Spanish is coming along

I have not been writing anything in Spanish lately, mostly because my guinea-pig Spanish-class-colleague students have been increasingly busy as we get to the end of the year. Thus I’m not creating parallel stories that need correction before I give them to students. I will probably start writing again after school’s out, especially if I can find some students to practice on again.

Instead, I read about four chapters of a TPRS novel every day with the only teacher who can still give me twenty minutes of practice. Then I go home and read more there, sometimes children’s books from the library, and most often at least five or ten pages from Bajo la Misma Estrellaa translation of John Green’s The Fault in our Stars. I know the story, having read it a while ago in English, so I can hang in there in much the same way as our lower-level kids do in an Embedded Reading after the first version. I have improved to the point that I usually understand almost everything in three of four paragraphs. Total daily reading goal: one hour.

Lately, I’ve been sick again (I think preschool children’s viruses are taking their toll on me), so I spent four days down. For two of those days, I turned on my YouTube Dreaming Spanish subscription and watched/dozed/watched all day. That man is amazing! I now understand everything, but I love seeing what’s in his fridge and his little Madrid apartment, and hearing about his adventures. I wish I’d known about him to begin with, because I’d like to know how much I would have understood back in January.

Yesterday, I was over the moon again with this acquisition stuff. There was a new Radio Ambulante podcast, so I found the transcript, read it through, looked up about five words, and then listened while following the transcript again. It was about a plastic surgery gone bad. When I found myself squinting at the transcript because it was hurting me to think about it, I realized I’d moved through some sort of language door; I was reading for the story, rather than for the practice. There was no translation going on in my head. I wasn’t deconstructing sentences, partly because the journalists speak so fast. It’s great fun to be able to just get it. I’m amazed how empowering this process is.

(Weirdly enough, I am also beginning to pick up speed on my acquisition of ukulele. I had despaired of ever being able to play a stringed instrument, even this “easy” one.)

While I understand most past tense verbs, I wouldn’t be able to produce them. Or anything future other than voy a. I’m trying to notice subjunctive when I can. Mostly, I just read and listen and trust that eventually I will have enough input to start outputting with confidence in places where there might be “real” Spanish speakers.

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5 responses to “Spanish is coming along

  1. This is very encouraging. I am learning Portugués by re-watching a telenovela I watched previous Spanish. The familiarity is primes background knowlege. I had a conversation with someone in Portugués, of course, I understand more than I speak!

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  2. This is so inspiring! I am a Spanish teacher trying to learn Russian. I’m almost done with the Fluency Fast videos of Katya, and trying to find resources to continue learning with CI. Do you know of any similar videos, podcasts, or easy reading in Russian? I have two TPRS novels, but I don’t think I’m quite ready them yet.

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    • Dear rdixon, I can send you to my old class websites for some readings and songs. First, check out the oldest site: https://sites.google.com/site/whaleyrussian/home

      Choose periods 2,6, and 7, or the “Beginning Parent” section. Then scroll to the bottom of the page to click back to the beginning posts for that group.

      Then, click on “Song Sheets” https://sites.google.com/site/whaleyrussian/home/song-copies

      and you can get the song vocabulary. You can copy paste the titles into YouTube to hear the songs themselves.

      It occurs to me that I could probably create a little book of simple readings out of these. The only problem is that they’re all based on what kids and parents in my classes were doing, and therefore they make no sense and have no connections.

      Here’s a more recent page, missing two class periods for some reason: https://sites.google.com/a/asdk12.net/west-high-russian/home

      That site is only now intermediate and above, but there should be some interesting things if you need to procrastinate by clicking indiscriminately.

      I don’t maintain this page of links from the older site, so I hope that some of them work. (They bring back memories of kids who helped on this project.) https://sites.google.com/site/whaleyrussian/home/links

      I just found this DLI link: http://hs2.dliflc.edu/russian.html . Don’t know whether it works!

      Let me know if you have questions about anything. Watch Black Lightning if you can find it…(Russia’s answer to Batman).

      OH. I forgot something. There’s a free, online textbook now: http://www.mezhdunami.org/ While it’s still organized around grammar themes, there are a lot of readings with transcripts. Unfortunately, it’s not organized around most high fluency, as in this little page in chapter 4 including whether Sonya has a vacuum cleaner…http://www.mezhdunami.org/unit04/4_1/index.shtml

      I’m hoping some other Russian teachers will chime in, since current teachers might have more and better materials. But you’ve inspired me to go back and look at all the readings, perhaps with an eye to saving all this after our school district drops the site.

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    • One more thing, rdixon: I just found this (one of many) radio station on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/russian-radio-premier . I like it because the songs at least on this Sunday morning are the slower, more melodic than Russian stations in Russia, as well as being in Russian instead of in a lot of English and other European languages.

      You can search for words if you want to by typing текст песни ___ (the text of the song ___) when you fall in love with a song.

      When you hear, Радио Премьер представляет ___, (Radio Premier predstavlyait ___) it means Radio Premier presents…

      (I would be wanting to know what it meant after about the third repetition.)

      And last of all, I just did a search for Russian Audio with Transcripts, and came up with a full page of things to investigate. Can’t guarantee anything, but check it out!

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      • Rachel Dixon

        What a wealth of resources! Thanks so much! I have all the links bookmarked in a folder. I hope they don’t take down those old school webpages anytime soon!

        Liked by 1 person

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