I have a goal.
My goal is to be fluent in Spanish by the end of this year.
From as early as I can remember, I studied French in school. I hated it. I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand how to remember words, and I certainly didn’t understand how I was supposed to actually speak the language—even after almost 10 years of french class! I felt like I simply wasn’t able to do it. Finally, in Grade 10 my french teacher approached me and said, “Brad, you should stop taking french class.” That was it. That was my ticket out. I no longer needed to learn french. Whatever, I sucked at it anyway, right?
Since then, I’ve felt limited by only being able to express myself in one language. The more I realized it, the more it embarrassed me. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being uni-lingual. But I felt like I was being lazy. I’ve always wanted to be able to speak more than one language; to be able to order my food in Italian at an Italian Ristorante, to communicate with the locals in Mexico, to speak the official second language of my own country.
Then I made a choice. I decided it was time for me to start learning a new language. I thought, I’ve already tried French, maybe I’ll start with something new—Spanish!
So in July, I downloaded the MindSnacks Spanish iPhone app, and began learning. Since then I’ve decided to expand my methods of learning, and I’ve added Memrise—which uses mnemonics and other creative methods to enhance your brain’s ability to retain information—to my arsenal of learning material. In just over two months, I know more Spanish than the French I spent almost 10 years trying to learn.
The trick, I’ve found, is to start speaking the language from day 1. I learned this from multi-linguist, Benny “The Irish Polyglot”. Don’t just bury your head in grammar books and sweat over verb conjugation. Start speaking right away! Speak to your friends, your family, speak to natives of the language in public places, like farmer’s markets, or malls; you’ll be amazed at how fast you learn.
I’m obviously no pro, and my Spanish is still pretty goofy, but I’m determined to be fluent in 6 months.
After Spanish, I plan to tackle French again.
I’ll keep you posted.
¡Hasta luego, mi amigos!