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Learning a language in a year - documentary of/by a language professor

2020 Camino Guides

Geodoc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2018 (across Pyrenees, then Sarria to SdC), CF 2019 (SJPdP to Finisterra & Muxia), CI 2019

Colette Z

Happy Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
CF- Finisterre-Muxia 03/17; Camino SK 10/17; Norte 03/18; Ingles 11/18; Augusta 03/19
Great post. It’s how I learned both my fluent although grammatically imperfect Spanish and Slovak.
 

JeepsNRoses

Camino Dreamer
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2017) May 15th SJPdP - Pamplona
CF (2019) Dec 18th Sarria - Santiago
CF (2020) May 17th SJPdP
Great post. It’s how I learned both my fluent although grammatically imperfect Spanish and Slovak.
@Colette Z Did you find a class or how did you acquire your languages? The problem with finding language parents in my area is that they mostly speak Tex Mex.
 

Colette Z

Happy Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
CF- Finisterre-Muxia 03/17; Camino SK 10/17; Norte 03/18; Ingles 11/18; Augusta 03/19
@Colette Z Did you find a class or how did you acquire your languages? The problem with finding language parents in my area is that they mostly speak Tex Mex.
I learned both Spanish and Slovak by being immersed in the language/culture and “acquiring” them vs studying. I referred to the process of acquiring vs learning. Also I taught English as a second language (volunteered) and instinctively used magazines to tell the story behind the photos, I drew a lot of pictures, I acted out a lot.....I rarely spoke in the other language.

Re TexMex....I speak Spanish from Chihuahua (learned it 44 years ago as an exchange student) and while walking my Caminos in Spain the country folk love my Spanish. There’s nothing wrong with TexMex. However, Skyping with other Spanish speakers who want to exchange for English is great.
 

TMcA

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
I have been doing conversation exchange for about four years. Amazingly, my French and Spanish teachers at the university near my home had no experience with how easy it is to find a conversation partner. My only recommendation is that if you are 60, don't exchange with a 20 year old. I've tried it, but it didn't work for me. Also, this is not for people without about two years of college level language instruction. You've got to be able to converse a little or your lack of ability to comprehend and speak will burn your partner out.

I've used this site with pretty good success. "Pretty good" because not very partnership is what each of the partners might envision at the get go.

Finally, you can select the country for your prospective partner. So if you don't want to learn Tex Mex Spanish, select a partner from Spain.

 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
As somebody who is far less than fluent in multiple languages, I found this documentary about college professor Jeff Brown acquiring (not learning) a new language in a year. If you've got at least six months until your Camino, you might want to check this out. I wish I had seen it months ago.

Warning - the video is an hour long (and there's a couple of annoying ads in the middle).
Thanks for posting. Watched the whole video!
Has certainly got me thinking.........

Now where to 'kidnap' a native Spanish speaker ? 🤔
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
I echo Robo’s thanks. There is a lot of sense in what is proposed as a way to acquire a language. I have about six words in the Irish language that I was exposed to 50 years ago. Each one very useful, can be used in the positive and the negative so that makes twelve words! I learned French, German and Latin in school. Later, I acquired Spanish by immersion, and it is fairly well still alive in me. I had trading partners, I read a lot - far beyond my vocabulary level, but that is why my dictionary is thumbed severely. I understand the encouragement to use children’s illustrated story books - stories have always been great teachers. I just have a niggle about using children’s books with adults. I see though, it depends on how you use the stories, and which kind of story. I could go on, but i will just repeat thanks for the link, and for the reminder to be creative in my skype chats with a few Polish friends who are trying to maintain their English. I promise myself that I will never again try to correct the ‘f’ used instead of the ‘th’ in words like thread, thumb, think. There is a guy by the name of Dave Skonda who does great videos for that purpose, why would I take away his audience?!!!
 

mikebet

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Pamplona (2016); Baiona to Santiago (2018); Sarria to Santiago (2018)
I have taught ESL in several countries and thus have observed many students and how they progressed, and I have learned a couple of languages both on the street and in the classroom -- and from my experience I don't think there is any one-size-fits-all prescription for learning. For example my study of Spanish was greatly accelerated by reading the daily newspaper to pick up vocabulary, of course facilitated by the large number of easy-to-figure-out cognates. But that didn't work for Thai (which I still can't read worth a dang much beyond menus and road signs) for which accurate mimicry of tones is essential and can only be learned by the old "trial and error" method -- and there WILL be a lot of errors, some of them embarrassing. So not only the learner's aptitude but the target language itself demands a different strategy. That said, I tend to agree with the video that mastery of grammer should be a low priority for learners. It will come when it will come. Back in the day the term "communicative competence" was very much in vogue within the language teaching community. It simply meant the ability to get your ideas across to an interlocutor in another language, and to comprehend what they were trying to say to you rather than to strive for perfection. If there was any one central strategy to recommend it would be to drop any vestige of self-respect and to stumble through with whatever capability you have, knowing that exposure and practice will bring improvement. Works for infants, after all.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Just as there are different kinds of intelligence, so there are varieties of learning or acquiring styles. I value the post, as it has led me to refresh and expand my awareness and knowledge in the field. My new project: finding a range of useful stories as the basis for skype conversations with speakers of languages other than English....
 

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