Ask a Question

(Create a thread)
Go Back   Spanish language learning forums > Teaching & Learning > Teaching and Learning Techniques


Going to Puerto Rico in August...but I feel like giving up

 

Teaching methodology, learning techniques, linguistics-- any of the various aspect of learning or teaching a foreign language.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old March 14, 2017, 08:14 AM
lordhelmit lordhelmit is offline
Opal
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 21
Native Language: American English
lordhelmit is on a distinguished road
Going to Puerto Rico in August...but I feel like giving up

Buenos días. Voy a PR ésto agosto con mi novia para conocer a su familia. Ya conocí a sus hermanos, pero es el tiempo conocer a su padre y la familia de la iglesia (trying to say and her church family). He tratado DE aprender más desde mis mensajes previos, pero conseguí fristrado. Creo que puedo leer y escribir bien, pero todavía tengo problemas con escuchar y hablar.

Back to english for now..break almost over. I've been listening to Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal audio book while at work (search for it on YouTube to hear how it sounds) and also been reading the physical copy at home. It's been more than 4 months since I've started trying to really learn Spanish, but I still just cannot understand spoken spanish. I live with my PR girlfriend and her PR roommate, and that roommate has a boyfriend from El Salvador. They speak spabish all the time, and like I said I listen to the audiobook and podcasts so I'm relatively well immersed. Also always have spanish subtitles on when available, but not often with spanish audio on those movies. I'm also having trouble speaking out loud. I feel like I know plenty o words, but putting together phrases (tienes que, hay que, tienes razón, para que poder, a la que el, etc) does not come naturally and I find it difficult to think quickly enough in spanish to speak without taking long pauses to think of the words. My girlfriebd has tried to just speak to me in spanish, but it's just not practical to do so yet. I have to ask her to slow down, repeat the sentences, what does that word mean, how do I say this etc. Frustrating. I feel like all these moths of listening to spanish and reading, I should be farther along. Like I said, going to PR in August and (would have liked to be able to) speak in spanish at least a bit. Any other ideas? I did read the thread at the top of this forum.

Como siempre, corrige mi errores y dime si lo dije bien.

Stuff I out in paranthesis are words/phrases I don't know how to say but want to.

Sorry for the length, please help.

Please don't correct my English grammar. I speak English daily and have for 25 years, not worried about that in the least.

Last edited by lordhelmit; March 15, 2017 at 02:27 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old March 14, 2017, 11:51 AM
Marylander Marylander is offline
Opal
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Estados Unidos
Posts: 3
Native Language: English
Marylander is on a distinguished road
*desde (since)

*frustrado (but i think in the context it'd be 'pero consigue frustrado) and you can cut out the 'estoy'

just keep at it and be brave; you can do it

ask for more specific advice if you choose. I will probably be on here a lot more in the near future.

- B.A. in Spanish without a ton of immersion -

in the final sentence of your Spanish paragraph...you should be saying 'tengo problemas con escuchar y hablar' not 'escuchando....hablando...'

i believe it's what called a 'false cognate' o 'cognato falso' when we directly translate from English without accounting for the rules of Spanish language. You will find this is the case in many situations and therefore is a very important lesson to focus on.

Again, let me know if these replies are being read.

Last edited by AngelicaDeAlquezar; March 14, 2017 at 12:57 PM. Reason: Merged back-to-back posts
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old March 14, 2017, 02:16 PM
lordhelmit lordhelmit is offline
Opal
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 21
Native Language: American English
lordhelmit is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marylander View Post
*desde (since)

*frustrado (but i think in the context it'd be 'pero consigue frustrado) and you can cut out the 'estoy'

just keep at it and be brave; you can do it

ask for more specific advice if you choose. I will probably be on here a lot more in the near future.

- B.A. in Spanish without a ton of immersion -

in the final sentence of your Spanish paragraph...you should be saying 'tengo problemas con escuchar y hablar' not 'escuchando....hablando...'

i believe it's what called a 'false cognate' o 'cognato falso' when we directly translate from English without accounting for the rules of Spanish language. You will find this is the case in many situations and therefore is a very important lesson to focus on.

Again, let me know if these replies are being read.
Marylander:

Thank you! I looked up false cognate in spanish, and it appears that those are words in spanish that sound like words in english, but don't have the same meaning (aplicar, actual, billón, etc). However, I am very interested in any advice you may have when it comes to NOT directly translating word for word. They are different languages with different rules of course, but I don't know how to go about thinking in a spanish way. Or maybe I'm getting better at it - were those the only errors in my spanish paragraph?

I do have questions regarding these secret "que" and "de"s that seem to pop up without reason in sentences.

For example, to say "Now there is nothing to do"
"Ahora no hay nada que hacer"

I am trying to learn but it is very difficult to speak
Estoy tratando de aprender pero es muy difícil hablarlo

Where did the que and de come from in those sentences? I know word for word translation isn't accurate, but if I were to translate, those words seem extra. Is there some rule about when to place those?
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old March 14, 2017, 04:09 PM
AngelicaDeAlquezar's Avatar
AngelicaDeAlquezar AngelicaDeAlquezar is online now
Obsidiana
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Mexico City
Posts: 7,979
Native Language: Mexican Spanish
AngelicaDeAlquezar is on a distinguished road
I know a correction has been offered, but let me add some comments:

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordhelmit View Post
Buenos días. Voy a PR ésta agosto (Check gender agreement. Months are masculine.) con mi novia así que puedo conocer (This translation word for word works in context, but the idea is slightly different in Spanish: I think you're saying that you are travelling to meet your girlfriend's family, but in Spanish this says that you're travelling and will take this opportunity to meet her family, as a secondary objective of your trip. Try using "para" + infinitive, without "así que") a (Every time you have persons as a direct object, you must use "a". Check the uses of "personal a" here) su familia. Ya conocí a sus hermanos, pero es (el) tiempo conocer a su padre y su familia de su (This is a style note: we're picky about repetition; if we already know it's her family, we already know it's her church; choose to use only one "su" and change the other for an article) iglesia. He tratado *** (Preposition missing. Unless you have a compound tense, you need a linking word between two verbs. That's one of the reasons why we use "que", "de", "a" or other words between verbs. ) aprender más (since?) (Marylander's translation is good.) mi previo mensajes (Although Spanish is flexible and you may use the adjective before the noun, it's regularly preferred the other way round, unless it makes sense to use some emphasis on the adjective; this is not the case. Also check number agreement; "mensajes" is plural), pero estoy conseguiendo (frustrated?) (The correction Marylander gave about using "frustrado" is fine, however, the verb should be changed; "conseguir" is used for nouns, not adjectives. Try using just the verb "frustrarse" in the present continuous). Creo que puedo leer y escribir buen (I think this is a typo), pero todavía tengo problemas con escuchando y hablando (Check Marylander suggestion. Normally, verbs ending with -ing, when they work as nouns in English, they become infinitives in Spanish. Yet, let me suggest to change "con" to "al", because the problem is "when" you listen and speak; the contraction [a + el] conveys that idea. We prefer using "tener problemas con" when it's a person or something we can actually fight).
Quote:
Originally Posted by lordhelmit View Post
I am very interested in any advice you may have when it comes to NOT directly translating word for word.
The first thing to avoid translating word for word is to know words and expressions, which is something very hard to do in the beginning.
What works best for me is to learn words and expressions in context, then use them in different sentences. If you're not taking a language course, one way to do this is reading, watching videos and listening to audio, take notes of the things that caught your attention and use the new words and expressions in similarly built sentences, so you master their use and meaning. One at a time.
When we don't have enough vocabulary to build all the sentences we want to make, the dictionaries are our best friends, of course, but with a trick: try using the bilingual dictionary first to find the translation, but check every entry on the Spanish dictionary. You will start noticing the difference between one word and the other, so you'll be able to discriminate which translation is best for what you want to say. Yes, it's long; yes, it's slightly annoying, but you are going to learn a lot of vocabulary almost without noticing and you will be able to convey what you mean.
If you are in the mood for a rougher process, try to avoid using the bilingual dictionary to make sense of the Spanish definition, and look every word you don't understand in the same Spanish dictionary. Sometimes it's taken me literally hours to make one simple sentence in a foreign language, but it has been worth every minute.
I'm sorry I don't know any method to learn faster; for me it all depends on the amount of time and dedication we can assign to learning. Yet, venturing to speak and asking for repetition when you don't understand is alright. Never be afraid to speak and never be afraid to ask. We're all learning and we all make mistakes; so, as long as you enjoy learning, you'll find what works best for you.
__________________
Ain't it wonderful to be alive when the Rock'n'Roll plays...
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old March 15, 2017, 02:26 PM
lordhelmit lordhelmit is offline
Opal
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 21
Native Language: American English
lordhelmit is on a distinguished road
Thank you very much Angelica!

I have made what I think are all the appropriate edits, I totally knew about the personal "a" before the "su" but it just slipped my mind. That's why I'm here! Same with repetitive "su", I knew it was, but wasn't sure if putting "la" would have made as much sense.

Where I capitalized the DE is where I'm still confused. You mentioned to add a preposition, and I'm assuming that's th same rule that dictates adding the QUE in this sentence: Ahora no hay nada QUE hacer". Is there a specific thing I can look up to tell me exactly when/what situation to add these?

Also, girlfriend and I have come to a solution. She is reading me out loud Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal, one chapter at a time and so I can follow along while she reads. The next night, I reread the chapter in spanish so I can practice my pronunciation, and she reads the next chapter. I know this doesn't really help with thinking "on the fly" to think of the appropriate words to build a sentence, but I figure it at least helps me with pronunciation. Hearing her speak helps a lot too. I've noticed in the Puerto Rican dialect they drop the "s" at the end of words almost every time, kinda like how New Yorkers drop the "r" at the end of their words. So a word may read as "dos tres seis ojos es" but she will say "do tre sei ojo e". Tricky tricky.

Last edited by lordhelmit; March 15, 2017 at 02:28 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old March 15, 2017, 06:59 PM
AngelicaDeAlquezar's Avatar
AngelicaDeAlquezar AngelicaDeAlquezar is online now
Obsidiana
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Mexico City
Posts: 7,979
Native Language: Mexican Spanish
AngelicaDeAlquezar is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by lordhelmit View Post
I have made what I think are all the appropriate edits
That's fine, but correcting is easier if you include the new version in your latest message.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordhelmit View Post
I totally knew about the personal "a" before the "su" but it just slipped my mind. That's why I'm here! Same with repetitive "su", I knew it was, but wasn't sure if putting "la" would have made as much sense.
We've all been there, don't worry. Practice makes perfect.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lordhelmit View Post
Buenos días. Voy a PR ésto (*) agosto con mi novia para conocer a su familia. Ya conocí a sus hermanos, pero es el tiempo conocer a su padre y la familia de la iglesia (trying to say and her church family) (You may use "su famila" or "de su iglesia"; one or the other is fine combined with the article). He tratado DE aprender más desde mis mensajes previos, pero conseguí fristrado (Check the previous note about this. "Conseguir" is not an appropriate verb here. Try using the verb "frustrarse" alone or "sentirse frustrado"). Creo que puedo leer y escribir bien, pero todavía tengo problemas con escuchar y hablar.
That's a very good paragraph. It only has a couple of details to be fixed.

Note: (*) "Esto" is a neuter pronoun that shouldn't be confused with the demonstrative adjectives "este"/"estos", "esta"/"estas".
The demonstrative adjectives are always placed before a noun: "esta mañana", "estas niñas", "este agosto", "estos días".

The old rule said that they only bear a written accent when these words are used as demonstrative pronouns, substituting things we already know about:
- Tengo muchas muñecas, pero ésta es la que me gusta más.
I have many dolls, but this is the one I like best.
- Éste es el coche que quiero comprar.
This is the car I want to buy.
- De las monedas que coleccionas, ¿me puedo quedar con éstas?
From the coins you're collecting, ¿may I keep these ones?
- Hice panqués. Toma éstos.
I made muffins. Take these.
However, the new rule says that none of them have a written accent anymore, so you may forget about every accent in this set of words.

As for "esto"/"eso"/"aquello", these are neuter pronouns that work independently of any noun. It will depend on the context what they refer to.
- Deja de hacer eso.
Stop doing that.
- Esto no me gusta nada.
I don't like this at all.
- ¿Te acuerdas de aquello de lo que te hablé?
Do you remember that thing I told you about?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordhelmit View Post
Is there a specific thing I can look up to tell me exactly when/what situation to add these?
I'm afraid there is no specific rule to follow. The hardest thing to learn in a foreign language, is the use of prepositions and verb combinations. We may have a general idea of what they mean, but their specific use are peculiar in every language. ;(


I'm glad you've found a method that works for you. As long as you enjoy it, you'll definitely keep on learning.
And there are plenty of regional accents; listening to hers will also help you understand many others.
__________________
Ain't it wonderful to be alive when the Rock'n'Roll plays...
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old March 16, 2017, 04:42 AM
pjt33's Avatar
pjt33 pjt33 is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Valencia, España
Posts: 2,536
Native Language: Inglés (en-gb)
pjt33 is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by lordhelmit View Post
I've been listening to Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal audio book while at work (search for it on YouTube to hear how it sounds) and also been reading the physical copy at home. It's been more than 4 months since I've started trying to really learn Spanish, but I still just cannot understand spoken spanish.
After four months learning my first foreign language I think I could ask for directions around La Rochelle and that was about it. If you're able to read a novel (and even if it's a "children's book", it was written for people who've been learning the language by full immersion for about 11 years) and get the gist, I think you're doing very well.

Yes, it's frustrating not being able to understand people the first time, or struggling to find the word you need. That becomes less frequent with time, but it never goes away. I've been learning Spanish now for over 20 years and I've spent almost 10 years in total in Spanish-speaking countries, but I still regularly look a fool. You just have to learn to live with it.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old March 16, 2017, 11:48 AM
AngelicaDeAlquezar's Avatar
AngelicaDeAlquezar AngelicaDeAlquezar is online now
Obsidiana
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Mexico City
Posts: 7,979
Native Language: Mexican Spanish
AngelicaDeAlquezar is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjt33 View Post
I've been learning Spanish now for over 20 years and I've spent almost 10 years in total in Spanish-speaking countries, but I still regularly look a fool. You just have to learn to live with it.
Amen to that. I have been learning English for 30 years, I listen to English spoken every day and I still feel like a fool quite often.
__________________
Ain't it wonderful to be alive when the Rock'n'Roll plays...
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old March 16, 2017, 04:02 PM
wrholt's Avatar
wrholt wrholt is offline
Sapphire
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 1,257
Native Language: US English
wrholt is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjt33 View Post
I've been learning Spanish now for over 20 years and I've spent almost 10 years in total in Spanish-speaking countries, but I still regularly look a fool. You just have to learn to live with it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelicaDeAlquezar View Post
Amen to that. I have been learning English for 30 years, I listen to English spoken every day and I still feel like a fool quite often.
Yep. A little 40 years ago, just after I completed the third year of my high school's 3-year course in Spanish and earning the highest grade among the students in that class, I spent several weeks in Central America as an exchange student living with a host brother my age and his family. One fine day when I was at home the 5-year-old son of one of the servants was also present, and he asked me a rather long question that I failed to understand. I asked him to repeat the question a couple of times before my host mother took pity on me and told me in English what his question was: "How come you're like the old grandfather in the field who doesn't understand when people talk to him?".
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old March 20, 2017, 11:33 AM
lordhelmit lordhelmit is offline
Opal
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 21
Native Language: American English
lordhelmit is on a distinguished road
Than you all for the help!

I must admit, I was hoping to see some success stories when it comes to fluency, I look at my lady who is only 25 and is completely fluent in both spanish and english, even knowing several more obscure words and idioms and phrases in english. That's how I want to get, but maybe English speakers just can't lol. Still keeping going though. I've been reading Wikipedia articles in Spanish and understanding quite a bit, and I'm trying to understand the spanish words rather than just translate them in my head.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmark this thread at:

 

Link to this thread
URL: 
HTML Link: 
BB Code: 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Site Rules

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Estar rico Vs Ser rico fglorca Grammar 1 February 18, 2015 07:24 AM
Puerto Rico TocoLaGuitarra Culture 7 March 14, 2013 07:53 PM
Puerto Rico PureChristi Culture 13 May 31, 2012 03:54 PM
Puerto Rico Jessica Culture 2 January 05, 2012 11:35 AM
Feel...? irmamar Grammar 4 March 19, 2010 05:13 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:37 PM.

Forum powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

X