When I decided to start learning Spanish in 2015, I was so happy. I was ready to begin the journey. I didn’t have a plan and just went with the flow. Looking back at it now how I wish I would have done it differently but lesson learned and I don’t feel bad about it.
These 5 things I stop doing in Spanish language learning can also happen to learners learning other languages. Let’s start with the first one, shall we?
The first app I started with is Duolingo and then Memrise. I was just doing these both until I saw someone mention LingoDeer in a blog or a forum. Like an inexperienced newbie I was I downloaded it. It didn’t even last a month before I was mentally exhausted having to do one app after another every day.
I decided to drop it and stick with the first two. As much as people out there say Duolingo is useless it’s still a good resource for me to gauge how far I’ve improved. LingoDeer on the other hand (I don’t know how it is now), didn’t use article el/ la in their vocab and didn’t have a grammar explanation. It was just vocabulary and nothing else if my memory serves me correctly.
I guess at that time I was trying to absorb as much info needed so I can be fluent in a matter of months. Trying out something new was fun until it wasn’t anymore.
I was the type of person who would jump straight to grammar because I thought they are the most important. I remembered downloading a few grammar apps because I was constantly looking for one that offers a simple explanation. I was new to the language yet I wanted to learn the grammar sooner instead of just doing the vocabulary. That was one of the biggest mistakes which led to my burnout.
I dropped all and focused solely on building my vocabulary until I was ready. I shouldn’t even look at it in the first place because you can’t help but feel overwhelmed. Yes, I bite off more than I can chew.
The ignorant of me before wouldn’t even revise the lessons I’ve previously done and keep going. Now, I just do one short lesson every day. If after completing the topic I still couldn’t understand I’d go back and do it again. Through this, I realized I learn a lot more than I did before and it was an eye-opener. People don’t say repetition is key for nothing.
A few months ago, I decided to do a placement test on Lengalia and I was surprised to see the result. Honestly, I expected to see A2.
Back then, I didn’t know that one should start with X common words or words that are relevant to your everyday life. I kept on learning whatever random words they throw at me and that’s probably why when I talk to natives, I didn’t even know how to explain what I do, etc.
By now, I’ve probably learned more than 2000 words already but sadly, I can only remember very little. Because of this, I’ve been trying something new and it’s been rinsed and repeated since then.
- Learn X new words every X days instead of every day. This way I prioritize repetition more.
- When learning new words I ignore those irrelevant ones and write down the opposite in my notebook and add them to my custom vocab list on SpanishDict.
- I write short and personal sentences with it and send them to natives for feedback. I also write both my original sentences and the corrections made by natives in the notebook for reference.
- I take note of every new word that I use when talking with natives and do number 2 and 3 again.
Procrastination Over Speaking
Everything that I’ve done so far has been passive. In February, I decided to start improving my speaking skill since that area is the most newbie of all. I’ve been practicing with natives 4x a week for an hour or so. It’s a struggle, but I feel good and satisfied at the end of the day because I enjoy it (depending on the topic).
I’m always on the lookout for new resources to add to my learning because I believe you shouldn’t stick with just one. Eventually, it wore me out. It’s like having a shiny object syndrome. This isn’t particularly bad but the way you go about it could make a difference.
My advice is to read a review first on the chosen resource to determine whether they fit your expectations. Read a couple of reviews (blogs and videos) if needed. Find a way(s) to make your current resources enjoyable because chances are you’re getting bored with them and that’s why.
All in all, if there are two things I learned from all these is that you should have a plan beforehand and shouldn’t rush things because they don’t always end up good. Set your own pace and follow.
Tell me, do you have things you regret doing? Things you should have abandoned sooner because they aren’t effective anymore? Share with us.