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How do you manage to overcome your language learning laziness?

Arctic_Alex

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2019
CPrim 2023
... or as we say in German "Wie überwindet man seinen inneren Schweinehund?"

About a year ago I decided to learn Spanish so I could survive better on Camino routes that were less travelled than the Camino Francés. But so far I re-started two times and never really got further than ¡Hola!, ¡Adiós! and Soy el señor Blumenau. While on the grand scale I am highly motivated, I lack daily motivation and hence there is no consistency in my learning and progress is painfully slow.

I am using Babble, which I like, and I will borrow a textbook probably.

My native language is German and I started learning English at an early age – partly thanks to a considerable fraction of my relatives being British and partly thanks to several Regiments of the British Army being stationed in my German hometown.
At school, our first official foreign language to learn was ancient Latin and I also experimented a bit with ancient Greek at the time – it was a traditional almost Hogwarts-style school (without the magic, sadly 😉) tracing its roots back to the year 799 AD and Charlemagne.
At that age learning languages was fun, natural and weekly progress was really fast.

But things appear to have changed a lot since 😶 I first realised this when 10 years ago I started learning Swedish: Progress was incredibly slow, picking up the right pronunciation was close to impossible and motivation was always an issue.
The same happens now with my Spanish learning efforts. And what makes it worse, while for Swedish I still had the advantage of moving to Sweden, for Spanish there is no pressure on me.

I guess this is more of a rant than asking for advice, but any tips are as welcome as is any co-ranting 🤣
 
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We don't try to do it on our own. We take lessons weekly and have also enrolled in school in Spain on some trips. We don't have contant exposure in the US where live so the progress is slow, but I find my Spanish has improved a lot over time and by leaps when I am immersed in a country where it is the primary language. I also try to read a Spanish newspaper each day which helps to reinforce vocabulary. Admittedly, it is harder than when I was younger.
 
We don't try to do it on our own. We take lessons weekly and have also enrolled in school in Spain on some trips. We don't have contant exposure in the US where live so the progress is slow, but I find my Spanish has improved a lot over time and by leaps when I am immersed in a country where it is the primary language. I also try to read a Spanish newspaper each day which helps to reinforce vocabulary. Admittedly, it is harder than when I was younger.

Yes, having a forced schedule such as weekly lessons would help. However my life is not really compatible with anything rigid like that.
I also agree that at a lager stage (I am far from that), reading real texts such as newspapers will help and motivate at the same time!
 
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I'm pretty bad at this. I had two years of high school Spanish so long ago the world was young. I rely on three things, several trips to Spain, apparently a fair memory of what I learned in school and taking a Spanish textbook and some work books with me on our camping trips. The textbook helps keep the vocabulary up.

Occasionally I view YouTube. Although I have access to several Spanish language television channels I don't watch them.

Thirty years ago on our first visit to Spain I had conversational ability but now I'm down to chat level.
 
I just love languages and learning them.
This is a good thing seeing I was awful at maths and sciences in secondary school.
First language for me is Dutch. Then from 11 years old French was added ( till my 18th).
Afterwards from my 13th English was added at secondary school ( till my 18th).
German is the third official language in our country so I got two years of German, though not fluent at all. But I can order a coffee in Germany and recite a poem by Goethe...😃.
Latin and Greek I studied but they are dead languages.
Finally Spanish for four years at an adult evening class.
Still thinking about starting with Portugues.

And I know people here will forgive me my errors against grammar, syntax and vocabulary.
 
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... or as we say in German "Wie überwindet man seinen inneren Schweinehund?"
Hi Alex. I identified totally with your post. After visiting Spain for ten years, and still only having the ability to converse in tourist Spanish, I've finally decided to make the effort to seriously learn before my next camino. For the first time, I've "enrolled" with a tutor, because I have never had the discipline to persevere solo with Babel and so on. We have probably had 10 sessions so far.
Like you, I learned Latin for 5 years at school, and textbook French. I am extremely frustated that it should be so difficult to make rapid progress - I agree with JW, that it's an age thing. I find now that my ability to put coherent sentences together is pretty good, but when my tutor speaks to me normally, I go blank. It's very frustrating.
What I can say though, is that having a weekly lesson does impose a structure, and I think I will persevere.
 
Hi Alex. I identified totally with your post. After visiting Spain for ten years, and still only having the ability to converse in tourist Spanish, I've finally decided to make the effort to seriously learn before my next camino. For the first time, I've "enrolled" with a tutor, because I have never had the discipline to persevere solo with Babel and so on. We have probably had 10 sessions so far.
Like you, I learned Latin for 5 years at school, and textbook French. I am extremely frustated that it should be so difficult to make rapid progress - I agree with JW, that it's an age thing. I find now that my ability to put coherent sentences together is pretty good, but when my tutor speaks to me normally, I go blank. It's very frustrating.
What I can say though, is that having a weekly lesson does impose a structure, and I think I will persevere.

Key is just practice, immerse yourself in local culture! And try again...
 
... or as we say in German "Wie überwindet man seinen inneren Schweinehund?"

About a year ago I decided to learn Spanish so I could survive better on Camino routes that were less travelled than the Camino Francés. But so far I re-started two times and never really got further than ¡Hola!, ¡Adiós! and Soy el señor Blumenau. While on the grand scale I am highly motivated, I lack daily motivation and hence there is no consistency in my learning and progress is painfully slow.

I am using Babble, which I like, and I will borrow a textbook probably.

My native language is German and I started learning English at an early age – partly thanks to a considerable fraction of my relatives being British and partly thanks to several Regiments of the British Army being stationed in my German hometown.
At school, our first official foreign language to learn was ancient Latin and I also experimented a bit with ancient Greek at the time – it was a traditional almost Hogwarts-style school (without the magic, sadly 😉) tracing its roots back to the year 799 AD and Charlemagne.
At that age learning languages was fun, natural and weekly progress was really fast.

But things appear to have changed a lot since 😶 I first realised this when 10 years ago I started learning Swedish: Progress was incredibly slow, picking up the right pronunciation was close to impossible and motivation was always an issue.
The same happens now with my Spanish learning efforts. And what makes it worse, while for Swedish I still had the advantage of moving to Sweden, for Spanish there is no pressure on me.

I guess this is more of a rant than asking for advice, but any tips are as welcome as is any co-ranting 🤣
It doesn’t get any easier as you get older (although learning English with the ‘help’ of the British Army probably gave you a more interesting vocabulary than you’ll find in a textbook!)

I learned French at school to the age of 16 and probably still speak it to A2 level. I’ve learned Spanish in the last 5 years through adult classes and many internet resources - I do often visit Spain - and after a tremendous amount of effort passed B2 last year. As a younger person I had much more ability to absorb what I was taught, now it takes constant repetition and practice to the point of obsession.

Finally last year I was assumed to be a foreigner of unknown provenance who obviously lived in Spain by native Spanish speakers.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Let me respond from the point of view of someone who is currently (but not always) highly motivated in language learning, and who is married to a fanatical language learner (@Wendy Werneth).

A word @Arctic_Alex used three times in the OP is motivation, and this is of course the key to everything. People often say about Wendy something like, 'She is so motivated to learn languages'. And she is.

But let's say you have a friend who likes watching movies. Perhaps every week they go to the cinema 1-2 times and watch several more movies at home. Would anyone say that they are 'motivated' to watch movies? No. And why not? Because in our minds, we categorise watching movies (or sports, or other such activities) as something that is inherently fun, while language learning is categorised as study, something that is not fun and therefore that requires motivation (the generally poor level of instruction in foreign languages at school is a large contributing factor in this, but that's a conversation for another day).

So the short answer is this: make language learning fun.

I asked Wendy to reply to this thread and she declined because she essentially does not understand not being motivated in language learning. It's inherently fun for her so she doesn't need to motivate herself, just like the person who likes watching movies doesn't need to be motivated to watch a new movie.

Making language learning fun is easier said than done, of course, and even more so at a beginner level when you can't access a lot of great material. But the key to it is essentially this: do what you like doing in your native language in your target language, and then it will be fun for you.

We are understandably focused on speaking in language learning. And of course, speaking well tends to be the end goal, and for good reason. But in your own language, you do far more input than output. And that's the second key: input (that is, listening/watching and reading). Input is how you unlock output in a foreign language -- i.e. it's how your learned your native language as a child. And, if you consume the right content for you, it can be fun simply to consume it, so that the learning happens naturally as a byproduct.

For example, I listen to history podcasts (e.g. Hardcore History, The History of Rome etc) for fun in English; therefore, it makes sense if my level is high enough that I would do the same in Italian, which is my current focus language (e.g. Storia d'Italia).

As a second example, I have always enjoyed reading fantasy-type books in English as a child and as an adult (e.g. Narnia, Tolkien's books, Harry Potter etc). So I am doing the same in Italian. In the last three months I have read 8.5 books written by the Italian adolescent fantasy author Licia Troisi. I read them in LingQ which is (among other things) essentially a tool to help you to read in a foreign language. I have read about 30 books by the Spanish adolescent fantasy author Laura Gallego in the last 12 years. Reading her most famous trilogy (Memórias de Idhún) was literally the biggest factor in allowing me to take the next step in Spanish. Reading is magic, as Wendy says.

These are just examples of the kinds of things you can do, according to your own interests. If you like music, listen to music in your target language. If you like soap operas, watch soap operas in your target language. Use tools like LingQ (and I'm sure there are others) to import books or content from YouTube or Netflix or wherever to assist with things like transcriptions/subtitles to allow for greater understanding. This content would ideally but not necessarily be aimed at native speakers, including at children for beginner learners.

The two themes I hear again and again when polyglots speak about their language learning success are to listen/read extensively, and to do it every day. Consuming content that you're interested in motivates you and gives you the grounding in the language that you need in order to be able to speak well.

In today's connected world, there is an enormous amount of content available to consume for major languages (including Spanish, obviously, as that's likely to be our focus here -- Notes in Spanish is one good example at multiple levels). The excuse of not being in the country where the language is spoken is, these days, just that.

I live in Portugal but with my current language focus, I am exposed to far, far more Italian than Portuguese on a daily basis, because I am choosing to surround myself with Italian through listening, reading and iTalki conversations. For example, I just watched a 25-minute video on Dante before writing this post, and when I finish this post I'm going to read the transcript of the video to enhance my understanding of what I watched and to pick up some new language along the way (listening and having access to the transcript is gold). I once took a course in English on Dante for fun, so watching this video in Italian was also fun.

In a nutshell: figure out how to consume lots of content in your target language in a way that is fun for you. That's when you reach the secret Wendy level where language learning is fun, motivation is inbuilt and when you wake up each morning you can't wait to get started on it.

I hope this helps.

P.S. Apps like duolingo have realised they can making language learning fun through gamification, but they are not actually very effective by themselves.
 
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If you look on YouTube there are many resources that depend on a relatively short commitment of time. Of course, most of these are English/Spanish which may be more difficult for you. And some are designed for American Spanish so not 100% applicable to Spain.

I use Duolingo and their "Streak" and league system was quite useful for motivation. (Duolingo Spanish is designed for the Americas. It lacks some competency for the Spanish spoken in Spain)

I also use Spanishdict.com and they too have a daily streak function. I find myself hopping in daily to practise verbs for a few minutes at a time.

Both of these use apps that I have on my phone so when I find I have five minutes.......
Best of all, both can utilise voice recognition so a lot of the time I am actually speaking Spanish to the phone.

I have also practised reading car registration plates in Spanish as I walked along.

New vocabulary is recorded as well as written down and I can test myself as I do something else. I record the English word then the Spanish. After about 50 words I swap and go back to record the Spanish to English versions. It highlights the words I am struggling with.

I wrote down new verbs on individual pieces of paper and at random pulled them out and made myself write down the conjugations. Later, I added specific sentences such as "I swam to the island" and "swim to the other side" to test myself on tenses and irregulars. This could be spoken and went quicker and was a handy way of refreshing my memory.

Podcasts & Youtube can be helpful too. It is possible to adjust the speed of delivery on both, most Podcasts have a script that can be seen and close caption (subtitles) can work on YouTube. Kids shows in Spanish can be great!

Tricky sentences or ones that captured a particular concept were written down on one page and the translation on the other. I could quickly run down through sets of sentences later. Great for revision.

I tried to keep my lessons fun, interesting and short. A lot are done while walking - I find movement more stimulating. If I had a lot of time I'd break it up into different activities. The more I did the better I became.

When tired, I'd do the "boring" stuff such as writing out my verb exercises so that they's be ready when I was more in form.

I do recall becoming "becalmed" when I knew some Spanish but not enough to understand a "normal" sentence. I was frustrated. I figured out that there is a critical mass of vocabulary and grammar that I need and that putting off acquiring it wasn't helping.

Of course, the best practice is speaking. Perhaps look online for "language exchanges" where you live, or online. There are lots of Spanish people abroad keen to practice the local lingo ion exchange for helping with Spanish.

Motivation is internal so I'd also suggest delving into the "why" of what you are doing.
While Spanish is not necessary to complete a Camino, and the non fluent but keen amateur will often find themselves in a language competition with receptionist or bar staff, being able to communicate on even a slightly deeper level can really enhance a journey. Perhaps thinking of that will help.

Suerte!
 
i tried youtube and other free programs like duolingo but finally found the Pimsleur method was fantastic! I learned what i needed and ended up translating for other pilgrims even though I only did Pimsleur for two months! for me it's expensive and so it was motivating to make use of it because of the cost. stay clear of rosetta stone-not useful and is expensive!
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I learn German as a hobby, only by watching Youtube videos at random. I don't study grammar ( genres, plurals, etc) I only pick up words ( 2 or 3 per week). I have now more than 500 words in memory (after two years) that are enough to visit Germany or Austria as a tourist.
 
... or as we say in German "Wie überwindet man seinen inneren Schweinehund?"

About a year ago I decided to learn Spanish so I could survive better on Camino routes that were less travelled than the Camino Francés. But so far I re-started two times and never really got further than ¡Hola!, ¡Adiós! and Soy el señor Blumenau. While on the grand scale I am highly motivated, I lack daily motivation and hence there is no consistency in my learning and progress is painfully slow.

I am using Babble, which I like, and I will borrow a textbook probably.

My native language is German and I started learning English at an early age – partly thanks to a considerable fraction of my relatives being British and partly thanks to several Regiments of the British Army being stationed in my German hometown.
At school, our first official foreign language to learn was ancient Latin and I also experimented a bit with ancient Greek at the time – it was a traditional almost Hogwarts-style school (without the magic, sadly 😉) tracing its roots back to the year 799 AD and Charlemagne.
At that age learning languages was fun, natural and weekly progress was really fast.

But things appear to have changed a lot since 😶 I first realised this when 10 years ago I started learning Swedish: Progress was incredibly slow, picking up the right pronunciation was close to impossible and motivation was always an issue.
The same happens now with my Spanish learning efforts. And what makes it worse, while for Swedish I still had the advantage of moving to Sweden, for Spanish there is no pressure on me.

I guess this is more of a rant than asking for advice, but any tips are as welcome as is any co-ranting 🤣
In a nutshell: Get a Spanish girlfriend 😎
 
@Arctic_Alex : Ja, "inneren Schweinehund!" Thanks for that. The older we get, the harder it can be to change linguistic neural pathways. In childhood, language acquisition is synonymous with the brain developing aural/visual comprehension. Later on, we learn language with somewhat set pathways; that's a different process than acquisition. It is also difficult to eliminate original language accent in secondary languages. Others have said it: make it fun - a game is always the best way to learn anything. My mother and I learned English by watching lots of soap operas and listening to pop music. (Both very easy in the 60's, since most soaps and songs were in English;) ) In fact, my Spanish suffered: I often say I speak beautiful Spanish - for a 5 year old...For me, learning a new language today is all about exposure and playfulness: I watch YouTubes, read news, listen to music, and practice word games in the language I'm studying. When I can, having the language playing in the background (news, music, etc) seems to help. And SPEAKING the words, not just read them or "consume" them. It's slow; I am always tempted to just fall back on google translate, but I don't actually learn language that way. Buena suerte!
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
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Well I did run your suggestion past Mrs Henrythedog, and unsurprisingly she was not sympathetic. To put it mildly.
having a partner who speaks another language has been shown (how do academics come up with these research subjects) to be one of the most effective predictors of second language learners.
With this officially from a moderator: Maybe Mrs. Henrythedog will reconsider 😬
 
First the good news: although our ability to learn languages (or anything else) does deteriorate with age, it does so at nowhere near the rate that was once claimed. More recent studies suggest that language learning is not much more difficult for a 60+ year old than for a 20+ year old. An adult learner will very rarely achieve perfect pronunciation unless they are a natural mimic, like Peter Sellers, but we can get close. Not only that, learning a new language is one of the few activities that actually seems to slow dementia,.

Secondly, learning a language is like learning anything else: it relies on memory. Memory relies on association and repetition.

Thirdly, motivation is important.

Finally, the bad news: grammar is important.

I suggest you take a face to face class once a week. It will be fun, and you can practise, reinforce and consolidate what you learn.
 
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Thank you @jungleboy As you know, I am keen to improve my French. Although I live with a Frenchman, I have not progressed as far as I 'should' have. My fault not his - he is endlessly patient - while I am easily distracted and tend to fall back on English.

Your tip to me a short while ago of LingQ is starting to make inroads. I'm now focused more on daily reading and listening and being less concerned with 'getting the basics (i.e. grammar) right' for now. And on reading and listening - and repeating - content that I find interesting. We will soon be based in France, so the real life immersion is coming ... Merci
 
First the good news: although our ability to learn languages (or anything else) does deteriorate with age, it does so at nowhere near the rate that was once claimed. More recent studies suggest that language learning is not much more difficult for a 60+ year old than for a 20+ year old. An adult learner will very rarely achieve perfect pronunciation unless they are a natural mimic, like Peter Sellers, but we can get close. Not only that, learning a new language is one of the few activities that actually seems to slow dementia,.

Secondly, learning a language is like learning anything else: it relies on memory. Memory relies on association and repetition.

Thirdly, motivation is important.

Finally, the bad news: grammar is important.

I suggest you take a face to face class once a week. It will be fun, and you can practise, reinforce and consolidate what you learn.
[Seriously] My neurologist vividly recommended learning another language as a very effective way against age-forgetfulness.
 
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Before my first Camino (Mozarabe/VdlP/Sanabres/Fisterra) I attended a school in Granada for 4 weeks with 3 hours of lessons five days per week. This gave me survival level Spanish sufficient for my Camino. The following year I did another 4 weeks at the same school. This worked for me for what I wanted at the time, but obviously didn't make me fluent or able to converse with locals on complex subjects. Since then I have made several trips to Spain, improving my Spanish every year. However, I have been unable to go since 2019.

Now I play around with Duolingo. Unfortunately it is based on South American Spanish, but nevertheless I think it is very good.
 
@J Willhaus , @Rick of Rick and Peg , @SabsP , @Peregrinopaul , @henrythedog , @jungleboy , @Flatlander , @peregrin peregrina , @Pelegrin , @pepi , @rojasa , @dick bird , @Pelerina , @DoughnutANZ , @OZAJ ....what did I start here 🙈 ... Thank you all for your replies! 😊 I will certainly take some inspiration from all that and try out what seems feasible for my situation.

As several mentioned, to keep your brain trained by learning languages can actually give some extra motivation to not despair but keep trying!

I guess on m next visit to Spain I will realise some difference: From zero knowledge to a tiny bit more that zero in Spanish. :cool:
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
I used the free Language transfer course on the internet. I liked it a lot. It is not based on memorising but more on "insight". It builds on the many similarities between English and Spanish (many English words are "roman" in origin) The form is a dialogue between teacher and a not-.spanish speaking pupil. I used it many times while doing training walks for my caminos
 
It doesn’t get any easier as you get older (although learning English with the ‘help’ of the British Army probably gave you a more interesting vocabulary than you’ll find in a textbook!)
Well, that would have been my father who learned all the dirty words from them 😉 . I myself was far too young to really be in danger there ... but thanks to the Brits we had the British Forces Broadcasting Service and I would listen to radio and watch Monty Python and Dr. Who without subtitles a lot. So it was less the drunken drill sergeant who helped me, but the likes of John Cleese and Eric Idle 😎
 
I used the free Language transfer course on the internet. I liked it a lot. It is not based on memorising but more on "insight". It builds on the many similarities between English and Spanish (many English words are "roman" in origin) The form is a dialogue between teacher and a not-.spanish speaking pupil. I used it many times while doing training walks for my caminos
Snap me to love it! (I am also lazy and writing lots of notes is not for me :) )
Trecile mentioned it on a thread about 2 years ago i think so i had a look!
(I had done two six week evening classes in Spanish; I think this helped me more in a very short space of time!)

The lessons are short about 6 to 8 minutes if you don't pick up all the info in a lesson just listen again!
So simple I just listen while i walk the dog; no writing anything down!
I also found that the links that can be found between English and Spanish words surprisingly easy to remember if you follow his rules!
Woody
 
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Our Atmospheric H30 poncho offers lightness and waterproofness. Easily compressible and made with our Waterproof fabric, its heat-sealed interior seams guarantee its waterproofness. Includes carrying bag.

€60,-
Well, that would have been my father who learned all the dirty words from them 😉 . I myself was far too young to really be in danger there ... but thanks to the Brits we had the British Forces Broadcasting Service and I would listen to radio and watch Monty Python and Dr. Who without subtitles a lot. So it was less the drunken drill sergeant who helped me, but the likes of John Cleese and Eric Idle 😎

For me it was also Monty Python and the likes that got me interested in learning more English.
No dubbing but the original language on our ( national ) TV.
 
I think the original language (with / without subtitles) rather than dubbing is key. When we were walking in Portugal we noticed on TVs and bars and Albergues that English / American programs were in their original language, with subtitles - not dubbed. More so than in Spain, at least some years go. We spoke of this with one albergue owner, as an episode of Friends played in English in the background, and he said original language with subtitles was a deliberate Government decision with the objective of improving spoken English. 😎
 
In smaller European Countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, the Scandinavian countries, and Switzerland, TV stations commonly offer the choice of original soundtracks along with the local dubbed version, and movie theaters often run the originals with subtitles.
This is part of the reason why English is widely and better spoken there. Larger countries like Germany, France, Italy, Spain, etc. unfortunately don't take advantage of today's technical possibility of multi-channeling, which doubtlessly would greatly enhance fluency and intonation. Dubbing is on the rise, a great shame.
 
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what did I start here 🙈
LOL. I can so relate to your first post, @Arctic_Alex.

Quick info for background: local strong dialect, standard German, English, Latin, French, short and quickly abandoned attempt at Russian, Dutch, short and quickly abandoned attempt at Arabic, ongoing attempt at Spanish. When starting to learn Spanish a few years back I had the surprising and painful experience that I actually have to make a mental effort to learn vocabulary and grammar. It does not come 'just like that' any longer as it used to do.

When you are already reasonably familiar with a few European languages, you basically know how it works: verb conjugation and tense, grammatical gender, cases of noun and pronoun - more or less the same. My approach to Spanish is the same as the one I have used fairly successfully for French all my life: good to know all grammar forms of a verb when you see or hear it but for personal active use, present form and one form for past events is sufficient - the easy one that you get with 'have' such as he visto, he hecho, etc. Future events can be expressed with going to do - voy a ver etc. Don't unnecessarily overburden the capacity of your ageing memory banks, that's my advice. It does not harm to go beyond this occasionally. I enjoy using il faut que je fasse (subjonctive or something like that). The budding non-native speaker of Spanish may have similar tricks up their sleeve, I just can't think of a good example right now. Poner los ojos en blanco is a nice one.

I twice tried classes at Instituto Cervantes, I would have the time and means for language courses in Spain, I know about interactive online offers, and about the immense array of self-teaching courses. Zero appeal and zero motivation. I love the Spanish language, btw, always have.

I've settled for Duolingo. Mindnumbing at first but then I figured out how to skip a receptive task when you are already confident of doing it. Duolingo is great for expanding vocabulary.

You will realise that you made progress when you pick up your first book in Spanish because you want to read the book for what it is: a book in Spanish to enjoy reading it, not to learn language. Pick a short and easy one.

I occasionally watch El Cazador on cable TV 😎. When in Spain, I always watch the news and the weather when I am in a bar or restaurant and it is blaring from the screen. I often buy a regional newspaper. And this may not appeal to you but yeah I confess that I occasionally have bought the Hola magazine where I tried to decipher everything including the ads. You get the gist: it has to be easy words and easy sentences and easy comprehensible.

Hope this helps, as the saying goes. 🙃

Oh, and if you are like me, you will absolutely love it when, during your next visit to Spain, you are actually able to have limited albeit meaningful communication with another person and you can say more than No hablo español. 🙃
 
Am bilingual. English/German. The recent revision of duolingo is better than the old program and you can use it for free. Currently I’m on 300+ days of daily Spanish practice on Duolingo after years of inconsistent Spanish practice. Also volunteered in Mexico for two years before the violence made it untenable for us to stay. Have better receptive skills than expressive language in Spanish.

There have been excellent suggestions, partcularly from @jungleboy, to learning another language. Of course motivation is key! Lots of materials may appeal to various interest levels. But in the end one may have reasons why they choose not to learn. No magic hear. ..one has to put in the effort…easier, of course, if living in that culture.
 
I’ve been looking for a resource on the forum that contained the most common phrases and questions you would need to know in Spain as a pilgrim and despite numerous attempts at the « resource » section I cannot find it 😢😫
 
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Better (healthier) to keep using Google translator
My experience with all things Google (Navigation and Translation) is that an 80:20 rule applies:
80% of the time it's fine and does the job but 20% of the time it can land you in deep doodah!
The problem is that we often don't discover that until we're in that doodah.
I find SpanishDict to be a very useful (and more accurate) translator with a lot more learning potential.
 
Let me respond from the point of view of someone who is currently (but not always) highly motivated in language learning, and who is married to a fanatical language learner …
@jungleboy, I have to say that your post was inspirational.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
The topic of "learning Spanish" has a lot of reactions and commentaries.
I'm looking for stories and videos about the camino, written and spoken in Spanish.
Must be a very interesting, nice, pleasant and powerul tool, anyone having suggestions???
 
My experience with all things Google (Navigation and Translation) is that an 80:20 rule applies:
80% of the time it's fine and does the job but 20% of the time it can land you in deep doodah!
The problem is that we often don't discover that until we're in that doodah.
I find SpanishDict to be a very useful (and more accurate) translator with a lot more learning potential.

SpanishDict is indeed good.

Have a go with DeepL - I think is gives a more fluent translation. It was a recommendation from @Kathar1na some time ago.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Netflix audio and subtitle options ...

When I am not tired and motivated, I set my audio options to Spanish and subtitles to English. Listening to Spanish helps train my ear. The subtitles are not perfect, but they do help identify words and the general sentence structure.

When I am tired and just want to chill, I set my audios options to English and subtitles to Spanish. It just increases my exposure. This is my default for everything.

Lastly, loose the training wheels and just listen to Spanish ... sometimes.
 
... or as we say in German "Wie überwindet man seinen inneren Schweinehund?"

About a year ago I decided to learn Spanish so I could survive better on Camino routes that were less travelled than the Camino Francés. But so far I re-started two times and never really got further than ¡Hola!, ¡Adiós! and Soy el señor Blumenau. While on the grand scale I am highly motivated, I lack daily motivation and hence there is no consistency in my learning and progress is painfully slow.

I am using Babble, which I like, and I will borrow a textbook probably.

My native language is German and I started learning English at an early age – partly thanks to a considerable fraction of my relatives being British and partly thanks to several Regiments of the British Army being stationed in my German hometown.
At school, our first official foreign language to learn was ancient Latin and I also experimented a bit with ancient Greek at the time – it was a traditional almost Hogwarts-style school (without the magic, sadly 😉) tracing its roots back to the year 799 AD and Charlemagne.
At that age learning languages was fun, natural and weekly progress was really fast.

But things appear to have changed a lot since 😶 I first realised this when 10 years ago I started learning Swedish: Progress was incredibly slow, picking up the right pronunciation was close to impossible and motivation was always an issue.
The same happens now with my Spanish learning efforts. And what makes it worse, while for Swedish I still had the advantage of moving to Sweden, for Spanish there is no pressure on me.

I guess this is more of a rant than asking for advice, but any tips are as welcome as is any co-ranting 🤣
Lots of different ways to learn. People are all different. Some learn faster by watching videos, others enrolling in a class, etc. My advice, commit yourself by spending a few bucks for an online intructor. Spending money on something, for me, is a great motivator! Good luck!! Peace. ✌️
 
If you really want to learn spanish, turn-off your phone and go for it.
Interact with the locals, they love teaching spanish and helping the helpless peregrinos.
Above all , LISTEN, when your ears adjust to the silences between the words your understanding
will increase like a hokey stick ... ;-)
just my sunday two cents.
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
The op said he didn't have enough time to take a course. Ok. But for others, I'd add it to the list of recommendations. It forces study and practice when motivation wanes, assuming it's a "real course". By real course" I mean a uni course. That means quizzes, tests, homework, preparation. That means grammar and repetition. And hopefully vocabulary taught in context. If that means shucking out some dollars, euros, or pounds, so be it. Not wasting the money you paid tends to provide "motivation" when coursework becomes inconvenient or burdensome. Doing this in-person has placed me side-by-side with students young enough to be my grandchildren. And some of the experiences with these uni students have been incredibly rich for me.

I admit that where I live I can take these courses at a fraction of their cost because I am a state resident over 65 years of age. I also admit that I have always been a good student. Over the last 55 years I have studied Thai, French, Haitian Creole, Italian, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Spanish. I also fooled around with Chinese when I lived in Thailand.

Final tip - the old time phrasebooks with the typical situations described (introductions, numbering, at the train/bus station, at the restaurant, etc.) are still valuable because, Imho, they provide the correct grammatical phrasing + the vocab + some method of transliteration of the target language.
 
The topic of "learning Spanish" has a lot of reactions and commentaries.
I'm looking for stories and videos about the camino, written and spoken in Spanish.
Must be a very interesting, nice, pleasant and powerul tool, anyone having suggestions???
Here's one to start with. There are Camino documentaries on the same site where the Spanish is spoken more slowly.https://www.rtve.es/play/videos/caminos-de-santiago-entre-el-cielo-y-la-tierra/pelicula-camino-santi/6729514/
 
While I don't know Babbel, I have found that while both Rosetta Stone and Duolingo have some utility for vocabulary building, they don't really help you to speak the language you're learning. Prior to walking the VF from Turin to Rome last February, I went back to Pimsleur - half hour audio lessons focused on the spoken language. I was able to converse, call ahead for rooms, and function at a beginner high / intermediate low level on my walk, which was necessary since the wonderful Italians I met spoke neither English nor Spanish. As a former Spanish teacher, I always recommend Pimsleur.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
I had a pastor once, who had a growing congregation of hispanohablantes. He came to me one Sunday and asked what was the easiest way for him to learn Spanish.

I quickly responded, "Get a girlfriend who only speaks Spanish." I could see he was not ready to take that course of action. I imagined his brain physically cramping, like the calf of my leg was cramping two weeks into our Camino in September.

After a few moments he said, "I can't do that, I have a wife and children!"

Oh, well, I guess you are going to have to do it the hard way.

What do you mean?

Immersion therapy. Spaced repetition. Reading. Netflix in Spanish. And etc.,

Personally, I like walking with audio books. In fact my neighbors call me, "Walks-With-Audio-Books."

Here's my suggestion: https://www.audible.com/pd/Learn-Sp...on_code=ASSGB149080119000H&share_location=pdp

Just my opinion, but I think Spanglish is the best language to learn for the Camino. It allows you to dialogue with the locals and many of the extranjeros speak some English. Yup, my Spanglish, me ayudar, mucho, in the scorchio days caminando and eating my WAY por the Norte of Spain. ¡Viva la Meseta!
 
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Let me respond from the point of view of someone who is currently (but not always) highly motivated in language learning, and who is married to a fanatical language learner (@Wendy Werneth).

A word @Arctic_Alex used three times in the OP is motivation, and this is of course the key to everything. People often say about Wendy something like, 'She is so motivated to learn languages'. And she is.

But let's say you have a friend who likes watching movies. Perhaps every week they go to the cinema 1-2 times and watch several more movies at home. Would anyone say that they are 'motivated' to watch movies? No. And why not? Because in our minds, we categorise watching movies (or sports, or other such activities) as something that is inherently fun, while language learning is categorised as study, something that is not fun and therefore that requires motivation (the generally poor level of instruction in foreign languages at school is a large contributing factor in this, but that's a conversation for another day).

So the short answer is this: make language learning fun.

I asked Wendy to reply to this thread and she declined because she essentially does not understand not being motivated in language learning. It's inherently fun for her so she doesn't need to motivate herself, just like the person who likes watching movies doesn't need to be motivated to watch a new movie.

Making language learning fun is easier said than done, of course, and even more so at a beginner level when you can't access a lot of great material. But the key to it is essentially this: do what you like doing in your native language in your target language, and then it will be fun for you.

We are understandably focused on speaking in language learning. And of course, speaking well tends to be the end goal, and for good reason. But in your own language, you do far more input than output. And that's the second key: input (that is, listening/watching and reading). Input is how you unlock output in a foreign language -- i.e. it's how your learned your native language as a child. And, if you consume the right content for you, it can be fun simply to consume it, so that the learning happens naturally as a byproduct.

For example, I listen to history podcasts (e.g. Hardcore History, The History of Rome etc) for fun in English; therefore, it makes sense if my level is high enough that I would do the same in Italian, which is my current focus language (e.g. Storia d'Italia).

As a second example, I have always enjoyed reading fantasy-type books in English as a child and as an adult (e.g. Narnia, Tolkien's books, Harry Potter etc). So I am doing the same in Italian. In the last three months I have read 8.5 books written by the Italian adolescent fantasy author Licia Troisi. I read them in LingQ which is (among other things) essentially a tool to help you to read in a foreign language. I have read about 30 books by the Spanish adolescent fantasy author Laura Gallego in the last 12 years. Reading her most famous trilogy (Memórias de Idhún) was literally the biggest factor in allowing me to take the next step in Spanish. Reading is magic, as Wendy says.

These are just examples of the kinds of things you can do, according to your own interests. If you like music, listen to music in your target language. If you like soap operas, watch soap operas in your target language. Use tools like LingQ (and I'm sure there are others) to import books or content from YouTube or Netflix or wherever to assist with things like transcriptions/subtitles to allow for greater understanding. This content would ideally but not necessarily be aimed at native speakers, including at children for beginner learners.

The two themes I hear again and again when polyglots speak about their language learning success are to listen/read extensively, and to do it every day. Consuming content that you're interested in motivates you and gives you the grounding in the language that you need in order to be able to speak well.

In today's connected world, there is an enormous amount of content available to consume for major languages (including Spanish, obviously, as that's likely to be our focus here -- Notes in Spanish is one good example at multiple levels). The excuse of not being in the country where the language is spoken is, these days, just that.

I live in Portugal but with my current language focus, I am exposed to far, far more Italian than Portuguese on a daily basis, because I am choosing to surround myself with Italian through listening, reading and iTalki conversations. For example, I just watched a 25-minute video on Dante before writing this post, and when I finish this post I'm going to read the transcript of the video to enhance my understanding of what I watched and to pick up some new language along the way (listening and having access to the transcript is gold). I once took a course in English on Dante for fun, so watching this video in Italian was also fun.

In a nutshell: figure out how to consume lots of content in your target language in a way that is fun for you. That's when you reach the secret Wendy level where language learning is fun, motivation is inbuilt and when you wake up each morning you can't wait to get started on it.

I hope this helps.

P.S. Apps like duolingo have realised they can making language learning fun through gamification, but they are not actually very effective by themselves.
Thanks for your well thought out reply...you just jump-started my stalled Spanish and Swedish efforts! Make it fun...so logical!
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
I began studying Spanish in high school many years ago, like 50. My undergrad degree is Spanish and I worked in international business for 15 years, before deciding to go back to school to acquire teaching certification. I initially taught high school kids with primarily the grammar-translation method (verb conjugation, long vocab lists) but after a couple of years, I totally changed my methodology and focused on comprehensible input, helping students acquire Spanish in a manner similar to how they acquire their first language as infants and dollars. My students struggled to produce with the old method, but became much more successful with comprehensible input!

The key is lots and lots of comprehensible input that is also compelling. That’s where motivation comes in.

Using acquisition driven instruction tools, such as the YouTube channel below, will help you be significantly more successful. Additionally, READING has been shown to be the single most way to speed acquisition. However if the reading selection is less than 90% comprehensible, many readers will give up. And exploring Spanish language music is another great thing to add to your toolbox.

Here is a fantastic YouTube channel that has been created by Pablo Roman, a Spaniard - “Dreaming in Spanish.” There are short videos at all levels, from super beginner to intermediate.

 
... or as we say in German "Wie überwindet man seinen inneren Schweinehund?"

About a year ago I decided to learn Spanish so I could survive better on Camino routes that were less travelled than the Camino Francés. But so far I re-started two times and never really got further than ¡Hola!, ¡Adiós! and Soy el señor Blumenau. While on the grand scale I am highly motivated, I lack daily motivation and hence there is no consistency in my learning and progress is painfully slow.

I am using Babble, which I like, and I will borrow a textbook probably.

My native language is German and I started learning English at an early age – partly thanks to a considerable fraction of my relatives being British and partly thanks to several Regiments of the British Army being stationed in my German hometown.
At school, our first official foreign language to learn was ancient Latin and I also experimented a bit with ancient Greek at the time – it was a traditional almost Hogwarts-style school (without the magic, sadly 😉) tracing its roots back to the year 799 AD and Charlemagne.
At that age learning languages was fun, natural and weekly progress was really fast.

But things appear to have changed a lot since 😶 I first realised this when 10 years ago I started learning Swedish: Progress was incredibly slow, picking up the right pronunciation was close to impossible and motivation was always an issue.
The same happens now with my Spanish learning efforts. And what makes it worse, while for Swedish I still had the advantage of moving to Sweden, for Spanish there is no pressure on me.

I guess this is more of a rant than asking for advice, but any tips are as welcome as is any co-ranting 🤣
How do I overcome language barriers? Download Google translate. Type what I want to say and then read to the person (or show it to them.) Used with great success in the Netherlands, Spain and Germany in 2022. Buen Camino!
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
My wife and I have found Pimsleur very helpful. Half hour lessons. We’ve used it for Spanish and Italian and in both cases we learned to converse quite effectively (although not necessarily correctly).

For Italian we have also been watching an Italian TV series (Don Matteo) which has English subtitles. It is on the MHz channel on Amazon Prime. We really enjoy the shows so watching them is fun, not work. These, with Pimsleur, have helped a lot. I’m sure there are similar shows in Spanish, some probably available for free on YouTube. MHz may have some Spanish shows as well.
 
i tried youtube and other free programs like duolingo but finally found the Pimsleur method was fantastic! I learned what i needed and ended up translating for other pilgrims even though I only did Pimsleur for two months! for me it's expensive and so it was motivating to make use of it because of the cost. stay clear of rosetta stone-not useful and is expensive!
Another vote for Pimsleur. Years ago I was able to get the Pimsleur audiotapes from my local library (Latin American Spanish) and went through all the levels over and over and over. Lately, you can get Spanish via a monthly subscription on an app and European Spanish is available. It's a wonderful and enjoyable way to learn Spanish.
 
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Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

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i tried youtube and other free programs like duolingo but finally found the Pimsleur method was fantastic! I learned what i needed and ended up translating for other pilgrims even though I only did Pimsleur for two months! for me it's expensive and so it was motivating to make use of it because of the cost. stay clear of rosetta stone-not useful and is expensive!
Where do I find this method? I have tried Rosetta Sotne, Duolingo and Babble and find it starts so easy and all of a sudden it is too hard and then stop. I need something mroe as it is very scay to always rely on someone being kind enough to hear my English and I want to be better by the time I am in Primitivo route this October!
 
Final tip - the old time phrasebooks with the typical situations described (introductions, numbering, at the train/bus station, at the restaurant, etc.) are still valuable because, Imho, they provide the correct grammatical phrasing + the vocab + some method of transliteration of the target language.

On one of the lower shelves I’ve got ‘Teach yourself Malayalam’ a local language in Kerara, India. It’s from backpacking with Mrs Htd back in the day.

I can only remember the first useful phrase ‘The elephant is a magnificent beast with ears like winnowing baskets’

More helpfully, in what was then a ‘dry’ state it advised ordering ‘special tea’, which was a pint of Indian lager served in a teapot with a china cup and saucer.
 
Hi, Pilgrims:

The posting on this thread have been very well inspiring and motivational.

I am bilingual (Spanish and English), studied both languages simultaneously in all grade levels, even when at higher education. In other thread, I mentioned that I was born in a Caribbean island, the language most used is Spanish; have visited Spain several times and although I do not the accent as a Spaniard, I am understood whenever I interact with them. There may be certain words that may be different meaning or usage.

One method of learning is to get the basics and then immerse in the language. Currently, I am learning Italian; began with Duolingo, but reached a level that needed more challenge and switched to Babbel, I think my understanding and confidence to have a conversation.

This happened to my wife and me while visiting Italy. We were with a group and the afternoon before returning home, we went to buy some souvenirs for our children; we entered a shop to look around and found something. Asked the shopkeeper about the item (he noticed) that my Italian was limited, so he spoke in English (which was also a bit broken) that he learned with his interaction with tourists. We reach an agreement, he would talk to me in English and I would talk him in Italian. To make this story short, we spend over and hour talking, when there was a mistake, we would stop for correction.

So, motivate yourself; don’t place excuses that would prevent you from learning whatever you want. Frustrations will surface many times, when this happens, maybe it is time to stop and let your memory bank register the new information.

Hope this helps with motivating your learning of the Spanish language.

Ivan_Prada
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Where do I find this method? I have tried Rosetta Sotne, Duolingo and Babble and find it starts so easy and all of a sudden it is too hard and then stop. I need something mroe as it is very scay to always rely on someone being kind enough to hear my English and I want to be better by the time I am in Primitivo route this October!
Here you can get a monthly subscription (with a free trial to start): https://www.pimsleur.com/

You might also try your local library. This worked for me.
 
I can only remember the first useful phrase ‘The elephant is a magnificent beast with ears like winnowing baskets’
I took German in school in fifth grade. Other than a few words and counting numbers to up to ten, the only true sentence/phrase I remember was "Ich kann meine Gummischuhe nicht finden." It means I can't find my rubber shoes...very useful.😂
 
I took German in school in fifth grade. Other than a few words and counting numbers to up to ten, the only true sentence/phrase I remember was "Ich kann meine Gummischuhe nicht finden." It means I can't find my rubber shoes...very useful.😂
This is an excellent phrase to start a small talk conversation at a boring party! 🤣
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
It was the Camino bug that got me learning languages (idiomas), a few years ago. As I had one semester of french, I started on Duolingo nearly 2,000 consecutive days of learning ago.
Next week (semana), I will finish Spanish, (Español), then move on to finish French, then Irish, Portuguese, Latin, Italian, Esperanto, Turkish, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Welsh, Polish, Dutch, and German. My Mother's ancestors came from the Baden area and my Father's came from North Tipperary, ireland.
How do I do it? I start in the morning, after Breakfast and depending on the day's activities, may continue through to lunch. This may be replaced by studying in the afternoon or evening. Duo sends reminders if at least one lesson has not been done in that day, providing time to get something done. There was a time that was helpful but, as with a language, the habits of learning must be acquired, through prqactice.
 
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This is an excellent phrase to start a small talk conversation at a boring party! 🤣
I occasionally have met a number of German's on my Caminos on the trail or at a communal dinner. I always tell them I know some German and proceed to say that sentence...It's fun and always gives them a good laugh.😂
 
Alex, if you consider your usual day, you will realise that you spend a lot of time doing things which do not require much mental effort, such as getting dressed, making your bed, preparing breakfast. hanging out clothes to dry, sorting laundry, ironing, cooking, etc, et.c. If you use this time to play tapes or CD's or have apps on your phone. Listen to Spanish, don't worry if you don't understand it. that is the way you learnt your mother tongue. Some day look at the book of what you have been listening to, and try to learn a little. This helped me. OK my Spanish is not yet great but I have learnt enough to get by nicely
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Did you ever attempt to learn a language and one night, started to dream in that language? It happened to me with Spanish…
That is a tell that you are starting to be able to think in the language. It is a huge accomplishment. I get glimpses, but primarily dream in English. Thinking in the target language eliminates the translation layer (listening to Spanish, translating to English, translating to Spanish, speaking in Spanish and visa-versa).
 
The topic of "learning Spanish" has a lot of reactions and commentaries.
I'm looking for stories and videos about the camino, written and spoken in Spanish.
Must be a very interesting, nice, pleasant and powerul tool, anyone having suggestions???
Gronze.com
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
... or as we say in German "Wie überwindet man seinen inneren Schweinehund?"

About a year ago I decided to learn Spanish so I could survive better on Camino routes that were less travelled than the Camino Francés. But so far I re-started two times and never really got further than ¡Hola!, ¡Adiós! and Soy el señor Blumenau. While on the grand scale I am highly motivated, I lack daily motivation and hence there is no consistency in my learning and progress is painfully slow.

I am using Babble, which I like, and I will borrow a textbook probably.

My native language is German and I started learning English at an early age – partly thanks to a considerable fraction of my relatives being British and partly thanks to several Regiments of the British Army being stationed in my German hometown.
At school, our first official foreign language to learn was ancient Latin and I also experimented a bit with ancient Greek at the time – it was a traditional almost Hogwarts-style school (without the magic, sadly 😉) tracing its roots back to the year 799 AD and Charlemagne.
At that age learning languages was fun, natural and weekly progress was really fast.

But things appear to have changed a lot since 😶 I first realised this when 10 years ago I started learning Swedish: Progress was incredibly slow, picking up the right pronunciation was close to impossible and motivation was always an issue.
The same happens now with my Spanish learning efforts. And what makes it worse, while for Swedish I still had the advantage of moving to Sweden, for Spanish there is no pressure on me.

I guess this is more of a rant than asking for advice, but any tips are as welcome as is any co-ranting 🤣
Watch the news and a soap opera on your Spanish language TV channels. When alone in your car, listen to English talk radio and try to respond in Spanish. Have fun. It will be difficult because you don't have the vocabulary and the proper structure. But you'll get it. As far as the news and soap operas, it will help to become accustom to the speed. Warning! The soaps are addictive.
 
Watch the news and a soap opera on your Spanish language TV channels. When alone in your car, listen to English talk radio and try to respond in Spanish. Have fun. It will be difficult because you don't have the vocabulary and the proper structure. But you'll get it. As far as the news and soap operas, it will help to become accustom to the speed. Warning! The soaps are addictive.
Soaps works for many, I know, but I hardly find any kind of series entertaining unfortunately. I need complexity in TV show else I get very negative emotions ;-) Only on rare occasions I do watch anything that comes in more than 3 episodes these days. Plus, we do not have "normal TV" ... no cable, no sat. All we got is the internet. I am sure there are free Spanish shows but I am just so hard to please. And that which could please me will be too complex language for me ... yet. So this, unfortunately, is a trick that has to be spared for the future.
But thanks anyway. Those little games as you mentioned replying to the radio, I actually say simple things in Spanish to my dogs. 🤣
 
Watch the news and a soap opera on your Spanish language TV channels. When alone in your car, listen to English talk radio and try to respond in Spanish. Have fun. It will be difficult because you don't have the vocabulary and the proper structure. But you'll get it. As far as the news and soap operas, it will help to become accustom to the speed. Warning! The soaps are addictive.
Any particular soap operas that you'd recommend??
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Soaps works for many, I know, but I hardly find any kind of series entertaining unfortunately. I need complexity in TV show else I get very negative emotions ;-) Only on rare occasions I do watch anything that comes in more than 3 episodes these days. Plus, we do not have "normal TV" ... no cable, no sat. All we got is the internet. I am sure there are free Spanish shows but I am just so hard to please. And that which could please me will be too complex language for me ... yet. So this, unfortunately, is a trick that has to be spared for the future.
But thanks anyway. Those little games as you mentioned replying to the radio, I actually say simple things in Spanish to my dogs. 🤣


24 hour Spanish news and documentaries to view online.

 
Alex, if you consider your usual day, you will realise that you spend a lot of time doing things which do not require much mental effort, such as getting dressed, making your bed, preparing breakfast. hanging out clothes to dry, sorting laundry, ironing, cooking, etc, et.c. If you use this time to play tapes or CD's or have apps on your phone. Listen to Spanish, don't worry if you don't understand it. that is the way you learnt your mother tongue. Some day look at the book of what you have been listening to, and try to learn a little. This helped me. OK my Spanish is not yet great but I have learnt enough to get by nicely
This is exactly what I tell other people who try to learn a foreign language. However, or own life and use of time over here is really streamlined. As we run our own business, have several dogs, bees and buildings to maintain in harsh climate, we totally rationalised and optimised those tasks you mention to the absolute minimum. Those you listed at max add up to 5 minutes per day, not kidding. Except the cooking, but that time often has double use as we might discuss business then. That which remains is either heavy brain work or physically very demanding.

So the only time that would be feasible is when on the rowing machine ... but that is the time that gives me peace and the sound of water 🙈

So in other words, in order to learn I really need to dedicate special time.

It would be different if I was a commuter. I guess car-time is good time for language exposure.
 
How do I overcome language barriers? Download Google translate. Type what I want to say and then read to the person (or show it to them.) Used with great success in the Netherlands, Spain and Germany in 2022. Buen Camino!
Yes, I can communicate with people in some way usually. But in order to really learn a language, this would be a very slow path on the Camino. On the Camino I found myself so busy ... walking, talking to many people who do not speak Spanish, even communal dinners often end up in English ...
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
If you really want to learn spanish, turn-off your phone and go for it.
Interact with the locals, they love teaching spanish and helping the helpless peregrinos.
Above all , LISTEN, when your ears adjust to the silences between the words your understanding
will increase like a hokey stick ... ;-)
just my sunday two cents.
Totally agree and when walking on the Camino I am not attached to my phone at all (other than for taking pictures of course).
However, I found that the net time potentially spent talking with locals is surprisingly short ... too short to make real progress. It would be different if I had say two extra weeks in one place, with nothing to do but chat with people. Or some weeks working in Spain. I guess that would be a real booster.
 
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While I don't know Babbel, I have found that while both Rosetta Stone and Duolingo have some utility for vocabulary building, they don't really help you to speak the language you're learning. Prior to walking the VF from Turin to Rome last February, I went back to Pimsleur - half hour audio lessons focused on the spoken language. I was able to converse, call ahead for rooms, and function at a beginner high / intermediate low level on my walk, which was necessary since the wonderful Italians I met spoke neither English nor Spanish. As a former Spanish teacher, I always recommend Pimsleur.?
This is exactly what I tell other people who try to learn a foreign language. However, or own life and use of time over here is really streamlined. As we run our own business, have several dogs, bees and buildings to maintain in harsh climate, we totally rationalised and optimised those tasks you mention to the absolute minimum. Those you listed at max add up to 5 minutes per day, not kidding. Except the cooking, but that time often has double use as we might discuss business then. That which remains is either heavy brain work or physically very demanding.

So the only time that would be feasible is when on the rowing machine ... but that is the time that gives me peace and the sound of water 🙈

So in other words, in order to learn I really need to dedicate special time.

It would be different if I was a commuter. I guess car-time is good time for language exposure.

Take a step back…we all need some down time. If I had only 5 minutes free a day I would use the space for quiet time to clear my head. Time to chill on that rowing machine or a quiet walk. Some quiet is renewing. In the realm of your current life maybe your circumstances are not currently conducive to language learning? You state that there is no pressure on you to learn Spanish, but you seem to have so little free time for leisure. Your situation sounds exhausting.
I can understand why you are having dfficulty staying with it.
 
A YouTube channel that discusses the linguistics of Spanish in Iberian Spanish is Linguriosa (thanks @trecile). It's fun; the presenter is a young woman who plays various characters and has no problem haming it up (a moustache indicates she is now the RAE, the Royal Spanish Academy). Most videos are 10 to 15 minutes and you can turn on closed captioning.


My fingers slipped when looking for a video to double check if closed captioning was in English, Spanish or your choice and I accidentally picked this one, a short blooper video with LOTS of cussing I hadn't heard in other videos. This has CC in English but I am remembering choices for others. Use the channel link above to checkout her more typical videos.

 
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Take a step back…we all need some down time. If I had only 5 minutes free a day I would use the space for quiet time to clear my head. Time to chill on that rowing machine or a quiet walk. Some quiet is renewing. In the realm of your current life maybe your circumstances are not currently conducive to language learning? You state thatthere isnopressureon you to learn Spanish, butseemto have solittle free time! Your situation sounds exhausting.
It would be exhausting if I would not give myself sacred spare time to actually do nothing! But that time is something I will not use for brain work of any kind.
So I took that time out of the equation right from the beginning. Plus most of what I mentioned is not a burden, but actually fun work. But fun work that takes lots of time ...
 
Another YouTube channel has come to mind that may motivate music lovers to listen to some Spanish. Paola Hermosín (from Seville I think) is a classical guitarist that usually introduces her selection of the day. This gives you some musical education and Spanish musical terms. She covers MANY musical genres often doing her own transpostions. Ocassionally she will sing. She is muy simpatica and will often dress up for the occasion or song. She speaks VERY fast; close captioning may help. I think I've seen videos with none, English and Spanish only or both. Here's her channel:


I chose this video of hers, Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, to share not really to show her guitar playing but because it has a longer than normal introduction and because, in all my searching for good renditions of Hallelujah, hers comes in second (after K. D. Lange's). It gets better after a bit.

 
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Decades ago, I took Spanish seventh to tenth grades.

Two more years in college.

However, I have a block with imperfect and future tenses.

Since 2001, first camino, I have committed to mastering those tenses. Tired of simple sentence speaking.

I have made zero progress.

Although, I have decided to watch Galicia TV en directo daily. Decision made last year. Yet, to be done.

This thread might inspire me to achieve my goals.
 
Am bilingual. English/German. The recent revision of duolingo is better than the old program and you can use it for free. Currently I’m on 300+ days of daily Spanish practice on Duolingo after years of inconsistent Spanish practice. Also volunteered in Mexico for two years before the violence made it untenable for us to stay. Have better receptive skills than expressive language in Spanish.

There have been excellent suggestions, partcularly from @jungleboy, to learning another language. Of course motivation is key! Lots of materials may appeal to various interest levels. But in the end one may have reasons why they choose not to learn. No magic hear. ..one has to put in the effort…easier, of course, if living in that culture.

I'm using DuoLingo, but a bit concerned that it uses South American Spanish.
Wondering if I should use a different App?
Thoughts anyone?
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
... or as we say in German "Wie überwindet man seinen inneren Schweinehund?"

About a year ago I decided to learn Spanish so I could survive better on Camino routes that were less travelled than the Camino Francés. But so far I re-started two times and never really got further than ¡Hola!, ¡Adiós! and Soy el señor Blumenau. While on the grand scale I am highly motivated, I lack daily motivation and hence there is no consistency in my learning and progress is painfully slow.

I am using Babble, which I like, and I will borrow a textbook probably.

My native language is German and I started learning English at an early age – partly thanks to a considerable fraction of my relatives being British and partly thanks to several Regiments of the British Army being stationed in my German hometown.
At school, our first official foreign language to learn was ancient Latin and I also experimented a bit with ancient Greek at the time – it was a traditional almost Hogwarts-style school (without the magic, sadly 😉) tracing its roots back to the year 799 AD and Charlemagne.
At that age learning languages was fun, natural and weekly progress was really fast.

But things appear to have changed a lot since 😶 I first realised this when 10 years ago I started learning Swedish: Progress was incredibly slow, picking up the right pronunciation was close to impossible and motivation was always an issue.
The same happens now with my Spanish learning efforts. And what makes it worse, while for Swedish I still had the advantage of moving to Sweden, for Spanish there is no pressure on me.

I guess this is more of a rant than asking for advice, but any tips are as welcome as is any co-ranting 🤣
One of my pandemic projects was to learn Italian. I found some great online schools and have come a long way in the past couple of years. My favorite schools offer group classes, lessons geared to my particular level, the chance to record myself and get feedback from my teachers. Even more, I have found a community of learners like me and we learn from each other.

I think that finding a language learning community is key. There are online academies that offer group classes in Spanish, too; having a group of people to study and learn with is such a help.

There are also many teacher who offer great content on YouTube. I’m not so familiar with beginning Spanish content but I could offer many intermediate channels to anyone who wanted it.

Also there are private classes offered for reasonable prices on platforms such as Italki and Verbling where you book your classes one at a time (with the same teacher or with more than one teacher if you prefer) on the day/time that works for you on any given week. You can go on the site and see introductory videos from all the teachers. For Spanish you can limit the search of teachers (for example, if you only wanted a teacher from Spain). You can even have an introductory half hour class to meet a teacher and see if you hit it off with each other. After that you can buy one class or a block of 5 classes or more, and then you go in and book them on their calendar at the times that you want.

I know for me, finding a language exchange partner was a godsend (my friend is learning English and I am perfecting my Spanish so we use both languages in our exchange). We learn so much from each other and look forward to seeing each other each week. In fact, we are planning to meet when I finish my Camino this spring—she lives in Vigo. I think this will be a great way for me end my Camino—meeting someone in person that I have been video chatting with for more than two years and have formed a friendship with. 🥰
 
A YouTube channel that discusses the linguistics of Spanish in Iberian Spanish is Linguriosa (thanks @trecile). It's fun; the presenter is a young woman who plays various characters and has no problem haming it up (a moustache indicates she is now the RAE, the Royal Spanish Academy). Most videos are 10 to 15 minutes and you can turn on closed captioning.


My fingers slipped when looking for a video to double check if closed captioning was in English, Spanish or your choice and I accidentally picked this one, a short blooper video with LOTS of cussing I hadn't heard in other videos. This has CC in English but I am remembering choices for others. Use the channel link above to checkout her more typical videos.


These look good,
But as with many of these channels.
There is so much on there!
Is there a playlist for beginners? :rolleyes:
 
I'm using DuoLingo, but a bit concerned that it uses South American Spanish.
Wondering if I should use a different App?
Thoughts anyone?
Duo is fine for some basic conversation but it does not take the place of a program of study. I find it to be more of a learning game than a learning platform or a real teacher.

I just posted a long reply to the original post with some suggestions. I’d be happy to chat more if you wanted more info.
 
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Let me respond from the point of view of someone who is currently (but not always) highly motivated in language learning, and who is married to a fanatical language learner (@Wendy Werneth).

A word @Arctic_Alex used three times in the OP is motivation, and this is of course the key to everything. People often say about Wendy something like, 'She is so motivated to learn languages'. And she is.

But let's say you have a friend who likes watching movies. Perhaps every week they go to the cinema 1-2 times and watch several more movies at home. Would anyone say that they are 'motivated' to watch movies? No. And why not? Because in our minds, we categorise watching movies (or sports, or other such activities) as something that is inherently fun, while language learning is categorised as study, something that is not fun and therefore that requires motivation (the generally poor level of instruction in foreign languages at school is a large contributing factor in this, but that's a conversation for another day).

So the short answer is this: make language learning fun.

I asked Wendy to reply to this thread and she declined because she essentially does not understand not being motivated in language learning. It's inherently fun for her so she doesn't need to motivate herself, just like the person who likes watching movies doesn't need to be motivated to watch a new movie.

Making language learning fun is easier said than done, of course, and even more so at a beginner level when you can't access a lot of great material. But the key to it is essentially this: do what you like doing in your native language in your target language, and then it will be fun for you.

We are understandably focused on speaking in language learning. And of course, speaking well tends to be the end goal, and for good reason. But in your own language, you do far more input than output. And that's the second key: input (that is, listening/watching and reading). Input is how you unlock output in a foreign language -- i.e. it's how your learned your native language as a child. And, if you consume the right content for you, it can be fun simply to consume it, so that the learning happens naturally as a byproduct.

For example, I listen to history podcasts (e.g. Hardcore History, The History of Rome etc) for fun in English; therefore, it makes sense if my level is high enough that I would do the same in Italian, which is my current focus language (e.g. Storia d'Italia).

As a second example, I have always enjoyed reading fantasy-type books in English as a child and as an adult (e.g. Narnia, Tolkien's books, Harry Potter etc). So I am doing the same in Italian. In the last three months I have read 8.5 books written by the Italian adolescent fantasy author Licia Troisi. I read them in LingQ which is (among other things) essentially a tool to help you to read in a foreign language. I have read about 30 books by the Spanish adolescent fantasy author Laura Gallego in the last 12 years. Reading her most famous trilogy (Memórias de Idhún) was literally the biggest factor in allowing me to take the next step in Spanish. Reading is magic, as Wendy says.

These are just examples of the kinds of things you can do, according to your own interests. If you like music, listen to music in your target language. If you like soap operas, watch soap operas in your target language. Use tools like LingQ (and I'm sure there are others) to import books or content from YouTube or Netflix or wherever to assist with things like transcriptions/subtitles to allow for greater understanding. This content would ideally but not necessarily be aimed at native speakers, including at children for beginner learners.

The two themes I hear again and again when polyglots speak about their language learning success are to listen/read extensively, and to do it every day. Consuming content that you're interested in motivates you and gives you the grounding in the language that you need in order to be able to speak well.

In today's connected world, there is an enormous amount of content available to consume for major languages (including Spanish, obviously, as that's likely to be our focus here -- Notes in Spanish is one good example at multiple levels). The excuse of not being in the country where the language is spoken is, these days, just that.

I live in Portugal but with my current language focus, I am exposed to far, far more Italian than Portuguese on a daily basis, because I am choosing to surround myself with Italian through listening, reading and iTalki conversations. For example, I just watched a 25-minute video on Dante before writing this post, and when I finish this post I'm going to read the transcript of the video to enhance my understanding of what I watched and to pick up some new language along the way (listening and having access to the transcript is gold). I once took a course in English on Dante for fun, so watching this video in Italian was also fun.

In a nutshell: figure out how to consume lots of content in your target language in a way that is fun for you. That's when you reach the secret Wendy level where language learning is fun, motivation is inbuilt and when you wake up each morning you can't wait to get started on it.

I hope this helps.

P.S. Apps like duolingo have realised they can making language learning fun through gamification, but they are not actually very effective by themselves.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE your thoughtful response. Everything you have said is so true. Thank you for taking the time to put your thoughts into words, I’m sure your message will really help others take the first step toward learning a new language.

‘Reading is magic,’ Wendy says.” She is one smart woman! Give her a hug (or high-five) from me. 😁

Thanks for the recommendation of the Italian author Licia Troisi, I’ll be sure to looks for some of their books (Italian is my current language project, too).

I love Notes In Spanish. I’m currently part of the “inner circle” (learning platform that I pay a fee to be part of) but their free content on YouTube and podcast are great. Also there is LightSpeed Spanish (free YouTube content, and even more with a membership). And for intermediate level and above is ErreQueELE (also free content on YouTube but Lucía has a great online academy as well).

I have several Laura Gallego novels on my bookshelf waiting for me to read them. Thanks for the reminder to do so! Most recently I’ve been enjoying the mystery series that begins with”El silencio de la ciudad blanca” by Eva García Sáenz de Urturi. Another book I’d recommend is El bosque de los cuatro vientos” by María Oruña—it takes place in Galicia.

If anyone has a VPN you can get all the content in Spanish TV (RTVE.es). Without a VPN you can certainly get some content but not all.

I will be walking my first Camino this spring. I’m hoping I will have the chance to speak lots of Spanish along the way (it’s been my fear that perhaps I won’t get that opportunity as there will be many peregrinos who don’t speak Spanish). But maybe there will be occasions for me to translate for someone who needs assistance, so there’s that.

¡Buen comino a todos!
 
Duo is fine for some basic conversation but it does not take the place of a program of study. I find it to be more of a learning game than a learning platform or a real teacher.

I just posted a long reply to the original post with some suggestions. I’d be happy to chat more if you wanted more info.

I'm just interested in expanding my vocabulary a bit really.
Nothing too serious. Just 'survival Spanish' at this stage.
Too many other distractions taking up my time currently.
I recognise that to reach 'conversational' level will take time and motivation that I just don't have at the moment. :rolleyes:

A few years back I had an amazing teacher for 6 x 1 on 1 lessons. A crash course in Camino Spainish.
We covered the essentials like booking accommodation over the phone, calling to say I'm running late and to hold my room, asking for a doctor and all that stuff. He even went into another room and made me do it on the phone so I couldn't rely on body language.
Lovely guy, from Ponferrada.
Sadly died of Covid.......


I would certainly do that style of leaning again.
 
... or as we say in German "Wie überwindet man seinen inneren Schweinehund?"

About a year ago I decided to learn Spanish so I could survive better on Camino routes that were less travelled than the Camino Francés. But so far I re-started two times and never really got further than ¡Hola!, ¡Adiós! and Soy el señor Blumenau. While on the grand scale I am highly motivated, I lack daily motivation and hence there is no consistency in my learning and progress is painfully slow.

I am using Babble, which I like, and I will borrow a textbook probably.

My native language is German and I started learning English at an early age – partly thanks to a considerable fraction of my relatives being British and partly thanks to several Regiments of the British Army being stationed in my German hometown.
At school, our first official foreign language to learn was ancient Latin and I also experimented a bit with ancient Greek at the time – it was a traditional almost Hogwarts-style school (without the magic, sadly 😉) tracing its roots back to the year 799 AD and Charlemagne.
At that age learning languages was fun, natural and weekly progress was really fast.

But things appear to have changed a lot since 😶 I first realised this when 10 years ago I started learning Swedish: Progress was incredibly slow, picking up the right pronunciation was close to impossible and motivation was always an issue.
The same happens now with my Spanish learning efforts. And what makes it worse, while for Swedish I still had the advantage of moving to Sweden, for Spanish there is no pressure on me.

I guess this is more of a rant than asking for advice, but any tips are as welcome as is any co-ranting 🤣
Hello from England. I have been teaching myself to speak French for years and last week signed up for conversational French using the App italkI. The level can be set at your own pace and classes scheduled to suit, with many tutors available, choose someone who you feel you can relate to (the cost is also very reasonable). I really enjoyed my first session and feel that this commitment will help me gain confidence for the continuation of the Chemin Saint Jacques this year. Good luck with your Spanish learning.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE your thoughtful response. Everything you have said is so true. Thank you for taking the time to put your thoughts into words, I’m sure your message will really help others take the first step toward learning a new language.
Thank you! :)

‘Reading is magic,’ Wendy says.” She is one smart woman! Give her a hug (or high-five) from me. 😁
I gave her both in emoji form as we are on different continents right now while she is in Ethiopia learning Amharic! (And doing a bit of work on the side.)

Thanks for the recommendation of the Italian author Licia Troisi, I’ll be sure to looks for some of their books (Italian is my current language project, too).
She is considered the best Italian fantasy author. The most noteworthy of her works are one series of five books (La Ragazza Drago) and a set of three trilogies set in the same world (the various Mondo Emerso books). I have read La Ragazza Drago and I’m now making my way through the Mondo Emerso books (I’ve almost finished the first book of the second trilogy). Each series features young female protagonists (all quite different from each other) and can be quite dark in their good-versus-evil way, especially the one I’m reading now. I’d recommend both if that sounds like your thing, maybe Mondo Emerso first. I’ve found they’re at a good level for me (B1-B2) before I tackle adult books.

I have several Laura Gallego novels on my bookshelf waiting for me to read them. Thanks for the reminder to do so!
Fantastic, get started! I love Laura, she might be my favourite author in any language. I don’t know which ones you have but they are almost all great. Idhún is the most famous and rightly so, and I also loved the Guardianes de la Ciudadela trilogy, as well as many of the stand-alone books (in particular Finis Mundi, Il Libro de los Portales and Donde los Árboles Cantan). The first chapter of each of her books is available as a free download from her website, so anyone can take a look and see which ones appeal. For beginner/elementary learners, she has also written children’s books such as these two.

Most recently I’ve been enjoying the mystery series that begins with”El silencio de la ciudad blanca” by Eva García Sáenz de Urturi. Another book I’d recommend is El bosque de los cuatro vientos” by María Oruña—it takes place in Galicia.
Thanks for these tips! Whenever I get back to Spanish reading I’ll look them up.
 
You have a good grasp of grammar and a background in Latin so that helps a lot.

I use duo every day (I started doing it during covid), and I rotate through a few languages. Spanish is my weakest.

I also recommend listening repeatedly to audio recordings of conversations in the language you are working on. I am currently listening to an audio recording of Harry Potter in German while driving in the car-- I know the story and it has some good and quick conversations. (though I do wonder if I will ever need to use the word zauberstaub when I'm back in Germany. Ha.) -- But I can stop the recording and then relisten to check my understanding and the grammar. (German adjectives endings are the bane of my life.)
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
This thread makes me smile as I remember arriving in Madrid years ago with my poor Spanish and trying to use German in its place. Those were the days before Madrid became an international city like it is today. I remember, at the onset, a bank teller looking at me strangely when I was trying to communicate…
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Others have given you excellent advice above. I will also add that you may have inadvertently provided some good advice of your own. A lager before class may help the learning go down easy.... :)
... and a lager to many turns me into a pro-speaker in any language. Been there, but it does not last too long unfortunately 🤣 Else I would be perfect at Russian, Finnish, Japanese and Hungarian now 😉
 
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Where do I find this method? I have tried Rosetta Sotne, Duolingo and Babble and find it starts so easy and all of a sudden it is too hard and then stop. I need something mroe as it is very scay to always rely on someone being kind enough to hear my English and I want to be better by the time I am in Primitivo route this October!
just look up pimsleur and you'll find it. they have a free trial.
 

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