Project: Learn Spanish in 1 year!

von Eric Fendley

Project: Learn Spanish in 1 year!

Forget all those YouTube “Learn a language in your sleep” or “Learn a language in 1 week” videos – anyone who knows what they are talking about knows that this is simply not achievable.

So, what is possible? And who can give me advice on how to do it?

Well - I am a native English language speaker who has already learnt 2 other foreign languages (German + Dutch) up to a good conversational level. I have also been a language trainer and translator for some 20 years now and I just so happen to have a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics, so I do consider myself to be something of an expert in this field.

In this blog, I am going to describe my journey of learning Spanish up to a conversational level in the timeframe Jan 2020 to Dec 2020 – and to prove that I succeeded, I will record a conversation between me and a fluent Spanish speaker and put it on this blog for all to see.

My starting point on 01 Jan 2020 is zero! I cannot speak any level of Spanish at all; I cannot read Spanish even at A1 level (absolute beginner). You will simply have to believe me about this :)

Anyway, let’s get started - my angle of attack will be as follows:

  • Stage 1 – Learning the Basics (Jan + Feb 2020): I need to learn some basic Spanish vocabulary so that I can prepare for the Reading Stage. I also need to learn basic sentence structure so that I get a feeling for the language 'melody'. There will be no concentration on speaking yet (how could that be possible anyway – I don’t have any words!).
  • Stage 2 – Reading Stage (March – May 2020): Having learnt the basics I will now read some basic books (NOT Harry Potter in Spanish!) that I will describe when I get to this stage. The idea of this stage is to massively increase my vocabulary stock, getting ready for the Basic Speaking Production Stage.
  • Stage 3 (June – August) – Basic Speaking Production Stage: I will use a translation aid to start producing spoken language about my life, my past and my future intentions. This will prepare me for the Conversation Stage.
  • Stage 4 (August – Dec) – Conversation Stage: I will get myself a language trainer to start conversing with. This will be the expensive but essential bit.

It could be that I have to make alterations to this plan, and that is fine - pimping this process is the name of the game.

One thing that will not change though is the aim and the time frame!