2015-06-24

Spanish Project Review Part 2


Welcome back! So at the end of roughly 90 days I racked up the following numbers. For someone that was working full time, and doing a college class for 2/3 of those 90 days, I think I did pretty well.

Total Time Studied:9643 Minutes (160.72 Hours)
Average Daily Time:107 Minutes
Total Non-Study Exposure:2667 Minutes
Total Vocabulary:1488 Terms
Total Money Spent:$806.12

I bought way too much. I started with 3 books, and I am currently only using one of them. I bought all three levels of Glossika, and a 1 or 2 year subscription to SpanishPOD101. Currently I am only using the Glossika regularly. I also bought iTalik sessions, but they have been worth it. While each of these materials are useful on their own, I couldn't study them all at the same time, and still have time for everything else in my life. With that being said $800 for three months of language study is cheap. When I bought university classes for Chinese 1, I paid around $1300. I got probably the same amount of study time ( 112 hrs of class + self study time ), and some other intangible benefits, but it was stretched over 4 months, and covered less vocabulary, but probably more grammar.

In a lot of ways keeping track of my new word count doesn't matter. It can be useful to have an Anki deck to identify holes in your vocabulary, or just to practice, but for me, the word count stopped mattering once I got beyond 10-20 survival phrases. After that, what really mattered was learning how to communicate.

Over the course of the challenge I listened to all kinds of contemporary Latin music. I also watched a season of Arrow, a little Spanish cable TV, and went to restaurants where I could listen to natives speak. These things helped me with my listening ability, but also, as time progressed I was able to notice how I understood more and more. It was a nice positive reinforcement.

Below is a break down of my Anki deck roughly at the end of the challenge. I doubled tagged 2 words, but I am being lazy and not going back to see which two. What you will notice is that I saw most words in DuoLingo first. To be fair, I probably have received several hundred words from my iTalki tutors, but I rarely enter them into Anki.


SourceCount Percent 
DuoLingo100467.56
P.S.G.18212.24
Spanish Pod 101916.12
Frequency Dict. 604.03
Glossika593.97
iTalki493.29
Complete Spanish 412.75
Total1486100

So most weeks of the challenge I would try to make some big course correction in my studies. Something like, I am going to talk X times per week this week, or study X amount of grammar this week, or get X topic down, and so on. For the most part I did not hit those goals. Honestly, I am not broken up about it. Each time I tried to do more than <insert excuse here>, but each time I did manage to do somewhat better in my studies.  For example, I said I was gonna try and hit a chapter of grammar a day. What that did was push me from doing one chapter every two plus weeks to one chapter every week.

 Now that the challenge is done, I can kinda reflect back and think about what I would do differently. A lot of what I would do differently is things like study grammar sooner, or speak more, but I think I would have benefited more from finding and aligning a class, or multiple classes up with this challenge. There were community classes starting up around the same time as this challenge, but I was too shy, and busy to attempt them. Another thing I should have done was use HelloTalk more, to casually converse with natives.

So where to from here, you ask? I am still leaning. Since the 90 day video I have done six italki sessions. I am slowing down with a lot of my self studying, but I am looking into a night class to supplement that. Way back in February when I first started figuring out this project I mentioned some different metrics. I think I am still on track for somewhere between my 15 and 30 month marks.

Thanks for reading! I will start posting quarterly Spanish updates. Expect the first sometime in September.

2015-06-13

Spanish Project Review Part 1

So I got a lot I wana say, and I know if your anything like me ya got a short attention span. I am gonna try and break this up into a couple of posts. For your viewing pleasure, I stuck all the videos from this challenge ( in reverse order ) throughout the post.


First off I wanna thank Brian, and Viktorija for the Add1Challenge. I know, I wouldn't have made as much progress as I did, without the Add1 community. Second, I wanna thank all the amazing people I met during this challenge. Nicky, Riza, Dan, John, and Graciela. You guys are awesome. I also really enjoyed seeing the videos, and posts of the challengers from A1C6, and A1C5. The things those challengers accomplished were truly inspiring. I wanna thank my wife for putting up with me talking to random internet people in different languages, at all hours of the day. Last, here is a plug for my 2 favorite iTalki Spanish teachers, Candice, and Claudia


Overall I consider this project a big success. I went from probably 15 - 30 random Spanish words to 1400 in three months. I learned a lot of basic grammar, and am able to talk, what Benny Lewis calls Tarzan talk. I didn't anticipate how nervous recording a conversation would make me, but now I know for future reference that I should record a longer conversation. The nervous jitters go away after a while. 


Learning the language wasn't the only success I got from this. Another bit is I would like to at some point call my self a polyglot. My definition of Polyglot is someone who can speak three or more languages conversationally. I now have all the necessary tools to work towards that. 

Here is a secret for ya. Before this challenge I had doubts about my ability to learn Spanish. I wasn't overwhelmed by these doubts, or even bothered really, but nevertheless in the back of my mind I had a sneaking suspicion I might not be able to. Happily, I was wrong. After thinking about this worry for a bit, I realized it was because I undervalued my experiences from learning Chinese. Remembering when I pushed myself to learn Chinese, it seems like it came easy, and I remember being given lots of praise about my speed of acquisition, command of the language, and listening skills. When I really think about it tho, there was a lot of hard work involved, and Chinese people often over praise foreigners. I had chosen not to remember that.


While we are talking about what is inside my head, lets talk about what motivated me to pick Spanish in the first place. I originally had 2 reasons. I wanna be called a polyglot, a.k.a. my ego, and I want to be able to communicate with as many people as possible. English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese are the three most spoken languages in the world. 

A few weeks into the challenge I ended up adding to that list. I started to really enjoy popular Latin music. Also, in the middle of this challenge plans started to solidify about traveling the world over the next few years. This in turn, got me interested in the places that I could use my shiny new Spanish, and what their common customs might be.


So with the challenge over I am still taking iTalki Lessons, and practicing my Spanish. Now, I am slowing down a bit, and altering my focus. The new plan for the next few months, is to solidify foundation, crush a lot of these common mistakes I am having, and build up from there. 

In the next post I am gonna review some of the routines, and numbers stuff, from this project.

2015-06-07

Spanish Week 13 Update. Final Week!

The project is done! Yesterday ended day 90, and now I have a few days before to get my conversation video recorded and submitted. This project was both a lot of work and a lot of fun. I plan to follow this post up with a couple of articles about the experience over all. For one last time, like the previous posts, summary total stuff at the top, and day by day at the bottom.


Total Time Studied:9643 Minutes (160.72 Hours)
Time Studied This Week:521 Minutes (8.68 Hours)
Average Daily Time:107 Minutes
Total Non-Study Exposure:2667 Minutes
Non-Study Exposure This Week: 240 Minutes
Total Vocabulary:1488 Terms
New Vocabulary:54 Terms
Total Money Spent:$806.12
Spent This Week:$47.00

One of the information plaques at the Miami Science Center

So this week was rougher than most, but I still think I did pretty good overall. The reason this week was rougher was because I started another challenge, and my parents came to visit for the week. We spent Thursday and Friday in and around Miami, and I ended up getting a good amount of exposure due to the radio, and hearing some local conversations.

My term count was a bit down. In DuoLingo I had another lesson of infinitive verbs, so it was more review than anything else. I am ok with this. At this point, of those 1488 terms, I think I know about 1000ish good, and the other 400ish, I am still pushing into my long term memory. I am ok with this.

This week I had a fun exchange with a Spanish speaking woman at a Chinese take out place in Miami. I was able to ask her a few things, and she understood me and responded. She said a few things and I understood most of what she replied with. Victory!

So now that the 90 day challenge is done, I will not stop studying Spanish, I will just change how I study, and log less hours. This is a milestone, not a finish line. For everyone that read my blog posts, thank you. I will post 2 or 3 more times about this project in the coming weeks, before wrapping it up completely.
  1. Monday - 114 Minutes
    • 9   M DuoLingo
    • 30 M Reading 2 articles for Candice
    • 10 M Anki
    • 5   M Anki Phrases
    • 15 M PSG Chapter 5
    • 45 M Skype with Candice
  2. Tuesday - 199 Minutes
    • 7   M Anki
    • 50 M Homework for Candice
    • 7   M DuoLingo
    • 45 M Skype with Candice
    • 30 M Homework for Claudia
    • 60 M Skype with Claudia
  3. Wednesday - 97 Minutes
    • 7  M DuoLingo
    • 30 M Homework for Claudia
    • 60 M Skype with Claudia
  4. Thursday - 85 Minutes
    • 20 M DuoLingo
    • 120+ M Exposure ( Music on the radio )
    • 15 M PSG Chapter 6
    • 40 M Reading Spanish at the Science Museum
    • 10 M Bits of conversation with our waitress
  5. Friday
    • 120+ M Exposure ( Listened to Spanish radio )
  6. Saturday - 26 Minutes
    • 16 M Exposure ( Dan's excellent Final video! )
    • 10 M DuoLingo
  7. Sunday
    • -- Done, no more detailed records! YAY!

2015-06-01

Spanish Week 12 Update

Week 12 done!  One week left to do! Day 90, is on Saturday, and then I think I have about a week to get my 15 minute conversation video done. I did better this week than I expected. Hopefully, I can keep it up next week during the home stretch! As usual, totals at the top and day by day at the bottom.

Total Time Studied:9122 Minutes (152.03 Hours)
Time Studied This Week:609 Minutes (10.15 Hours)
Average Daily Time:109 Minutes
Total Non-Study Exposure:2427 Minutes
Non-Study Exposure This Week: 459 Minutes
Total Vocabulary:1434 Terms
New Vocabulary:97 Terms
Total Money Spent:$759.12
Spent This Week:$47.00


Some "pescada a la plancha"I ordered in spanish. :)
So this week I did a smidge less, than last, but I got more exposure in. I am excited, and nervous going into this last week. I know it will be hard to hit my time this week because of other obligations, but I am determined to try. One obligation is entertaining, and spending time with my parents while they visit, for 6 days starting tomorrow night.  Another thing is, tomorrow starts A1C8, and I enrolled in it also. But this time I am doing Chinese. So I have some Chinese Study to do on top of that also.

The good for this week... About half my DuoLingo was reinforcing perfect tense verbs. :) Which meant I practiced using stuff I know and didn't add too much new vocabulary. I did almost all of chapter 5 in the grammar book. Also my teachers are pushing me to talk better, and more independently.

Aight, it is already midnight 30 here. I am gonna call it a night. So, next week I will post up a final report Saturday, and then after I do the conversation video I plan to post about the project as a whole. Wish me luck!

  1. Monday - 142 Minutes
    • 14 M DuoLingo
    • 18 M Anki
    • 5   M PSG Chapter 5
    • 45 M Skype with Candice
    • 60 M Exposure ( YT music videos )
    • 30 M Figuring out and checking the Spanish for 20 Q
    • 30 M Skype with Dan
  2. Tuesday - 90 Minutes
    • 42 M Exposure ( Arrow S1 second to last episode )
    • 30 M Anki
    • 14 M DuoLingo
    • 46 M PSG Chapter 5
  3. Wednesday - 21 Minutes
    • 10 M Exposure ( Radio while driving )
    • 20 M Exposure ( Radio )
    • 25 M Exposure ( Radio )
    • 21 M DuoLingo
  4. Thursday - 105 Minutes
    • 42 M Exposure ( Arrow S1 finale )
    • 45 M Writing out a thing on my vacation.
    • 60 M Skype with Claudia
  5. Friday - 105 Minutes
    • 18 M Homework for Candice
    • 20 M Exposure ( YT Music )
    • 17 M Anki
    • 50 M Skype with Candice
    • 60 M Exposure ( went to a restaurant with Spanish speaking menus, music, and customers. Ordered in Spanish, )
    • 8 M DuoLingo
  6. Saturday - 84 Minutes
    • 15 M DuoLingo
    • 6   M Anki
    • 180 M Exposure ( YT music during my morning. was probably more but didn't keep good track)
    • 51 M PSG Chapter 5 and some review.
    • 5   M Anki Phrases
    • 7   M PSG Chapter 5
  7. Sunday - 62 Minutes
    • 8   M Anki
    • 11 M DuoLingo
    • 28 M DL -> Anki
    • 15 M PSG -> Anki