Anxiety about not knowing enough Spanish

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azure
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Anxiety about not knowing enough Spanish

Postby azure » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:30 pm

Hi. I moved to Lima to live with my boyfriend who is Peruvian about two months ago. I know some Spanish, but I don't feel that I know enough to get by. I'm trying to get a better understanding of it.

My boyfriend is fluent in English (he's been studying English since age 3), and he rarely speaks to me in Spanish. I've tried to make days where we only speak in Spanish to one another. We may go half the day speaking Spanish, but he usually gets tired of it and slips back into English and he never initiates it.

I've tried to look up meetups on meetup.com for English-Spanish language exchanges, but there aren't any that are currently holding meetings. I've also tried the Tandem Language Exchanges online, but I don't ever seem to get any replies.

I feel very nervous when a stranger asks me something in Spanish. I feel like an idiot for not knowing what to say or, often, what they said. I'm tired of living in my English-speaking bubble and I want to be able to truly experience Peru without relying on my boyfriend or his friends as translators.

Any suggestions?
Last edited by azure on Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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caliguy
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Re: Anxiety about not knowing enough Spanish

Postby caliguy » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:38 pm

start by watching tv that is subtitled in spanish when you're at home. my spanish was very limited too, but you will find everyday words easy to catch on to. if a stranger asks you something, and you don't understand, just say "no, gracias" with a smile. also, this helped me:
http://translate.google.com/
every place has it's own spirit. you just need to tune into it.
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Re: Anxiety about not knowing enough Spanish

Postby Orbital81 » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:42 pm

Maybe you're thinking about it too much. People know you're foreign and they don't expect you to be fluent. My Spanish is rubbish but people often complement me for looking like I know what they're saying (even if thats not always the case). I live with a Peruvian family so that helps but I often found that people will strike up conversations for no reason at all when you're out in the street. Do you have any hobbies that you could enjoy here? I've met up with the local rollerbladers a few times and they're always good for a chat.
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Omikron
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Re: Anxiety about not knowing enough Spanish

Postby Omikron » Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:19 pm

Socializing with locals doesn't seem to be your answer since you feel nervous about not knowing what to say.
You could attend Spanish classes for foreigners. One of the banners here belong to "El Sol" language School. http://elsol.idiomasperu.com/

You could also watch movies or Tv in Spanish. Unfortunately, local TV is terrible so stick to cable TV or DVD/Blue Ray movies. Switch them to Spanish dubs with English subtitles. Once you get the hang out of it, try Spanish dubs and Spanish subtitles. If you know a movie/TV series pretty well and their dialogues, try watching then without subtitles (the Master level!, Imagine Homer or Homero from Los Simpsons saying "Pequeño Demonio!!!" while choking Bart)

It either that, or hanging out with Peruvians, but sooner or later, someone will start speaking English if you do not try! I belong to a group named CouchSurfing. Lot's of local members, but most speak English so I wouldn't recommend that group yet. Good luck!
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chi chi
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Re: Anxiety about not knowing enough Spanish

Postby chi chi » Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:35 pm

Hang out with people that don't speak English and you'll learn Spanish quickly. It's the easiest and quickest way to learn Spanish. I speak Spanish fluently and never attended language classes.

I can't attend classes because I can't concentrate on a teacher talking for hours.
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Alan
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Re: Anxiety about not knowing enough Spanish

Postby Alan » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:37 pm

My favorite trick is to harness the power of your smart phone and its speech recognition function. You can upload your notes and have the speech recognition voice read it back to you, or even better, record your own voice, setting yourself up for drills you need to resolve, verbs you need to conjugate, new vocab.. in fact anything that you want to concentrate on. This way, you can maximize idle time when waiting in lines, riding in taxis, to study. It's easy, and it works especially well because the learner is taking an active part in the process.

Traditional classes too are good of course, but ideally classes should always complement whatever you are already doing on your own. Again.. active learning.

And if you don´t have a phone, use a small notebook.. the size that fits in a pocket or purse so it is always handy; this way you can jot down new words, and review them whenever you have a second. The cool thing about building and working with your own vocabulary lists is that the words will be relevant to your experience, hence more real, and more memorable.

For beginners, cover all the items in your home with post-it notes with the Spanish name written. Also, concentrate on cognates, like "computadora"; "agente"; "restaurante" etc... You probably already know many more words than you think! You will find lists of these on the web.

We have tons of Spanish learning videos here: http://www.webspanish.com/spanish-lessons-online/, and you will find many, many more resources on youtube.

Good luck, and have fun.
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Re: Anxiety about not knowing enough Spanish

Postby BradClark » Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:03 am

I always feel that the best way of learning is via imersion. Reading the local paper, watching the news, listening to the radio and talking to locals as much as you can. Even if you butcher the language while speaking, we've all gone through the same thing. No body can be fluent from day 1.
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Re: Anxiety about not knowing enough Spanish

Postby teamoperu » Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:49 pm

Being nervous to try is one of the greatest inhibitors of learning a language. Try to minimize that and just jump in. Think of it this way. When a Spanish speaker tries to speak to you in English, however imperfectly, do you think less of them? Of course not, you understand and forgive them, just as they do you. The purpose of communication is communication, not to speak perfectly. Remember you learn faster by making mistakes! Don't let you inhibit you from learning.
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chi chi
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Re: Anxiety about not knowing enough Spanish

Postby chi chi » Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:05 pm

Alan wrote:My favorite trick is to harness the power of your smart phone and its speech recognition function. You can upload your notes and have the speech recognition voice read it back to you, or even better, record your own voice, setting yourself up for drills you need to resolve, verbs you need to conjugate, new vocab.. in fact anything that you want to concentrate on. This way, you can maximize idle time when waiting in lines, riding in taxis, to study.


Just be carefull that crooks don't smash the window of the taxi and grab your smart phone.
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Re: Anxiety about not knowing enough Spanish

Postby tomsax » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:57 am

The key thing for learning is motivation and you sound like you have it.

I would say do take classes. As Alan says, this can't replace active learning by just practiciing in the world around you, but I think the two together make for the best progress. Certainly that was the case with me.

In a sense you are in the same situation as my Peruvian wife when we came to the UK. She knew no English at all when she got here. But gradually over time she has learnt and now we more often speak English to each other and not Spanish. She now reads novels in English that I would find hard going.

I don't agree with necesarrily withdrawing from all English interaction as I think without this you could get more despondent still. To keep learning you have to keep positive and enjoying it so plan to make sure that happens.
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Alan
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Re: Anxiety about not knowing enough Spanish

Postby Alan » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:29 am

chi chi wrote:
Alan wrote:My favorite trick is to harness the power of your smart phone and its speech recognition function. You can upload your notes and have the speech recognition voice read it back to you, or even better, record your own voice, setting yourself up for drills you need to resolve, verbs you need to conjugate, new vocab.. in fact anything that you want to concentrate on. This way, you can maximize idle time when waiting in lines, riding in taxis, to study.


Just be carefull that crooks don't smash the window of the taxi and grab your smart phone.


Funnily enough.. years ago, before the smart phone era, I used the good-old note book to list my new vocabulary and always packed it around with me, often in the back pocket of my backpack. One day while riding the old busses on the via expresa, someone lifted it.

My hope is that once they saw what they had stolen, they used my Spanish-English list to learn English, and turned their life around. :)
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Re: Anxiety about not knowing enough Spanish

Postby 19naia » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:34 am

lots of non or bad spanish speakers...You have it made cause you want to learn and you have a peru mate to intervene when you really need it...I learn on the go and TV with subtitles go far,i watch in english and read the spanish sub script,i watch in spanish too and read the english sub script..I eventually got to where i still learn new words without translation just because the word fits in a sentence i understand and the sentence and scenario context give me obvious clues to the new word.....i know enough to get by but speak worse than i understand and yet i get compliments for being a spanish speaker...I envy those with a peruvian mate who can intervene when in times like paying for things,you get the real price,the cheaper price......ive been to countries where learning the language was far beyond me (asia)..being clueless did something for me;i spent so much time quiet and in acute observation of jestures,tones,scenarios,coincideing events and EMOTIONAL subtleties...That taught me or sharpened me in something maybe even more useful than a second language,reading people and with almost psychic like results when i went back to the USA..i would watch people converse or interact from so far away i could not hear any thing,then i would imagine what the issue or jist was,i was amazed at how much more often i was right when I had them comment to me about what was going on...Either way,you are in a good situation to learn more than you expect...i also use translation app when messageing online with spanish speakers but spelling forms dont help with pronounciation of speech form..
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19naia
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Re: Anxiety about not knowing enough Spanish

Postby 19naia » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:41 am

played in a band with a blind drummer once and first time i had to drive him home,he guided me the whole way telling me when the turn was coming up and he even knew when the next light was going to change based on how long we had sat at the previous light and how fast we were going....I was amazed and was convinced since then that doing it the easy way blinds us from the other sharper ways of sensibility :mrgreen:

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