The previous post on this blog was about measuring progress and learning from mistakes. I mentioned that I noticed some mistakes I was making in speech while we were in Panama, and that I plan on making a study plan to address those mistakes. This post is that plan and the specific subjects I will address to improve in those areas.
One of the first problems I noticed was making mistakes with the subjunctive tenses. I plan on addressing this through reading and doing the exercises in the book The Spanish Subjunctive Up Close by Eric Vogt. I’ve read through this book before, but could certainly use a review, and doing the exercises may help train my brain to pick the proper tenses. I will also try to incorporate the subjunctive into my speech with my wife more, and she is definitely not shy about letting me know when I’m wrong.
Another issue that I feel I could use some reinforcement on is choosing the proper pronoun. Most of the time I feel confident with pronouns, but I get confused sometimes with when to use “la” or “le”. I plan on addressing these issues by reading and doing the exercises in the book Spanish Pronouns and Prepositions by Dorothy Richmond. I don't feel this problem was quite as extensive as my problem with the subjunctive, so I think a little review will be all it takes to clear it up.
One final issue I’d like to address with my Spanish is to add more natural transitions in speech. This one is harder to quantify, but I want to utilize phrases like “a proposito” and “por cierto” more. Even transition words like “bueno”, “pues”, and “así que” will make my speech pattern more natural and closer to sounding like a native speaker. This is just something I will have to be mindful of when speaking, as I don’t have books or exercises to do. I also plan on writing a blog post about colloquial expressions in the near future, so I will observe natural speech more so than usual. Compiling that info should be a great help to me, and hopefully to you all.
I’m sure after I improve on these areas, new problems will creep up. Learning a second language as an adult is a lifelong venture. I’m just glad that it is something I enjoy, and it is truly the journey and not the destination that is the best part. My Spanish has helped me make new friends, and develop better relationships with my family. That makes all of it so worthwhile. I hope your Spanish journey is as enjoyable for you as mine is for me!