Language Self Study

I have nothing against language courses. I have taken several of them in the past. I think perhaps the most valuable thing about a course or class for studying a language is the regular appointment time to study and measure progress. That much said, most of what I’ve done since college has been self study. I got to thinking around my thirtieth birthday that I had studied three different languages, to of those in formal classes and really couldn’t speak or understand well enough to consider myself close to fluent in any of them. I was thinking about how my newborn son would learn English. He would listen and observe for 3-4 years and then be talking…. We didn’t plan on spending time working on verb conjugations he would learn by observing and he would make mistakes. He would use the wrong tense of the verb and we would correct him, that’s how a child learns their first language, by mimicking.

Then I thought about how reading class was in school. We would have increasingly challenging reading assignments and word lists (vocabulary lists) that went along with the reading. That’s how most of us increased our vocabulary in our first language, just a little at a time. Trial/error/absorbing a bit at a time.

So, since I had a good idea of the structure of the Spanish language already, I set about to take what I already knew and expand on it by reading/listening and watching content in spanish. I started out with a few dual language reader books and then moved onto other books that I had read quite a bit in English. I also have taken great advantage of the Spanish subtitles and Spanish Language dubbing on our DVD’s. Of course, there’s also the Spanish Language television that we receive as well.

Now, five years later. I have a much better understanding of written and spoken Spanish. (I’m currently reading my first original Spanish Language novel (one that I haven’t already read in English – and Spanish was the original language of the novel.)) Am I fluent? I’d have to go a lot further to consider myself fluent (but I AM a perfectionist.) I understand an awful lot of spoken Spanish, but I do miss words here and there. Some accents can be a bit more difficult. (Of course, some English speakers can be hard to follow…)

There are numerous resources online and on these pages I will try to cover as many links and resources as possible. This site will be about more than just studying Spanish online, but about most any language. (I know there are a LOT of languages in the world, but as the site grows I will be adding information and links on many.)

One of the things that’s marked my study of Spanish is long periods of time spent on one approach and then a pause and then another approach. What I like about this is the change of pace. What I’ve done is not all listening, not all reading, not all “text book/coursework” style material, but a fair mix of resources.

I’ve started organizing some of the General Language Learning links and ideas into the following pages:

General Resources – Resource links that can be useful no matter which language you study.

Listening to Music – the benefits of finding music in the language you are learning.

Memory Software – tools to help you learn and memorize vocabulary.

Writing Ideas – Writing is a great way to practice your language skills and this page links to resources to give you ideas for what you might write about.

Subpages of this page:

General Resources
Listening to Music
Memory Software
Writing Ideas