- 5-15 minutes: SRS practice.
- 5-30 minutes: Listen to the target language.
- 5 Days/Week
- 30-60 minutes: Learn something new.
- 3 Days/Week
- 30-60 minutes: Interact with a Teacher
- 1 Days/Week
- 30-60 minutes: Language Practice/Exchange with a native speaker.
- 15-30 minutes: Vocabulary, and Grammar Test or Recap.
- Work on any homework.
- Attend special events like cultural happenings.
- Enter new stuff into SRS, and copy notes.
- Every month do a comprehensive review.
- Beginner Specific
- Learn the writing system inside and out.
- Practice listening to the hard to hear sounds in isolation.
- Practice listening to and deciphering natural conversation.
If you add that up, I will end up studying between 6 and 10 hours per week. That is a small, but tangible time investment. In my previous post I mentioned aiming for 10 hours a week. The above is my general plan until November. I will probably have to tweak various points here and there, but overall it shouldn't change much. During the first 3 months, I will spend some of my new learning time and review time going over beginner specific points. These should hopefully help my accent to be more understandable, and my listening comprehension to rise faster.
So what exactly am I doing?
SRS stands for Spaced Repetition System/Software. In short it is flash cards software that tries to guess the best time to show me the card again before I forget iTalkiit. I oupfrountnly use Anki for my Chinese SRS needs, but it could be used it for anything including study math, or chemistry facts. I will use it some for Spanish also, but one of my "Learn something new" resources has it's own built in SRS that I will try out. Usually I can review a term card in 5 - 15 seconds. Either I know it or I don't. If it is a sentence or a grammar card it can take longer. Learning 50 words a week in Chinese I spend the most time on that first day memorizing and understanding, probably 15 minutes or so. After that, that It is usually less than 5 minutes a day of reviewing.
My other daily item, listening to the target language is about exposure. A simple example of what I might do would be listening to a couple of Spanish music videos on YouTube. I could also get ambitious and watch one of the Spanish channels on TV for 5 minutes and see what I can understand. It can even be something more clever like getting seated in a Mexican restaurant near the kitchen so I can overhear the cooks talking.
Learn something new is basically focused learning. You can do this pretty much anyway you want. Some examples are: using a textbook, attend a class, listen to audio lessons, translate texts by hand. and so on. For me I am looking at several angles. I plan to work through Duolingo's Spanish tree. I also plan to use SpanishPod101 to pick and choose lessons that are interesting, or useful for filling gaps. Our Library has several different audio Spanish courses available to check out. I also bought 3 books to help me.
I plan to use the iTalki teacher more as a coach than a teacher. Their job is to answer questions I have, point out any major flaws they see, and help me run some drills. I wan't guidance, not hand holding. I envision our first sessions starting out mostly in English, where I recap what I have done since we last spoke, and then we role play some scenario. They give me feedback, maybe some new vocab to help flesh out my responses, and then we can do drills on problem points. At the end of it they may or may not assign me some homework.
Once a week I want to test myself on everything I have learned, and practice using it. I think this step is really important. After ensuring I have learned something, I think then moving on to an exchange helps me attempt to use it in the wild and get some independent feedback.
How much am I spending?
I toyed with the idea of not paying a dime and learning the language as best I can. I think that that is definitely possible for someone with internet and access to a decent public library. I think they wouldn't have no problem finding material until they got up into the upper intermediate levels.
I decided to grab a few things to hopefully help me along the way. All the below links are Affiliate links (I get paid if you buy something on Amazon through them).
- Lonely Planet Latin American Spanish Phrasebook & Dictonary
- A Frequency Dictionary of Spanish: Core Vocabulary for Learners
- Practical Spanish Grammar: A Self-Teaching Guide, 2nd Edition
- 2 Year subscription to SpanishPod101
The books costed me $64.58, and the website subscription costed $168.00 at $7/month for 2 years paid upfront. So combining those I have spent $232.58 upfront for this Spanish project.
Lets get started!
I had planned to not start until the beginning of April, but because things here have been going so smoothly, I don't have a good reason not to start ASAP. So I have decided to start tomorrow! Every Sunday henceforth I will update my blog with a weekly summary of what happened.
Wish me luck!