https://www.duolingo.com/TessTales

What inspired you to start the Spanish tree?

This is really just a way for me to get to know some more people on here and to see what it is that motivates people to learn this language.

For me, it's a combination of two things. First is that I used to speak it as a young child (To this day, my mother bemoans the fact that I refused to watch TV in anything but Spanish as a toddler) but later lost my fluency due to me not having someone who would speak to me and lack of immersion as I became fascinated with new shows which sadly, weren't Spanish and then just a shoddy Spanish education one I entered school (Spanish teachers who refused to speak a word of it outside of displaying new vocabulary. Who proceeded to punish me with phone calls home about questioning their methods and my desire for them to speak to me in Spanish. But that's another story). It's always annoyed me that I lost that so now I'm trying to learn again.

Part two would have to be that both of my nieces are Spanish and I have no desire to deprive them of part of their heritage. Not to mention that they have several older relatives who speak mainly in Spanish still and I would hate to have them not be able to communicate with them just because no one in their primary household aside from their father (who rarely speaks Spanish in the house due to us being a monolingual family) speaks the language and as such, doesn't encourage them to speak it.

So share what motivates you, if you want!

3 years ago

21 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/no.name.42
no.name.42
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I'm interested in Aztec and Mayan culture, particularly the Nahuatl language, spoken by the Aztecs and about a million and and a half people in Mexico and the US. That and the fact that the US (my home country) is the second largest Spanish speaking country, is the main reason I study Spanish.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TessTales

Yeah, you can't really go anywhere here in the US without hearing someone speak Spanish.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ElimGarak

I started learning Spanish in middle school - it was part of KYSS (Keyboard - computer typing, Social Skills - etiquette, and Spanish). I moved to another state and they didn't officially start Spanish until High School, so I was out of practice for two years. In High School I took levels 1-6 (three years). I was rather annoyed with levels 5 and 6 because we were assigned to the same classroom, time, and teacher as the level 4 students so that meant that all five of us would be sent to the cafeteria to watch videos and do our own materials so I didn't have the same access to the teacher to ask questions when the material became difficult - so I did not take levels 7 or 8. After that, I was on my own. I continued studying making due with the materials I had collected and whatever textbooks I could find from second-hand stores, but because there was no one to talk with, my skills became rusty. I did take an opportunity to visit an Ecuadorian friend of mine. In that time, I realized that I the challenge had helped me to realize that I knew more than I thought I did. Afterwards, I redoubled my efforts over the next few years. It wasn't until about a year ago that I started doing DuoLingo, which had been suggested to me by my brother but I had put it off because the immersion concept sounded intimidating. Finally I decided to give it a chance. It gave me a new-found confidence and helped me remember things that I had forgotten long ago. I've done the Spanish tree twice now, and I've just begun on the reverse tree (learning English from Spanish) and it felt a little slow at first - but it threw a few interesting concepts at me so I'm looking forward to what other challenge it presents. To prevent myself from having the problem I had before - I've taken to talking to speaking Spanish aloud whether or not somebody else is around. Sure I get teased about it from time to time, but it's all in good fun.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Seanchai35

Almost could have written your post! The only thing different for me was that I was lucky enough to have excellent Spanish teachers from elementary school all the way up until my very last year of high school, and then I had one such as you describe... I fought like crazy not to lose my Spanish, but by the end of that year, due to the combination of a lazy teacher who gave only "open book" tests and didn't bother to control the class or actually speak any Spanish, and a lack of native speakers to practice with, I could tell that I was rapidly losing any real sense of fluency. It felt really odd to have to think about words and grammar, as I'd never struggled with either one in Spanish or English up to that point.

I enrolled in Spanish in college and things went from bad to worse - I studied hard over the summer and passed into Spanish 301 on my entrance exam but had a professor who dumped me in remedial Spanish for "being white" (her exact words!) and then proceeded to punish me for using vocabulary we hadn't learned yet in the assignments, and who constantly criticized my accent because it was Cuban instead of Argentinian. (After 6 months, I finally got her to admit that there was nothing actually wrong with my accent, but she thought her accent was "prettier.") I came out of that experience having lost all practical abilities to speak Spanish (I can gringo my way through it, but man, it's painful).

End result, I not only lost most of my Spanish, but thanks to the good professor, my confidence in the language took a heck of a knock, and I stopped trying to speak it for the next 15 years or so. My receptive language is still good (I can understand about 85% of what is said to me and what I read), my written Spanish is clumsy but passable (I usually end up digging around to make sure I've got the structure correct before I dare to finalize what I'm trying to write) and my spoken Spanish, well... according to one of my cousins, "You sound perfect, but you can't say much anymore!"

It almost feels like I've lost a part of myself, since I spoke both languages with such ease when I was young, so I feel like I owe it to myself to get that piece of my life back... and in a way, I owe it to my Cuban family too, since they were good enough to participate in raising me, be my godparents, etc. My ultimate goal is to be able to call each of them up and just have a conversation entirely in Spanish again, something I haven't done in decades, and that none of them know I'm working on.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Elizabeth261736

I've heard something similar, "You can't say much, but what you can say is good." However, I'm sure that you are far more competent in Spanish than I am.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Seanchai35

Thanks for the compliment, but considering how much further down the tree you are than I, I suspect you could get along much better than I could at the moment! :) My on the spot word recall is absolutely abysmal these days, which was the main reason I decided to go ahead and start the Duolingo course even though a lot of it feels painfully easy when I'm sitting at the computer. Speaking it well again is a whole other hill to climb, but I've found the review helpful in repopulating the amount of vocabulary I can articulate without prompting or stammering. It is a huge leg up to know how words are pronounced and to have certain grammar things hardwired into my brain, though, so I'm sure you and I will both get to "not too embarrassing" levels eventually. Buena suerte!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TessTales

Wow, you've definitely been on a ride with Spanish! I know you can get your fluency back. This means too much to you for you to accept anything else!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Seanchai35

Thanks! I've seen some substantial improvement with my word recall and confidence already, and I'm not even at two months yet - just having the incentive to do a little each day to keep my streak going has made a big difference. I wasn't sure how much progress I was really making, at first, but a couple of weeks ago our awesome plumber had to come out to fix something, and he was chatting away with his son-in-law about a local church that he was impressed with, that I know to be predatory toward immigrants (particularly Mexican immigrants, as they both are). His son-in-law (whose English is much better, and who thus had copped on to some of the slimy stuff this particular church is up to) was trying to tell him to be careful, and dad-in-law wasn't having any of it, so after a few minutes of back and forth between them, I politely mentioned some specific things I knew that church to have done (mostly scamming free labor out of people with little English; telling them they'd be paid later, and then when the job was done, telling them no, they'd donated their time to the church and didn't that feel good? etc) Dad-in-law dropped his wrench in shock and asked me where in Cuba I was from, and why had I never spoken Spanish before. :D I still sound like a seven year old who knows a few too many big words (which is pretty much how I sounded in Spanish and English at seven, lol), but I'm getting there - Duo and Spanishdict work wonders, if you're willing and able to put the effort in. ¡Puede hacerlo también!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CosmoKaiza
CosmoKaiza
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I like the language and it is really useful. In Geneva, we have a big spanish minority from spain and I really like it when I hear it in the streets. + My brother might have a family with his spanish girlfriend and their kids will probably speak Spanish so better start it now ! And I want to travel around Spain and South America

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Elizabeth261736

I spoke a little Spanish as a child between the ages of 3 and 8, and am now tired of sounding like a small child albeit with a reasonably good accent. I would like to eventually speak like a competent adult person. Because my Spanish abilities are so lopsided, it's been hard to figure out what level to take in a class. So, Duo is helpful in rounding that out.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Fay306893

I am a senior citizen and retired. I was spending a LOT of time playing spider etc. I decided I needed to spend at least a little time doing something constructive. I had Spanish in high school but that was 50 years ago, and did not remember much at all. Never did get that good in it anyway. I just recently got my IPAD and somehow stumbled across the DUOLING app. I decided that studying Spanish might be a good way to spend some of my time. I still play spider, and now with my IPAD, some other games, but do spend quite a bit of time with DUOLINO. (I also use some other sources) on my desktop.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CherryFran1

I've always been told I look Spanish. There was a rumor going around my school when I was a kid that I was the Spanish teachers secret daughter! Coupled with that and the fact that I find it such a pleasant language to listen to and so fluid and effortless to speak. :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/OB934

i have school!!!!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/txstbobcat
txstbobcat
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I grew up in Texas and always wanted to learn Spanish.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Lrtward
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I studied it in high school and college, and taught ESL through my church for a couple of years when I was younger, then let it lapse. I studied on SpanishDict for a while and then discovered Duolingo. I didn't like it at first, but then I came back and got hooked. Now I've completed my Spanish tree and done the French for Spanish speakers tree as well. I love it!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TessTales

That's awesome. So through Duolingo and some self study, you were able to have the foundation to do a tree made for learning from that language?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Lrtward
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Yes, but it was quite a bit of study in addition to Duo. If I had not studied several years of Spanish before Duolingo, I think it would have taken a lot more outside work on the grammar, specifically the verb tenses and the subjunctive. As it was, SpanishDict and Duo were great for refreshing all that. So it would have been possible but it would have taken longer.

After finishing my Spanish tree I did a lot of reading and listening, first "News in Slow Spanish" and short news clips, then the radio, TV series, movies, and novels. Also flashcards on ANKI, music on my iPod, etc. And I spoke with others via video chat on Verbling (in their "Community" tab).

After four years or so I got pretty decent at Spanish... decent enough that a LOT of effort on my part wasn't really producing any significant improvement in my Spanish. I felt like my effort was being wasted, in a way, so I decided to pick up French. But I did it as a Spanish speaker because I didn't want to lose my Spanish like I had before.

My Spanish has lapsed some over the past year and a bit that I've been studying French. I think I'm at a high B1 when before I was at a high B2 or maybe close to a low C1. I can still read, speak, listen, and write but I make more mistakes and it takes more effort than it did a year ago. That's just lack of practice. I can still think in Spanish but I fumble for words.

I wouldn't undertake a third language from my second without a strong understanding of the basics, especially the verb tenses. I probably make 80% of my mistakes in French and 20% of them in Spanish when doing reviews in the "French for Spanish speakers" course.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Leslie_Duo

Several years ago, I took a Spanish class on a whim, well, and also so that I could better communicate with a couple from Mexico that I was teaching English to. I thought I'd just take 1 semester of Community College Spanish & use that to help me. But I discovered that I really liked the language! And then I discovered that I really enjoyed the Hispanic culture and people. I ended up taking several CC classes & speaking w/ native speakers every chance I got. This led to spending time in Mexico & taking a couple of trips to Spanish speaking countries, and eventually to teaching beginning Spanish to a bunch of wonderful Gringos. So when I watched Luis von Ahn's original TED talk about Duolingo, I didn't know how I COULDN'T start the Spanish tree. The English from Spanish tree has also been great. I think speaking another language brings out a different side of us, one that we didn't know existed. My life is so much richer now. Duolingo is a wonderful tool and I truly appreciate all the hard work that the developers put into it every day.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ramadan

I don't even think many schools teach Spanish here in Australia :( Spanish is a very beautiful language. So many people speak the language and it's very useful. So far it's been easy learning the language but I bet it's gonna get harder

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tarunsaluja

I am a Travel Agent and i thought i could cater to spanish speaking travellers as well. Plus if, you do a job here in India, Spanish speakers are paid well in call centers.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Meralius

I live in Türkiye. I learned English in school and i wanted to learn a second foreign language. First i wanted to learn French but it came very difficult to me. Then i decided to learn Spanish. Because it pronounces like how it is written, just like Turkish. And Spanish is spoken in much countries. Also, i am a Pedro Almodovar fan. I wanted to understand his movies in their own language. :)

3 years ago
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