I’ve been learning Spanish for one month now. Time flies! Some of my older YouTube viewers may recall that I often said Spanish is the one language I would never learn. Never say never! Circumstances have changed and here I find myself immersing myself in this beautiful language.
Here’s a video I made when I just started learning, about three weeks ago from today.
Let’s get into the resources I’m using. It’s easy to become excited about a new language and want to buy all the textbooks and courses and resources, but I am trying to approach this from a more minimalist perspective. I’m not using a single textbook. That being said, it’s important to remember that I’m participating in the Lingoda Marathon and I do take lessons 3-5 times a week, so I get most of my grammar and vocabulary from there.
I’ve actively been using Duolingo, too. I am happy to see that after posting this on my Instagram, lots of you joined Duolingo and started following each other! How cool is it that we are growing our language community day by day? (If you’d like to follow me, my username is LindieBotes)
Something really cool that I’m not sure you may know about Duolingo is how different the web version is from the app. I’ve only been using the app to complete the exercises and level up, but upon exploring the web version, I was pleasantly surprised. I knew there was a forum, but didn’t know there are word lists (WITH EXAMPLES!) and a dictionary. My favorite feature by far is to scroll through my word list, see the words I haven’t been practicing recently, and click on them to see example sentences.
Many people, including my mom who is also learning Spanish, have recommended Spanishdict.com to me. It’s fantastic for conjugating verbs! What’s more is they have vocabulary flashcards and activities too. Here’s an example: you learn a word and have to type it to repeat. You’ll do the same for a few words, and then it’ll prompt you with the English and you need to type the Spanish.
SpanishDict also has an in-depth grammar guide. Something I struggle with a lot are prepositions, and luckily they have a whole page dedicated to understanding prepositions.
Lessons on Lingoda
As mentioned above, I’m taking classes with Lingoda. It’s pretty simple to use because you can book a lesson according to your level but you aren’t obliged to follow the curriculum in order. This is good for people who already have a base in the language and want to skip the basic stuff like greetings. The lessons I’m taking are group lessons, so there are always different people in the video call, which keeps things interesting. I’ve found some tutors who are hilarious and fun and others who are serious and somewhat dry – so it’s really tricky to judge an entire platform based on a few tutors. The lessons are all very well structured and each time, a PDF document is followed with activities and questions. Tutors make sure to give each student a time to read or make a sentence, so I find it to be very balanced and well-run overall.
With teachers talking and explaining the whole time, it’s difficult to take notes. If you are going to use Lingoda, I suggest taking notes of important things in the lesson but taking time after the lesson to go through the PDF and really write down the details. Tutors also don’t ask or remind you to do homework, but at the end of each PDF there’s a homework section for you to practice on your own. Below are some of my messy in-class notes:
I’m also practicing with a language exchange partner from Mexico on HelloTalk. I’m also using a minimalist approach here. Language exchange apps make it easy for us to switch between people and always look for someone new. We rarely stick with one partner. I’m too exhausted, busy and tired to spend my time chatting to 500 people, and I also don’t want to be on my phone all the time (except when I’m on Duolingo, lol). So, once I found a language exchange partner on HelloTalk that I feel comfortable talking to, I just keep talking to them and I don’t send message requests to others.
Tandem is an alternative to HelloTalk but I find that message requests on Tandem are insane and I cannot keep up. It affects my mental health because I feel bad ignoring people who genuinely just want to talk. It’s just way too much. I deactivated my account on Tandem and will be sticking to HelloTalk for now.
It’s perfect timing that The Projector cinema here in Singapore has a Mexican Film Festival going on! I watched a movie this weekend called Sueño en Otro Idioma, and was really excited not only by the fascinating plot line but also by how much Spanish I understood after one month of learning (combined with my background in French).
Music is one of my main motivating factors for learning a new language. I’ve always enjoyed Spanish music, especially Spanish worship music. Here’s my Spotify playlist for Spanish!
Something else I do is browse Twitter in Spanish. One of my good friends on Twitter is a fellow polyglot Ivan, from Venezuela. I find the things he retweets interesting. Though I don’t understand 100% of the content, by following people like Ivan I’m able to get a lot of Spanish on my screen and learn new words and phrases by seeing it often. I’m also close friends with Angela from Passion For Dreaming on YouTube, and she speaks Spanish too.
I’d like to give a quick shoutout to the Spanish community here on the internet. I’ve received so much help, encouragement and messages from you guys! Sometimes it’s hard for me to reply to your messages individually, but please know that I read each and every one of them and it really encourages me and keeps me going.
This post is not sponsored.