Read a Spanish newspaper to advance your level.
Hey everyone, I thought I'd pass on a strategy from a friend that turned out to be far more brilliant that I had imagined.
When discussing language learning with a friend, the topic of reading materials came up. He asked me which newspaper I was using. I told him that I have been browsing a couple of Spanish newspapers online and was reading CNN in Spanish. He told me I was making a mistake. He said I should be reading an actual paper newspaper. He said I would see twice the Improvement. I was skeptical, but being that his level of Arabic has always amaze me, I thought that he might be onto something.
In all the towns and cities around mine I see a yellow dispenser with free Spanish newspapers. I started making a habit of getting one of these each week and browsing through it in my free time. Sure enough after a few weeks I noticed an improvement in my reading.
There is no magic to the actual paper, but holding it instead of reading on a screen allows me to focus on what I'm reading and not be distracted by the thousands of notifications and messages that come in each week. I also find myself frequenting businesses in Spanish speaking neighborhoods. I now have a favorite Argentine bakery, two favorite Mexican restaurants, a favorite Ecuadorian Pizzeria, and about ten places where I can get empanadas.
Language learning on my phone and tablet almost made me forget the purpose of learning Spanish was to use it face to face with people ;)
Has anyone else had this epiphany too?
I wouldn't call it an epiphany, but in Spain if I saw a newspaper or really whatever laying around, I would go check it out. And I think talking has always been the fun thing to do, and for me the most eficiente way to learn; and I think Duolingo is a resource that can augment that, but there are many people who are nervous to start talking with little info....so here is good for them.
But yes reading newspapers or whatever, and problably moreso talking, are helpful things.
Those of us who are nervous to speak need to remember not to hide behind studying for that perfect day when we're ready to speak.
Someone once told me you need to have 1000 conversations to be fluent. I'm only about 150 conversations in, but I'll let everyone know if magic happens right after number 999 ;)
Actually the fear of making mistakes is a primary reason why I think people over 15 struggle more with languages (not everyone but some, and please dear god people who want to say there are other reasons don't leave a comment saying that as if it is not know; it is).
I don't buy that; it depends what kind of conversations they are. And being fluent is just a clasifacation, that can be gotten closer to that eventually we cross.
I have a fluent friend who told me that you can only become fluent when you are willing to make mistakes. That makes sense to me.
I work hard at being "mistake free" on Duolingo... and I think that adds to my fear when I have actual conversations with Spanish speakers.
Fortunately, most Spanish speakers I communicate with are more than happy to help me with my Spanish if I will help them with their English.
Hi rahtjen, it has been my experience too with Spanish speakers that they are VERY happy that you are giving their language a try. They smile and, if you ask them to correct your mistakes, they will but mostly they just appreciate your making the effort. I think our fears hold us back way too much and I like the idea of 1000 conversations to be fluent although probably there is always more to learn. :)
I wouldn't go that far; the context there exposed to and just possibly having one language I think affects this....but I think a point is clear is that they do a lot of trial and error because that is their one route to communicate.And I don't know if it is even right to say they don't feel embaressed; they might just not have a choice (a kid with a stutter who struggles to communicate, and hypothetical disaproval from other that comes with that could impede them from trying to talk). I still have not read any neuroscience on that, which is the piece of the component I am missing. And that is just to say that understanding functional differences in how brains work at different ages seems like a worthwhile factor.
Those sites are smart. I really should do it with French; I am just so garbage relatively with thinks like writing. And I haven't found a great motivating context, which I think is a key of learning a language: payout. If that doesn't happen, it is a very long slog. And that is why I like talking and sites like those, generally.
I believe you are right, a lot of people are too afraid to make mistakes and I would definitely feel uncomfortable speaking Spanish at my level, because there would be tons of mistakes as I have very little vocabulary at this point.
I think that some people are afraid to speak a language unless they are fluent and won't make mistake, which will never happen. English is my second language, I have worked ten years in a company where all my email correspondence and most of the verbal communication and meetings are in English. I have conducted full day courses on our business, industry and strategy in English and tons of job interviews. I have lived in English speaking countries for three years. I am so used to reading and writing in English that I almost prefer it over my native language. I still haven't kicked my Danish accent and probably never will. I still make mistakes all the time, hell I make mistakes in Danish all the time, but I don't care whether I accidentally use the wrong word or forget something. It happens and will always happen. Even the best communicators in the world don't speak perfectly all the time.
I don't know how much vocabulary is needed to be able to start speaking in a language, but yeah, I don't feel I am there yet in Spanish even though at school, we pretty much started speaking simple sentences very early on. Even simple conversations will get you more used to using the language and not thinking in translations, but I would feel uncomfortable at this time.
Thanks for sharing your ideas and tips. Reading Spanish Newspapers sounds like a great idea, however, I live in a fishing village without the Spanish Newspapers available. So I browse online for free Spanish and bilingual books. I have expanded my vocabulary by reading and rereading Spanish Children's Literature. I also substitute teach in Spanish Immersion classrooms and have learned many classroom related words from the students. Speaking Spanish is not easy yet as I have to speak with my very limited vocabulary. I often want to say more but lack the words I want to use.
Do you have a link for free Spanish Newspapers?
BBC World News is available in several different languages, including Spanish. I used to read it with the ReadLang extension. That way, if I didn't know a word or several words, I would highlight those for a translation. Later, ReadLang would let me review the words I had missed along the way. I had the paid version of the app. It let me highlight and translate more words, which increased the accuracy of the translation. I'm not sure what the other feature differences there were between the paid and free app. Anyhow, I highly recommend the combo of BBC News in Spanish and ReadLang. :)
I love the idea. I've really enjoyed reading the free Spanish paper that I pick up at my favorite Mexican restaurant. And yes, actually having it in my hands has helped a lot. I take time to peruse and then go over it again. In fact, you just helped me decide where I'm going to lunch today! :)
I tried similar thing with german. It helps a bit, but I can´t say it was exactly a wonder. I find books or listening to radio more effective (even though, listening does not help that much with reading, i guess). Nevertheless, german newspapers are generally interesting as hell, so it was worth it anyway.