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Speaking Spanish in Ecuador

An Ecuadorian who is fluent in Spanish and English told me to turn the television to Spanish channels and merely listen to Spanish being spoken.  He said that it will help when we are then out in public trying to communicate in Spanish.

I am have been watching Spanish TV in Ecuador for 5 years and have seen no benefits, which doesn't mean that it won't work for others.

Now, some sad news to report. The WSJ will no longer be translating articles to Spanish after February 17th.

http://www.wsj.com/public/page/espanol- … nicio_main

Reading is an activity that allows me to process and understand each word before moving on to the next.  I can say definitely it has not helped either with my oral communication other than some. vocabulary building.

Your mind could be under-stimulated (bored) by these methods and is tuning out.

Get Netflix movies or DirecTV (for your favorite shows) .. and watch either of these .. with Spanish subtitles.  Pause video as needed to check vocabulary and phrasing.

DirecTV worked for me. :)

cccmedia

Coxhere :

An Ecuadorian who is fluent in Spanish and English told me to turn the television to Spanish channels and merely listen to Spanish being spoken.  He said that it will help when we are then out in public trying to communicate in Spanish.

For simply listening, talk radio is better as it's mimics real life conversations, and the dialects are purely Ecuadorian, where as TV shows and movies are played by actors from many Spanish countries.

Nards Barley :

I am have been watching Spanish TV in Ecuador for 5 years and have seen no benefits, which doesn't mean that it won't work for others.

Now, some sad news to report. The WSJ will no longer be translating articles to Spanish after February 17th.

http://www.wsj.com/public/page/espanol- … nicio_main

Reading is an activity that allows me to process and understand each word before moving on to the next.  I can say definitely it has not helped either with my oral communication other than some. vocabulary building.

You're watching the wrong TV shows dude. What comes to mind is the chant of "Hazlo! Hazlo! Hazlo!" (Do it! Do it! Do it!) in one episode of Black Mirror. I've learned tons from Netflix and continue to do so.

You have to have fun with it, and have your smartphone next to you, pause it and use Google Translator to form your own phrase with what you learned.

I lived a year in Costa Rica a yeat and learned what I needed to know while I was here.  I moved back to The States for a year and forgot it.  Then moved to Colombia for 6 months Peru for 6 weeks and Mexican for the rest of the summer.  Basically what I did was learn enough Spanish to get into, then back out of trouble.  I don't see why Ecuador should be any different.

Formal classes are great for learning the grammar/syntax/rules but they will only get you to a certain level unless you are practicing it regularly. I had taken Spanish courses when doing my undergrad in the US but without being to practice it regularly I was never really able to get past an intermediate level.

It was during the 6 months I lived in Guadalajara where I took several more courses, combined with being exposed to it on a daily basis where I noticed the biggest improvements in my listening/pronunciation.

Learning a language is like any other skill, it deteriorates if you don't use it. In the year and half since I returned to the US. I have noticed that my Spanish abilities (especially listening) have declined somewhat.

Listening to Spanish programing (tv, radio, music...) is helpful although there are regional variances in vocabulary/accents. Many English-origin programs/movies are usually voiced over in the "Spain" or Mexican Spanish. Likewise, a lot of Spanish-origin syndicated broadcasts are usually from the same two countries.

National news networks and talk radio are good sources for learning "local" Spanish.

As you may have heard, CNN en español got pulled off the air in Venezuela today.  In response, CNN announced they  are broadcasting it on youtube. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJb0LTbtQTM

Have recently started listening solely to a spanish radio talk show that I get on the car radio. Think that just being able to concentrate on the words, and what is being said has made a big difference. My comprehension of spanish is fairly decent. So not sure if just listening to spanish conversations would help a beginner, or not? Think eliminating all the background clutter where the mind can wonder has really forced me to concentrate on listening skills. I don't try to translate anything into English. Am only trying to distinguish the words that are spoken, and get my mind used to the proper pronunciation. I have a bad habit of pronouncing spanish words how I see them in my mind, and what is in my mind tends to be quite different from how a spanish speaker pronounces many of the words.

I subscribed to a 7 day trial of Hulu.  They have a small Latino section which includes some familiar U.S. programs. I have tried around 5 shows and the Spanish subtitles correspond word for word with the spoken dialog.  I rarely find something on Netflix where that occurs.

Nards Barley :

I subscribed to a 7 day trial of Hulu.  They have a small Latino section which includes some familiar U.S. programs. I have tried around 5 shows and the Spanish subtitles correspond word for word with the spoken dialog.  I rarely find something on Netflix where that occurs.

Good tip. If you have Netflix check out the documentary called Planet Earth: The Complete Collection. I like it because some of the vocabulary is recognizable, the orator doesn't speak fast, and the scenes are graphically stunning. I'm still on episode one without Spanish subtitles. The goal is to identify the words and therefore replaying the episode.

I can understand and read Spanish better than speaking it.  When I try to watch tv with Spanish subtitles, it tends to just piss me off as I miss everything cause I'm just trying to follow the words with the subtitles...it doesn't work for me.

Sophems :

I can understand and read Spanish better than speaking it.  When I try to watch tv with Spanish subtitles, it tends to just piss me off as I miss everything cause I'm just trying to follow the words with the subtitles...it doesn't work for me.

I don't know how others go about it but when I read subtitles it's not continuous. Some scenes are easy especially when the subtitle doesn't disappear as quickly. I also pause at times, when something catches my interest. At times the subtitles reinforce what I know and if you're persistent you'll notice the difference. When I first began the subtitles seemed to be very fast but now I often catch entire phrases and know them.

So play around and find out what you're comfortable with. As for reading and understanding more than speech. I think most of us are like that, because we dictate the pace, see the words, and hear them if we read aloud which we should do when learning. Whereas in speech we have no control of pace, pronunciation, and are mainly limited to hearing. This is my opinion of course.

Below is a subtitle script from a chess scene in Only Lovers left alive on Netflix. I cut and pasted directly from excel so some words don't have accents. I like this particular scene to study because the conversation is useful like vamos, dime, como era (come on , tell me, what was she like), por qué no me sorprende (why am I not surprised), apuesto a que sí (I bet/I don't doubt  (she does),

There are several ways to learn from this fun way. First is learning vocabulary, second is learning not so simply phrases within context, third is learning pronunciation with Spanish audio, although the subtitles and audio are not exactly the same, but still okay.

 


only lovers left alive, 49:20-51:20

ahi se fue tu reina, playboy (there goes your queen, playboy)
por cierto
tu heroe Christopher Marlowe te mando saludos
no tengo heroes
y se lo que estas haciendo: tratas de distraerme
ya basta de hablar
Jufaste ajedrez con byron? - Eve, basta
no quiero saber
te encanta contarme estas historias, Y me encantó escucharlos
entonces, como era
honestamente, era un burro pretencioso
por que no me sorprende
y Mary
como era mary wollstonecraft
vamos, dime, como era
era deliciosa
apuesto a que si
hablando de delicioso , tengo una sorpresa
un experimento
por cierto es no funciona (by the way it doesn't work)
no. si funciona. Lo arregle (no. it works. I fixed it)
que es eso?
o rh negativo
es deliciosa
sangre en palito
en palito
nada mal
y muy refrescante, en especial cuando estamos en aprietos
jaque mate, quierdo
Eve, eres despiadada. Eres brutal (Eve you're ruthless, you're brutal)
soy una sobreviviente

Guys as you may know I am always thinking about ways to incorporate Spanish into my life throughout the day. We know about Netflix, Spanish learning books, courses, TV, Radio, and so on. And all of those methods are great but I’ve added one more method into the mix.

Choose your favorite novel and get a Spanish version, and read it. I have learned so much the past week from reading my favorite novel. For example I always had difficulty with prepositions like “a”, which can mean – at, to, into, of, by, etc. However understanding “a” within context of my novel, I am getting it, for example if you want to say something smelled of, it would be, “olía a.”

My thinking is quite simple using a multifaceted approach is working for me. If you decide to do the novel/book approach do not get frustrated, have a tablet next to you, and a copy of the English version to aide you.

All of this IMO is futile if you don’t have someone to converse with. My advice here is for fellow noobs, but you know how initially it takes time (to think) which verb conjugation to use, but with conversational practice it takes less time, and eventually the conjugations of familiar verbs are instantaneously pronounced.   

Vsimple on the road (very beginning  :D ) to Spanish fluency.

This thread needs an update, and hopefully my posts in some way are helping fellow Spanish learning noobs. Initially I went about learning Spanish arbitrarily because I was befriending Ecuadorians and simply targeted select vocabulary and phrases to express myself. However that only got me so far, and I just couldn’t get over the disparity between my English and Spanish. So I had to abandon the shortcuts because despite making progress in day to day conversation the progress was too slow and my ultimate goal is to be fluent.

Yes fluent.

I think it’s important for Spanish learners to have a goal. A specific goal for me is being able to communicate fluently and similarly to an “educated native/bilingual speaker.”
So how do I go from my level of proficiency to being fluent? Well, first I had to identify my current level or proficiency and second identify my target level. I also had to find some scale that quantifies all of this in terms of time (hours) to achieve my goal.

I chose the ILR scale, which is renowned.

ILR Scale

Level 0/0+ No Proficiency
Level 1/1+ Elementary Proficiency
Level 2/2+ Limited Working Proficiency
Level 3/3+ Professional Working Proficiency
Level 4/4+ Full Professional Proficiency
Level 5 Native/Bilingual Proficiency

I identified my current proficiency as beinglevel 1+ (the Spanish equivalent of this woman talking in English) from my research. My immediate goal is level 3 Professional Working Proficiency or the equivalent of how this guy talks but in Spanish, and my goal is to achieve this by next June.

So how much time will it take to achieve Level 3 or Professional Working Proficiency in hours? The answer is about 1100 hours, and currently I’m about 250 hours since I started learning Spanish methodically.

Next post- my method and mistakes I made along the way.

Good luck, vsimple! I love your goal. I'm probably somewhere near level 2 and while I learn new vocabulary all the time (situation specific: building repairs, politics, going to the seamstress, doctor, dentist etc) I've abandoned all hope of being truly fluent, but I would like to be functional in most all circumstances. I applaud your vision and hope that you can achieve it.

vsimple :

Level 0/0+ No Proficiency
Level 1/1+ Elementary Proficiency
Level 2/2+ Limited Working Proficiency
Level 3/3+ Professional Working Proficiency
Level 4/4+ Full Professional Proficiency
Level 5 Native/Bilingual Proficiency

I identified my current proficiency as beinglevel 1+ (the Spanish equivalent of this woman talking in English) from my research. My immediate goal is level 3 Professional Working Proficiency or the equivalent of how this guy talks but in Spanish, and my goal is to achieve this by next June.

So how much time will it take to achieve Level 3 or Professional Working Proficiency in hours? The answer is about 1100 hours, and currently I’m about 250 hours since I started learning Spanish methodically.

Curious how you came up with 1100 hours? Am aware of Anders Ericcson research indicating that it takes about 10,000 hrs. of deliberate practice to master a skill, and that 10,000 hrs. is not set in stone, but more of a general guidline/reference point for how long it takes to become adept at a skill.

Am not challenging your 1100 hours, but interested in how you arrived at that number?

PEI Red :

Good luck, vsimple! I love your goal. I'm probably somewhere near level 2 and while I learn new vocabulary all the time (situation specific: building repairs, politics, going to the seamstress, doctor, dentist etc) I've abandoned all hope of being truly fluent, but I would like to be functional in most all circumstances. I applaud your vision and hope that you can achieve it.

Thanks, Red. I think to function in most/all circumstances a Level 3/General Professional Proficiency will suffice.

General Professional Proficiency:  Able to speak accurately and with enough vocabulary to handle social representation and professional discussions within special fields of knowledge; able to read most materials found in daily newspapers.

j600rr :
vsimple :

Level 0/0+ No Proficiency
Level 1/1+ Elementary Proficiency
Level 2/2+ Limited Working Proficiency
Level 3/3+ Professional Working Proficiency
Level 4/4+ Full Professional Proficiency
Level 5 Native/Bilingual Proficiency

I identified my current proficiency as beinglevel 1+ (the Spanish equivalent of this woman talking in English) from my research. My immediate goal is level 3 Professional Working Proficiency or the equivalent of how this guy talks but in Spanish, and my goal is to achieve this by next June.

So how much time will it take to achieve Level 3 or Professional Working Proficiency in hours? The answer is about 1100 hours, and currently I’m about 250 hours since I started learning Spanish methodically.

Curious how you came up with 1100 hours? Am aware of Anders Ericcson research indicating that it takes about 10,000 hrs. of deliberate practice to master a skill, and that 10,000 hrs. is not set in stone, but more of a general guidline/reference point for how long it takes to become adept at a skill.

Am not challenging your 1100 hours, but interested in how you arrived at that number?

Hi J600rr thanks for your input, I appreciate it because it positively adds to this discussion. 

The 1100 hours to achieve Level 3 Professional Working Proficiency is based from the FSI for native English speakers who are learning a category 1 language which includes Spanish. The 1100 hours are broken down to 560-600 class hours, and about 500 private study hours. For more difficult languages the hours required to reach Level 3 would be a lot more.

”All estimates in this figure assume that the student is a native speaker of English with no prior knowledge of the language to be learned. It is also assumed that the student has very good or better aptitude for classroom learning of foreign languages; less skilled language learners typically take longer.”

As for the 10,000 hours you quoted for fluency is that for Spanish or languages in general?  I think there are so many variables at play like the initial native language and the target language, for instance French speakers will find learning Spanish easier than say Chinese speakers, because of things like alphabet and grammar.

Personally I have no idea how long it will take me to be fluent, my immediate goal is to go from Level 1+ to Level 3 or General Professional Proficiency by June 2018. At that point hopefully I will be in better position to evaluate my progress.

Reaching level 3/General Professional Proficiency (FSI) This website also provides informative information, and keep in mind the 560-600 hours are solely class hours, and don't account for private study time.

vsimple :
j600rr :
vsimple :

Level 0/0+ No Proficiency
Level 1/1+ Elementary Proficiency
Level 2/2+ Limited Working Proficiency
Level 3/3+ Professional Working Proficiency
Level 4/4+ Full Professional Proficiency
Level 5 Native/Bilingual Proficiency

I identified my current proficiency as beinglevel 1+ (the Spanish equivalent of this woman talking in English) from my research. My immediate goal is level 3 Professional Working Proficiency or the equivalent of how this guy talks but in Spanish, and my goal is to achieve this by next June.

So how much time will it take to achieve Level 3 or Professional Working Proficiency in hours? The answer is about 1100 hours, and currently I’m about 250 hours since I started learning Spanish methodically.

Curious how you came up with 1100 hours? Am aware of Anders Ericcson research indicating that it takes about 10,000 hrs. of deliberate practice to master a skill, and that 10,000 hrs. is not set in stone, but more of a general guidline/reference point for how long it takes to become adept at a skill.

Am not challenging your 1100 hours, but interested in how you arrived at that number?

Hi J600rr thanks for your input, I appreciate it because it positively adds to this discussion. 

The 1100 hours to achieve Level 3 Professional Working Proficiency is based from the FSI for native English speakers who are learning a category 1 language which includes Spanish. The 1100 hours are broken down to 560-600 class hours, and about 500 private study hours. For more difficult languages the hours required to reach Level 3 would be a lot more.

”All estimates in this figure assume that the student is a native speaker of English with no prior knowledge of the language to be learned. It is also assumed that the student has very good or better aptitude for classroom learning of foreign languages; less skilled language learners typically take longer.”

As for the 10,000 hours you quoted for fluency is that for Spanish or languages in general?  I think there are so many variables at play like the initial native language and the target language, for instance French speakers will find learning Spanish easier than say Chinese speakers, because of things like alphabet and grammar.

Personally I have no idea how long it will take me to be fluent, my immediate goal is to go from Level 1+ to Level 3 or General Professional Proficiency by June 2018. At that point hopefully I will be in better position to evaluate my progress.

Reaching level 3/General Professional Proficiency (FSI) This website also provides informative information, and keep in mind the 560-600 hours are solely class hours, and don't account for private study time.

Hey vsimple,
Thanks for the information as to how you arrived at the 1100 hrs.

Yes that 10,000 hrs would be for fluency. I should have been more specific in regards to 10,000 hrs. It was research in a multitude of fields, and not just specifically language. As I said before, is a general guideline for how long it take an individual to become skilled/adept at a certain skill. Certainly, as you mentioned, there are many variables that would reduce that amount of hrs. So while that number isn't set in stone I think it still gives at least an understanding that learning a language, or any other endeavor will require long hours, patience, and persistence. Also what is pertinent to the studies, and research, and that many people ignore is that it's based on deliberate practice. By deliberate they mean continually challenging yourself, and continually trying to get better at areas that are difficult for you. For example, just watching 10,000 hrs of movies in Spanish with english subtitles isn't going to make you fluent. No doubts you would learn some from that approach, but not enough. Or just having only simple conversations in Spanish everyday, and nothing else won't get you to a higher level. Need to constantly keep pushing yourself into new, and more difficult challenges.

j600rr :
vsimple :
j600rr :

Curious how you came up with 1100 hours? Am aware of Anders Ericcson research indicating that it takes about 10,000 hrs. of deliberate practice to master a skill, and that 10,000 hrs. is not set in stone, but more of a general guidline/reference point for how long it takes to become adept at a skill.

Am not challenging your 1100 hours, but interested in how you arrived at that number?

Hi J600rr thanks for your input, I appreciate it because it positively adds to this discussion. 

The 1100 hours to achieve Level 3 Professional Working Proficiency is based from the FSI for native English speakers who are learning a category 1 language which includes Spanish. The 1100 hours are broken down to 560-600 class hours, and about 500 private study hours. For more difficult languages the hours required to reach Level 3 would be a lot more.

”All estimates in this figure assume that the student is a native speaker of English with no prior knowledge of the language to be learned. It is also assumed that the student has very good or better aptitude for classroom learning of foreign languages; less skilled language learners typically take longer.”

As for the 10,000 hours you quoted for fluency is that for Spanish or languages in general?  I think there are so many variables at play like the initial native language and the target language, for instance French speakers will find learning Spanish easier than say Chinese speakers, because of things like alphabet and grammar.

Personally I have no idea how long it will take me to be fluent, my immediate goal is to go from Level 1+ to Level 3 or General Professional Proficiency by June 2018. At that point hopefully I will be in better position to evaluate my progress.

Reaching level 3/General Professional Proficiency (FSI) This website also provides informative information, and keep in mind the 560-600 hours are solely class hours, and don't account for private study time.

Hey vsimple,
Thanks for the information as to how you arrived at the 1100 hrs.

Yes that 10,000 hrs would be for fluency. I should have been more specific in regards to 10,000 hrs. It was research in a multitude of fields, and not just specifically language. As I said before, is a general guideline for how long it take an individual to become skilled/adept at a certain skill. Certainly, as you mentioned, there are many variables that would reduce that amount of hrs. So while that number isn't set in stone I think it still gives at least an understanding that learning a language, or any other endeavor will require long hours, patience, and persistence. Also what is pertinent to the studies, and research, and that many people ignore is that it's based on deliberate practice. By deliberate they mean continually challenging yourself, and continually trying to get better at areas that are difficult for you. For example, just watching 10,000 hrs of movies in Spanish with english subtitles isn't going to make you fluent. No doubts you would learn some from that approach, but not enough. Or just having only simple conversations in Spanish everyday, and nothing else won't get you to a higher level. Need to constantly keep pushing yourself into new, and more difficult challenges.

Thanks for clarifying “deliberate”, and having given the 10,000 hours some thought it’s logical.

I thought, how did they arrive at that number, and then thought about the number of hours one needs to get a Bachelor’s degree and it’s about 3300 class hours over 8 semesters and about 9000 more hours for assignments and individual study time.

If the 10,000 hours applies to me, at my current rate it would take me about 10 years to be fluent considering the 3.5 deliberate hours that I allocate on average to learning Spanish daily.

vsimple :

If the 10,000 hours applies to me, at my current rate it would take me about 10 years to be fluent considering the 3.5 deliberate hours that I allocate on average to learning Spanish daily.

To be fluent, and fluent at a very high level I would tend to think that 10 yrs. is probably a realistic estimate.

Though would think if you kept up your same pace that probably in a 3-5 yr. time period you would have a pretty firm grasp, and speak at a pretty high level of proficiency.

Actually you already have a good working knowledge of Spanish, and have obviously made a commitment to speaking, and understanding spanish at a high level. Wouldn't be surprised if in the next year or so everything starts to click, and you make large strides towards your ultimate goal.

Definitely and how much time it’ll take will be the result of many variables. And let’s think about this for a moment. There are local people who are fluent in every way but who are uneducated and their vocabulary is limited. This is true in every country, and it’s evident that educated immigrants are able to articulate themselves better than many uneducated locals. Sure they have accents, but they articulate themselves in an educated manner, and that's pretty cool.   

So quantifying fluency is not easy at all, and achieving it in terms of level and time will vary from person to person. 

I have more to add but Sunday in Quito is cycling day and I gave to get going while the streets remain close.

vsimple :

This thread needs an update, and hopefully my posts in some way are helping fellow Spanish learning noobs. Initially I went about learning Spanish arbitrarily because I was befriending Ecuadorians and simply targeted select vocabulary and phrases to express myself. However that only got me so far, and I just couldn’t get over the disparity between my English and Spanish. So I had to abandon the shortcuts because despite making progress in day to day conversation the progress was too slow and my ultimate goal is to be fluent.

Yes fluent.

I think it’s important for Spanish learners to have a goal. A specific goal for me is being able to communicate fluently and similarly to an “educated native/bilingual speaker.”
So how do I go from my level of proficiency to being fluent? Well, first I had to identify my current level or proficiency and second identify my target level. I also had to find some scale that quantifies all of this in terms of time (hours) to achieve my goal.

I chose the ILR scale, which is renowned.

ILR Scale

Level 0/0+ No Proficiency
Level 1/1+ Elementary Proficiency
Level 2/2+ Limited Working Proficiency
Level 3/3+ Professional Working Proficiency
Level 4/4+ Full Professional Proficiency
Level 5 Native/Bilingual Proficiency

I identified my current proficiency as beinglevel 1+ (the Spanish equivalent of this woman talking in English) from my research. My immediate goal is level 3 Professional Working Proficiency or the equivalent of how this guy talks but in Spanish, and my goal is to achieve this by next June.

So how much time will it take to achieve Level 3 or Professional Working Proficiency in hours? The answer is about 1100 hours, and currently I’m about 250 hours since I started learning Spanish methodically.

Next post- my method and mistakes I made along the way.

For sake of comparison with the European language proficiency scale, the ILR Scale Wikipedia post provides the following table:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/o6hfqLEHoYzNb8E6Vhtl4ucNF2Hw9YUAiHc3WeephydUtaw86IiNqXOxXdA-sy6gMKhnwIyfo_2t8glC3m8KXEHGUCadbhnXzzs7aMYhjD_YAOIti2z3arij-dpVTj7jirzGc1YnQH0LKK9cPS9j5NyixZLeajwEztXLZqgSuKBJXDcI-jA_UnlwJVypb2J99D3FifFBJ0SKS8bvYxWdSl_cKBDAIAYn3GkNAdUgC9oJ2Jvz3Umv-P4vmclmuMD8NMe-nctF_5yNug8H0UFCtADR4J3xIpS0vdfYvGF8Xa4jr1zdBJ_OMT7w1dDI76wT8VjsljDXD_hXObwD0JTDK48mSIMJenrdKFdIk85X7vktuXw-QFsjKaL3H-ySbk213mngHEjNQd9guJYs51_PzuOy56AGuxJjlGjyu83GUOk1Gz4OsGZcBHru9ZCh-3fiVWJ7cEM2it-yspp4N26fIMQzDdp95mvvzrLFpwXvitLVF-9-ZpXD6ygSoB5fhyQhoT6HOxc8bBuN9Z1raSJ63T5cpFY7I4wt3YXbVPTiMiXkhSzexGWSiaCQ__KbI70lN3pJL57KE-unZbqFHxvc_-5_mE0yPCJF55dq0YLGD7THi3-USRx35ztt=w354-h377-no

Benny the  Irish Polygot, founder of Fluent in 3 months blog says passing level B2 of theDele Examis a good indication of fluency. 

(For what that is worth)

By the way,

Polyglotism or polyglottism[1] is the ability to master, or the state of having mastered, multiple languages. The word is a synonym of multilingualism, but, in recent usage, polyglot is sometimes used to refer to a person who learns multiple languages as an avocation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyglotism

Alright as being discussed there are numerous variables, and some that are positive others negatives, and some that can go either way.

Living in a Spanish speaking country is definitely a positive variable because of the obvious.

Motivation is definitely a huge variable that can either be positive or negative. It’s one thing to be motivated for a month or two, but it’s another matter to remain motivated for a sustained amount of time like year(s). I know this in the positive and negative sense from life experiences and I’m adamant in remaining motivated.

To remain motivated I devised a plan that accounted for variables such as time and resources to achieve (Level 3 by June 2018).

So what is this plan?

One of the most important aspects of my plan is time allocation. Five hours from my daily schedule were freed up and I have allocated between 3-4 hours per day to learning Spanish. This is very important because the time has to be available. Learning Spanish had to be respected in the schedule and treated like an obligation/necessity (e.g. work/sleep). Those hours then had to have a reason as in how much am I getting from each hour.

Planning 4 hours of self-study per day was not practical for me. I knew it, and if I did I would have burned out. It’s just too consuming and I know this from personal experience and therefore have allocated specific hours for private lessons with a tutor.

There are also factors like conversation, listening comprehension, accountability, pronunciation, and many other benefits that come by hiring a tutor. These private lessons will account for about 500 hours of the next 11 months.

There’s also the grammar hour. I like to get this out the way in the morning and so far I have completed a basic grammar book and I’m now doing the advanced book (which is really intermediate). I also have additional grammar workbooks that I do exercises on that help reinforce what I’ve learned from my primary grammar book. When I complete the current grammar book I will move on to the next, and I anticipate completing 3 such books between now and next June, with each being more challenging than the previous.

Then there’s the reading time of which I also have specific books. Currently I’m reading children’s books and I hope to graduate to novels by Stephen King and other authors but in Spanish. I see those novels at SuperMaxi for like $6 and I think to myself one day!

On this very thread I stated that I used a Spanish translation of my favorite English novel to study from and while the intention was good the choice of book was wrong because the Lexile level was simply too high for my level of comprehension in Spanish. This is why I have realistically resorted to Children’s books in which the reading level is easier but still quite challenging because of all the new vocabulary. One such book I read is Bat Pat. And a good thing about these books is that they specify age/grade and it will be cool to move up higher to eventually adult literature.

Post with bad syntax.

What were some mistakes I made along the way?

1. Not treating Spanish seriously, when in reality this is a serious, expansive, and beautiful language. Initially I thought, ahh it’s just Spanish and I’ll get it just by living here and doing some studying.

2. Studying arbitrarily was another mistake and one that cost me time. This was a big mistake on my part but have moved on and made tremendous progress afterwards.

3. Choosing material and not completing it or choosing inadequate material. If I buy a book now, I complete it, whether it’s reading material or grammar material. I know some books are not good/adequate but research before buying helps avoid this.

4. Being impatient with tutors. It takes time to develop chemistry with a tutor so in one case I went from what I thought was a bad tutor to one that was worse. So give it some time.

5. Relying on English speaking Ecuadorian friends to learn from. In my case some are impatient and will switch to English, and in many instances after a few beers that happens anyway.

vsimple :

Alright as being discussed there are numerous variables, and some that are positive others negatives, and some that can go either way.

Living in a Spanish speaking country is definitely a positive variable because of the obvious.

Motivation is definitely a huge variable that can either be positive or negative. It’s one thing to be motivated for a month or two, but it’s another matter to remain motivated for a sustained amount of time like year(s). I know this in the positive and negative sense from life experiences and I’m adamant in remaining motivated.

To remain motivated I devised a plan that accounted for variables such as time and resources to achieve (Level 3 by June 2018).

So what is this plan?

One of the most important aspects of my plan is time allocation. Five hours from my daily schedule were freed up and I have allocated between 3-4 hours per day to learning Spanish. This is very important because the time has to be available. Learning Spanish had to be respected in the schedule and treated like an obligation/necessity (e.g. work/sleep). Those hours then had to have a reason as in how much am I getting from each hour.

Planning 4 hours of self-study per day was not practical for me. I knew it, and if I did I would have burned out. It’s just too consuming and I know this from personal experience and therefore have allocated specific hours for private lessons with a tutor.

There are also factors like conversation, listening comprehension, accountability, pronunciation, and many other benefits that come by hiring a tutor. These private lessons will account for about 500 hours of the next 11 months.

There’s also the grammar hour. I like to get this out the way in the morning and so far I have completed a basic grammar book and I’m now doing the advanced book (which is really intermediate). I also have additional grammar workbooks that I do exercises on that help reinforce what I’ve learned from my primary grammar book. When I complete the current grammar book I will move on to the next, and I anticipate completing 3 such books between now and next June, with each being more challenging than the previous.

Then there’s the reading time of which I also have specific books. Currently I’m reading children’s books and I hope to graduate to novels by Stephen King and other authors but in Spanish. I see those novels at SuperMaxi for like $6 and I think to myself one day!

On this very thread I stated that I used a Spanish translation of my favorite English novel to study from and while the intention was good the choice of book was wrong because the Lexile level was simply too high for my level of comprehension in Spanish. This is why I have realistically resorted to Children’s books in which the reading level is easier but still quite challenging because of all the new vocabulary. One such book I read is Bat Pat. And a good thing about these books is that they specify age/grade and it will be cool to move up higher to eventually adult literature.

Having a solid achievable plan, and sticking to it is probably half the battle. You seem to have a really strong plan in place. Would argue with you about your take on motivation.  We could very well disagree, and not trying to get into a right or wrong argument. I think that your take on motivation would fall more under the category of self discipline, and personal accountability. Problem I have with motivation is that it's not much more than an emotion. Not a bad emotion, but it's pretty darn hard to stay consistent on a daily basis if you're relying on motivation to guide you.  Think that stong self discipline will guide you much better than trying to stay motivated. Also threw personal accountability in there as well, because self discipline, and personal accountability usually go hand in hand. Let's be realistic. There probably isn't going to be anyone (other than you) holding you responsible for your progress.

j600rr :
vsimple :

Alright as being discussed there are numerous variables, and some that are positive others negatives, and some that can go either way.

Living in a Spanish speaking country is definitely a positive variable because of the obvious.

Motivation is definitely a huge variable that can either be positive or negative. It’s one thing to be motivated for a month or two, but it’s another matter to remain motivated for a sustained amount of time like year(s). I know this in the positive and negative sense from life experiences and I’m adamant in remaining motivated.

To remain motivated I devised a plan that accounted for variables such as time and resources to achieve (Level 3 by June 2018).

So what is this plan?

One of the most important aspects of my plan is time allocation. Five hours from my daily schedule were freed up and I have allocated between 3-4 hours per day to learning Spanish. This is very important because the time has to be available. Learning Spanish had to be respected in the schedule and treated like an obligation/necessity (e.g. work/sleep). Those hours then had to have a reason as in how much am I getting from each hour.

Planning 4 hours of self-study per day was not practical for me. I knew it, and if I did I would have burned out. It’s just too consuming and I know this from personal experience and therefore have allocated specific hours for private lessons with a tutor.

There are also factors like conversation, listening comprehension, accountability, pronunciation, and many other benefits that come by hiring a tutor. These private lessons will account for about 500 hours of the next 11 months.

There’s also the grammar hour. I like to get this out the way in the morning and so far I have completed a basic grammar book and I’m now doing the advanced book (which is really intermediate). I also have additional grammar workbooks that I do exercises on that help reinforce what I’ve learned from my primary grammar book. When I complete the current grammar book I will move on to the next, and I anticipate completing 3 such books between now and next June, with each being more challenging than the previous.

Then there’s the reading time of which I also have specific books. Currently I’m reading children’s books and I hope to graduate to novels by Stephen King and other authors but in Spanish. I see those novels at SuperMaxi for like $6 and I think to myself one day!

On this very thread I stated that I used a Spanish translation of my favorite English novel to study from and while the intention was good the choice of book was wrong because the Lexile level was simply too high for my level of comprehension in Spanish. This is why I have realistically resorted to Children’s books in which the reading level is easier but still quite challenging because of all the new vocabulary. One such book I read is Bat Pat. And a good thing about these books is that they specify age/grade and it will be cool to move up higher to eventually adult literature.

Having a solid achievable plan, and sticking to it is probably half the battle. You seem to have a really strong plan in place. Would argue with you about your take on motivation.  We could very well disagree, and not trying to get into a right or wrong argument. I think that your take on motivation would fall more under the category of self discipline, and personal accountability. Problem I have with motivation is that it's not much more than an emotion. Not a bad emotion, but it's pretty darn hard to stay consistent on a daily basis if you're relying on motivation to guide you.  Think that stong self discipline will guide you much better than trying to stay motivated. Also threw personal accountability in there as well, because self discipline, and personal accountability usually go hand in hand. Let's be realistic. There probably isn't going to be anyone (other than you) holding you responsible for your progress.

Clearly we disagree.

For me motivation is one thing and self-discipline is another. Motivation is the reason(s), drive, desire and it answers why I am doing this. I shared some reasons such as disparity between my English and Spanish, but it’s deeper than that.

I think everyone should ask themselves why they want to learn Spanish, and specifically to what degree, and that reason should be the motivating factor or the drive that keeps them on track towards their goal(s).  A person can have the most self-discipline but if he/she is not motivated then they will eventually give up.

vsimple :

Clearly we disagree.

For me motivation is one thing and self-discipline is another. Motivation is the reason(s), drive, desire and it answers why I am doing this. I shared some reasons such as disparity between my English and Spanish, but it’s deeper than that.

I think everyone should ask themselves why they want to learn Spanish, and specifically to what degree, and that reason should be the motivating factor or the drive that keeps them on track towards their goal(s).  A person can have the most self-discipline but if he/she is not motivated then they will eventually give up.

Then we will have to agree to disagree :)  Would be a pretty dull, boring, plain world if everyone agreed on every subject.

I will try to give a proper update in September, but as is I am way behind in terms of hours. I’ve only been putting 1.5 hours on average per day. Too much going out, too much drinking, too much doing nothing. Hey it’s August!

But my listening comprehension has improved, and that’s what’s awesome about living in a Spanish speaking country. Actually the improvements are all over the place, I remember when I had to press pause just to read subtitles, I don’t do that anymore.

In previous posts Spanish proficiency assessment was mentioned and the Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE) that Nards Barley posted about is the best choice for Ecuador. The reason is the availability of the actual exams and also preparation courses in Ecuador. At Católica, a private university in Quito, they offer conversation courses and exams for the levels. So I think this is important  for people who want to demonstrate their Spanish proficiency for whatever reason whether it’s education or employment. This is similar to the English equivalent of TOEFL/IELTS as it makes sense to prepare for the exam that is accepted in specific region or institution.

As for personal progress, for several weeks, I have not followed the system detailed above. To a large extent I’ve disregarded the schedule. So I’m not sure what the consequences are with regards to achieving level C1 by June 2018. This was clearly arbitrary and I have to get back on schedule in some form for accountability sake.

One other thing is despite the aforementioned I am very confident in conversation at this point. But despite this being a positive I have to keep it in check because where I am now, level B1, (probably 40% proficiency based on assessment) and my goal remains a long way off. I’m sharing my mindset to emphasize the risks of being complacent. One of the reality checks for me is a new friend from Quedevo because the dialect and the pace of talking is challenging and which I appreciate although I do insist on a slower pace of talking.

And in essence socializing with locals which I’m relentless at along with reading has been my Spanish study the past several weeks. Relatively speaking, a tremendous amount of conversation time over that period, and of course whatsapp voice messaging/memos in tidbits which has become quite popular as many locals are using it more often to communicate. This of course is absolutely beneficial for Spanish learners because we hear the message, some of which are challenging, and reply with our own voice message, and I’ll take that over texting any day.

People have this hobby or that passion; mine is learning Spanish and the rewards are exponential. The parallelism between continuously improving Spanish and making friendships and acquaintances, better interaction with locals in general, gaining more local knowledge, and basically improving lifestyle or assimilation is beautiful.

I’d like to add to my previous post and I should have emphasized DELE more. The DELE is basically diplomas issued based on Spanish proficiency or passing levels A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2. Achieving the diplomas for most of us is not what is important because we don’t need them but the structure is very important.

For instance before I knew my level I was all over the place with reading material. I chose novels that were too challenging, I chose a book from Supermaxi with all our favorite childhood stories but in Spanish, but the writing was outdated and weird.

So identifying my DELE level which is B1 in general I was able to better pick material to use that was appropriate for my level. I stated “B1 in general” because DELE is based on listening comprehension, reading, writing, and speaking. In listening I’m probably A2, reading B2, talking and writing B1, so it’s not exactly perfect but good enough.

So how does one benefit by knowing their DELE level?

For today I will elaborate on reading. Go to Amazon.com and search for Spanish A1/A2/B1/B2/C1 for example. You will find numerous Kindle books that are 100% appropriate for your level. This is very motivating because unlike most books these books are structured to help you retain vocabulary and not only that they won’t frustrate you with overwhelming new vocabulary. Some even have exercises.

Of course you don’t need an actual Kindle as you can simple download the Kindle app to your phone, laptop or whatever. And I especially love the Kindle app on my phone because if you don’t know a word you can simply click on it and get the definition immediately. 

What’s also great about the Kindle app is you have 4 colors to highlight text. I use one color for new vocab, one for challenging grammar, one for phrases and another color for tricky words. You of course can use the highlight however you wish.

Hey guys,
How are you doing?
My name is Shima and I'm an English and Spanish instructor in Quito.
You are all welcome to my Spanish class, holding everyday (except Saturday and Sunday) from 4:00 pm to 6:00 at Gestion de La Movilidad de La Provincia Pichincha located on 10 de agosto y Buenos Aires, Edificio Merino, Piso 4.
The course is FREE.
Spanish level 1 started on Sep. 4th and lasts until October 13th. If you have other questions, text me in private.

All the best,

Shima

Shima86 :

Hey guys,
How are you doing?
My name is Shima and I'm an English and Spanish instructor in Quito.
You are all welcome to my Spanish class, holding everyday (except Saturday and Sunday) from 4:00 pm to 6:00 at Gestion de La Movilidad de La Provincia Pichincha located on 10 de agosto y Buenos Aires, Edificio Merino, Piso 4.
The course is FREE.

Spanish level 1 started on Sep. 4th and lasts until October 13th. If you have other questions, text me in private.

All the best,

Shima

Thank you Shima for that valuable information. I am sure it will be beneficial to expats who are starting to learn Spanish in Quito. This is one of the reasons why I love Ecuador because despite being a small developing nation they sure provide a lot of free activities/services for citizens, residents and tourists. I will post the information you posted again to make it more noticeable. 

Free Spanish Beginner Lessons:

Gestion de La Movilidad de La Provincia Pichincha (parque ejido area)
10 de agosto y Buenos Aires, Edificio Merino, Piso 4.
From 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

In the previous two posts I wrote that I had disregarded my syllabus with the exception of reading. I am back on track and have been for the past 3 weeks. I also stated that it remains to be seen if leaving the syllabus would have consequences. And the answer is clearly yes! I know so because of the progress I’ve made the past three weeks relative to arbitrary study.

So how can someone remain on track in their studies? IMO I think studies should be treated like a college schedule. There are weekends, holidays, and summer breaks and so on. I’m serious as grammar books and intensity of studying take a toll. So my new schedule takes that into account with weekends being discretionary learning. And even reading which I love, I resort to reading a secondary novel that I only read at that time.

My syllabus currently uses the following books: General grammar (Advanced Spanish by Barbara Bregstein), Focused grammar (Perfecting the Past in Spanish by Gordon Smith), Vocabulary (Understand Spanish Conversation by Joe Kowlozski), Novel 1- Level B1 (Miedo Bajo Tierra by Sofia Mello), Weekend Novel Level B2 (Una Chica Triste by Juan Fernández), Arbitrary non-fiction reading (Guía de hábitos inteligentes by I.C. Robeldo).

For conversation, I no longer have a tutor, it wasn’t sustainable cost wise despite budgeting the money as I rather use it for something else. And my friends suffice in this crucial aspect of learning Spanish. For instance this past weekend I had about 5 hours of one-on-one conversations, in one occasion dinner, and in another a conversation at a café. There's also daily corresponding usually over whatsapp, and sometimes meeting a friend during a weekday. Surely a tutor adds more hours, and a tutor organizes topics and will interrupt to make corrections. This is something my friends rarely do now, unless I’m way off with a word or if I need to clarify something. But that's where I am now with regard to speaking. I can converse in several topics for hours and reading continues to increase my vocabulary which I use during conversation. This combination is the most effective way for me to "own", new words.

In all I have about 8 months until my self-imposed deadline to reach level C1, and I’m confident. And to put it into context admission to universities in Spain require level C2. But I’m not even thinking about C2 now.

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