The Decision to Go To Spain
So, have you ever stayed up really late and found an amazing deal and then accidentally on purpose booked a trip to Spain? Because apparently that is what I do!
Yep, a spontaneous trip to Spain in about 2 weeks. I have wanted to go to Spain for a long tome but with Brexit looming I decided that I would get on and go to as many places as I can while it is still easy to do so. And at 4am this decision means to buy the flights and accommodation and then just worry about the rest later!
I also decided to take the opportunity to combine two things I’e been wanting to do for a long time – learn Spanish, and see how quickly and intensely I can learn a language to a useful level.
The Language Goal
Having a real life goal is so important when it comes to language learning .
“I want to learn Spanish at some point” isn’t a goal. It’s a desire.
“I want to learn to have a conversation in Spanish in the next month” is a goal. “I want to learn Spanish so I can impress people with my linguistic gymnastics” also isn’t a goal, it’s a motivation. But, as a primary motivation it kinda sucks. And not for any pretentious emotional reason, just because for a while you suuuuuuuck at the language. And even if people are impressed by your beginner knowledge you still FEEL like you suck at it so there’s no reward of being impressive, so you don’t keep going.
Having the desire to communicate with people, to have conversations with people, to connect. To want to be able to surprise a tourism worker with decently accented conversation in their language. That’s motivation.
That’s why I wanted to do this intensely NOW. I have a strict time limit, with a tangible thing at the end of it.
Now I don’t think I’m going to be waxing lyrical about philosophy and history in 2 weeks but I want to be able to say more than just awkwardly saying too loudly HOLA COMO ESTAS I’M SORRY I DON’T SPEAK SPANISH. So the goal here is to be able to have a basic conversation, with minimal discomfort for me and the poor fool who decides to speak to me.
Some Language Disclosures:
I am pretty good at inferring meaning. I have a distinct memory of reading a placque in france that said something along the lines of “cette cour a été comandee en 1850 par Mr French Name et a été bombardée en 1939. elle a dû être reconstruite ” (this is an approximation of a memory from 4 years ago, and a google translate so don’t at me for the French).
I reported to my friend who came out of the store that “oh this was built in 1850! But it was bombed in the Second World War and destroyed which is sad”.
To which she angrily responded YOU DON’T KNOW FRENCH!!
I know I don’t know French. But “comandee” Commanded? Ordered? Made? By Mr French Name in 1850. “bombardee” Bombarded, bombed? In 1939 (aka the Second World War). “reconstruite” sounds a lot like reconstructed. I inferred.
I also have a pretty good memory for words I like the sound of, one of my favourite words ever is pantalones (don’t judge me). No reason, it just sounds amazing to say. Luckily I think Spanish sounds amazing so hopefully I won’t have as much trouble remembering the vocabulary! I’ve also watched a lot of Breaking Bad and have remembered some of the more generally known words of Spanish – hola, buenos dias, chica, amigo, hombres. You know the drill.
Also I will be tackling this pretty much full time, which I know is not realistic for a lot of people, but this isn’t an experiment to see the best way to learn a language for the most amount of people, its an experiment to see if can become conversational in 2 weeks.
To achieve this I will have a daily minimum schedule of about 2 – 3 hours:
- Duo Lingo lessons x2, 15 minutes
- Memrise sessions x2, 10 minutes
- Notes in Spanish Podcas x1, 45 minutes
Make notes and vocab list
- Masters of Memory Lesson x1, 1 hour
Re quiz previous days lesson
- Add to/make vocab list/post its 30 minutes
Run through flash cards
All this will be backed by a soundtrack of Spanish music added to a Spotify list. I will probably do more than this most days, as I want to see the biggest result possible. I will also do some Spanish cooking, and maybe if I’m brave and this even vaguely works, I’ll go to a Spanish language meet up in London!
I will be using a huge variety of Spanish Language resources and will keep track of them in a post here with my thoughts on each, and publishing a daily record of what I did and what I struggled with.
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