Spanish Challenge 1 - Wait what?

Well I tried out the first Spanish challenge tonight. It was around 9 pm. I was relaxed and not tired. So I got a glass of wine, climbed into the hot tub and started 'er up.

Yikes! There doesn’t seem to be enough time for me to repeat the vocabulary. I hear the word or phrase, get one chance to repeat it, then hear a woman and a man repeat the same word/phrase, and then without a pause the next word or phrase is tossed at me.

At one point the instructor said “I want to learn Spanish” and I yelled back in my best Monty Python voice “Yes I do, but you’re not giving me a bloody chance are you?!” I’m sorry to admit I only got about 10 minutes into the lesson before my frustration level passed my wine level and I had to stop.

Hoovering over the pause button is about the most un-relaxing thing I can think of by the way. Tried that a bit. Then I opened up the SSiWelsh page just for comparison. I was surprised and happy to see that Welsh had “lessons” instead of “challenges”. So much so that I switched back to the Spanish page just to make sure I hadn’t missed a link to the lesson and gone straight into the I’ve-had-the-lesson-so-give-me-a-challenge-on-it section. Couldn’t find that link however, so I’m assuming that the challenge is in fact the lesson. (Yes, I did find it challenging!)

So, any advice? Do I simply let let lesson play on and muddle along as best I can, relying on the repetition? Do I really need to get some kind of setup where I can easily pause the playback? If I have to use the pause switch to have time to speak, that aces out taking a lesson during my drive to work which was where I was hoping to do many of them.

I do want to find a way to make this work so I hope someone has some good advice.


P.S. Seems like many of you are in the UK, so keep the time difference in mind please. There may be some longish pauses in replies from me.

Hi Dan!

Your experience is a familiar one. I’m Iestyn, the southern voice of the Welsh course, and I’ve heard the same comment from lots of people who have gone on to really enjoy the course, and learn to speak a lot of Welsh.

In other words, your experience is normal!

If you only have one language to start with, then introducing second is a huge leap, and one that will take a bit of patience and bit of bloody-mindedness. But trust the system, because it will work.

Firstly, though, you’ve done exactly the right thing to ask on the forum. The biggest problem with learning online is that you usually have to learn “on your own”. Asking here means that you can have all the support you need to do what you want to do, ie learn Spanish.

Secondly, then: Have you listened to the introduction before hitting lesson 1? There’s a lot of information in there that will help you get over the first hurdles.

Thirdly, relax, or rather, re-relax! The gaps are far too short for a reason. As you get into the course, you’ll find that the gaps become “just a bit too short” and then “short enough to be a challenge”. This is because speaking any language in real life needs your brain to be up to speed. Most often, the first time you experience this is during your first real conversation. Result - going from pleased with your progress to absolutely demoralised in a few seconds. We like to “show you how it is” from the first lesson, because you will quickly see how your speed progresses to “close-to-natural” when you are constantly put under pressure.

So - a solution. Get the hot-tub on, do those first ten minutes again. Don’t worry that you don’t finsih what you’re saying before the female voice jumps in. Don’t worry that what you’ve said isn’t right. Definitely don’t worry that what you’ve said isn’t perfect. Use the pause button sparingly if at all - you don’t want to get your mp3 player wet!

Get to the end of the ten minutes, or 15 minutes, or whatever point your brain starts to fry, and then switch the mp3 player off. Finish your wine, then try to think of a couple of things to say in Spanish. Some, maybe a lot, of what you’ve learnt in the challenge will be there ready for you.

Big point - don’t beat yourself up. About anything. You are about to re-programme a part of your brain that most people never touch. This will take time, but it’s a process that you can watch and enjoy, from the warmth of your hot-tub. There’s no race, there’s no deadline, but if you do 15 minutes a day, I’ll guarantee that you will shock yourself, and particularly others, with your progress.

Oh yes, and report back here on your progress, for virtual high-fives, and on your road-blocks - every learner has them, on a regular basis. They are a natural part of the process.

Most importantly - enjoy!

Thanks for the encouragement. I’ll certainly have another go this evening.

I was listening on my Ipad btw. I’ve got a waterproof sleeve I put it in when I’m going to soak. So no worries about getting it wet. The whole “watch or listen to something while soaking” is new to me as well. Normally I just star gaze.

Thanks again.

If you find that you can’t get the hang of jumping in fast enough to deal with the short pauses, then I’m afraid that using the pause button liberally is the only solid option, even though that’s not a good match with being in a bath :sunny: