It’s been seven days already since I’ve started the Two Languages in Three Months Challenge. My challenge is basically to learn two languages at once within three months. I have to say that it has been a breeze so far, in fact, I’m suspecting I’ll have a huge setback soon.
Now, with that good news out of the way, I’d like to share more in detail how exactly(or sketchily) I’m attempting to learn two languages at once.
First of all, there are a couple of things I’ve discovered that were really mini Eureka moments for me, one of these things has to do with my new way of using Duolingo and you might just think of it as a game changer as I did..
Now, to return to the topic of this post, my technique is to use the WPM, no, not the WordPress Muppet, but the Wondering Pain Method. Some call it Full Immersion, but I think WPM describes it more precisely.
In this early phase of learning a new language (well, two), I love the fact of being fully, completely, painfully aware of the fact that I know close to nothing about this bubbling mess that is nonetheless a code that millions of people understand and communicate with.
I think that’s truly fascinating.
How fascinatingly different those words, sounds and structure rules are from the ones I have grown accustomed to. How wonderful it is that in a short time (ahem, hopefully) my mind will be able to arrange and produce meaning from what was before like music on deaf ears.
I could feel stupid for not understanding anything or annoyed at the complexity of the grammar or the pronunciation.
Or I could be fascinated by it. And I duly am.
Below I’ve compiled some of the main features of this marvelously crafted learning solution.
THE WONDERING PAIN METHOD
- I haven’t really looked up the grammar for either of the two languages, yet. One of my main purposes in the past week has been to simply grow accustomed to the flow of the language. I’ve done that by listening to various types of media, though none were intended for beginners. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about passive aimless useless zombie listening in here. I’m talking about really LISTENING as hard and carefully as I could.
- I have compiled a playlist of Spanish and German songs. What I really enjoyed was finding songs in one language that had lyrics of the other language on screen. Believe it or not, I actually retained more words meaning from the Spanish lyrics of German songs, that when I read the same song translated into English. Have no idea of why that should be so, but I testify to that.
- My first idea was to find German series that had Spanish subtitles, but that seems a bit hard as there are not many German tv shows that are that popular (if you know of any that is subbed in Spanish, do let me know, please). I’ll keep looking, tough.
- My second option has been to simply re-watch episodes from my favorite series to freshen my memory about what was happening in that specific episode and then watch it in German or Spanish.
- For German in particular, when i couldn’t find subs, I courageously watched the videos anyway. And you know what? It was really worth it, because if the actors are good they will keep you interested and you can guess what is going on from their reaction, body language or tone of voice. It’s true that you don’t know the exact verbal translation, but then, again, I bet you have already heard about the statistic claiming that, in a usual conversation, only 7% of the meaning is carried on by words and the remaining 93% is all about non verbal communication (including tone of voice). This means I shouldn’t feel weird for having enjoyed (I actually chuckled a couple of times) a show in a language I barely know.
- I have some language apps but at this stage I wasn’t aiming at using them consistently.
In conclusion, as you might have noticed, this might have seemed like it was a very laid back week, although internally my brain was continually at work and focused. Okay, it was mainly guess-work,but still, it’s not like I was watching another cute cat video (they were videos of an elephant and mouse instead, which were German, of course).
I think one should feel a sense of urgency when learning a language but shouldn’t stress himself out in the process. I basically sang a lot in this week, watched parts of my fav series over and over again and have generally had a blast….And that’s why I’ll never learn anything – or at least this is what you might think 😛
In this coming week I’ll start to focus more on acquiring basic vocabulary and learn greetings, common phrases and yeah, yeah all that boring and very good stuff…or will I?
So, tell me, how do you enjoy learning a new language? Was there something unusual that you liked to do while you learned it? How did your journey begin?
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