A good feeling
Yesterday I went on my fourth home visit to a Spanish speaking student since starting Duolingo in September. Each home visit I have found myself able to converse in Spanish with greater and greater ease. This time, however, one of the student's older cousins looked at me curiously and then asked, "¿Puedes hablar inglés?" (Can you speak English?). My Spanish was so proficient that the cousin did not even realize that I could speak English! We had to explain to the cousin that English was actually my native language.
That was a very good feeling, and a long way from the first home visit when I had to ask a family member not to translate when they saw me hesitating as I translated in my head.
Haha funny one. I wish I could reach that level with all my current languages one day
That is marvellous. Your dedication to communicating with both the students and their families is an inspiration. Here is a little shower of lingots!
I find it really satisfying when I start understanding small phrases I heard earlier in my life. For example, some sentences like "Te quiero amor mio" from a song called 'Bailamos', "Asi es Maria, blanca como el dia" from a Ricky Martin song were etched in my mind. There was certainly an 'Aha!' moment when I understood their meaning during the course.
Don't blame me for my choice in music - I was a kid then!
I see that you're on level 25 but out of curiosity, have you finished the tree? I'm nearing the end of mine and I feel like I'd really struggle to talk to people in Spanish. What did you find was the most effective way to learn?
I finished the tree on Day 100, exactly where you are now. I would always repeat practice sessions until I got a perfect score before going on to a new lesson. After I finished the tree I did the reverse tree, which I completed on Day 200 (I'm currently Level 24 in that course). I've also recently begun taking the course for Spanish speakers to learn French as a means of practicing my Spanish. I also used the Immersion section of the website to translate my blog into Spanish to insure I was practicing vocabulary that I actually use.
Outside of DuoIingo I made a point of practicing my Spanish through conversations with my students and their families as I was working my way through the tree. I would occasionally teach some of the Spanish I learned to interested students who did not speak Spanish (as I encouraged them to teach me bits of their own languages too). I also did a significant amount of reading in Spanish, including an advanced developmental psychology book. I'm currently in graduate school, and for some of my graduate courses I would do my assignments in Spanish before translating them to English. When I was between quarters I made a point of going to Spanish-speaking restaurants on a regular basis. I keep a reflective journal, and now I write my journal entries in Spanish as well. I'm also learning Vietnamese right now, and every day I will translate something I've learned in Vietnamese into Spanish.
To answer your question, the most effective way to learn is to not limit myself to only one way of learning. The more exposure you have to a language, the more effective your language learning will be. The key to becoming conversationally fluent is holding conversations. If you don't know anybody you can talk to in Spanish, find somebody who you can teach it to, or, as aldoCSenny suggests, try Skypeing with a Spanish speaker. My Spanish is not flawless, but due to regular use I have reached a point of comfort with the language that I expect will allow me to be able to get my bilingual teaching endorsement after I return from Mexico this summer.
Thanks for the comprehensive answer! Unfortunately I don't have any Spanish speakers to talk to but I have ordered a copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in Spanish to celebrate hitting my 100 day streak, so I'll see how I get on with that!
That's awesome congratulations revolphin I hope you get better and better everyday :D!
That is amazing! Congrats. Did you learn only on Duolingo, or also at school and such?
I took a little bit of Spanish in high school a couple of decades ago, but I retained very little from that. Since I made the decision to learn Spanish in September I have been using Duolingo supplemented with real-world use of the language through conversations, reading books, translating my blog, journalling in Spanish, etc.
Just a quick question, how on earth did you reach that level in Spanish? I've completed my spanish tree a while ago, and my language learning has sorta stagnated after that. Though I recently began practicing spanish with my cousin whenever I can (native speaker) and I've started noticing some improvements!
I used to feel that way a lot -- that I had stopped learning. Just keep going and try to ignore it. You will look back and see that you have actually learned quite a bit.
PS: Looking forward to our next duel :)
It is an interesting phenomenon -- when a person keeps working at a thing and progressing, they tend to feel that they're just treading water, because they have no outside perspective. That's one reason why joining local discussion groups and talking with native speakers and consuming alt-language media is helpful, to force you to take in new things and get out of your comfort zone.
Felicitaciones amigo, you could also try Skypeing, trust me its also very helpfull
I could see how it could be useful to someone who doesn't interact with Spanish speakers on a daily basis. I'm not sure that it would be any more useful to me than the face-to-face interactions i have every day. I'm expecting the biggest growth to occur during my three week trip to Mexico in July, though.
Te felicito! Esta muy motivante para ti, creo, porque a mi también me paso aunque solo por escrito, estuve en algún foro y parecía que había escrito correctamente, como si fuera una nativa, y me halagaron de tal forma como a ti, aunque se que no es lo mismo, que en lo escrito uno puede ser una fiera y en lo hablado un desastre, pero bueno, igual, me gustó.
Jaja, a mí me pasa eso con francés. Puedo leerlo y escribirlo sin ningún problema, pero mi pronunciación es pésima! :-P
Afortunadamente para mí, la pronunciación del español es bastante fácil. Me cuesta mucho pronunciar las palabras en francés (pero la pronunciación es muy hermosa).
The good thing about spanish is that it is mostly spoken the way it is written, that's the big advantage, not like with English or mentioned by you French;)
Porque la pronunciación francés es muy difícil, creo. Si tuviera que comparar las dos lenguas en lo que atańe a hablarlas, español sería un pan comido y francés un suplicio;) Aunque no sé como sería en realidad mi habla porque lamentablemente no he tenido la opurtunidad de poder expresarme frente a un nativo de espanol, pero creo que me las apanaria. Saludos!
I guess... but I'll probably have an extremely thick English accent. I've been progressing really slowly and I'm not exactly good at languages.
Wow, that's the best freakin' Duolingo-story I ever heard! Here, have a Lingot! :D