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 Estrella, a 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.