New Language Mission: Spanish

My entire life, I have been told by relatives, friends, teachers, colleagues, and mentors that the most “beneficial” second language to learn is Spanish.

Most of the advice I’ve received from others was given by those that never learned a second language, and was probably based solely on their perceived value of Spanish in a professional capacity. While there is real validity to that argument, I knew that that wouldn’t sustain the inner fire I would need to complete a serious language learning mission. So I put it off for many years, favoring French instead.

In the last six months or so, my heart and mind have been warming to the idea of pursuing a Spanish language learning mission. If there is a second most-accepted language in the United States, then Spanish is it. Even in my Midwestern city, there is a large Spanish-speaking population, and there are many opportunities to use the language on at least a weekly basis in the course of regular life, if not more frequently than that!

How Far I Want to Go

It is in order to connect with these people, my neighbors and wider community members, to discover a new culture, and broaden my world perspective that I am beginning a Spanish learning mission. My goal is to reach B1 or better in the language by Cinco de Mayo, and my use of the language will be 90% or more speaking with people by having conversations about daily life, food, music, work, family, etc.

How I Will Get There

I will try and apply all of my accumulated wisdom from 15 years of language learning to the mission. I feel that my experience has given me a lot of self-awareness for where the pitfalls lie and what works best for me.

My plan is to start by really focusing on the sounds of the language and putting an emphasis on listening comprehension and speaking ability. I will be using the Mimic Method Elemental Sounds of Spanish Master Class by Idahosa Ness to practice hearing and producing the foundational sounds of Spanish.

From there, I will be using the new Glossika, which is an AI-driven system, to acquire grammar and speaking abilities in a natural language way. I will pair mass sentence repetition in Glossika with LingQ for reading comprehension and vocabulary expansion.

Finally, I will test myself by holding conversations with native Spanish speakers (focusing specifically on Mexican Spanish here). I plan to prepare scripts and key phrases based on frequency and need, and tailor the conversations and subsequent feedback and review to help me be able to actually USE the language in real life.

This is mission critical, because with French, I believe that my premature literacy and grammar focus stemming from all of the study in Middle and High school led me to struggle with communicating with other people even to this day.

Short Term Goals

To break down these larger goals of reaching intermediate in terms of conversational ability into smaller, bite-sized chunks:

  • Complete the Elemental Sounds Course by December 15th
  • Complete 1,000 repetitions in Glossika by Christmas
  • Hold my first conversation before New Years
  • Reach 1,000 known words in LingQ by New Years
  • Post one video per month on YouTube, practicing my Spanish dialogue scripts

Accountability and Follow-Through

I will document my progress on a Facebook group of language learners and provide updates on the Language Ascent Twitter Account as I progress. I will also post videos on YouTube once per month showing my progress in Spanish, in particular as a means to practice the scripts I have been working on.