Project 3 Week 3/4: Actual reflections on Spanish

GOAL: Keep doing what I’m doing until my conversation “test”!

Over the past couple weeks I’ve been fitting my Spanish learning to my quarantine schedule. Now that I’ve got a good groove going (work a couple times a week on music, journaling, and Language Transfer), I don’t have much to report in terms of teaching myself. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to figure out what Spanish learning approaches work for me so I can keep this up after the semester ends.

I didn’t finish Language Transfer, but should by the time my project is over, so once again my thoughts on the course will be saved for next post.

This time, I thought I’d provide some thoughts on troubles I’m running into in regards to content. Reflecting on the past couple weeks of study, I’d definitely say my biggest problem is conjugations. This isn’t really surprising, as most English-speaking students learning Romance languages have this problem. (I certainly did while learning French.) I’m having such a hard time hearing and remembering distinctions between conjugations of verbs. I can guess at them with context, but it’s taking much longer than I’d like to really intuitively nail the tenses.

For example, I get confused by the difference between the conditional and imperfect for er/ir verbs. Comía (I ate) is so close to comería (I would eat) that it’s hard to keep straight. They all have the same endings, the imperfect just replaces the er/ir ending while the conditional is adding the ending to the infinitive. So when listening, or even reading, it’s kind of hard to process quickly enough. (Maybe now that I wrote this out in a blog post, I’ll remember?)

I think this is a repetition issue, but I am finding myself stumped at how to best get this repetition. Do I need to start taking a very typical classroom “busy work” approach to just memorizing these, so it becomes second nature? Or might it be better to let it come as I start speaking conversationally? Both maybe? I’m not sure how important it is right now, as more and more exposure to verb conjugations will certainly make things easier regardless of what method of learning I choose for this particular grammar skill.

I can tell that exposure is helpful because I’m starting to remember common irregular conjugations just from seeing or hearing them a lot. Specifically, the very irregular ser and ir conjugations come much more naturally to me now.

I’m glad to see that my efforts are paying off in some way. While I hope this means that I’ll feel comfortable holding conversation by next week, I’m feeling pretty confident that I’ll at least be much closer to it than before. I think I’ll try to hold conversation again in the next day or so, sort of like a practice exam, and then receive feedback and work on that specifically for my “final exam” on Wednesday.

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