Lot’s Of Things Seem To Be Happening

It’s a funny old game this learning Spanish.

Sometimes it seems like you are on an accelerating roller coaster as things seem to slot into place quite easily.

And other times, it seems like it is jut never going to happen.

The last couple of days have seen me on a downer as I let overwhelm set in.

Hitting the Reflexive Verb wall and closely followed by unintelligible spoken Spanish dented my confidence a bit.

However, I think I am making progress.

It is slow, but I think a few things are starting to fall into place.

Take the reflexive verbs for example.

www.SpanishDict.com (almost an unfortunately named site!) has a tremendous page on explaining how reflexive verbs work.

On that page, they have this excellent table.

I have taken the liberty of showing you it here so you can follow my train of thought. However I do recommend you go over to their site here, and read the full article to get the best of their guidance.

So how and why did I find this useful?

Well it demonstrates a few things.

First of all you can see that the conjugation of the verb changes depending on who is doing the doing.

Secondly, the pronoun changes depending who the doing is done to.

Now that is the understanding and conclusion I came to after studying this for a few minutes.

I started looking at it and tried to make sense of what I was seeing.

Were there any patterns? Could I see what was going on? Was it easy to identify any rules from what I could see.

This was me doing my analysis. I found it really useful to take this and ponder on it for a while.

It was me trying to make sense and develop at least a rudimentary understanding.

And do you know what….?

It worked.

Now before I unveil the trumpeters for the fanfare and roll out the red carpet, let me caveat that.

When I mean “it” worked, what I mean is that my level of understanding deepened just a little more.

I certainly don’t fully understand reflexive verbs yet and I definitely couldn’t use them my self. Understanding them would probably be a stretch too.

But I think I could recognise one if I saw it (definitely) and heard it (maybe).

The main point I want to make at this stage is that I am feeling MUCH better about reflexive verbs than I did a day or so ago. And that can’t be a bad thing.

I think I have said before, “Don’t learn grammar, discover it”.

And this is an example of that.

You see, I could have waxed lyrical about what I had discovered and tried to explain it to you. But that would be me trying to impart MY knowledge in YOUR brain. Some of it may have helped.


It is even more powerful when you as a learner discover this for yourself.

There is a famous saying that goes like this:

“Teach a man some Spanish and he can chat for a few minutes. Give him the skills to learn Spanish and the bugger just won’t shut up gabbling away…”

Ok… well perhaps no one famous said that (unless you count my handful appearances on the BBC as “fame”!).

But hopefully you get the sentiment.

I want to empower you with the love of LEARNING Spanish so you can tread your own path to whatever you define fluency as.

And exploring grammar yourself in this way, is one approach that can help.

I May Have Found Someone To Practice Spanish With

On this blog, I have mentioned a few times in the last few posts that I realise the next step is for me to speak live, one on one with a Spanish speaking native.

I know I can do a bit of that with my online Tutor from iTalki. But that relationship is more of a teaching interaction with a bit of practice thrown in for good measure.

So where do you find someone to chat to?

Well once more I dipped into Gabe Wyner’s excellent book and discovered a site called My Language Exchange. It is in effect a clearing house for people who want to practice a second language.

So I signed up at the basic level a day or two ago and have been waiting for my account profile to be approved.

Well today it got approved and already someone has contacted me to ask to practice conversation in Spanish and in English. He is from Chile and lives in Australia.

I will do a full review of the site once I have a bit more experience under my belt.

But from what I can gather, you connect with someone who speaks the language you are learning. They connect with you because they want to learn English (assuming that is your native tongue).

So you have conversations where half the time you speak in Spanish and the other half you speak in English.

The site has a framework to follow to help guide the conversations so you never need to be at a loss of what to say.

I have responded to his request and will let you know how that goes.

Getting More Familiar With Real Spanish

The other avenue of increasing my familiarity with Spanish is to start watching Spanish TV again.

I did begin that right at the start of my journey, but it tailed off when I realised I wasn’t ready for it.

But now, I know I am.

So I went onto may favourite Spanish news/TV website, RTVE.es and had a mooch around.

There were a few things I could watch but I know that I needed to find a soap opera of some sort.

I can’t tell you how much I DON’T like soap operas. If you ask my ex wife, she will tell you that i was definitely not a fan. I think she still watches them though it wasn’t a topic we explored the last time we had lunch just recently.

She watched all the major soap operas from a very young age.

In fact as a teenager, when I finally plucked up the courage to ask her out on a date, I had to ring her when I knew the commercial breaks were on so I wouldn’t interrupt her viewing!

I discovered a few years later that she only went out with me because she felt sorry for me!!!!

Got my own back on her though…. I married her LOL

[PS – it didn’t work out but we are still good friends!]

Back to the Spanish.

I detest soap operas. Personally, I think they are a waste of time.


I know that I will get the most out of watching characters develop and interact through the medium of a soap opera.

If I remind myself that it is all in the name of learning then I can stomach it.

Though at the moment, it doesn’t really matter because I can’t understand it anyway!

Here’s the one I started watching:

It is called Sevir y Proteger (Serve and Protect) and is about the characters in a Spanish police station.

I have watched the first episode.

Boy, do Spanish people talk fast!

I understood a few things when familiar words jumped out at me, but most of it was too fast for me to make sense… yet.

The Y word is a key one…. YET.

I shouldn’t expect to be able to understand it yet for two reasons:

REASON #1 – I haven’t tuned my ear to the musicality and rhythm of the language

REASON #2 – I still don’t have sufficient vocabulary or grammar to follow complex conversations

REASON #3 – my brain is still too slow to keep up.

….and I can’t count.

I will have to watch more episodes (they are at episode 35 at the moment) to start reaping the benefits.

But it will come… hence the word YET.

So it is exciting times with lots gong on.

More of the same tomorrow…

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