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    Archive for September, 2012

    Audacious Goal Update #8 — Learn Spanish in 8 Weeks!

    November 23, 2012:  Eight weeks ago, I decided to learn Spanish with the goal of becoming solidly conversational in 8 weeks.

    Well, 8 weeks have passed and I’ve studied every day. I spent last weekend in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico having a great time, talking and learning Spanish.


    Learn Spanish in 8 Weeks!

    September 28, 2012: Today I’m starting a silly, crazy, project, and I hope you’ll join me.

    I’m starting to learn Spanish with the very ambitious goal of being solidly conversational by Friday, November 23, 2012 which is the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Today I only speak a few phrases of Spanish.

    I’ll study for for two 30 minute sessions per day. One session in the morning and one in the afternoon. I am also going to try to talk Spanish (no matter how badly) every chance I get.

    The Tools I’ll Use to Learn Spanish

    My main study plan is to use the lessons from this site.  However I’m incredibly pragmatic about learning, and I’ll use anything that works.  Feel free to make suggestions.

    If I use any other Spanish learning products, I’ll write about it here.  I’m also going to try to talk Spanish every chance I get and I’m going to follow the advice of these articles on how to learn any language.

    I’ll choose to have a great attitude.  My attitude will be — “I’m going to enjoy every single one of my mistakes.”  (smile)

    What You Can Expect To See Here

    I plan to make text updates here every day and weekly video updates on Friday.  Everyone gets too busy during the holidays, but between now and Thanksgiving you can really get something done, so join me.

    Use any language learning methods you like (I do recommend set your goals, dive in and have fun.  Send me a video and I’ll post it here. There’s nothing quite like declaring your goals publicly to keep you motivated.

    Brent Van Arsdell

    September 28, 2012 Spanish study experience:   I didn’t start studying until about 9:00 p.m. which was way too late, and I did have some interruptions.

    Then the software started generating errors which was distracting.  These are very rare, but if you ever get any errors, please copy them and e-mail them to us (along with what browser and what kind of computer you are using) so we can fix them.

    Fortunately these errors seemed like they were related to the particular test account that I was using to study with and they were easy to fix.

    So that’s day one.  What fun!

    September 29, 2012 Spanish study experience:  I studied from 11:30 a.m. until noon and from 5:30 p.m until 6:00 p.m.  A half an hour of very fast study seems to be about all I can do at one time.  It’s quite tiring.

    About 5:30 p.m. someone knocked on my door and I just yelled a quick “go away” and went back to studying.  It seemed to work.

    These earlier study times were much more effective than yesterday’s 9:00 p.m. 1 hour session.

    I did get a chance in the early afternoon to try my few Spanish phrases on a woman from Columbia who happened to be visiting.  That was fun!

    September 30, 2012 Spanish study:  This morning I studied from 10:35 to 11:05 a.m. and 4:05 to 4:35 p.m.  I went very fast and seemed to be quite productive.

    October 1, 2012 Spanish study: I did my morning study session from 11:15 to 11:45 a.m. and noticed a few small mistakes in literal translations.  Later in the day I fixed the errors and changed the syntax on the literal translations.

    The words [in brackets] on the literal translation line correspond to one Spanish word below.The words [in brackets] on the literal translation line correspond to one Spanish word below.[/caption]Now you will often see [two or more words in brackets if one Spanish word takes two or more English words to express the idea.

    For my evening study session I decided to try Fluenz Spanish.  I tried to run it from the DVD and on my first attempt met the black screen of death.    After half an hour of fiddling and registering, I had it running.  I do a full review on it as soon as I’ve gotten further into it.

    Fluenz is trying to reproduce a university classroom with their software, which means that it will probably be like a university with hours of boredom and a few jewels of learning thrown in.

    Her advice for rolling the R in Buenas tardes is probably pretty good.  Open your mouth more and focus on the “A” in front of the R

    Today I also talked with a Spanish teacher on the phone for 15 minutes or so.  What fun.

    October 2, 2012 Spanish study:  My study times today were 11:30 a.m until noon and from 4:35 until about 5:20 p.m.  In my evening study session a bunch of things seemed to gel and suddenly I was understanding all the different ways to say “What’s your name?” in Spanish.

    I am trying to always say the Spanish phrases on top of the teacher’s recorded voice.  This helps me get the pronunciation a lot better.

    October 3, 2012 Spanish study: My study times today were from 11:20 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. and from 3:00  to 3:30 p.m.  I made a mistake for part of the time and studied with my editing account instead of my study account.

    It seems like I am making good progress.  The key is to go really fast and try to do each phrase in about 5 seconds.

    I plan to get some videos posted to the support area soon giving more details about how to study fast.

    October 4, 2012 Spanish study: I completed my seventh day of study by getting my morning half hour from 11:15 to 11:45 and my afternoon session from 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. I do have some trouble with my mind wandering which is not good.

    It doesn’t really matter how much time you are staring at the computer, what matters is how much engaged time you spend. Tomorrow I’ll do a video update.

    You can leave a comment by clicking on “Read more . . .” below.


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    September 26, 2012:  Beginning language students can now learn a lot of their new language for free right here! Here’s how it works.