Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Friday, April 21, 2006

Spanish Approach

by AJ

An update on my Spanish study.

Currently Im using a book & CD called "Las Puertas Retorcidas". Its a beginning level book, which uses an extended ghost story to teach the basics of the language.

For the last month Ive listened to the audio on my ipod. I understood the first 15 chapters very easily... but from 15 onwards (there are 46 total) my comprehension gradually dropped. Still, I didnt worry too much about this. I tried to catch the gist of the story and mostly did.

However, I eventually hit a wall... where I felt frustrated by all the sections I couldnt understand.

And so Ive now turned to listening and reading at the same time. For now Im focusing on chapters 15-20.... I peruse the vocab/grammar explanations, then read along as I listen to the CD. This has helped boost comprehension significantly. Im also enjoying the story more now, because I understand more of the details.

I hope to work through the remainder of the book over the next month or so.... at the rate of a chapter per day. The chapters are short... so this seems doable.

Another thing Ive started to do is use song lyrics. This was inspired by my uber-student... who constantly listens to English language songs and learns vocab from the lyrics. I have a Gypsy Kings album, and just downloaded the lyrics to a couple of songs. Ill look up unknown words.. and then will be able to sing along with my terrible voice (and understand what Im singing)!

I dont know if Im learning quickly or slowly... probably slowly. I tend to be sporadic with "study"... often skipping days. But I can say that Im having a lot more fun than past attempts using drills or classroom instruction.

Dont underestimate the power of enjoyment. Language learning is a long process. The more enjoyable that process is, the more likely one is to see it through to fluency.

San Francisco, CA