Wednesday, December 14, 2016

La clase

The Spanish class experiment is over, and I am relieved. It was interesting, but much more stressful than I anticipated. I did learn a more about Spanish grammar than I knew before, but I'm not convinced that my speaking skills improved very much and my listening skills are pretty much exactly where they were before - but I know how to use the subjunctive! If only I could recognize it in conversational speed speech. . .

For a variety of reasons, I will not be taking a class next semester. The main reason is so that I have time to plan and prepare for doing a solo trip in the early spring rather than late summer, but there are others. I've taken a class every full fall and spring semester since I started working at my current job. I consider it to be a bit of a waste not to take advantage of the reduced tuition that is an employee benefit, but I think I've finally reached scholastic burnout.

I want more time to devote to my own interests, more time to spend with my husband without worrying about whether I have assignments due or need to study. Classes take up a lot of brain space for me, and I want to reclaim it, maybe let it lie fallow for a season and see how I feel about more classes next year.

I do want to continue to study the Spanish language and try to gain a level of fluency, but I'm not convinced by this class that taking college courses is the best way to do that. I'm not sure what the best way would be. My husband has recommended watching commercials; he says that a number of immigrants to America that he knew learned English that way. But they were also living in a country where English was spoken.

I've tried watching television in Spanish, but I inevitably lose the train of conversation as soon as I hear a word I don't know. I run into a similar situation with trying to read books in Spanish, even books that I've read in English before. And, because Spanish words sometimes have objects appended to verbs, the Kindle dictionary lookup can't always tell me what the word is because it won't look up the root word, just the whole word. Which is nonsense, according to the included dictionary.

Maybe I need to buy a dictionary that I can use in the Kindle; that way if the highlight word for lookup feature fails me, I can go to the other dictionary and figure it out based on what I know of roots. Or I could just read at the computer with a dictionary open. But that takes much of the enjoyment of reading out of the equation for me.

One thing class did do for me was give me an incentive to focus on learning the language. I'll have to see whether I can keep some form of that focus without the class to prod me to practice.

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