Am I over thinking this?

Hello My name is jack and I am a new keen language learner, I am a native British who has decided that the second language he wants to learn is Spanish.

I am using the Assimil Spanish for beginners book (really enjoying it so far considering I never read any type of book)
and I have recently joined Lingq to expand my vocabulary and learn as much Spanish as I can.

My problem lies within the fact that with the Assimil book they have audio with each lesson (again I am much enjoying it)
but my problem is when I listen to the audio after reading the English translation and remembering basically the “script” I do not feel like I am much remembering the Spanish but the sequence of the scrip? Yes some Spanish i do understand from memory but some of it will have one word I know and from memory I can remember the whole English translation so I know from the sequence of from person to person I know they are talking about?

am I over thinking this?

Any comments would be greatly appreciated for an inexperienced languaghe learner like myself.

muchas gracias!

Yes, you are over thinking it. Not a problem. Just relax and continue.


I think that is how it is at the beginning and it’s a good start. Listen many times and after a while the Spanish words will become easily recognisable and you will remember them.
I have the same feeling when I’m learning French but after a while you see or hear those words in a different context and you realise you are remembering them.

Stephen Krashen has proposed (based on a great deal of data) that languages are acquired through “comprehensible input”. One way to think about this process is that when you are exposed to the new language and you understand what’s being said (written) your brain automatically associates wording and content. That’s how children learn. Notice that it is not all that important how you understand the message. You can “cheat” by relying on context, memory, pre-exposure, assumptions, As a matter of fact, you have no other choice.
Over time, a greater part of the “clues” you’ll use to understand the message will come from knowledge about the language itself but in the beginning most of them will depend on extra-linguistic information. It’s just the way language learning works.

A nice demonstration of how “comprehensible input” works:

Yes, you more than likely are over thinking it. Also remember the name of the book is “Assimil” or “assimilation” which is what the book tries to build up on over time, eventually giving you enough structure of the language to “assimilate” new sentences and be able to understand them in the language.

¡Que tengas paciencia y suerte amigo!

Just watched the video I do think it is me just being stupid and over thinking it but I am new to this whole “language learning” but I do 100% understand the idea behind the video! muchas gracias!

Good point.

On the contrary! I think this is an interesting conversation to have. Too often this kind of doubts go unspoken and that’s not useful for anyone. I have also had that same feeling of “how can this work? I’m feigning the whole process”. It’s just incredible that it actually works :slight_smile:

You know, despite having been taught a second language in school (and failing miserably at it which added to my pessimism), when I began looking at Korean I had similar thoughts.

I could not imagine myself being able to speak or understand Korean as it is spoken. I was really trying to understand how my brain was going to learn such a vastly different language.

And yet here I am 9 months later listening to sections of spoken Korean which makes sense to me. I’m not doing a mental translation to English. As you say, ftornay, it’s just incredible that it actually works.

I cannot yet understand regular spoken Korean - its too fast and I don’t have the vocab - but the proof that the process has taken me thus far now alleviates that initial worry. It has proven that it works and if I keep going then I will only improve.


I think that is it because the whole idea of learning a new language is not the norm and I am worried and scared about that fact of the reality of you know “LEARNING A WHOLE NEW LANGUAGE” but I will continue my studies as a matter of fact what is your language learning routine? as I am just doing some investigating into what may work the best for me?

thank you again for your reply.

Well everyone is going to differ, and probably the approach per language may differ. Since you asked, heres what I’ve done:

Korean script (Hangeul) is phonetic, so I learnt to be able to read and somewhat pronounce it from the start.
I also read the first few chapters from an online course on grammar - just to get me started on how the language functions.

After that I’ve primarily read content on (and imported content into) LingQ, looking up vocabulary and grammar points as needed. I strongly prefer content for which there is audio. This way I can read first then listen multiple times.

I have revisited content multiple times over the months.

Recently I have begun paying for iTalki chat sessions (starting some basic conversation).

If I have one regret about what I have done so far, its that I didnt write in Korean often enough. Right from the early days I really wish I had been writing 2 or 3 sentences a day and get corrections on it.

Good luck in your language learning! As Steve has said so many times over, don’t get hung up on anything. If you’re having trouble recalling a word, understanding some text, dont worry - just move on.