Learning the Spanish Language — Project Day 42

Yesterday — an 'Off Day'

It wasn't a completely wasted day, by any means. But I didn't get much Spanish done. And any time spent documenting it would detract from today's effort. So this paragraph is simply a 'for the record' explanation of why Thu, 3 Feb 2022 doesn't get a project day number.

Pimsleur Exercises

Almost any Spanish speech helps, but one of the things I find most useful about Pimsleur's "guess and repeat after me" method, is that I'm constantly reminded of idioms that just seem to take forever to 'stick' in my mind. In most cases, the problem is that my brain reaches for an already-embeddded, non-idiomatic, alternative.

Usually, those non-idiomatic alternatives would 'get the job done', and often acceptably — but one essence of fluency is that a native speaking listener would hear what they woud have said, rather than an alternative. Here's a few examples from my latest Pimsleur lesson:

  • Me gusta / me gustaria — my brain leaps to 'quiero'
  • Necesita — my brain leaps to 'debe/deberia'
  • Hay que + infinitive — my brain leaps to 'debe/deberia'
  • A veces / algunas veces — my brain just gets stuck
  • Entonces / luego / después — don't know when one of those is 'best'
  • Es simpatico— should sick (FRE/ITA), but doesn't

I think the problem with 'simpatico' is just that it sounds so pretentious in English. I experience similar blocks with adjectives that sound 'over the top', exagerated, or excessively formal in their English versions, but are perfectly normal in Spanish, e.g. magnifico, fantastico — a negative transfer that only fades after a great deal of practice and immersion.

Irregular Verb Exercises

No substantive errors and fewer incidental errors than usual. One gender error (twice) and three errors of verb selection.

  • Chocolate
  • Hoir — I used escuchar
  • Poner — I used meter
  • Estar emocionado —I used excitar

The 'hoir' mistake is the only one I'm really bothered about. Because the hear-listen couplet is one of those pairings that I get mixed-up in most languages. And I'm not terribly worried about it — it just needs more attention and work, hence this note.

The use of 'meter' and 'excitar' would probably be understood, but sound a bit 'off' — because of the connotations, e.g. 'meter' connotes 'thrust' and 'excitar' connotes 'stir up'.

Glossika Spanish Fluency — and IPA

My first experience of this course was much easier than I'd anticipated. It's rated at B1-B2 on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), but I guess the first session is really intended as a A2 recap.

The printed sentences are laid out differently from the "Spanish Business" course I'd followed previously. Extra vertical spacing makes it a little harder to fit on screen below my Audacity window, but the colour coding helps focus on the spoken or IPA versions. The other version of each sentence is in English — which I hardly ever look at or listen to attentively.

I'm beginning to find the IPA version more useful, as I begin to recognise the symbols more immediately and precisely. I'm hoping that I'll eventually pick up all the IPA used in Spanish — 'by osmosis'.

Ordinal Numbers as Pronouns

I did two sets of exercises on this. Partly, because the first set was so easy and partly because I've never actively learnt these forms — 'noveno/novena' was pretty much the only one that I couldn't guess. Knowing the Italian 'nono' was little help, but the French 'neuvième' might be worth associating with 'noveno/a'.

In the second set of translations I made two errors of substance — using 'primero', where the solution had 'primer'. Apparently, "as adjectives, the ordinals primero and tercero drop the -o when preceding a masculine singular noun".

More Preterite — Language Transfer

Good explanation of how to indicate the difference 'hablamos' meaning 'we speak' from 'hablamos' meaning 'we spoke' — a contextualising event or position in time, e.g. 'ayer', 'a cena'.

A reminder that '-er' and '-ir' verbs differ in the present 'we' form (-emos vs. -imos), but are identical in the preterite. So -er verbs are never ambiguous in the preterite, but '-ir' verbs can be.

Verbs that Take 'por'

Often deal with emotions or convey 'on behalf of'.

Some examples

  • Acabar for — to end by, end up doing
  • Dar gracias por
  • Esforzarse por
  • Estar por — to be inclined to, in favour of
  • Hacer por — to try to
  • Mirar por — to care about
  • Morirse por
  • Offenderse por
  • Optar por
  • Preoccuparse por
  • Rabia por
  • Terminar por — to end by
  • Votar por

Incidental errors and new knowledge in related exercises

  • "Comida en los restaurantes"— I omitted 'los'
  • Morirse — me muero por
  • Por tamaño — by size
  • Opto por la que — I used 'una' inappropriately instead of 'la'
  • Still mixing up the decir-hablar pair

I clearly still need to work on wrinkles in a few irregular verb forms — morire and dar spring to mind. And, while 'decir' is my go-to verb for 'to say', it's still not second nature for 'to tell'. I need to find hooks or cues for 'say', 'tell' vs. 'talk about'.

Learning Tasks Checklist

Task M T W T F S S
Word/phrase aural+oral
Sentence aural+oral
Socratic aural+oral
Verb exercises
Pronoun exercises
Preposition exercises
Physical exercise
Non-subbed video
Subbed video
Research lang. learning
List 'issues'
Prepare materials

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