Monday, 27 June 2016

Mas Vale Tarde Que Nunca

We all should pick up an additional language or two. It is never too late to learn one. No matter what age are you, what state of being you are, it doesn't matter how busy at work or how caught up you are in the traffic everyday, it is really never too late to learn. I've always believe in the long life learning concept and picking up foreign language has many benefits, more than you know, believe it or not. Of course they are never the short term kind of perks or privileges but be patience, the good things will come, eventually. Did you know that it is scientifically proven that people who are multilingual has far more less chance to get Alzheimer than those who speak single language? 

I've been asked few times by friends and colleagues why do I chose Spanish. Why not French instead, for example. Well, many reasons actually. One of them is, apart from my perpetual quest to be a sophisticated global survivor who is capable to dress well all the time and converse deeply in multi languages (kihkih), Spanish is the third most spoken language in terms of world population, after Mandarin and English. It's actually a close call between Spanish & English. 20 countries in Central & South America have had the language as their official or national language, or most utilised language in business at the very least. Therefore, if I can master it, it means that I've unlocked more than half of the world population. I can travel to almost any country on this earth. 

I've also been asked frequently how do I learn Spanish. I went to class for two months. But it didn't work out that well for me. Why? One, it was once in a week class, on weekend only, and it was only 2 hours class. It was so short to have me etched and immersed in the language. Two, I have a classmate who is always "not synchronized" with my pace, and that resulted my teacher to keep repeating what was covered over and over. So that bored me. To death. Despite her (my classmate was a Russian girl) good looks, I decided not to continue the class. Futhermore, it was quite expensive to me, not justifiable, especially with that kind of pace. Not that I was being too economical bout it, it's just that I wished I could gain more than that.

So now how do I continue? Myriads of way to be honest. But here are the main ones. Here are merely just my own preference. You can mixed them up with yours or scrap them totally. It's a free world where freedom is so expensive. La libertad es cara. Ehem.

First, Duolingo. Si todos de mundo, es Duolingo. Duolingo has been my best friend for the past year or two. It is an application, available in all markets, IOS and Android and even windows shop. And the best part, it's totally free. It's very easy to use, it's fun and it offers many languages. You can choose and learn multiple languages at one particular of time. As long as you have the time and passion for it. They even offer Arabic and Turkish!

The way Duolingo is structured makes it fun and helpful. It is colourful and the lessons are arranged step by step, you need to finish the incumbent layer then you unlock the next layer and so forth. It's like playing games. But in a very foreign and intellectual way of playing. It starts with the very basic until the more complicated grammar lessons such as past participle, subjuntive etc. It also has idioms and romance lessons, just in case you might get sidetracked and your interest gets thinner. And who knows, it might come handy in future. LOL. It also encourages you to repeat the course over and over because that's the only way to train our brain to memorize. Through repetition and endless repetition. To prevent brain decay it says. Since it is available in mobile form, it helps me to learn Spanish whenever and wherever I have the time. Oh and by the way, it also links up your achievement to your LinkedIn account, another feature that might help you in future, career wise.

Two, we all need a dictionary. The basis of a good dictionary is of course, free, unlimited vocabulary or at least almost unlimited, easy to access, mobile, and if possible, offers some example sentences using the word that we looked up. For me, ¡SpanishDict! is by far one of the best interlingo or inter idioma dictionary available in the market. Again, ¡SpanishDict! is also available in all stores for free! Times are hard now, got to be cheap and as thrifty as possible! Lol. I've tried all of them the English-Spanish dictionaries available, but I personally like this one better. It also offers la conjugacion or the conjugation table for every each verb that you search. Learning Spanish is all about mastering the verb conjugations. That's the hardest part. It also has a function where it can give you a daily reminder with word of the day that can be set at any point of time in a day. How's that work any better for you? Una palabra del dia casi a diario, cada mañana!

Three, you need to practice. A lot. It is unfortunate that I've been living in a very orthodox English speaking country where, a foreign language is very foreign to everybody I stumbled upon, generally. So, where can I practice my Spanish? Easy. Es muy facil. Through deep immersion. La inmersión profunda. Spanish songs, Spanish articles, Spanish television series, everything in Spanish. I even had my phone and laptop set in Spanish. What else can I do? If those are not enough, try to read the news in Spanish. My Flipboard are set in Spanish. Watch live stream football with Spanish commentary. Any other possible manner that I can think of. A falta de pan buenas son las tortas. Beggars can't be choosers. We have to make do with whatever presented to us.

Four, get passionate about the cultures. As I already said above, Spanish are the third most spoken language in the world. Those in Central and South America speak Spanish. Except for Brazil where Portuguese is preferred. From Spain to Venezuela, to Cuba el Caribe (the Carribeans), to Guadalajara, Mexico and Argentina! So many things to learn and to see! Even Spain itself is so diverse from north in the Basque Country to south in the Andalucia. Learn to love the songs, the dance, the food. Their telenovela. There are so many things to learn and so many ways to love the cultures, hence so many reasons not to learn the language.

I even have had my own Spanish playlist in my Spotify, full of Spanish songs and my Musixmatch linked to it so that I can listen to my favourite Spanish songs and learn their lyrics there on the go. Reggaeton is fun. Flamenco fusion songs are also fun to start with! 

Five, what happened when you get stuck and your motivation grows weary? Easy, learn another language! Pick something harder. Life is always like that, we tend to appreciate what we had and be in more appreciative mode when we get into troubles. Face it, whether you like it or not. Estas son nuestra realidades! In my case, I simply went for Russian and French. Just to make me feel that Spanish is a lot more easier. Which is the very true case for me. It worked. I somehow regained my motivation to continue.

Six, look for others like you. Other people who are around you and also learning the same language. In my case, I used an app called Meetup. Yes, it is a FREE social media app. I found a group in there for French and Spanish Speakers in Kuala Lumpur. Que interesante! How interesting is that?! To meet people of your "kind". From there, we meet up once in every fortnight, for coffee and chit chat in the two languages. People from various backgrounds and professions. All with one purpose, to practice speaking. Learning a new language is all about communicating. To be able to speak or converse. And hopefully to be fluent. We even have our own Whatsapp groups, one for French speakers, and one for Spanish speakers. In there we shared a lot of information, from Youtube links to articles to the very daily basic conversations of getting to know each other. We have native speakers from Mexico, my friend from Granada, Spain, some ex students who used to study in Spain or France, some got married to native speaker and live in Malaysia, we have Japanese expat but wants to learn Spanish, we got engineers, embassy staffs (from Spanish speaking countries), physiotherapist, language teachers, business man and it is all mixed up. Jumbled but fun! Somos como una ensalada!

Who ever thought learning a new language can be so fun and colourful!

The link shared some insights why Spanish is not so foreign anymore and why it should be first choice when it comes to be second mother tongue. After almost two years of learning Spanish, and few others "foreign languages" like Russian and French, it is safe to say that Spanish is by far, the easiest to master. What you read is what you pronounce. It is like a brother to English. I would say 50 percent of the nouns and verbs are almost the same, if not totally the same. It's just the pronunciation is a bit different since Spanish tongue don't work the same. But you can guess what it is when you read it. At least it is not written in Cyrillic like the Russian! And it offers more cultural benefits than the others. From Barcelona to Chile to Puerto Rico to Panama. That's just my personal tendency to be bias. Or it might just be me being bias. Lol. But whatever it is, it is never too late. Better late than never. Mas vale tarde, que nunca. Hasta la proxima amigos, ciao!

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