You Are Never Too Old To Learn
Or... you can teach an old dog new tricks!
I just completed the Spanish Tree in about 200 days, just two months shy of my 63rd birthday. I plan to keep it gold while I search out a way to improve my conversational side of Spanish. I found that Duolingo improves the listening, reading and writing aspects over the verbal. My "Thanks" to Duolingo for aiding me in my quest to learn Spanish. I wish that they had this when I was failing French in High School! :>) I must add that this program is quite addictive in nature... once you get started you don't want to stop...altogether, a really "cool" experience! Salud!
To improve your conversational side: try writing short paragraphs (like the one you wrote above, perhaps) in Spanish and submit it to Lang-8 for review, suggestions, and corrections. In return, you are expected to review and critique the writing of people learning English.
Other ideas for finding people to practice with (pen pals, video chat partners...) are below. I've used the first two with good results, and heard good things about the other three.
You create an account and a profile. Then you can search other peoples' profiles to find practice partners. You can search based on native language, learning language, country, hobbies, age, gender, and more. You can find email partners, Skype partners, or video chat partners. All communication is done initially through the website so you don't know the other person's email address, phone number, Skype ID etc. and they don't know yours unless you choose to tell them.
Requires a Google+ ID and you will have to install an add-on for your browser because it uses Google Hangouts. You sign up and indicate your native language and what languages you are learning. You can join a group chat for free. Chats exist for many languages at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. If a chat room isn't available (or if there are no openings in the language/level you need) it is super easy to create a new chat room. Chat is free, and you can look for personal teachers for $$ or join group classes for a small fee. The group classes were only for Spanish learners last time I looked.
I've made an account and logged in, but I haven't used it yet. You can make posts to help fellow learners, share interesting facts about your country/culture, etc. Kind of like Facebook but language/culture oriented. You can also look for practice partners - either find a consistent practice buddy or grab a partner who's logged in while you are.
I've not used this yet, only created an account. You can find practice partners here or professional instructors. You can also share articles.
I haven't used this one yet either. Topic based lessons, find a practice partner, community section.
Oh, I forgot: you can also take the "English for Spanish speakers" course. All the sentence discussions are in Spanish, and you can improve your Spanish by explaining things about English to folks who are asking for help. Also you can subscribe to the "Inglés (Español)" forum where there are ALWAYS folks looking for English speaking practice partners. Here's one recent example: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/15959190
Congratulations!! I can appreciate oldsters being able to learn! I'm 69 and working every day to strengthen my Spanish. I have especially noticed my written Spanish and use of accents have improved using Duolingo.
Hola! I just started about 3 weeks ago and I am learning so much! Duolingo is such a great way to other languages.
Way to go! You have encouraged me to continue onward and upward during a particularly difficult time, so thanks! You've really achieved something worthwhile!:-)
I entirely agree. I started this Spanish course last February, just after my 87th birthday and am now considered 22% fluent. On checking for the first time I was amazed to discover that I know 274 words in Spanish and can put sentences together and am finding it much easier than the French I struggled with at school.. It is definitely addictive and I am determined to complete the course!
Wonderful! I am so pleased to see more "mature learners (like me)"on this board. I took Latin in school, and if it was dead then.... I don't think it is even available now. I'm surprised how much it helped me later with english and now spanish. I want to eventually learn French.. I found out after my father had died at age 86, that he had spoken French as his Mother was French Canadian. Now I want to trace down that side of my family tree. What a shame he never shared that with his children...
wow. I really appreciate you. hope to stand where you do one of the days... (i have just started)
I totally agree with your "never too old to learn" comment. I'm 52 and loving this learning experience. Best wises to you. Just seek out Spanish speakers wherever you go and you will have so much fun with them. Communication in a new languages is so much fun!!
Congratulations to you, sir! I appreciate your demonstration that increasing age doesn't necessarily mean decreasing abilities or engagement. I also strongly agree about the addictive nature of Duolingo. I'm several years older than you, and have completed trees in French, Spanish, and Russian. I'm now completing the French and Spanish courses for Russian speakers to reinforce all three languages.
I found that using multiple resources additional to Duolingo really helped my Spanish. I especially enjoyed watching Gran Hotel and El Internado on Netflix with subtitles enabled in Spanish (I find that I am lazier in my listening with English subtitles).
Nice thread, Gord! I'll be 70 in November, and have had much enjoyment using my basic Spanish skills while traveling and working. I took 4 years of German in high school, but have attained more language skills in 6 months on Duolingo than I ever did in HS.
The idea of a forum is a good one. Here are some Lingots for everyone!
Because of apparent interest, ChrisWM4 has kindly initiated a new thread to continue this discussion topic, and others, by and for older learners and friends. Check it out and voice your thoughts: "Older Spanish learners"
So glad to hear from another over 55. So often we hear that language learning is nearly impossible at our age, but here we are. Thanks for posting. I'm pushing sixty and wondering how many more of us are learning a language.
A useful motivator for older learners, I'm sure. The question is - who will start/run it?
While I think it would be a useful addition to the discussions, I would like to see someone with a good deal of experience run it. I've only been on duolingo 40 days and I know there are a lot of things I would like to find out about.. I definitely find it more difficult to retain verb forms at my age. I found it useful to write down every vocab word and work on verbs off Duolingo. Gone are the days when just answering questions was enough for me to remember them. At least when I can't remember a word in English... I now can find it in Spanish!
The lingot was for making me chuckle - Even though I'm a native English speaker, I can often think of the Spanish word for something when the English eludes me. And I definitely want to use Spanish words when playing Scrabble or doing cryptic crosswords in English. BTW, I've found that persisting with Immersion (Spanish to English) has improved my Spanish vocabulary. Hover over a word often enough, something is bound to sink in.
Gracias! I can always use another lingot! I first noticed the substitution of Spanish for missing English with my husband. He is 89 years young and has spoken excellent Spanish with a Mexican accent for at least 75 of those years. He was diagnosed with late onset Alzheimer's two years ago... although he can't keep up with his work (he's an orchid biologist) he is doing very well so far. I noticed he was substituting Spanish for English more and more and that with his increasing paranoia influenced me to have him tested. So, while I'm pleased to find a way to complement my loss of some English words... I'm a little nervous that I might also have the beginnings of Alzheimer's. hmmm am I slightly paranoid now?
I'll start a post soonish as I work full-time, unless someone beats me to the draw.
I'm a year 'younger' :) and can vouch for both the fact you're never too old to learn, and what a great resource Duolingo is. Lingots to you!
Well done! I only started here a few days ago and have come from knowing almost zero Spanish, to actually understanding some. I am impressed with the learning technique used but I am just waiting for the tenses to sink in. The only thing that niggles me is if I click 'test' I am instantly presented with stuff I have not learned yet.... I am not complaining about it, it just niggles. Can anyone answer this. What does the hours count down on the right hand side of the screen mean?
Test out = you think you already know the level/material covered, and prove it by doing the test, to save going through a lesson(s) you already know. Ignore that facility at this stage, for sure. The hours countdown is the time you have left before your 'day' ends and you lose your streak (continuous days tally of learning). You can buy a streak protector with lingots in the store, in case you inadvertently lose your day's streak.
If you're in the early stages of learning, I'd say don't bother testing out. Just do all the exercises in each unit. Try not to miss any days--just keep your streak going (get the streak freeze as recommended by ChrisWM4), and in a year or two you'll know a lot of Spanish! Good luck!
I'm in the 50+ category, and have been using Duolingo off & on over the past 5 months to get ready for an extended trip to Central America this summer. I took Spanish in high school and loved it, but needed some serious drill work to sharpen my skills. Duo has definitely sped up my word recall and reading ability.
I find that using Duo along with audio/video (such as Destinos and others) and reading familiar material in Spanish has helped a lot. Having a few Spanish speaking friends helps too. I'm still a slowpoke, but I continue to improve.
I can't wait until school is out so I can Duo-Binge before the trip!
I wish I had Duo when I was in High School & College.
Felicidades! Keep up the good work. Like to see us older farts keeping the brain active.
Well done, Gord399475!! Keep it up!!
I'm 24 and I have started learning Spanish again. So far, slow progress.
What a great message! Thank you for the positive and upbeat inspiration. You're so right - it's never too late to learn something new.
I'm 79 and I am proud of the way I'm learning except:
When I say hello to my neighbor, a mexicana, she slaps my face and runs away.
According to my doctors I have 37 usable brain cells.
I might be opening the wrong file.
Or I might be using the right file from the wrong section of my brain.
hmmm and you are at level 16.. I hope to get there by my 79th birthday, also! Here in Costa Rica you say hello, good-bye, just about anything with a kiss, not a handshake. Perhaps you are a little too enthusiastic?
It was a joke.
I was making fun of those who think that old f-f-f-f-folks can't learn.
By the way, she doesn't slap my face and run away.