I have been toying with the idea of trying to learn spanish… the class I most hated in school.
I have no idea where this desire came from, and more than I can explain my rather sudden interest in traveling and soccer (lots of EPL games on my DVR).
So I have been working with some Rosetta Stone CDs as well as listening to some podcasts ( www.coffeebreakspanish.com and www.notesinspanish.com ). I have improved a little, but I think there is only so much you can do with reading/listening and not really having to interact with people who are speaking the native language.
I found this page that talks about the COE Language Proficiency Scale. I think on this scale I would be only an A2:
A2 – Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
And I think I would like to be at the B2 level:
B2 – Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
So while the ipods and Rosetta Stone are good, I think if I want to take it to the next level I need to take lessons. I found 2 places that offer lessons online from native speakers over Skype.
Nulengua (http://www.nulengua.com/) charges $10/hour and WebSpanish (http://www.webspanish.com/) charges $15 / hour. Both are very cheap as the tutors are based in South America, so I guess I need to decide if I am going to bit the bullet and sign up for some of these.
The only thing holding me back at this point is the fact that I don’t have any free time as it is, and also I am trying to factor in my tendency for being really interested in something only to lose interest over time, get burnt out, whatever.
I think the term my mom used to use was that I was “very intense” when it came to things I was interested in. So right now, I would love to spend a lot of time learning these things, but 6 months from now will I still have the same interest, and therefore be glad that I spent as much time as I did on learning spanish. Or, will I be on to something else with my limited free time?
Sometimes I feel like simply being aware of my tendency to overly invest time in things like this has the opposite effect, causing me to over compensate and avoid moving forward.
Anyway, I am lucky enough to have a wonderful wife who puts up with my ebb and flow, and is willing to do the lessons with me. Just need to find some time to get started.