Mittwoch, 9. Dezember 2009

Learning Spanish - Obsesionado con Espanol

I decided to switch over to English. First of all because my writing skills are terrible (not only in English though) and I can see my grammar deteriorate every day. Having to look up basic verbs, nouns and adjactives more often than in the past makes me feel old and inapt. The few posts already made will be translated sooner or later, at least for practice.

It recently has come to me that I am quite lucky to have learned English at such an early age and such a quick rate. I can comprehend almost everything that isn't tainted by some obscure accent. Okay, I have my problems with spoken british dialect, although I enjoy listening to british English the most.

Here's the reason for the newfound appreciation of my English skills. For the last 3 months I've been taking Spanish classes once a week for two and a half hours. Since Romance languages are pretty logically structured and every bit of French, Italian or English helps to learn, I am confidentially cruising the textbook examples and exercises. But when it comes to thinking out of the box and applying all that wild grammar and vocabulary to form sentences of my own, I am rather challenged.

Today, learning English is considerably easy. Most western languages are stuffed with anglicisms, especially when it comes to vocabulary concerning industry, business or technology. A lot of movies and TV series are produced in English. Most of the significant publications in science and business are released in English. Long story short: learning English as a foreign language is a piece of cake. Learning Spanish isn't.

A big issue in my opinion is choosing your desired dialect. The pronounciation in Spain is very different from that in Mexico. Both of these differ from the Spanish spoken in Cuba. Argentina is a totally different story and so on. Don't think of it as the cute "americans pronounce 'a' differently than british people" type of difference that most spoken english burns down to. Think of it as a Oxford scholar vs australian outback kind of linguistic conflict.
My Spanish teacher is a Mexican, so that settles that. Mexico is the country I am most interested in anyway. Mexican Spanish in my opinion is easier to speak for somebody who just wants to get by and doesn't care if he'll ever be mistaken for a true Spaniard. Pronounciation is fairly easy to remember and Spanish intonation in general has a nice rhythm to it.

So three months in, I am feeling that I am not progressing fast enough. I can tell people who I am, where I am from, what my hometown is like and all that smalltalk stuff you always learn first in every foreign language. Currently we are learning about food (fruits, vegetables, cheese etc.) and will have a pre-christmas get-together at a Cuban restaurant. All of this is very cute and catchy, but at this rate I won't be writing my first essay in Spanish for another 2-3 years, too long for my taste.
I am more of the devouring type. If I am genuinely interested in something, I obsess over it and suck up every bit of information I can get my greedy hands on. (This kind of situational OCD has proven to be hazardous in the past and will provide me with many sleepless nights for my upcoming diploma thesis.)

What are my options? Will I cave in to the hunger for knowledge or continue to torture myself with the bits of linguistic goodness trickling in each week? Should I try the self-teaching approach or will I lose interest when learning on my own?

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