Spanish Language Update #2 (and some mini reviews)

Hola! Cómo está? Estoy bien, más o menos. Últimamente, yo estudio Español solo. Yo no tengo maestro.

Hello. How are you guys doing? I am well for the most part. Lately, I have been studying Spanish by myself because….I no longer have a teacher.

That may sound pretty surprising since I was so excited to be starting my lessons, and my first Spanish language update was pretty positive. But to keep a long story short, my tutor has other things to do. I mentioned in my last update that she has two jobs which is why our lessons were only once a week and could not go over an hour and a half. Well now she has even more duties at her main, full-time job. She is working in a summer school program of some sort and any and all free time she had left now goes to that program. It sucks because I felt things were really going well. I was disappointed but tried not to dwell on it because they were free lessons so it’s not like I’m paying her then not getting my money’s worth but If I’m being honest, I was still pretty upset about it and let Spanish take a backseat for a while. So it has been a month since I have last met with her and I am just now finding my mojo in my studies again.

I am trying to study for at least an hour every day and then play on the Duolingo app throughout the day during moments I have some short free time. This may sound like nothing to other language learners who spend hours upon hours every day studying. But as someone with a full-time job and who will soon have a full-time internship (in a school!), I do not have hours upon hours to devote to studying every day. Not to mention, the first thing I want to do when I finally get home is take a freakin nap! I would rather have one productive hour of studying than study for 3 or 4 hours and retain nothing.

After my very brief sessions with my tutor ended, I purchased some new Spanish books. I figured why not since I am going it alone again and need all the assistance I can get. A book haul will be coming soon but in the meantime, I have been using these three things:

1.) Puntos de partida 8 textbook

This is the book that I actually had to use in college. My book didn’t get that much use (I know, bad student) and for some reason I wound up with another copy so I am using it again. This is the looseleaf version. The actual book version costs way more money.

I believe this book is on an 8th/9th grade level and comes with an access card for their website which has online help and extra work for practicing such as quizzes, videos, and audio recordings, and also learning games like fill in the blank and matching. I believe you would get even more help if you are enrolled in a class and are able to input your access code. 

Unfortunately, my access code no longer works because my book is old and all the classes that I was in in college, now read “expired”. Also, my access number only has 15 digits but you currently need 16 digits in order for the code to go through. I assume this is because of updates. Thankfully, the general website does not need any codes or access numbers and the quizzes, tests, and review games are available to anyone.

I enjoy using this book because it is reader friendly with lots of colorful pictures. I am a visual learner and pictures helps me when learning as opposed to just seeing black words on white pages. That’s boring. The pictures keep me engaged. 

If you are interested in getting this book for yourself, be aware that even though this book is helpful, it is definitely geared more towards classroom use as there is a bunch of exercises where you have to converse with a classmate or partner or listen to something the teacher said. These exercises greatly outnumber the ‘on your own’ exercises and I have only gotten through the pre-chapter and chapter 1. And just by flipping through, I can see the rest of the book is pretty much the same. In my opinion, this book puts more of an emphasis on speaking (which is needed).

2.) Basic Spanish which is a part of the Practice Makes Perfect line by McGraw Hill publishing

This is literally what it says it is: a practice book. I have only made it through the first two sections but I like it already because just like the famous quote says, “practice makes progress” 😉

This is a perfect supplementary book to a class, private lessons, or a self-study text book. Since this is a practice book, there is no direct teaching of grammar or in depth explanations on what to do. This book is for practice and can also serve as mini reviews for each section presented.

3.) Duolingo

This is a free language learning app that actually offers a multitude of languages with even more on the way. I use this when I am bored at work or when I have short moments of free time throughout my day. The exercises assist with listening comprehension, vocabulary, reading, and speaking (although the speaking exercises are minimal).

Going into this app, you have to already know some basic Spanish such as the alphabet, minimal vocab, and some basic grammar rules. With that being said, the app is still perfect for absolute beginners.

I have used this app off an on for a couple of years now and have noticed that there have been some additions/upgrades to the app. The app moves more like a game where when you are in a lesson and you get something wrong, instead of just correcting you, it corrects you and takes away a portion of your “life”. You get 5 tries before you have to sit out and wait for your life to replenish itself. This could serve as an issue for people who want to keep their daily log-in streak going. If you lose all your “lives” before you meet your daily goal, you have to wait until it is full in order to continue. But it takes a long freakin time to replenish which means you could miss out on your daily goal due to waiting and end up breaking your daily streak. I believe the longer you keep your streak, the more prizes you get which is mostly just gems and lingots (which is another type of gem). You also get lesson completion gems that you can purchase things with as well as make in-app purchases. Overall, it brings a little competitiveness to it.

What I’m going to start doing:

I am going to start watching movies in Spanish. I don’t really have an interest at the moment to try and hunt down any good Spanish soap operas or comedies or anything like that, so I plan on using movies I already have and simply changing the language preference to Spanish in the settings. Since I have already seen the movies and know what will happen, it will be easier for me to focus more on what is being said. I plan on starting off with animated movies and series such as Ice Age, Jem and the Holograms, and Shrek. Then I can move on to live action movies and series like Transformers, Now You See Me, I Love Lucy, etc.

I hope you enjoyed this post! I will be coming back very soon to post my book haul as well as a few other posts that I need to get out. 

Hasta luego!


4 thoughts on “Spanish Language Update #2 (and some mini reviews)

  1. I’m glad that your Spanish has been improving despite the fact that you have a full time job. Bien hecho! I hope your Spanish improves more in the future. Mine is currently kind of on standby. However, I’m progressing in Korean.

    Liked by 1 person

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