I wanted to start a current thread for this purpose.  I wanted to share some learning techniques with you.

I have started every lesson by first, scrolling down to the conversational phrases and the vocabulary lists.  I review the terms and record my pronunciation.   I memorize the meaning, its sound and practice until I can mimic the speakers' pace and rhythm.  I push for 15 minute intervals, then take a break. Grab a water and keep my throat moist.  I continue until I can understand and effectively speak the terms.

 I am finding my tongue is becoming adept at rolling Rs, sounding out Vs, and mimicking the same sounds I am hearing. The recorded blurbs validate it.  My focus is learning the meanings of words and phrases, and how they sound when spoken.  It is so important to be able to recite the same sounds properly with rhythm and pace.   Ignore the leadership points list.  If you review diligently, the points will accumulate.  

At this point, I scroll up to the conversation and I understand and follow along, listening to the speech, the accent, rhythm...it is a breakthrough.  I can substitute vocabulary to form other useful sentences.  I am learning with confidence, not skeptical.  Mauricio and Amy are talking and I can follow the conversation.  

DO NOT SIMPLY RECITE WHAT YOU HEAR.  Look at the terms.  Think Spanish.  Do not translate what you see into English first.  That is why you spend so much effort BEFORE listening to the conversation.  You should be able to listen and hear/understand the phrases and new terms.  These are the building blocks to fluency.

I also found that watching cooking shows broadcasted in Spanish is an excellent learning tool. The rhythm and rate of speech is ideal, the pronunciation is perfect, and the verb tenses are in the present and past tenses.  Easily understood.  The shows provide popular traditional foods. Latin customs and culture are often discussed.  Give one a try.


I would encourage everyone to use their developing Spanish language skills as much as possible.  Mistakes are expected.   Hasta luego mis amigos.
Beginners Blog
Steven-W15 July 21, 2017, 2:30 pm
Great to see someone new wanting to be active in the forum here. Welcome.

Thanks for your ideas. You might want to check out some older posts from some of us  who have been doing this awhile. There were quite a few techniques I used way back when that I thought were useful at the time but turned out not to be so. My biggest mistake was waiting too long to start speaking with native speakers.

If you can follow cooking shows in Spanish, I would not categorize you as a new learner! 

Beginners Blog
Dan-H24 July 22, 2017, 10:22 am
I agree with Steven, it is great to see a new learner.

My biggest mistake, or at least the thing I would do differently if I were just starting to learn Spanish, is to concentrate more on comprehensible input, reading and listening to Spanish that is just above my ability to understand completely. In the last few months I have been making this a much bigger part of my learning routine than I did in the past and I can feel that my understanding of the language is measurably improving.

Cooking shows are a good example of comprehensible input, as are documentaries. Netflix recently released a documentary called Colombia: Wild Magic. the narrator speaks in Spanish, it has Spanish subtitles to combine reading and listening, and the pace is slow enough to allow comprehension of each sentence as it appears...Read More
I agree with Steven, it is great to see a new learner.

My biggest mistake, or at least the thing I would do differently if I were just starting to learn Spanish, is to concentrate more on comprehensible input, reading and listening to Spanish that is just above my ability to understand completely. In the last few months I have been making this a much bigger part of my learning routine than I did in the past and I can feel that my understanding of the language is measurably improving.

Cooking shows are a good example of comprehensible input, as are documentaries. Netflix recently released a documentary called Colombia: Wild Magic. the narrator speaks in Spanish, it has Spanish subtitles to combine reading and listening, and the pace is slow enough to allow comprehension of each sentence as it appears. And if all of that is not enough, it is a fascinating documentary about an absolutely beautiful place that I now want to visit very badly!
Beginners Blog
Joseph1680 July 22, 2017, 10:12 pm
Hello all,

Thanks for the replies.  I really understand your points on " thinking in Spanish."  I am able to speak with Mexicans daily living in Arizona.  So delving into dialogue is high on my agenda.

I was hoping others would participate, that's why I floated out my comments on preparing for the lesson conversation, rather than approaching the lesson conversation trying to capture random words and partial phrases, and guessing at what's being said.   It is so very important to own your vocabulary, to comprehend and use the phrasing, then be able to rework the phrases to carry on more conversations beyond the lesson topic.  

I understand what you mean about comprehension.  I dedicate my study time to pronunciation, by mimicking the dialogue speakers, which in turn requires I listen intently to the rhythm and tone of the speech...Read More
Hello all,

Thanks for the replies.  I really understand your points on " thinking in Spanish."  I am able to speak with Mexicans daily living in Arizona.  So delving into dialogue is high on my agenda.

I was hoping others would participate, that's why I floated out my comments on preparing for the lesson conversation, rather than approaching the lesson conversation trying to capture random words and partial phrases, and guessing at what's being said.   It is so very important to own your vocabulary, to comprehend and use the phrasing, then be able to rework the phrases to carry on more conversations beyond the lesson topic.  

I understand what you mean about comprehension.  I dedicate my study time to pronunciation, by mimicking the dialogue speakers, which in turn requires I listen intently to the rhythm and tone of the speech.  I find that I am memorizing in Spanish.  When I hear it spoken, I do not translate what I hear into English, unless the phrases contain an unknown idiom, vocabulary or slang.  I am forcing myself to learn to listen with a Spanish perspective.  I carefully reply with proper verb structure, and gender/quantity agreement.  I am not bashful about speaking, but my sentences are short and to the point.  I am learning that it's simply about conversation. My speaking ability will grow with time in study and practice.  It was aptly put that we improve our language skills by stepping back in review and recitation.  I couldn't agree more.  I am watching a beisbal game in Spanish, and assembling my vocabulary list.  Nos vemos!
Beginners Blog
Rodney-J August 7, 2017, 2:12 am
As a beginner I appreciate your input from the beginner to the advanced. I purchased this program over 5 years ago and didn't keep it up. I'm convinced if I only studied 15 minutes a day I would be fluent in Spanish buy now. Let's see what happens the next 5 years. 
Beginners Blog
Dan-H24 August 7, 2017, 10:35 am
Rodney: I think your plan of only 15 minutes per day for 5 years to reach fluency is too optimistic. have been studying daily for about 4 years. I study Rocket Spanish every day, for usually around 1/2 hour. In addition to that I read in Spanish, write a little, watch videos on Yabla, listen to News in Slow Spanish, listen to CNN en español on the radio in my vehicle, attend a conversation group once a week, and do a Skype session with a woman from Spain once a week. And talk with native speakers at every opportunity.

I estimate that I spend somewhere between one and two hours per day, every day, actively learning Spanish. I can read and write pretty well, keep up with spoken Spanish if it is not too fast, and communicate my thoughts fairly well, although I make mistakes with grammar...Read More
Rodney: I think your plan of only 15 minutes per day for 5 years to reach fluency is too optimistic. have been studying daily for about 4 years. I study Rocket Spanish every day, for usually around 1/2 hour. In addition to that I read in Spanish, write a little, watch videos on Yabla, listen to News in Slow Spanish, listen to CNN en español on the radio in my vehicle, attend a conversation group once a week, and do a Skype session with a woman from Spain once a week. And talk with native speakers at every opportunity.

I estimate that I spend somewhere between one and two hours per day, every day, actively learning Spanish. I can read and write pretty well, keep up with spoken Spanish if it is not too fast, and communicate my thoughts fairly well, although I make mistakes with grammar. I can survive in Spanish speaking countries without using English and consider myself competent, but not fluent. I don't mean to discourage you, I just think 15 minutes a day is not enough. On other hand, maybe you learn much faster than me. ¡Buena suerte!
Beginners Blog
Steven-W15 August 7, 2017, 2:12 pm
Interestingly enough, Dan and I started roughly about the same time (me a bit earlier), follow pretty similar routines and are at very similar levels from what I can see (remember when we both thought that one or two years would be sufficient to become fluent? *chuckle*).

Investing time every day is definitely key but if you're looking for fluency, 15 minutes is not going to get you there. Whatever time you decide on, consistency is key. All the best with your Spanish - and stay connected with us here on the forum!
 
Beginners Blog
Rodney-J August 7, 2017, 2:33 pm
I totally agree that more time and effort will be required to become fluent in any language.  This past week I have been putting probably at least an hour a day in reviewing and pacing myself.  I was just suggesting learning a language isn't a sprint but rather a marathon and if I had of paced myself five years ago and stayed consistent with the program I would be in a better situation in speaking with my patients and others than I am now.  Thank you for your input and suggestions.
Beginners Blog
yademas August 11, 2017, 1:06 am
I find it takes me a good 30 minutes just to warm up and review what I did yesterday, and then I start my daily lesson.
I feel like I'm doing okay.  I set a goal of 1700 points a day, and it's taking me about 2 hours, and then I do some other things away from the computer, too.  Flashcards, listening to the radio, etc.  
I just signed up for a conversational course, and I had to take a fairly extensive placement test.  They placed me in their highest level class, Conversational Spanish Level 3.  I'm both excited and nervous about it, and a little convinced that they've placed me too high, but I'm jumping in regardless.  
Beginners Blog
Rodney-J August 11, 2017, 2:01 am
Yademas and others. As a new learner I really appreciate your input and advice. I've been doing this for a week now, have averaged just under 1500 points per day and have put hours of work a day and am just over 2/3 finished through unit one. I don't know if this is good or not but as I mentioned earlier I I'm looking at this as a marathon not a Sprint which I did before and gave up. This time I'm trying to relax and learn the units phrases as they come. My only mentioning of putting 15 minutes a day was to say I would be further ahead than I am now had I put 15 minutes a day and not quit. Maybe I won't be fluent in Spanish in five years but I hope to be conversational by then if not sooner. Thanks again for your advice, suggestions and encouragement. Hasta pronto! 
Beginners Blog
the-hefay August 11, 2017, 2:21 pm
Yademas, sounds like you're doing well.  The conversational class will, I'm sure, be both rewarding and challenging.  Keep with it and you'll find a new confidence in your ability.
Beginners Blog
Rodney-J August 13, 2017, 5:30 am
Yademas how long have you been taking Spanish? Good luck on your conversational class! It sounds like you are doing real well. Hope I get there someday.
Beginners Blog

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