Week 21: A New Language

This week’s something new was inspired by a conversation with one of my co-workers.  We were talking about languages, and in particular how we would like to learn Spanish.  I mentioned that I studies French in high school, and while it was fun, I have since forgotten most of it and it isn’t serving me very well in Southern California. He told me he had studied German in school, and now he couldn’t remember why.

We had a little laugh and then he showed me an app called Duolingo that he was using to help learn Spanish when he had a few minutes of free time throughout the day. (It can also work for many other languages).  He told me how it worked, and since it was free, I decided to try it.  I downloaded it, set my goal for a meager 10 minutes per day, and got started.

It was pretty easy to figure out how things worked once I got started, although I know I didn’t catch on to some of the rules right away.  I understand different words are used when the subject is a boy, a girl, or plural, but in practice I wasn’t always using the right words.  Once I realized why I kept getting some answers wrong, I didn’t feel like I was guessing quite as much.

Some of the lessons are easy, the app gives you pictures with the Spanish term underneath and asks you to identify it, such as, ‘what is the word for apple in Spanish?’  Now did I get that answer right the first time because I knew that manzana is apple?  No, but I know what an apple looks like, so I got it right, (yay!)

In short, I feel like I’m learning basic words, and slowly beginning to understand how to properly construct sentences, at least in writing.  I can mimic a sentence once I hear the app say it, but I doubt I’m able to say them on my own just yet.  As of now I don’t feel any closer to understanding what people are saying when they speak Spanish, at least aside from words like hola and gracias, but like anything I know it takes time, so I’ll keep trying and we’ll see what happens.  Later!

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