I’ve had some difficulty with finding good Spanish resources.
I’m learning Spanish partially because it’s an easy stepping-stone language, and partially because I’ll be living in Morocco next year. Not many people speak Spanish there at all (it’s mostly Darija/French/Berber), but I thought it would be nice to learn some Spanish before I leave because Spanish is directly north of Morocco. Before the French colonized the country, Morocco was a Spanish protectorate.
This is my first time learning a second language completely on my own. I took French for four years. I learned English by going to school here in the US, and I learned Chinese because my family speaks Chinese. Learning Spanish is weird, though, since I have to seek it out by myself. Opportunities for learning Spanish don’t automatically come to me.
Usually I’ve learned languages by absorbing vocabulary and grammar from my friends, family, or the internet. In the case of French, whatever supplementary learning I did at home didn’t really make up for all the time I spent learning how to conjugate irregular verbs in class. Now, with Spanish, I don’t even have that class time for learning vocabulary and conjugating verbs. I may have thought that school language classes were useless; but in reality, they’re not, since they force you to stay in a constant loop of learning the language, remembering it, and then taking a test on it.
I have always thought that my Spanish could automatically get better just if I studied it on my own. But that’s not the case. First, no matter how often Duolingo sends me notifications to gain my 20 XP, I sometimes don’t bother to click on the notification banner. Second, language learning demands that you practice and repeat every single day. That’s what language class gives you. But at home, I’m impatient; instead of doing the same thing every day (and thus cementing the information in my mind), I find something else to learn the next day. I haven’t really been reviewing the vocabulary I’ve learned the previous day. So right now, I can recognize a wide range of vocabulary, but I can’t come up with vocabulary of my own since the words aren’t familiar enough to me.
Third, I’ve been using YouTube, social media, news, and the TV to learn Spanish. So now there’s a scary mesh of language and entertainment, which means that sometimes I’m spending more time focusing on entertainment (YouTube is toxic) instead of learning Spanish. YouTube, in fact, is genius at recommending videos that’ll pretty much suck you in for a few hours. So I go on YouTube, decide to watch a video in Spanish, and then somehow go to BuzzFeed’s food videos. Social media is even worse. News is okay, but I always spend time on (English) Wikipedia Googling what I don’t understand from El Pais. So in that case, I’m spending more time reading English than reading Spanish.
Keeping up with doing something is difficult. Hopefully writing this helped. I’ve just spent another hour making and finding Spanish language playlists on Spotify… whoops.