Saturday, February 26, 2011

One Parent One Language...Kind Of

I'm trying to speak to Bean in Spanish as much as possible. Ideally, I'd like to only speak to him in Spanish, but I just don't have all the vocabulary I need. I figured it would be easy because he's just a baby and you shouldn't need to say that much- but in reality, I talk to him a lot. All day, everyday I talk, talk, talk, talk.

Plus there are the times when I forget my Spanish only rule. It's just not natural to me yet.

But each time I come across a phrase that I only know in English, I find out how to say it in Spanish and make note of it in my SRS (I use Anki).

I'd love to find a list of parenting-related sentences to add just for review, but I guess I'll have to take it one sentence at a time.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Are People As Critical In Real Life?

I have a confession to make. I can't roll my r's. I also can't whistle so maybe that has something to do with why my r's will never trickle off my tongue.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, it seems to me that people online are extremely critical of Spanish accents. I understand that if you are going to speak a language, you should learn how to speak it properly. No one wants to sound like this. But sheesh, the way some people criticize online it makes you afraid to say anything.

But I don't think people are like that in real life. If you speak English with an accent no one is going to bother you as long as they can understand what you are saying. Now some people are jerks, but for the most part people don't go around critiquing people's accents when English is their second language.

Likewise, from my experience in a Spanish-speaking country; no one was rude about my obvious accent. Everyone was just so happy that I was trying to learn and communicate with them. They didn't have time to critique me on that. BUT ironically, I did get some criticisms on my English. That bothered me, and it still annoys me when I think about it.

For instance, someone pointed to something and asked me how to say it in English. I said "trash can". She said, "no, that's not how you say it." I was confused. Later on she remembered the word and told me, "that is a [something I don't remember because that's not what we call it in the US]". It was like they wouldn't say anything about my Spanish, but they surely did try to tell me how to speak English. I understand that they learn English from an early age in that country; but please...let's not get besides ourselves.

I digress...

So what's up with people being so harsh online? Do people need to be criticized on every single vowel they mispronounce and r they can't roll? Why is that a reason to make fun of someone?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bilingual Preschool

Bean will be homeschooled. This decision, like many others I've made, was determined years before he was conceived.

Cienpies Design
But, I'm big on immersion so my mind started to wander to the possibility of sending him to a bilingual preschool. He's just a little tater, so it's not like we'd be sending him tomorrow; but as you will soon learn- I love to plan in advanced.

So I started looking into it, and I immediately stopped when I saw the price tag. $800 a month. Do you know what I could do with $800 a month? Do you know how many videos, books, DVD's, and supplemental activities I could buy with $800 a month? Heck, we could save that money and go stay in Mexico for a little bit each year.

I'm going to have to pass on that idea and go back to my original plan. But I did find a lovely weekly mommy-baby Spanish class for less than $200. That, I can handle.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Best Way to Learn a Language

Bean and I are following the immersion method of learning. I'm not going to spend time reviewing grammar books or any other conventional method. We are simply going to immerse ourselves in the Spanish language.

As a sidenote, I will be using SRS (or space repetition software) so that I can retain phrases, but other than that I am trying to keep things as natural as possible.

So what does that mean?

In general, I don't like TV, but if it's on it's going to be in Spanish. Books I read need to be in Spanish. When I teach songs, colors, etc to Bean- it will be in Spanish. I'm going to find a church that's conducted in Spanish. Websites I guessed it, it's time to start incorporating Spanish sites into my day. And so on and so fourth.

We also have to get out and meet native speakers, etc- which shouldn't be too hard because there are many of them in this area. Grammar drills, vocab lessons, traditional classes- been there, done that, wrote a postcard- and I don't think that's the best way to learn a language. It works for some people and that's great- but I learned English without sitting in a classroom being quizzed so I feel confident that my baby can learn Spanish the same way.

Who Am I?

It's time to start over with a clean slate. This is my second blog dedicated to chronicling my journey en espanol.

I am not Latina but I've always been fascinated with the Spanish language. I took four years in high school, four years in college, and traveled abroad for a short period of time.

I think my reluctance to study abroad hindered my learning ability, because in college I was fine with the language and then the third year hit and I felt like I was behind two years. I didn't understand why I struggled while everyone else flourished, but I pushed on.

Since I'm used to picking up things quickly, I didn't take well to feeling behind. My interest faded and I did just enough to get by.

Years later here I am thinking it would be silly to let all that knowledge go down the drain. I used to have a goal of raising any children I have to be bilingual, and now I realize that I don't have to let that dream go down the drain.  Especially since I now have a baby! For the purpose of this blog, my baby will be called Bean.

So I'm going to immerse myself Spanish...again, but this time it's going to be fun. No reading textbooks that bore me or poetry from the 1600's that I don't understand. I'm just going to do it in a (hopefully) natural and fun way. Of course, I haven't forgotten everything, but I still like to refer to this process as learning the language again.

Anything else? You can email me here.