Random Thoughts And Pondering On The Process Of Learning Spanish

Random Thoughts on Learning Spanish

So this morning I did an hour and 10 minutes of my daily review. That is how long it took me to go through all of the vocabulary and the pronunciation training too.

I’m convinced that I could be getting through the cards quicker though.

I am going to have to look at the setting on the amount of cards presented.  This is because I have to keep manually adding another 60 or so to get the new words for the day.

So what are my thoughts for today?

Well I have had a few insights into learning a language this morning.

They come thick and fast sometimes so often it is difficult to capture them all.  Here’s what managed to stick today.

Memorising The Most Frequently Used Words Is Key

Firstly I think the task of getting to memorise the main 625 words of Spanish is actually key to the whole process.

And I think the main reasons so far are these:

– Getting to know the foundations of the language means I have got the basics in place. Everything else from there on in is merely finessing what I already know.

– Now I have got the most popular words memorised, I am starting to see them more and more in common usage. For example today I booked a place to stay on my route through Spain.  The hotel has the word “piedra” in the name. I know that piedra means “stone” in Spanish. That was a little flash of recognition and another small piece of essential feedback to me and my brain that things are working.

– The reason why there are polyglots who can speak multiple languages is because they get addicted to the great feelings in their brain as learning takes place.  There are the multiple flashes of recognition and the euphoria associated with a self generated breakthrough of understanding.   There is the general feeling that they (I, you) are getting better with the continuous feedback that things are working.

  • – With each word I recognise and remember, my confirmation and certainty biases kick in to work for me.  As I get more reference points that things are working for me, I become more certain they are.   And so I start to spot those positive experiences…. and ignore or certainly reframe the times when things don’t go so well.

This morning when I started my review session, I was genuinely excited and looking forward to an hour of intense study and concentration.

But that is only one way of describing it.

The session was one of challenge, stimulation, confirmation, reward, excitement, frustration, massive progress and occasional stalling stumbling blocks.

I can FEEL myself learning more and more.

Every day I KNOW I am learning to speak and understand even more Spanish each time I sit down and do this.

I am in LOVE with the process because my BRAIN loves it too – it makes me feel good.

It is like going into the gym after a good workout and feeling that physical and mental glow of the endorphins rushing around my brain.

Is This Like High Intensity Training For Your Brain?

I was reflecting on the use of the memory techniques for the development and expansion of my vocabulary this morning.   I realised that it is like High Intensity Training for the brain.

It is time efficient, and it is extremely effective because of the mental workout it gives me.

Sure, many people may resist putting in the same effort I am right now.  But that is perhaps because they are stuck in System 1 Thinking or they are just lazy.

I like the basecamp analogy of developing your vocabulary first.

If you are going to climb Mount Everest (speak Spanish), you have to reach basecamp first (vocabulary).

Then when planning your ascent to the summit,  you then plot which route you are going to take.  There are many possibilities, but you always have to start from base camp.

Looking Ahead – Anticipation Is A Good Thing

I have started to look ahead.

I think it is important now to anticipate some of the challenges I might encounter when I start actually speaking to people in Spanish.

Here are some of the situations I will need to deal with:

– How do I ask someone “what is the Spanish for,,,,,?”
– How do I ask people to slow down?
– When I encounter a new word, what do I do with it?

When I will work out how to deal with those is another challenge in itself.

…Perhaps I need to write a blog post about the challenge of identifying how to deal with the challenges I face….?


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