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Moving forward

 Language Learning Forum : Lessons in Polyglottery Post Reply
United States
Joined 4801 days ago

11 posts - 12 votes
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: French, Turkish

 Message 1 of 4
09 May 2011 at 9:12pm | IP Logged 
Hi everyone!
I'm new here and new to the whole "polyglottery" subject and I'm looking for some advice.

I personally love languages and ever since I can remember, they've been relatively easy for me to learn. I, however, have a couple of problems that I'd like help with.

The first one is that in my Goal Languages (Spanish, French, English, German, Bulgarian, Modern Standard Hebrew) I can't seem to get passed a certain--B2--level to save my life. In Spanish, for example, I read, I listen to music, I'm taking classes, etc. I just for the love of me can't get passed that 'hump' from good to "occasionally/completely error free". But to be completely honest, I don't put as much effort into as I should...

The second one is: how do you get passed that I-get-passed-off-as-a-native-speaker-so-I-don't-have-to-stud y mentality?? I'm young (and a bit cocky)so when I'm told "oh, where are you from? You must be from (insert country where language is spoken)." I don't have any problem with acquiring the prosody or pronunciation of the language; it comes to me naturally (and I kind of beat myself over the head when I pronounce things wrong). But sometimes that goes to my head.

Third, how do you keep intrest high? I love languages, like, genuinely and there's nothing else in the world that I'd like to than spending my time learning languages, but sometimes I get fustrated (that I can't get passed B2) and I go on an "extended break".

In my head, the solution is to go to the country and spend time there--something that I'd love to do. But seeing as I have to finish my education and plain out don't have the 'funds' to make such trips, it's out of the question.
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United States
Joined 4977 days ago

1871 posts - 3642 votes 
Speaks: English*, SpanishC2, ItalianC2, Norwegian, Catalan, Galician, Turkish, Portuguese
Studies: Polish, Indonesian, Ojibwe

 Message 2 of 4
09 May 2011 at 10:57pm | IP Logged 
Have you ever vacationed in any Spanish speaking country with your family?

I notice you're in the US, so maybe a trip to Mexico is in order. Doesn't have to be long, or expensive. Or Puerto Rico may even be an easier trip, as you don't need passport to travel there. If you've never been to a Spanish speaking country, it'll take care of the motivation to push forward. I dare say it will also take care of any cockiness you may be feeling, which could also serve as another motivator.

2 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 5613 days ago

2256 posts - 4046 votes 
Speaks: German*, English
Studies: French, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin

 Message 3 of 4
10 May 2011 at 12:04am | IP Logged 
Find more challenging material to work with, more challenging topics to talk and write about. There always will be, in any language or culture. Learn how to imitate the style of a specific writer, learn to imitate a specific actor. Learn to crack jokes that your native speaker friends actually find funny. Learn new information using Spanish sources exclusively. It usually is easy to find something that humbles you and makes you want to improve, you just have to look for it.
1 person has voted this message useful

United States
Joined 4740 days ago

18 posts - 30 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Russian

 Message 4 of 4
08 July 2011 at 7:03am | IP Logged 
I absolutely agree that going to a country in which your target language is spoken is an amazing way to combat "cockiness". I don't speak Spanish, but I lived in Arizona for four years and got very good at understanding it. This came in handy a number of times for a number of reasons, i.e., I was able to call someone out on something rude they said about me, thinking I didn't understand, or was able to catch someone saying something... flattering. lol
Then, when I was 15, and still living in Arizona, I went with my grandma to Honduras to do some missionary work. First of all, it was absolutely amazing. The small village in which we stayed and worked before going to Copán was situated in the mountains, and I would wake up every morning, walk out the front door and across the road and watch the sun rise over the most beautiful valley I've ever seen in my life. And I've been all throughout a good portion of the U.S.
When we went to Copán near the end of our stay, I was absolutely drawn in by the richness of the culture and the passion of the people. Just walking down the street was an adventure.
But what struck me the most was the fact that, despite my experience in listening to and understanding Spanish, I needed an interpreter probably about 75% of the time I was down there just to know what was going on!
It was a very humbling experience and, quite frankly, the only reason I still want to learn Spanish.
I definitely agree with hrhenry that a visit to a Spanish speaking country could be just the thing you need.

2 persons have voted this message useful

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