How it started and how it's going

Tomorrow it will be one month since I watched some Spanish TV and thought, “This language sounds easy enough, why not learn it in the tree months I’ve got until my vacation in Barcelona?”

Since then I’ve put in 3-4 hours of SSiS, Spanish TV and Duolingo every day and I’m excited to report that I was so, so wrong about Spanish! :smiley:

True, it comes more naturally to me than Welsh but it definitely presents its own set of challenges. The verbs look completely different in different tenses and that speed of speech!.. Apparently Spanish natives speak at 8 syllables per second, that’s way faster than any other of my languages.

I’m on challenge 21 at the moment and I’m happy that I can spot new words from the challenges when I watch TV. I do a lot of listening to the chipmunk files from the course too and I think it’s extremely beneficial.

To celebrate my one month anniversary I wrote a text using as many words as I could remember in (mostly somehow connected) sentences and the unique word counter showed 400. I was surprised and really impressed. I have also noticed a huge difference between my first chat with Gaby in my second week and the more recent chats in week four.

So yes, Spanish isn’t as easy as I thought it would be but in the process of learning that I somehow connected with it more. I’m extremely happy with my progress and I’m very much looking forward to the next month of learning!


Yesterday I finished level 1 and had a one hour converstation with a native speaker without resorting to English at all! It was quite a struggle to explain the words that I still need to learn, like “grass” and “lake”, and my explanations consisted mainly of “errrrr… cosas… errr” :joy: And yet, and yet! We totally understood each other. Still can’t quite believe it.


That’s brilliant, @Irina! You’re doing so well. I hope you get a chance to come to Vitoria-Gasteiz at some stage. I would love to welcome you here.

Thank you! It’s very easy for me to visit Spain (as opposed to visiting Wales :cry:) so I’m definitely putting Vitoria-Gasteiz on my bucket list!

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I managed to have five chats this week - thanks to Gaby, Paul and a Spanish girl who’s helping me too. I had a lot of moments where I needed time to remember a word but also plenty of others where I could blabber on cheerfully without needing to think at all.

So I thougth - well, now I can read and speak so I need to focus on trying to understand the speech when watching TV. So naturally the next thing I do is a high intensity day with zero TV time :crazy_face:

I did ten challenges in one go, 6-15 from level 2. The first three didn’t feel any different but the rest of them whooshed past in a blur! I’m very much looking forward to the dust settling a bit now.

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That’s amazing, @Irina! I’m dying to hear what @gabycortinas thinks of your progress in your next session with him!

Hah, Gaby will probably think, what’s up with her, she’s forgotten everything! :smiley:

Not at all! More likely: “It’s incredible how much she’s been able to master in such a short time!” :smiley:


So it’s been two months and I kid you not - I’m having nightmares about Spanish verbs.

I watch youtube channels like Easy Spanish and Espanol con Juan to bridge the gap between the things that I already know and, well, the enormous rest of it. Also working on my attitude here because while I usually do enjoy the journey, the goal of being fluent in Spanish feels more distant with every new structure I learn.

I’m on L2 challenge 20 now and I’m very happy with how the verbs and the tenses are being introduced. I don’t think there’s a better way to become accustomed to them. It’s still quite a struggle tho.

I can read news articles alright. Reading actual novels with all kinds of “could have beens” is exhausting and I often don’t understand what’s going on despite looking the words up in a dictionary.

I can also watch like, American shows with Spanish dubbing and understand most of it. However when watching original Spanish shows I need subtitles more often than not. (On the bright side, I create Quizlet cards based on the subtitles so this way of watching helps too, even if mostly for vocab and not for the listening comprehension).

I try to speak Spanish as often as possible. Yesterday I had a two-hours chat with a native speaker outside of this course. It was fun and obviously manageable, altho I don’t see myself doing it again anytime soon (mostly because I can hardly speak with somebody for that long in my native language either!).

So it’s been going really well, even though I’m more conscious of my current limits now. It’s also funny how promptly I’ve changed my goal - from “being able to speak and understand a bit” to “fluency”, haha. Greedy much? Me? Noooo… :sweat_smile:

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I totally get that! :joy: and with the amount of time and the variety of ways you’re taking in Spanish, you’ll get there sooner than you think!

Thank you for the encouragement, Deborah! :hibiscus:

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Three months in! Levels 1 and 2 done, the tourist course almost done.

I’ll be revisiting the final challenges of all three of them every now and then but my main focus is to speak a lot and to watch TV shows and videos even more.

The courses have provided me with enough grammar structures to figure out other things on my own. More importantly, they’ve got me started on speaking. Now it’s just a question of time and experience.

It constantly feels like I could be doing more. There’re still situations when I don’t understand natives at all. But then I spend one hour chatting with a native about the San Juan celebrations and it’s easy, funny and natural and I’m not sure anymore if I had actually believed I’d come this far in such a short time, but here I am. Wow.

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You have done amazingly well, Irina, and I do hope you make it to the Basque Country at some stage to use your Spanish here. The area where I live is very Spanish-speaking so you’d get lots of practice!

Thank you, Deborah! I’m already brushing up on my euskara :stuck_out_tongue: (not really but it just pops up every now and then when watching Spanish TV)

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Bikain! Excelente! :clap:

Back from my vacation in Barcelona :sunrise:

It’s been a fun trip and I enjoyed speaking Spanish a lot! Luckily for me, the staff in all the places we’d visited seemed to be not too eager to switch to English so we sticked almost exclusively to Spanish. In the beginning I tended to switch to English if there was a problem with our visit but with time I grew more confident and could sort it all out in Spanish too. To be fair, the vocab involved was usually rather basic so it was more about being confident and determined.

Still, I somehow managed to order an alcoholic beverage by mistake while talking about the menu, oops! :joy:

All in all, it was a strange experience because all the fancy phrases disappeared the moment I wanted to say something so I had been mostly winging it, but I still feel that I learned really a lot during this trip. So I’m going to rest a bit and then start planning the next one :slight_smile:


Wonderful to hear that you had such an excellent time - and diolch o waelod calon for your absolutely amazing video! :star2: :heart:

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Thank you Aran!
I had a blast and the courses were super useful so I’m happy to talk about them whenever I can :slight_smile:

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Your energy and enthusiasm really comes across in your video, which is a big part of what makes it so inspiring :star2::boom::clinking_glasses:

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