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Spanish B1 in 9 months

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Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 769 days ago

50 posts - 7 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 33 of 60
06 January 2016 at 1:12pm | IP Logged 
A proper update in a day or 2, When I finish lession 77 of Assimil.
I have been using other resources apart from Assimil, but I was sitting on the train
today, right near a couple of Spanish speakers, and I could actually understand most of
what they were talking about (it involved work related stuff.) Very exciting! This
reading listening approach really works, and the results you get from it are transferable
to actual conversations. I think my production skills are still very poor- I think I
could hold a basic conversation (very basic) but would probably struggle mightily to
marshal my thoughts and express myself.



Mike_405
Newbie
United Kingdom
NoneRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 702 days ago

13 posts - 3 votes
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 34 of 60
06 January 2016 at 8:04pm | IP Logged 
Exciting you understood what was said in Spanish. There is a way of getting different countries netflix content in your country, its a bit technical. I watch Spanish dubbed content that I like, and this seems to help.

I am on around lesson 56 of the assimil and had a breakthrough when I was typing random Spanish on google translate and got satisfactory results back in English. Not perfect but its a huge step forward for me.

It must be exciting to hear and interact in other languages were you live. I live in England, and there is zero talk in other language apart from when you order food and hear a bit of Chinese in the local takeaway shop!

Keep going! Good luck, Mike.



Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 769 days ago

50 posts - 7 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 35 of 60
08 January 2016 at 6:19am | IP Logged 
Mike_405 wrote:
Exciting you understood what was said in Spanish. There is a way of
getting different countries netflix content in your country, its a bit technical. I
watch Spanish dubbed content that I like, and this seems to help.

I am on around lesson 56 of the Assimil and had a breakthrough when I was typing
random Spanish on google translate and got satisfactory results back in English. Not
perfect but its a huge step forward for me.

It must be exciting to hear and interact in other languages were you live. I live in
England, and there is zero talk in other language apart from when you order food and
hear a bit of Chinese in the local takeaway shop!


Keep going! Good luck, Mike.


You too, Mike_405. Yeah, I am finishing lessonn 76 tomorrow. It starts to get way
easier after lesson 77- I am at the point where I can do like 2 lessons a day. I am
going to start supplementing it with reading and listening to the little prince,
using a dictionary and a flash card app.

Overall, I am pretty impressed with Assimil, and the idea listening and reading works.
Althought I can't say as much for productive skills, although you will probably will
have "survival level" communication skills by the end, I think. I have actually
attempted a few conversations before, that I haven't spoken about here, and I can
usually understand basic sentences, and commuinicate in a basic way, but I really have
trouble expressing myself in any real way.
I also understand what people were talking about when they referred to "automaticity"
your conjugation skills and spoken command of the grammar at the end of Assimil are
probably going to be lacking- I have been thinking on what Dbag said about the FSI
Basic course, and this is something I want to take a stab at, if nothing else.

I work in an field where I interact with Hindi/Urdu/Turkish/Arabic and Chinese
speakers every day, and I hear foreign languages spoken around me all the time. It's
not particularly exciting, and a downside is that a lot of the English I hear is he
makes some ESL speakers quite hard to talk to- I don't mean that in a derogatory way,
they can get their point across and get all their day-to-day needs done, but it makes
extended conversations hard. I pay a lot more attention to this phenomenon now. I'd
probably say that these people would have fossilized at the B1/B2 level- I want to try
and avoid doing this at Spanish.

I am acquainted with very few (but still some) Spanish speakers, but I don't think I
am at the stage where I am able or willing to talk to them- I will start online over
Italki people, anonymously, when I begin to talk in earnest in real life when I have
some better skills.

If you want to speak to some Spanish speakers yourself, you should probably try
heading over to London- you will DEFINITELY find some there.
Living in the UK, you are only a short plane trip away from Spain, if you need
immersion- you are very lucky in that regard.
If you want to have a chat in private about all this (over HTLAL), feel free to PM me.



Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 769 days ago

50 posts - 7 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 36 of 60
08 January 2016 at 6:22am | IP Logged 
I should have added Italian and Serbo/croation speakers, the list doesn't stop there.

Edited by Digitalis on 13 January 2016 at 7:35am



Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 769 days ago

50 posts - 7 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 37 of 60
12 January 2016 at 7:25am | IP Logged 
Well guys, I am now past lesson 77 in Assimil, I have also completed Michel Thomas.
As far as Assimil goes, I am over the hump with regards to the passive wave. The lessons seem to become a lot easier after this. I am going to wind back the intensity on Assimil now, despite some of the good advice here: I was giving each lesson at least an hour a day. However I can cope with both reading and listening to El Principito now, with the assistance of a dictionary, and I am going to start using (alongside accompanying Spanish audio) this in conjunction with my daily Assimil lessons. Combined with a flashcard app in order to review the many new words I will encounter, this should help to buff up my vocabulary a bit.

Regarding Assimil, I think the Amazon reviews of Assimil (at least with regard to European languages) are quite fair- B. Jantz's review of Assimil's "Italian with ease" and John McWhorter's well-known review seem honest enough- you will not be fluent by any means at the end of the course, but Assimil can potentially take you to the point where you can actually understand what people and form your own sentences spontaneously.

I also agree with Alexander Arguelle's suggestion that you "could" study Assimil for an hour a day over the course of a year, in order to really master it. I don't that using Assimil for half an hour or so a day over the course for 6 months really does the course justice, and I found that after lesson 14 of the active wave, I started to struggle. I don't know how on earth I will get through lessons 63-77. You would have to listen and translate these lessons many, many times in order to have them fully internalized, IMO.


With regards to Michel Thomas- I found this course really difficult to listen to, and I only finished it out of a sense of obligation. However, if you can put up with the constant mistakes and interjections, I can imagine that it could be quite useful- he seems to cover the Spanish subjunctive at least, and his course gave me enough headwind to start Assimil without too many issues.I also found it was tolerable if I only used it for 10 minutes a day, that usually mean 2-4 track from each cd- I just couldn't cope with any more. If I find any other resources this difficult to deal with in the future- I will give them up.

I also purchased the "Collins Spanish Essential Dictionary & Grammar." It was under $30 dollars, and it feels like I got a lot of proverbial "Bang for my Buck." I am using this to work through el-Principito now, the grammatical reference is also very useful.
Otherwise my immediate plans are to finish both El principito and Assimil as soon as I can.

After I have done this , I intend to take a three-pronged approach to learning Spanish:

                   1) Getting conversation practice online, most likely starting with a tutor. I am good enough to fumble along in very basic conversations now- I have tried a few and I can generally understand what people say to me when the speak slowly, and improvise my own responses.



                   2) Lots of input- I can deal with audiobooks meant for children now, such as Harry potter and El Principito, with a lot of dictionary support, and I will see how things are coming along as I get more advanced.

                   3) FSI Basic- I have had a more thorough look through this course, and I think that I can work with it. It seems so comprehensive and well laid out- it states in the preface that it the vocabulary involved isn't very large- I have tried the first few lessons, and aforementioned, I like what I heard. I just want to pick up a bit more speed with reading and listening first, so I am familiar with at least a large part of the vocabulary involved before I start.

Other resources I have begun to take a look at include Intermediate-Advanced textbooks (by Colloquial and Linguaphone, for example,) Verb/Grammar workbooks, reference grammars, DLI Basic/gloss resources and Learning Spanish like Crazy.
I don't know whether is wise to start working through some/any of these resources before I start doing FSI, such as a verb workbook or at least Learning Spanish Like Crazy.
At the very least, I will be using the Grammar guide taken from the Collin's dictionary I purchased. I'll also add that if for some reason, FSI doesn't work out for me (ie. I find it too boring), I'll be using some combination of the resources listed above in their place.
When I said that I was going for B1 in 9 months- that is till on the cards- if Assimil + Reading/Listening can take me to an decent A2-ish level in 6 months, I reckon I can get to B1 in another 3-6 months, but I will have to work at it very hard. Even if I do make B1, I want to keep going with this- I have found my learning experience so far quite enjoyable on the whole- I definitely want to continue on with this.

I'll keep the updates less frequent from now on, but will continue to update this log every few weeks or so.
1 person has voted this message useful



Dagane
Triglot
Senior Member
SpainRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 1918 days ago

259 posts - 64 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*, EnglishB2, Galician
Studies: German
Studies: Czech

 
 Message 38 of 60
12 January 2016 at 7:00pm | IP Logged 
I've read bits and pieces of random posts above and must state the following:

- Google translator is a useful and quick tool but makes a lot of awful mistakes when translating English into Spanish and vice versa.

- I've been living in England for quite a while and travelled all round the island. It is suprising you cannot find Spanish speakers. I find them everywhere! I even found a venerable old woman in a godforsaken Welsh village who cycled all acrooss Northern Spain and had a smaterring of the language!

- London is definitely the place to be in, providing that you want to learn Spanish in England. It is rare to find a central shop or cafe without running into a Spaniard. Apart from that, I do practise Portuguese in London. Some of my friends practise French or Polish. There're many foreigners. From memory, Britons account to only 45% of London's population .
1 person has voted this message useful



Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 769 days ago

50 posts - 7 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 39 of 60
13 January 2016 at 3:31am | IP Logged 
Dagane wrote:
I've read bits and pieces of random posts above and must state the
following:

- Google translator is a useful and quick tool but makes a lot of awful mistakes when
translating English into Spanish and vice versa.

- I've been living in England for quite a while and travelled all round the island. It
is suprising you cannot find Spanish speakers. I find them everywhere! I even found a
venerable old woman in a godforsaken Welsh village who cycled all acrooss Northern
Spain and had a smaterring of the language!

- London is definitely the place to be in, providing that you want to learn Spanish in
England. It is rare to find a central shop or cafe without running into a Spaniard.
Apart from that, I do practise Portuguese in London. Some of my friends practise
French or Polish. There're many foreigners. From memory, Britons account to only 45%
of London's population .

Dagane, I am Australian and live in Australia, but I have been to London and am
inclined to agree with you-
it is a veritable international city.
In Australia, I run into Spanish speakers a fair
bit(mostly Latin american), but often not in the capacity in which I can have a
conversational lesson with
them.

I think you must have been referring to Mike_405's posts.
My thread needs cleaning up, it is too thick and boring to
read, like a wall of text when you look at it.
I'll probably edit a lot of my posts soon, keep it more concise from now on.

Another note: With regards to google translate- I will just move onto plain Spanish
texts after assimil, using a dictionary/ grammar reference as needed. Like the way
things are done over at Steve Kaufmann's lingq.

Edited by Digitalis on 13 January 2016 at 7:46am



Digitalis
Groupie
Australia
Joined 769 days ago

50 posts - 7 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 40 of 60
13 January 2016 at 7:28am | IP Logged 
Alright guys, trimmed some of the fat from my earlier forum posts, especially a lot
the parts where I am speculating about what I am going to do wrt courses.

I had a skim over a summary of Spanish grammar that I found on google, from Purdue
university. Useful, it filled in a lot of the points that I was still unclear about
after finishing Michel Thomas.
I've started working with FSI Basic, the first few units. I have also had a closer
look through other advanced textbooks- like colloquial 2, which seems like a possible
follow on after I have finished with Assimil, at this stage.

I should also say that a lot of the resources I have looked at when I fist started
language learning seem a bit redundant now- Assimil is pretty comprehensive in that
regard.

FSI is definitely boring though, I think it is best used (for me) while taking long
walks around the
neighbourhood though- I think driving would distract from my concentration too much. I
certainly could not use this course while sitting down at a desk hours on end.
But it seems very comprehensive- I think that a lot of my bases are covered with
regards to developing linguistic competence.

Edited by Digitalis on 13 January 2016 at 7:31am




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