I’m happy with my improvement in Spanish – yesterday I had a patient who spoke only Spanish and I had the time and was able to practice on and off all day. All the important medical stuff I needed to convey or clarify, I used the translator phone, but we went through the day talking to each other with good results even though I know I sounded like a very large 18 month old. The floor’s housekeeper, who is a native Spanish speaker and tends to befriend all the Spanish speaking patients on the unit to help make sure that all their needs are met, and I and the patient were all together having a good time at one point during the day – me mostly having my Spanish gently corrected, lol. My patient and I talked all about food (lunch and dinner), bathroom, needing to walk in the hallway, asking for a new mask, whether I knew if she was going to go home that day, if I had talked to the doctor or if the doctor was coming later that day, about needing a certain piece of equipment, if she felt dizzy, hungry, thirsty. I was pleased. It’s motivation to keep going.
There are so many tips and tricks that are out there for learning a 2nd language, I keep stumbling on different approaches and trying them out. It’s fun. For example, there are people out there who take a movie in Spanish, download the entire thing to an audio/video file, cut out all the non-speaking, silent parts thereby halving the watching time, and then convert the individual sentences they don’t know to digital flashcards with words, audio and photos. Then they put out a youtube video saying – hey! this is super easy and you can do it too. I made an app/add-on/extension that you can use. (I don’t do this, this sounds like entirely too much work.)
I realized that I want to keep the vocab level low, but try pretty hard to understand the verb conjugations for the simplest and most common verbs. But they really carry so much of the meaning in the sentence. I have this problem in Chinese, I can’t properly tense my sentences and I run into obstacles all the time.
From easiest to hardest for example:
“Vamos a salir esta noche?” (let’s go out tonight?), then “iba a ir al parque pero tenía que quedarme en casa” (I was going to go to the park but I had to stay home), then fancy complicated stuff like “si estuvieras conmigo iríamos a cenar” (if you were with me, we’d go have dinner) or “si hubiera sabido lo que iban a hacer, no hubiera ido” (if I’d known what they were going to do, I wouldn’t have gone).