Weekly Tip & Optional Homework Week of 9/22 for week of 9/29/14

Weekly Tip:
Comment from a student:
I like the various suggestions on how to incorporate Spanish into one’s everyday life such as making your grocery list in Spanish. Thanks for the great ideas.

More ideas:
Incorporating Spanish into your every day life is the only way to achieve fluency, since being fluent means that you can live your day to day life in another language.

Here are some suggestions:
• As was mentioned above, write your grocery list in Spanish every week. If you don’t know all the vocabulary, look it up. You may even be able to find the right word on the item, since many things are now marked in both languages. For example, I just looked at my tin foil and it said right on it “papel aluminio.”
• Write to-do lists and reminders in Spanish.
• Switch your phone to Spanish.
• Talk to Siri (or her equivalent) in Spanish. I actually dictate all of my texts rather than writing them out, which is very easy to do on an iPhone if you have switched your keyboard to Spanish (very easy to switch back and forth).
• Read or listen to the news in Spanish. If understanding the news is very difficult in Spanish, do it every other day. That way you will already have an idea of what is going on and it will be easier to understand. Or try http://newsinslowspanish.com/.
• Talk to yourself in Spanish, outloud. Whatever you’re doing, instead of doing it in your head and in English, do it outloud and in Spanish. For example: “Tengo hambre. ¿Qué podré comer? Voy a ver que tengo en el refri. Bla, bla, bla…”
• Listen to music in Spanish while you’re getting ready, driving, whatever. If you can go a step further, buy/download one song that you really like per month and learn how to sing it (you can find the lyrics on line very easily). This is a proven method to learning linguistic patterns (grammar, sentence structure, etc.) and vocabulary. Plus it’s really fun!
• Have a book or magazine in a place where you’re going to spend at least 5-10 minutes alone and read a bit from it every day. This could be during any meal that you eat alone, in your purse or backpack if you take public transportation or have some down time in between clients, in your bathroom, wherever.
• Watch TV in Spanish. The series are better for learning purposes than movies or news for Intermediate or Advanced Beginner students. In a series (specially telenovelas) there is a lot of repetition, which is important when you’re learning a language.
• Use the self-check out in stores and switch the language to Spanish. Same goes for the ATM.
• If you’re really daring, when you need to call a company (your cable company, phone service provider, etc.) press 2 (or whatever the number is) for Spanish. It will probably be terrifying the first time, but it’s a great way to take your Spanish to the next level if you’re in an Intermediate 3 or higher level student.
• Do your weekly shopping at Pancho Villa or NorthGate instead of Vons or Ralphs. Or try a Vons or Ralphs in Chula Vista or East Lake where you are more likely to have opportunities to hear and speak Spanish.
• Go to Tijuana for the evening instead of to the Gaslamp. Or even to the theater in Chula Vista instead of Hillcrest. You will be surrounded by Spanish.

There are so many other possibilities. The important thing is to start with one thing that you do in English and switch to doing it in Spanish. Then you build on that little by little and before you know it, you’re living half your life in Spanish and you’ve reached fluency! It all starts with one lifestyle change…

Optional Homework

La tarea opcional de esta semana:
…es practicar el presente perfecto y el pasado perfecto, usando studyspanish.com. Pueden encontrar los ejercicios bajo la pestaña marcada “grammar” en la novena unidad. Si prefieren pueden usar otro sitio web o un libro de ejercicios de gramática que ya tienen.

La optional homework this week:
…is to practice the present perfect and past perfect, using studyspanish.com. You can find the exercises in unit 9 under the grammar tab. If you prefer you can use another website or grammar workbook if you already have one.