DuoLingo: Lessons 1 Practice Sessions 1, 10 minutes
Spanish Pod 101, Lessons 3, 30 minutes
Vocab Practice 20 minutes
Spanish music all day
Total 1 hour
I did not even approach my goal today, which I am really disappointed about. I did listen to a bunch of lessons but they were at the wrong level, it was all very basic stuff which made me feel briefly amazing because I knew all this “hello” and “where is the bathroom” stuff. But it also didn’t engage me so I stopped to try and compose some of my own sentences in Spanish and while I got through plenty it wasn’t flowing like I wanted it to.
So I got grumpy and gave up.
I did however, have a generally amazing day. I caught up with one of my best friends and we went to Las Iguanas for lunch. I love Latin American food, in all the forms I have tried so far. We had an amazing lunch – if varying degrees of authenticity. But come on, no one is expecting abuelas home cooking from a chain store in the UK. It was still incredibly tasty! We had guacamole, Gambas (prawns in garlic, lemon, and chili <3 ), salt cod croquettes (Brazilian dish usually called bolinho de bacalhau), chicken coxinha, Copacabana chicken (masa fried chicken which was lush), and grilled haloumi skewers. As well as some margaritas, mojitos, and espresso martinis (not very Latin but if it’s on a menu I can’t leave without trying it!).
They played music in Spanish and the wait staff were all speaking Spanish – I actually understood a few sentences!! But I was absolutely not brave enough to try any Spanish, a combination of not being confident enough and also a deep seated fear of being *That Idiot* who is perceived as trying to show off when their language skills are severely lacking. Which I KNOW is counterproductive and in all senses wrong.
I did meet up with my Spanish friend today, but we were focused on speaking in English to help my London friend prepare for a job interview so no Spanish got spoken. Regardless it was fantastic to meet up and hang out.
On the train ride back I realised that I hadn’t completed my Duo Lingo for the day. Which got me thinking about an email I received about language acquisition with the intentionally provocative title “learning from apps is bullshit”.
I both agree and disagree. You’re never going to become fluent by just doing flashcards. Or by just matching labels to pictures. Or at least it would take an incredibly long time. You need to do other things outside an individual app – regardless of how many new games and aspects they add in. because learning a language to speak it – you need to actually speak it!
I don’t think that apps are bullshit. I think they play a really cool part in language learning and motivation is just one of them. I was tired yesterday, I had consumed a few cocktails and a couple of pints of cider. All I really wanted to do was get home, have a nice cup of tea, and go to bed early.
But I would lose my streak on Duo Lingo if I didn’t go do my two lessons. So, I did my two lessons. I rehashed gendered plurals and a learned some new words relating to travel. If I wasn’t on Duo Lingo I would have done significantly less Spanish today, because I was tired and grumpy and I wanted to go home. I didn’t have the energy to do flash cards, or to translate some sentences, and if someone had tried to speak Spanish to me at that point I would have probably pretended to be asleep.
There is so much pretentious bollocks in the world, especially about travel and especially about language learning. Some how it has become ‘cool’ so shun the method in which someone learns …. And I just don’t get it.
Plus there are apps for everything, they can fit in to your broader and more varied language learning plan. Don’t want to take physical flashcards with you? Tiny Cards, Quizlet, Anki. Want to listen to Spanish music? Spotify. Want some new vocab? DuoLingo, Memrise, etc etc etc.
I use google translate to test out my pronunciation. Is this a perfect solution? Absolutely not. But I don’t have a live in Spanish language tutor, and I’m not confident enough to go on Tandem as yet. So voice recognition technology is what I’m using right now – and if figure if the google translate machine can figure out what I’m saying, a real life Spanish person probably will be able to as well.
Obviously if you just choose one app and never verbalise a single word, you will never be conversationally fluent because you have never had a conversation. But that doesn’t mean that apps are bullshit.
Obviously there are some things really don’t work in my opinion and I am hugely sceptical about – but that doesn’t mean I won’t try them and figure out what they’re worth to me. .