Speaking Your Language

Image from Women Learning Thai

I few months back I wrote a guest post on one of my favorite blogs about Thailand and the Thai Language: Women Learning Thai.  The post was about how I learned to speak Thai using a method called Speak Your Language.  To get a complete idea, you really need to read the post, but in short it is a concept where you slowly phase out your English and replace it with your target language you are learning.  One might ask why I haven’t done anything in Spanish using Speak Your Language?  The truth is I am.  No I don’t think I ever called it as such, but the truth is I have used speak your language through out my Spanish learning adventure.

Aprovecha su tiempo libre (Take advantage of your free time)

How often do we spend time day dreaming?  Standing in line at a grocery store or the bank or maybe we are at work and we have a few minutes to clear our mind.  Our day is full of 2 or 3 minutes of unexpected free time you discover unexpectedly.  What do we usually do? I know what I usually do, I think.  I am sure most of us think.  We think about what we are doing, what we need to do, and so on.  Now what a missed opportunity to use our new acquired language skills if we don’t try to think in the language we are learning.

You don’t have to change what you are thinking about.  Just do it in the language you are learning.  This is how Speak Your Language is great.  The point of  Speak Your Language is to not give up English entirely, it is to phase it out.  If you don’t know the word or phrase or conjugation, just keep the English.  When I still didn’t know the past tense in Spanish (I soon found out there was more than one), I used to put the English ‘ed on the end of the infinitive.  This was a place holder for my brain that once I learned the proper past tense conjugation I could replace that grammar.

Now just for all those who are thinking how stupid that is, practicing Spanglish wont help me talk to a native.  What this allowed me to do was to go on thinking in Spanish with out worrying about what I didn’t know and concentrate on what I did know.  I don’t loose my train of thought and the words and phrases I do know get solidified in my brain further.

Practiando gramatica (practice grammar)

Every language has its peculiarities, at least when compared to English.  Spanish definitely has its share.   It helps to work out these grammatical difficulties using English words first and then adding in the Spanish.  For example the big debate of all Spanish language learners:  do I use the imperfect or the preterite.  I am not going to pretend I am an expert at it, but I have become better at it by doing one thing.  I add the word generally in front of the sentence in English and if pretty much makes sense, or in other words, the sentence confirms that it is not speaking about a specific incident, then I use the imperfect tense.

Now I use English to confirm and improve my ability to speak correct Spanish.  This is used as a way to phase out my English.  I am using this less and less, but if I was too scared to use it because it isn’t “Spanish”, than I would be wasting such wonderful opportunities to use the language I already know to improve my the language I am learning.  That is the point of Speak Your Language:  You already can speak a language, use it to learn your next.


1 Comment

Filed under spanish, Thai

One response to “Speaking Your Language

  1. Pingback: Ignorance Is Bliss « An Sionnach Fionn

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