I should probably start by saying that I’m still not fluent in Spanish after a fairly solid effort that took place over a year. I will also say that I finished my Masters in that time, so I was a little* busy. Excuses or not, I’m not an expert but over that period of time I figured out what worked and what didn’t. So let me give some of you some advice so you can avoid some of my mistakes!
I try to apply this idea to working out in case you wanted to get a little more fit on top of learning a language. While I was teaching myself Spanish I made it a very serious effort to study each and every day, even if some days I had a really short or almost meaningless lesson, it was still incredibly important to me that I showed up everyday and at least kept my mind in the right place. I didn’t make this super strict like I do with my workouts since mental power is a little different to refine than physical power. I at least opened up my Duolingo application or wrote some notes down or even just watched Netflix shows in Spanish. The point is, I showed up ready and willing to learn a little bit of my target language each and every day, was every day perfect? Absolutely not, but I at least showed up!
I will continue to sing the song about how much I love simple living until the day I die, this lifestyle of language learning is no different. There are so many different applications and language learning services/platforms available, the magical paradox of choice is very real and this topic of language learning really highlights that fact. I chose three “methods” that were key to my language learning journey. The primary one being Duolingo, probably one of my favorite applications to this date, not only was the interface incredibly clean but the content only continued to grow in both size and scope. The next part was actually what I call “assimilation”, this consisted of changing the language of my two operating systems to operate in my target language, watching TV with a bare minimum of Spanish subtitles and talking to Spanish speaking people as much as possible (Thankfully work had many bilingual people). The third and final tool I used was based on pen and paper, as much as I love the digital landscape we’ve all been using for several years now I can’t help but think there…