The local grocery stores have free newspapers that one can pick up after one’s shopping. The most popular one is this newspaper “El Españolito”, which one can only get on Saturdays. On Sundays, it’s all gone. Sigh. Language learning is a marathon and it is too slow. After a year of learning Spanish for 30 minutes a day, I have progressed to the point that I can understand a portion of each sentence. However, often there will always be several words that are unrecognizable, which throw the meaning of the whole sentence off. Still, it is a progress. “Chismes” in one of the newspapers is new to me, and the online dictionary tells me it means “gossip”. Haha. I should have guessed it. And “reguetón” means reggaeton, a Latin dance. I should have guessed this too since I used to have a DVD of reggaeton fitness, which I exercised with every week.
The thing is half of the Spanish words are cognates of English words. This lulls one into a false sense of comprehension. When one encounters “arena”, one thinks it should be like an open air theater or stadium, but it actually means “sand” in Spanish. How could you? You trick me.
The problem of learning a language is that it is very boring and repetitive. So the reduction of boredom is really an important task. I have the following strategies to boost the spirit, at least for the time being:
Interesting Little Posts
Instagram has many interesting photos and videos about a foreign language. Just search “learn Spanish”, or “learn Thai”, a big bunch of Instagram posts and stories will come up. It is good for learning words and phrases. It is more interesting to scroll through these posts than to follow a language app. It is said there are more interesting stuff on Tiktok, but I don’t have Tiktok installed for fear of getting myself addicted to it.
Small Is Good
I found that a small dictionary can boost one’s spirit. I mean a small Spanish-English dictionary with less than 10,000 words will make you feel really good since you know more than half of the words in it. In contrast, a big dictionary will make one depressed.
Songs And Lyrics
There are a lot of songs with bilingual subtitles on YouTube, which is a great way to make one relax while learning a little bit of language.
I subscribed to several YouTube language learning channels and I now receive email from them at least once a week. I feel that reading the email gives me a good feeling. I know it is an email sent to many people, but still it feels like a Spanish message especially for me.
I am still searching for an easy blog, but so far I haven’t found any. Most of the blogs in Spanish or in Thai are too difficult for me at this point. Right now I am at the awkward stage of considering the beginning level writing boring, but not understanding more interesting stuff. It is said this awkward stage will last for a very long time. Usually one can get over this stage by reading 3 million words, which is equivalent of about 30 books. The problem is where to find 30 books that is suitable for one to read and not boring one to death.
It is said one should get a notebook and write down all the words and the associated words down, but I haven’t been able to do this yet.