Learn Spanish with me My Journey to Fluency Tips, Methods, Motivation

Emotions and language learning

June 23, 2015
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Hoy es  martes (today is Tuesday).

It’s my last day at my apartment in Spain today. I got up really early this morning and I have to say that the sunrise over the mountains was absolutely beautiful. I’m so glad I got up early.

So, since I got up early I thought I’d start the day a little differently today. Instead of reading my usual 5 pages of my novel before getting up, today I decided to listen to another episode of polyglot Luca Lampariello’s mini series (on his website www.thepolyglotdream.com). This particular episode was in English and was a interview with David Mansaray (another language lover).

Emotions and language learning

Luca and David talked about the fact that emotions can hinder us from communication. This can happen in particular with language learners, and especially with those who have just started to learn a new language who might feel to bit fragile and  have a fear of being judged or criticised too harshly.

Luca said that speaking a foreign language with a native speaker can be a bit like giving a performance and if someone criticises you, or corrects you all of the time then it can make you feel bad and uneasy about speaking again. This has happened to me on a number of occasions especially when speaking to native French speakers in France for some reason.

Surround yourself with people who you enjoy talking to.

Luca and David suggested that you surround yourself with people that are going to be helpful, that you resonate with, and that make you feel good about learning their language. In other words, with people who give you positive, constructive criticism. If you do this then you’ll find that you learn faster and better because you enjoy talking to them.

Find one person that you enjoy talking to and build a strong relationship with that one person.

Finding someone on the internet to chat to that you trust and really like can be a process of trial and error. However, try to find one person that you really get on well with and enjoy talking to and build a strong relationship with that person rather than having multiple language tutors or partner.

I think this is a good idea as in the past I’ve had multiple tutors and language partners on Italki and I got into the habit of always looking for new ones. I think that I did this because there were so many nice people to chose from. However, what tends to happen is that you only ever have superficial conversations with them. You talk about how you are, where you live, your family and the weather and so you just end up  repeating the same old phrases. It’s much better to have one tutor or language partner who knows you, whom you have common interests with, and with whom you can talk about a wide range of topics thus expanding your vocabulary and language ability.

Try recording yourself.

Another really great idea that Luca and David talked about was recording yourself during a conversation with a natvie speaker. I have a piece of software that records my Skype conversations with my tutors and language partners but I have to say that I never listen to it as I hate the sound of my own voice. It turns out that a lot of people have the same issue, however, listening to yourslef is a great way for you to focus on the detail of the coversation, pick up any errors, and fill in the gaps. This is something that you can’t do when you are having the conversation as you’re too busy trying to speak and keep the conversation going.

They also suggested that you record yourself even when you’re not having a conversation with a native speaker. In fact they say that this can be even more helpful because you can prepare to speak about a certain topic but you haven’t got the added stress of talking to another person.

Live conversations can be very stressful for many people, and for most people when starting out on learning a new language. However, recording yourself is like you’re speaking to another person i.e. giving a performance, but without the stress. It’s a great  way to prepare and practice talking about a topic before you have a real conversation with a native speaker.

Finally, Luca and David said that language learning helps you grow stronger as a person. As a language learner you have to overcome many obstacles and reaching fluency in a second language can make you feel that you can accomplish anything in life. If you learn one language, you can learn another.

A very intersting podcast indeed.

I’d really like to have a go at preparing and recording myself talk about a topic in advance of my next lesson with my tutor on Italki, as I think that learning new vocabulary and practicing what I want to say before the lesson would give me a lot of confidence and I would be less likely to forget about what I’d learnt.

As it was my last night in Spain, I decided to make sure that I got as much speaking practice in as possible and so spent an hour at my local bar talking to Eduardo the barista.

Today I only mangaged 3 pages of my Spanish novel so..

Time spent learning Spanish today: 1 hour

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