6WC: week 1 progress report

I started on my new Spanish project on the weekend, and I’ve been enjoying it so far. I’ve been trying to gather a variety of materials to work on, so that I don’t get bored of any one particular thing.

I’m watching a bit of two different TV series on DVD; both american shows that have been dubbed. It’d be better for the lips if I had some original spanish language series, but at the beginning it’s much easier to go for something that’s easily predictable. To that end, I’m watching lots of Star Trek, because I know what’s supposed to be happening, so all my learning time is spent on the language, not figuring out the new characters and plots.

For reading, I’ve found an audiobook for Albert Camus’ El Extranjero (“The Stranger” in English). It’s been hard to find audiobooks that have a Latin American accent, rather than the funny “th” sound for z and c in the accents from Spain. Here in Vancouver there are very few people from Spain, but thousands from Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Argentina, etc.

I’ve also been spending a small percentage of my time on an old Spanish textbook that I tried to use about 8 years ago when I last studied Spanish. I was at about an A1 level back then, and I’ve quickly revived most of my basic vocabulary. I’ve been using the textbook just to review some of the grammar points that I’m encountering in my novels and TV shows.

If I go slow and use a pop-up dictionary a lot, then I can figure out quite a lot of the books I’m reading, even though they’re regular adult novels. When I just read along while listening to the audiobook though, it’s quite a struggle to understand anything. I’m just getting little bits and pieces here and there. I know from experience that this will improve over time; I just need to put in enough hours.

For those interested, you can see the high-score list for the contest here: http://6wc.learnlangs.com/. There are two “score” columns in the chart. One is for the “target” language, which is Spanish in my case. The other is a total number of hours spent on any language learning activities, although at this point I’m putting almost all of my study time into Spanish.

That’s it for now, nothing much to report yet since I’ve only put in 14 hours. I’ll keep updating as time goes on.

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7 Responses to 6WC: week 1 progress report

  1. Jez says:

    I’m having the same problem finding audiobooks – I’ll have to check out The Stranger. Thanks!

  2. M.J. says:

    You say, “It’s been hard to find audiobooks that have a Latin American accent, rather than the funny “th” sound for z and c in the accents from Spain.”

    This seems to imply you’ve more frequently come across audiobooks with narrators from Spain. If so, could you PLEASE tell me where I can find some? I’m looking for anything at this point; I’m at the opposite end where I’ve tried and tried to find audiobooks that are not narrated by someone from Central or South America.

    • doviende says:

      One that I wanted to read was George R. R. Martin’s series, “The Song of Ice and Fire” (Cancion de Hielo y Fuego), but its narrator is from Spain. Another one was “Un Mundo sin fin” by Ken Follet.

  3. Tanja says:

    Hey, i met a latin american guy lately and asked him about the “two” spanishes. he told me, latin americans had big trouble regarding orthography. just because they pronounce a lot of letters similar.
    so i’ll concentrate on “continetal” spansih. i’m sure i’ll just switch to latin pronounciation when needed.

  4. Andrew says:

    Fantastic, if I may recommend a particular movie to you: Maria Full of Grace. The reason is that you can actually get the English translation of the script online (here) so now you’ve got a movie where all the speakers are speaking Latin American (Colombian, one of the most neutral Spanish accents) Spanish, plus you can turn on subtitles in Spanish if you have any trouble catching any particular words, AND you’ve got a contextual translation of ALL the dialogue in English! It’s wonderful, I recommend this particular movie to people learning Spanish all the time for these specific reasons.

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  5. Giulia says:

    Hi! Your blog has been nominated for our Top 100 Language Lovers 2011 competition.
    Read more here: http://www.lexiophiles.com/featured-articles/top-100-language-lovers-2011-competition-starts-today-%E2%80%93-nominate-your-favorite
    Good luck!
    Giulia – On behalf of the bab.la and Lexiophiles team

  6. Adam says:

    Amazon has a few Spanish audiobooks, but unfortunately most seem to be abridged. An easy way to browse them is to go to the MP3 store and search for yoyo audiobooks. I listened to a translation of Tom Sawyer, although of course it was abridged.

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