One of my other goals in 2015 is really to get back into learning Spanish. Not just faking my way through it. I know a decent amount now, but it’s more like a decent amount to get in trouble and screw up. I’m trying to change that.
Currently we’re speaking more Spanish at home (gracias PY). And I try to speak to Emma only in Spanish as much as I can, but I fear I’m “teaching” her some bad habits and incorrect things. You can see it on her face, too. She definitely knows and understands more Spanish than I do, so when I say it wrong you can see the confusion. She can’t tell me what’s wrong, but she knows and gives me a look. Ha. I feel bad about that.
Listening I’d say I’m about a 5 out of 10. With “context” I can fake that up to an 7 or even 8. Reading I’m about a solid 6. I can get through all of Emma’s children’s books pretty well. Not great, and certainly not perfect, but good enough she doesn’t notice (Lili probably does ha ha). Speaking is where I fall off the cliff. I’m probably about a 2 or maybe even a 1. I just don’t feel comfortable speaking Spanish at all. I think I sound like this big, dumb, ‘Merican trying to speak a foreign language. I’m sure I’m not that bad, but I sure do feel that way.
What’s most interesting about the speaking part is it becomes a bad downward spiral. I don’t feel comfortable speaking in Spanish, so I speak less in Spanish (and fall back to English), so I don’t ever get better at speaking Spanish. The other thing is I put a lot of pressure on myself and I lock up, then I feel foolish, then I just shut down. It’s silly, but true.
I’ve always admired folks who can speak more than one language. Lili speaks 5! She’ll refute that, but she’s modest when it comes to her language abilities. It comes easy to her. It doesn’t to me. To that avail I’ve taken up Duolingo again. It’s a fantastic and fun app (though a little on the light/pedestrian side of things). I’ve done a decent amount and it hasn’t been a challenge yet (as shown in the picture I’m solid gold baby!).
I also have Rosetta Stone. That’s definitely more robust and challenging, but also rote and boring. The best thing is if I speak it. If I look at the Spanish I “know” with 100% certainty it’s the Spanish I speak on a regular basis. There is no English to Spanish translation going on in my head when I speak it. I just speak it. It’s just “Spanish” if that makes sense, not a second language. That’s how I want to get to with all my Spanish. Not super duper fluent in every sense of the world, but enough to say “Yo hablo español” and not be faking it.