Ask Sherry: Where do I find time to learn a new language?
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When do you carve out the time to learn a foreign language and read books?
Honestly, when you want to do something badly enough, you find ways to do it.
For learning Spanish, I take mini breaks.
I go and grab a tea, while it water is boiling, I do a mini Duolingo lesson.
While I take a bathroom break, I do a lesson before coming back.
It takes 5-10 minutes.
For learning a language, I also eavesdrop on conversations in Spanish to pick up their accent / feel for the sounds, and then I practice in my head silently of what I’d respond to each person, trying to match the words and verbs together, then checking in Google Translate if I am correct.
Any time I hear Spanish or French, I tune in and focus on what they’re saying to practice as if they’re talking to me (when they’re not). It’s creepy.. and not creepy because it really has helped me.
For French, I also ask for a lot of help.
Today I read an email that said: “Feel pas“.. I asked my Team Lead: WTF is “feel” in French?.. He replied it’s an English word but they’ve used it here in Quebec to mean exactly that — to feel. So you can say “Feel pas” to mean “I do not feel well / I am sick”…. LOL It’s not French, it’s FRANGLAIS!
My partner said you can also say “File pas..“… but it was not spelled like that in his email, so it was not what the guy meant.
But in Spanish, I am searching out Spanish folks to make friends with so I can practice as well.
I’m ruthless…. I practice in my head all the time, what I would say, how I would describe something in Spanish, based on what vocab I have learned so far from Duolingo.
For reading, I get ZERO reading done with Little Bun at home, on me like white on rice, unless he is occupied with something new and shiny… so I do a lot of my reading on my Mommy Time Off on weekends while I am out running errands. I head into a cafe, I sit there, grab a hot overpriced frothy milk latte, and then I turn on my book and tune out.
And do you do these things every day or do you allot time for certain things on certain days?
I like to take some lunch breaks when I don’t go to yoga (laziness or don’t like the teacher), and I stay inside for lunch, and read instead of socializing.
I also have to mention that I am a very fast reader.
I have always been since I was a little girl and the world of books opened up for me. I used to devour about 20-30 young adult books a week, which surprised everyone, but I read very quickly. Some call it “skimming”, but I actually do read the words, I just read them whole rather than sounding out each syllable.
“Altogether” for instance, in my head is not “all-to-get-her..”.. it is “altogether” mashed together as one word, one feeling, one thought.
I don’t need to sound out words, I just recognize them as images. I hope Little Bun picks up this trick too because it made school VERY easy for me.
The only stuff I take time to read carefully is technical things like math, science, or anything very tricky.
I should also note that I play a few instruments, and I can read in three musical clefs, so I suspect that it has helped my reading abilities because I see the whole picture — what clef am I in? Bass? Treble? Alto?.. and then playing the piano for instance, lets me read two clefs at once with two hands… all of this has FOR SURE helped my reading skills advance to be as fast as it is.
So.. that’s how I find time to read. I make time. I carve it out.
I don’t let anyone encroach on it when it is Mommy Time.
But I also really love just sitting there and vegging out on videos… I have so much to catch up on in my queue that I am DYING for a day to watch them (not this week, I’m booked solid).