App-render, Or Fun Ways To Learn Spanish
As I mentioned in my last post, and refer to frequently throughout this blog, I positively adore the Spanish language. It hasn't always been the case, when I was younger the elegance of French captured my attention, but in my university years I became keener to learn the other language. Part of this may be due to the people who have been in my life here: a Costa Rican ex-boyfriend, who's helpful contribution to my lexicon was "mi novio es lo mejor" or "my boyfriend is the best"; multiple Latin American friends who throw Spanish phrases into most conversations; and my Mumma's boyfriend, who when I'm home patiently sits through my reading of Spanish children's books. He actually bought me my favourite birthday present this year - Un Oso Llamando Paddington!
Despite being surrounded by so much Spanish, my actual knowledge is quite honestly terrible. I listen to my favourite band Bacilos all the time, which means I could sing Tabaco y Chanel to you word for word, and I even watched the entirety of Tarzanwith my Mexican friend in his mother tongue. But holding a conversation? Not so much.
So when Flash Academy offered me a subscription to their app my instant reaction was a resounding "sí!". I'm a busy gal, and actual learning opportunities rarely fit into my packed schedule. I have had some success with duolingo in the past but lost all my progress with the demise of my last phone, so a new app felt like a fresh start.
For those familiar with duolingo, some of the steps will be recognisable. They teach you a word and then you have to choose the right one to fit the logo, and each section is split up into five minute lessons. I'm building up my vocabulary bit by bit, and it's fun to throw the phrases I'm learning into conversations with my friends. Where Flash Academy really comes into it's own, though, is the two nifty features that you won't find elsewhere. Firstly they have fun games to test out your training, meaning that you can keep words in your brain. I've found that I use it most in the mornings, in that restful period before I crawl out of bed. I can pop a few balloons with the correct word on it, earn a few points, and before I know it I've refreshed yesterday's lessons in my mind even before my first cup of coffee. My favourite part though, is the camera.
Have you ever had those moments where you think "what is that word in [insert language]". Well thanks to Flash Academy you'll get your answer in seconds, all by snapping away on your phone. It scans the object, and locates the word for you almost instantly. I got a little too crazy on this one in my room, and now I know the Spanish for "pug mug" - because who doesn't want to be able to say that?!
I'm still a long way off my desired fluency, but that is inevitable: there's no quick fix for language learning, just slow dedication and the willingness to practise. Fitting five or ten minutes a day in, though, is definitely helping. Adding this to my regular music listening - pro tip: choose the Youtube videos with letras and you'll see the words - and book reading, and hopefully my Spanish will soon be passable. Trying it out is fun, I made Alberto laugh a lot when I called him pobrecito.
Can you speak another language? What techniques work for you?
*Flash Academy very kindly provided me with a three month subscription to their app, but all Spanish learning desires and thoughts are very firmly my own.