1 Word That I Can’t Pronounce in Spanish

As I want to learn more Spanish words, I was reading one of my Spanish story books that I brought home from Mexico. They are really for native Spanish speaking children, but the level is fine for me, there are a few pictures inside, and the font size is much bigger! So I decided to buy 3 of them!

It was in one of these books where I saw this word.  I immediately thought “That looks like it’s made up, that can’t be real!”

So I looked it up and yes, it is actually quite real!

….ronronear…

This means ‘to purr’ in Spanish. I was reading a short story about a black cat and this word crept up a few times.

I don’t know why it’s weird, it’s just how it’s written and how it is pronounced. It just doesn’t sound like a ‘normal’ Spanish word!

Incidentally, this is one word that I can’t say either! There is only a slight roll of the tongue when pronouncing the ‘r’s and I just can’t seem to get my tongue back in the right position to say the second ‘r’!

Before I used to have trouble saying ‘euro’. The ‘EUro’ sound is different to the way you say it in English and I just couldn’t get it right! However after practicing I can say it ok now!

The rolling ‘R’s are usually fine however I do trip up on them sometimes, especially when I speak too fast.

But this word I just can’t say. I tried and tried and my husband was also trying to teach me how to say it but I’m just not getting it! It’s not exactly a really important word to say so I’m not overly concerned about it!

I wonder will I find some other weird sounding words the next time I read my books!

Aisling

 

Using iTalki to improve my Spanish

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When I was in a teenager, I used to study French in school. I don’t really remember much of it except that we used to have a teacher who was constantly giving out to us.

Then in college my course offered 3 years of either studying Spanish or French. Of course I went for the French option as I had studied that before.

Again, I don’t remember much from it, except I was always the worst in the class (and there were only 7 students in total!) and being taught new grammar that I never had a clue what it was about. I remember looking at the grammar and thinking “I don’t have a clue what I’m reading or studying!”

One thing I do remember though was one day the lecturer told us to write something in french on the computers in the classroom. I remember I wasn’t able to do it so I started using Google Translate to translate what I wanted. I made sure the lecturer couldn’t see me do this.

However little did I know was that she could see what everyone was doing through her own computer! I forget what she said to me but I remember I was so embarrassed and I definitely didn’t try it again!

So in my last year of college we didn’t have to study French and I was so happy about it: I really didn’t do well in it and I just managed to scrape a pass in it.

So that was the deal with French.

Then I decided to study Chinese! One of the hardest languages in the world to learn! My experience with French must have been erased from my head or something! So you can imagine how much I…. ehm…. learned. . .

So I studied and my listening and reading did actually improve. I could understand exactly what the teachers were talking about and I was able to read children’s stories in Chinese. Speaking was a problem though and I fumbled my 5 years in China just being able to use survival Chinese.

But then…… my boyfriend/now husband arrived on the scene. This time Spanish was all the rage in my world!

While I was in China I really didn’t study much Spanish. I didn’t need to use it in my daily life so it was hard for me to get the motivation to study. At home my husband used to speak really simple sentences to me, like “I want to eat noodles.”

I remember he would say something to me in Spanish in a really romantic way and I would think “Oh I wonder what he is saying, he sounds so romantic!”

“I want to eat eggs for breakfast tomorrow”

No…. that was SO NOT romantic! I remember he used to do that to me a few times and I never knew what the hell he was saying! He always used to laugh when I found out what he was saying!

I remember walking down the streets and he would try to explain something in Spanish.

I remember sitting outside a restaurant waiting for our food to be ready and I would try to speak a little.

When we were on the bus going to a plaza nearby he would get me to translate really simple sentences into Spanish, like “I eat apples everyday when I am at work”.

I also remember being on the bus and he would send voice messages in Spanish to his friends and I would try and pick up what he was saying.

Those are my experiences of learning Spanish when I was in China.

In Mexico I really did improve a lot. Because classes were expensive there I studied by myself. I could understand what my husbands family were talking about and I could join in on more conversations. My speaking really wasn’t great though, but I do remember my listening got much better!

After I moved back to Ireland I was busy with my course and Spanish went out the window. I didn’t speak for months and It felt like everything that I learned in Mexico had just disappeared! So in January 2020 I joined iTalki and I had a class with a woman from Mexico.

I was really nervous because I hadn’t spoken to anyone in Spanish for a long long time, and I forgot loads! The class was good but I felt I didn’t really connect with the lady. I didn’t take another iTalki class until May when I started studying Spanish again.

I had another class with another woman from Mexico and although she was nice I felt like I was carrying the conversations. When you are learning a language it should be the teacher who leads the conversations, however with the class I had with the woman, I felt it was my responsibility to lead.

I looked again and I found a lady that seemed nice and since then I have had 8 classes in total with her. Again she is from Mexico and she is really nice and I feel comfortable talking to her! So I have classes with her but also I take classes with another woman as well. I enjoy both of their classes and I don’t feel under pressure to think of things to talk about!

Ideally I would like to have 3 classes a week, 60 minutes each, but sometimes they don’t have time because their schedule is full and sometimes I’m just lazy!

Speaking with them has definitely helped with my speaking, and I love it because it’s really flexible: Because the teachers set their own cost, I can choose how much I would like to pay, I can choose what time I would like to have class at, and I can choose how many classes I want each week. If I want I can schedule a class tomorrow at a certain time (if they are available at that time) and I can explain to them what I would like to talk about/study.

Speaking is one thing I do want to improve on a lot. I want to gain the confidence to be able to speak well and know that I can hold a conversation. My problem is when I am nervous all my Spanish goes out the window and I end up making really really silly/basic mistakes!

I’ve been thinking about searching for another teacher so that I can practice with 3 people, but I don’t know if that will confuse me! I get confused about what topics I’ve talked about with the two teachers that I have so having a 3rd would make it even more complicated for me!

But anyway, I really enjoy iTalki and even though sometimes I don’t be in the mood for a class, but once I’m done I feel happy with myself!

Aisling

Oh and this isn’t a sponsored blog by iTalki!  I definitely DO NOT have enough followers to even dream of that! I just think it’s a great site and it has helped me a lot!

 

Moving Up A Level In Spanish

In one of my other blog posts I wrote about starting an online Spanish class during the week, and about 2 weeks ago I had my first ‘real’ Spanish test!

This including a listening, writing, reading and a speaking part…. and although I passed, I definitely learned a few things from it!

First of all: read the questions!

Unfortunately I didn’t read the questions for 2 parts of it, so I ended up filling in one bit of it wrong and I lost quite a lot of marks for it. I was supposed to write the grammar (yo comí)- I ate, or (yo he comido)- I have eaten in the 10 sentences. But me being me didn’t read the question right and I put all comí, bebí. So marks were lost for that.

Also for another part I didn’t read it thoroughly enough and I lost marks for that! So although I passed, if I concentrated a bit more I would have done better. So I was a bit annoyed at myself as I felt that I deserved a better mark, especially as I had studied everyday before the exam and what not. But I remind myself that it was my first Spanish exam and that it was something to learn from.

The listening was also very hard and I know I only knew 1 answer, however by luck I got 4/6 right! I was surprised with that though because I really do spend a lot of time listening and watching things in Spanish. I thought my listening would be better than that but the audio was very difficult though which didn’t help. I started to spend more time listening to a Spanish radio station half an hour before I sleep to help me improve my listening. I use the website ‘Radio Garden’ and it’s great to listen to the radio from whatever country you want!

Finally I had my speaking test and the teacher said that I got the best score out of the class. She pretended that she was a tour agency and I was looking to book somewhere on holiday. I take italki classes (which I HIGHLY recommend) so although I felt nervous at the beginning, once I started it was a breeze then!

So that was the level A2 in the school, so now I’m in the B1 class, and I can see a difference in it already. Now I have never done the official DELE exam so I’m probably still on A2 with that, especially as I’ve never studied for that so I would have take the time to study the layout and the type of questions they ask.

But in the online class, I can see that there is a difference between the A2 and the B1 book. There are a lot larger reading sections in the B1 book and not many smaller exercises to do. I feel we are also speaking a lot more in the class about what we read together.

Another thing we are concentrating on is the Subjunctive. This is grammar which is quite difficult as in English we don’t have it. We only started a few days ago so my teacher said that for the whole course of B1 we will be going through this grammar!

I’ve actually learned loads of grammar the past few weeks. I noticed this recently because I decided to buy a book to start writing a daily diary in Spanish, and when I wrote in it a few days ago my husband was surprised to see that I didn’t have many mistakes. I wrote one while I was in Mexico and there were a lot more errors throughout, so I was happy with that.

Also when I’m reading or watching something I can pick out the grammar and know that that that type of conjugation means.

I’ll keep doing the course until the end of August (that’s the plan anyway) and then after that I’m not sure as I may decide to do another course in the college that I attended. I would love to keep studying my Spanish full time but unfortunately that probably won’t be possible after August. I’ll really miss having the classes every morning as I really do feel I improved and I would love to dedicate myself to it more. I’m afraid in case I forget everything that I learned and I would have to start from scratch all over again. That happened to me when I arrived back in Ireland, so it was a struggle remembering all those words that were full of dust in my head!

But I’ll try and enjoy the weeks that I have left and hopefully I’ll get a grip of this new grammar that we will be studying!

Aisling

My Classes Are Helping Me So Much

photo of person holding a bible

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It has been 4 weeks since I’ve start my online Spanish course and it has been helping me a lot. Not just with learning Spanish, but just keeping me sane!

With no job on the horizon, I really had to keep busy doing something, and because now I HAVE to get up, it’s has helped me a lot! If I didn’t have my classes I know I would be getting up at 10 or half 10am, and although it’s not late, I can’t sleep at night when I wake up late in the morning. I would dread waking up in the morning and thinking “Another day of doing absolutely nothing”, and that would just set me up for a bad day.

Second reason is that I get homework from both of my teachers, and although it doesn’t take that long to do, it’s something to do! Plus I enjoy the homework because it’s reinforcing what I studied that day.

And finally…. I’m doing something.

That to me is the most important thing. I’m improving myself. I really really want to be able to be fluent in the language. I want to prove to myself that I can do it; that if I put the effort into it then one day I will be able to do the Spanish language exam (DELE) C1 and pass it with flying colours, maybe even become totally native and get C2!

I put so much effort into my one year course that I just completed and I got 98%, 99% and 100% in all of my modules, and I’m proud of myself because I really did put so much effort into the year. I know myself that I’m not gifted in school and that’s ok, but during that year I really wanted to do well and prove to myself that if I put the hard work in then I will be rewarded.

When I got my results it showed me that if I put the effort in then I will do well, or reasonably well anyway, so that’s why I really want to study hard, go to my online classes, take private classes, and just dedicate myself to the language. For the moment anyway. I’m not sure what I will be doing in September but for the moment my goal is to study Spanish.

So….the fact I’m doing something and not making me go literally crazy is my main reason!

I’ve been annoyed at myself for the past two weeks as I seem to making silly mistakes while speaking, but I think it’s just that my mind is getting all muddled up with all this new grammar and new vocabulary that it’s just taking my brain a while to process it all… so hopefully I’ll start seeing improvements soon.

But apart from that I know 100% that the classes are helping me and I’m going to try and keep taking them for as long as possible!

Aisling

A Little Spanish Test

This is my third week of having Spanish online classes, and one of my teachers told us yesterday that we would be having an oral Spanish test!

She told us that she will pick a photo and we have to look at it and then she will ask us questions about the photos, like where is it, what are the people wearing, what are they doing etc. It is actually like the oral exam in the Spanish DELE. (I have never done it but I have read about it)

She explained that its to make sure that we have a high enough Spanish level to keep moving on in the book, so maybe we might be getting more difficult grammar in the future. I am not too worried because I can talk about things with no problems. I have to review clothes though and how to say they are wearing because I am not too sure on that, but overall I think it will be fine. I think I will get my husband to pick a few photos for me later and I can practise with him!

My classes are going well though. I really enjoy them and even if I know the grammar already, theres always something to learn. There is one student I am not too fussed about as he kind of disrupts the class and he talks rubbish and off topic (because he likes the attention), but apart from that the others are fine. Two students from Australia left the course unfortunately, and then one new student arrived, so I think it is usual for students to come and go. Anyone can join every Monday so it is great to have that option instead of having to wait until a certain date to start! I have nothing much to do right now so I am going to continue with my classes for another while!

Also you can pay weekly which I do, so you are not tied with having to go for months at a time!

So we will see how this little test goes tomorrow… my first one in Spanish!

Aisling

 

Learning Spanish Online

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When I returned to Ireland and started doing a course here, my dedication to Spanish went out the window! I tried to study it when I had time but passing exams and making sure my assignments were handed up in time where my main priorities, so I haven’t really spoken/studied loads of Spanish!

Now that my course is finished, and now that I have loads of time doing nothing because of this pandemic and the lack of jobs, myself and my husband decided that I should start taking online Spanish lessons. I always wanted to get back into it and now is the perfect time to start again. Plus it will keep me busy for a while!

I signed up to AIL Madrid and so far I’m really enjoying it! I started last week for two 50 minute classes each day and there were other students from Australia, China, Tunisia and America. Some were already in Spain but studying online for the time being, and then when they open their school then those students will go back to studying there.

There is a course for 20 classes a week but last week I wanted to try the 10 classes just to see how I liked it and how I would get on. I really enjoyed it so I signed up for the Intensive week, which is 20 classes a week, or 4 classes per day. I start at 8am and finished at 11:50 (Irish time). I could choose an afternoon time but morning is better for me.

Although it isn’t great for speaking practice, the teachers go through grammar, we do exercises together and we read small articles, which is fine by me. I talk with my husband and I’m also planning on starting iTalki again to practise speaking.

Ideally I would love to go to Madrid to live and study there, but these online classes are great and I’m already learning new words and grammar.

The first week I realised suddenly that I really needed to learn my numbers! There were articles with loads of 1876, 1998, 1276 and 1999, and I had to quickly use my phone to look them up in case she asked me to read them…. so I told my husband to write 10 numbers in my notebook and I had to write them out.

This helped a lot and now I’m much better at reading them! Each day he has been writing a list for me and it’s been really beneficial!

I was a bit nervous joining the class because I was afraid in case the class would be too difficult and I wouldn’t be able to join in but thankfully the class is perfect! My speaking is better than the rest, probably because I talk with my husband, but grammar wise I’m on the same level.

So although I’m jobless (still), at least I am keeping myself busy studying and improving myself, so the money spent on the course is definitely worth it in my opinion!

Aisling

So how did my iTalki lesson go?

So I’ve had my first iTalki lesson on Friday evening and it went well! It was my first time so I wasn’t sure how the whole thing worked. I scheduled it at 5pm and a minute before she contacted me and said she was ready.

So we spoke about my life and just things in general like Ireland and what I do. She asked me if I wanted to talk about something specific but I didn’t plan on anything because it was just a 30 minute trial lesson.

I was a bit nervous at the beginning because I hadn’t really spoken to anyone other than my husband in Spanish for a while, and because I forgot a lot of words it wasn’t as easy to speak as before. But I slowly started to calm down and spoke a bit better.

She wrote some words and phrases that I forgot and it came up on the screen so I could see them which was cool.

I was reading that it is best to go through a few teachers and pick ones that you feel most comfortable with, so for my next lessons I will try a few more people and see who I feel the best with. I also read that some people might not go and have a lesson with a certain teacher for a while so that when they start a lesson with them again then they will have a lot to talk about.

I think with this kind of thing it’s very daunting because first you are talking to someone that you never met before in a language that you aren’t comfortable speaking in, then then fact that something could go wrong with the connection and maybe you might not hear them or see them! In my lesson I couldn’t hear her at the beginning and I was starting to panic! But then it was ok!

I remember seeing iTalki months ago when I was in Mexico and I was thinking ‘But sure I’m in a Spanish speaking country already, that would be a waste of money to pay when I’m already in Mexico’. Then I read a review about the website and about one person who was already in China and they still have online lessons with Chinese speakers so that they can still practice at home. So then I realised that it actually is a good idea.

And now that I am in Ireland I felt the only way to be able to improve my Spanish would be to take classes.. which I then found out were way too expensive. So then I thought that online learning would be the next best thing.

So I will have a scroll down through the huge list of available teachers to see which one I would like to try out next. I think it is a fantastic website and I regret not using it before now…. but as always….

better late than never.

Here is the link for the website: italki language learning

Aisling