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

 

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

College Life Update

 

adult blur books close up

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Tomorrow will be week 4 of my course, and I’m still enjoying it. There are a few classmates that I don’t really like too much so I don’t really involve myself with them, but apart from that the rest are fine.

My course is joined with a Cabin Crew Training Course in Waterford so I also gain a Cabin Crew qualification! It’s all about how to deal with passengers and I learn everything that I would learn if I got a cabin crew job with an airline and when they do their training.  Last week we were learning how to deal with a blind person and two classmates had to act it out. We will be getting huge manuals with loads of information for different scenarios. We have to do exams at the end so these manuals have all that information that we need.

Now that’s not saying I want to be a flight attendant! Most of the students in my class want to be one, but I haven’t really been interested. Maybe when I was younger and single I think I would have been more interested, but right now I kind of want to stop moving around. But I think it’s good that I will have a qualification and if it’s something I want to do in the future then at least the qualification will give me an edge over someone who doesn’t have one.

Also at the end of November we will have to do work experience. I think every course in the college does work experience related to what they are studying, so I say maybe this week our teacher will explain to us what we need to do. I’ll probably go to the travel agents and see what they say, or maybe try out reception based work experience. It’s mandatory that we get work experience so I’m a little worried that it might be hard to get it.

I’ve been handed plenty of work to do for assignments too which I should be doing right now, but I’ve a cold and my head is so stuffy at the moment so I really doubt I’ll get much done. The assignments aren’t hard it’s just there is a lot to put in them, so it takes so long to actually find the information I need online.

And I saw a receptionist job that I applied for 2 weeks ago and I haven’t heard anything back from them so I know I didn’t get it. It’s just hard you know. That’s why I decided to do this course; I was bored out of my head, I just wasn’t getting any jobs I applied for (even a barista job where they stated that no prior barista experience needed), so I just needed to get out of the house and do something. I’m glad I decided to do the course; it’s a recognised qualification and it’s one year long, and the best of all it was about €500! I saw the exact same course in a place in Dublin and it was about €3,500!! For the exact same course!! The college I’m doing it with isn’t private like the other one, and I think it’s involved with the government so it’s cheaper. But the thing I like about it is that the college really does want students to pass. The college tries to make all the courses cheap so that everyone can afford to apply and do them.  Also a lot of the modules have practical elements in them, they aren’t all just theory based. I feel this is also useful for me!

So I’m enjoying my time there anyway. And who knows maybe after this I might be cabin crew! Haha well we’ll see!

Aisling

I got accepted, but….

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My last blog talked about how I was going for an interview for a tourism course and thankfully I got accepted. I just paid the fee to secure my place, so I’m now a student once again! I’m happy in one sense but I’m also a bit nervous about it all.

You see this course is usually for younger students that are just out of school; they don’t know what they want to do yet so they do a course like this in order for them to see what they would be interested in, or maybe they didn’t get the points needed for their chosen course in University, so they do a course in the college I will attend in order to get the points necessary for the next year they apply. They usually wouldn’t even have done a University degree yet, unlike me!

And also unlike me, they wouldn’t be 29 doing a course. More like 18!

So I’m 100% sure that I will be the oldest in the whole class! I’m trying not to let this bother me; my sister also done beauty/massage course with this college and she was 30 doing it. She done two courses. The first one was makeup and beauty (because she was 100% certain she wanted to work in beauty). She told me she was the oldest in the class and that her classmates ‘were very immature’ and she put it!

She ended up not liking the beauty aspect of the course after all, so then she spent another year learning massage, reiki, reflexology, and she loved this! She had to do 2 weeks work experience which she found in a hotel, and I mean she literally just finished the course when the hotel rang her up and asked her to go in for an interview! They rang her!! She successfully got the job and now she is loving it and really enjoys working in a Spa. For my sister, doing the course in the college was definitely the right thing for her, so I’m hoping that something like that will happen to me.

I’m just afraid in case I put in the year doing the course and then I’m stuck once more not being able to get a job. I will be 30 when I finish, and yeah, if I was 23/24 even 25 and I decided to do a course that would be ok, but now I feel I kind of should have my life figured out by now!

Plus I’m going to be spending a year learning with 17/18 year olds. (I taught that age in China!)

But I know I also need to do the course even just for my mind. I’m going crazy here doing nothing. At least in Mexico I was busy studying Spanish, but in Ireland It’s more difficult to study it because I don’t actually need it, so doing the course is half about just keeping me busy and occupied!

So I suppose now this blog will now be about my course and what that entails for the next year!

So stay tuned if you want to see what happens with my no idea what I’m doing, sure I may as well do a course and see what happens life!

Aisling

 

Learning Spanish in Mexico: My Study Routine

coffee cup notebook pen

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I’ve been in Mexico since October and I’ve tried to keep studying my Spanish and talking in Spanish as much as I can. But it’s hard sometimes!

Usually my daily routine goes like this:

In the morning I’d usually do 2 wheels from Duolingo. It’s not too taxing for me in the morning and I like seeing how my wheels change colour when I’ve studied them. I’m going down my tree turning every wheel one colour, so the whole tree will be green/blue….. Then I go back up to the top and start turning them another colour. It depends on the theme/ grammar point in each wheel, but usually 2 wheels will take me between 30-45 minutes to complete. (Especially the harder ones which are lower on the tree, also if I keep getting them wrong).

I also sometimes read some Duolingo Stories, but these are really when I’m in the mood. I don’t feel like they help me much for studying, but some stories are interesting to read. 

Then we usually have lunch and I try and speak Spanish, but usually I just eat in silence because I’m not particularly talkative even in English! But this is a good time for some listening practice, as my fiancé and his parents LOVE to talk, so that’s good for my listening! I know I need to work on this though, so I’ll try and make an extra effort in speaking during this time. 

I find that after lunch is the most difficult time to study. I’m tired (maybe due to lunch) and just want to take a nap really! So I end up usually just procrastinating during the hours of 2pm-4pm. So again, another thing I need to improve on. 

Later on in the afternoon I sort of get my energy back up again and I start studying grammar. I have one book called ‘Collins, easy learning; Spanish Grammar & Practice’ and it teaches basic spanish grammar. What I like to do is read every thing that I’ve studied before in the book, and then start a new grammar point. I try and understand it and then do some written exercises which are in the book. I get my fiancé to go through them and explain to me if I got something wrong. 

I have another easier book to use which I switch back and forth. This one is a classroom based book with dialogues and what not. 

It’s starting to get dark outside now and I move onto something else. I’ve set each day of the week (bar 1) where I learn 10 new words . So maybe on Monday I look at my calendar and see I have to learn nouns, so I learn 10 nouns for that day. I have 5 things to learn; nouns, adjectives, verbs, tenses and tense conjugations. So first I will learn my nouns, then I will review everything that I’ve learned from these 5 categories. For example,  I’ve lots of nouns that I’ve already learned so I go back to the beginning and re-read them all. Sometimes It’s boring but I realised I remember pretty much all of them just by reading them everyday. 

The same goes for adjectives and what not.  I think maybe I could push to 20 words per day, so I think I might slowly increase my new vocab. At the beginning I was learning 30 words everyday and by the end, having to learn so many made me dread that time of day! So now 10 is very easy for me. 

So all that takes me a while to do, but It really does help me. I’m not stressing myself if I forget an adjective or tense, because I know I’ll review them tomorrow and the next day, so they will stick one day!

After this, I might dabble a bit with some listening practice by watching YouTube videos. I usually do this sporadically during the day. 

Then, I have a list of questions in Spanish on my computer and I have to write an answer and learn them off by heart. The latest one I learned was ‘Que hiciste ayer?’ …’What did you do yesterday?’. So I try and write it in spanish, and then my fiancé comes and corrects the mistakes. It’s great having him nearby to fix all of my errors! After that I try and learn every sentence off by heart, until I know the whole answer. Sometimes It’s difficult as I’m using tenses that I’ve haven’t studied yet, but I don’t want simple answers, I want answers that are complicated and so I learn new vocab and tenses. 

Sometime during the evening I try and spend an hour speaking with my fiancé about a topic in Spanish. I’m grateful he takes the time out to help me with my spanish, as he’s busy doing his own things. 

I might also use another book which is an Irish exam paper. There are two levels, higher and ordinary,  with higher level being more difficult. In it there are exam papers that student’s do for their Leaving Cert to get into University. Every practice exam paper has stories to read and then questions to answer underneath. I enjoy doing this and I can notice they are getting easier to read, especially when I remember reading them while I was in China! 

Finally, I like to read at night so I downloaded some free spanish kindle books to read. I really enjoy reading so this isn’t a chore for me at all, unless it’s super difficult! I’ve watched some tv shows in Spanish with the family but I lose interest after a while because I just don’t understand anything. Watching a film in Spanish that I’ve already seen before in English helps though, as I already know what it’s about so it’s not as bad. Plus sometimes a programme/film will be in English with Spanish subtitles, which I would rather not watch! 

So anyway, theres my day of learning Spanish. I try and speak Spanish throughout the day but I know I need to stick in extra speaking time, but it’s difficult as I’m not a lover of talking. I know I’d improve faster if I spoke more, so I’ll try and make an extra effort with that. 

Aisling

Exams….. some just don’t care.

So for the past 2 weeks my students have been preparing to do a 4-5 minute role-play for me as part of their exams. The first week was to think up their idea and start writing their script. They then came in groups and they practiced in front of me and I made adjustments with their scripts in the second week. For the third week they could practice for the first 45 minutes and then do their exam.

So they had PLENTY of time to rehearse and remember their lines.

I was pretty surprised that for my classes on Monday, 3-4 groups couldn’t remember what to say!

And one was a total disaster altogether! Because their english is very low, I told them that their role-play could be 3-4 minutes long. I also put a student whose English is higher than the others in with this group so he could help them make their script and what not. So they come in and none of them know their lines. They didn’t know what they were doing, and it definitely wasn’t practiced.

It frustrates me because I gave them plenty of time and I made it easier for them because I know they would struggle. Some of these students are failing because they don’t try in class. I told them this too. So I thought that they would put a bit more effort into it and try at least. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them.

I don’t want to fail them but if they continue not caring and not putting effort into anything then I’ll be forced to. What annoys me even more is that I actually made it easier for them and they still didn’t care!

On a better side, I had one all girl group and they were really good! They were doing like a dating show and the girls with the lights had to decide if he (the girl on the far right) matched up to their expectations. The girl on the far left was the host. They had a ppt ready, props, and it was different to all the rest of the others I’ve seen so far! This group is in the class that is my favourite, so I’m happy that they tried a lot! They’ll definitely be getting a good score.

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My favourite group so far!

 

On a weirder note, I received a text message from one of my students and she asked could I give her 90% on the exam. I wasn’t sure what she was on about and replied that the exam isn’t until next week. I said “I know, but will you give me 90%?”

Ok??????? She’s a good student and her English is good but she actually has the audacity to ask for a high mark. I would never have asked my teachers any such question! It would be more like how can I improve so I could get a better mark. So I replied back “It depends on how well you do in the exam”.

Her response…”Too cruel!!!”

So apparently I’m too cruel. Huh.

Maybe she’s the cruel one because she didn’t bribe me with anything!

Aisling

Where Is The Time Going?

I’ve suddenly realised I only have 6 weeks left of studying! Time is flying by at an amazing rate! When I was in Ireland my Dad would say to me ‘When you get to my age, a week just feels like one day’. And the more I get older, the more this is starting to apply to me.

So anyway, we have two months of holiday until we start back to our next semester in September… and we’ve no idea what are plans are.

As my fiancés sister and boyfriend were coming to China for one month, this time last year we were busy planning our travels around China.  So we knew we would be busy during the summer… but for this coming one, we really have no plans.

My fiancé may have a job opportunity during the summer, so we may travel to a city nearby for work… but pretty much that’s it. With our lack of income, we can’t exactly plan on doing anything too exciting or expensive!

I’d have liked to have gone home for the holidays, but it’s just too expensive. So I guess we are stuck in Chengdu for a while! Maybe when we get jobs we might visit a city in China…Qingdao perhaps? My private Chinese teacher is from there so I’d like to visit it, plus it’s supposed to be a nice city!

But anyway, the weather here has been fantastic, so both of us don’t mind staying here for a bit!

再见

爱玲