Hi all. I’m first going to give some language back ground to put things into context. My name is Jesse and I’m from Finland. In the school I had English from 4th grade ( 10 years old), Swedish from 7th grade ( 13 years old) and some courses of German around 17-18 years. It’s now close to 20 years since I finished school. I can’t say I was a very good student and neither were the language studies really inspiring. I did like languages even then. A big part of English that I learned at that time came from the online community for one game that I played a lot at the time. Swedish and German I just barely passed and haven’t used since. I can still understand some in both and must have enough familiarity with their grammar that it would be easy to get started if I were to learn them.
After school I had one year of military service before I went to an English language school in New Zealand. At that time my English was probably low B2, but it went up really fast. At that time my teacher called me a vocabulary sponge because I picked vocabulary really fast. I don’t know if it was anything special, but it did give me confidence that I was better at learning languages than school performance would suggest. Besides being immersed in the language through everyday life, I also started reading novels in a way that is very similar to lingq. I would check all (or most) of the words didn’t know and also write them down with their English synonyms. I didn’t study those notes that much, but just writing them down helped. At the start I would have at most 10-20 words per page, but often less. After some time, more often than not words that I didn’t know weren’t in a dictionary so I stopped that. I eventually stayed abroad for 5 years, in New Zealand, England and Australia. I continued reading that whole time and at one point remember reading a 300 page novel on one rainy day. After returning home I haven’t been able to use spoken English that much, but otherwise I use it probably more than my native Finnish by watching movies, series or youtube and lately also writing. Haven’t done that much reading since, partially because I can understand spoken language so much better that it’s easy to choose movie over a book.
Spanish I tried to learn for a short period around 15 years ago when I was abroad and felt confident about my ability to learn languages. I did think about going to Spanish speaking country, but I wasn’t as brave without even basic knowledge of the language and my attempt on my own wasn’t really successful. I did meet up with a native speaker a few times for language exchange, but never really got going. At that time I was already planning on going back to New Zealand and I lost my motivation to learn Spanish as there wasn’t any tangible progress.
And so we get to the present time. Around the same time as my latest attempt to learn Spanish I had a realization that I understand English directly and automatically just like Finnish. This might have been the case for +10 years, but realizing it was still powerful. What if I could understand more languages like that? Language, accents, word etymology, polyglots have interested me to this day and so youtube suggests videos on the topic. One of them was Olly Richards video about accents. That got me to his channel and it didn’t take me much convincing to be sold on the idea of learning through input. That was right about a month ago. So I started learning Spanish without any coherent plan. I watched some basic vocabulary videos and at the same time more of Ollys content. There I found an interview with Steve and lingq. I first tried the program and then took it for a month to see if I could keep the interest. That was quite easy when I could see the progress and at the end of first moth I’m upgrading to yearly.
I started the study quite intensively. I don’t have any level X target in X months. I just wanted to see how fast I can make progress, both for future reference and also to get as fast as possible to a level where I can consume more interesting material. Now in a month I have got 6000 known words so maybe the vocabulary sponge has been activated. I know it’s not an accurate measurement, but it gives some sort of heading of where I’m going. Those aren’t words that I know intimately, but more of recognize with high probability. Don’t see a point having them lingqed if I mostly know them. Reading them in context does help in recognizing them and makes the connection stronger. At the moment I have done several hours of reading and listening a day. Early on I did maybe a bit harder content than my level was, but with time content has become easier. Right now I try to choose a bit more appropriate content for my level that doesn’t have as many unknown words and read more instead of struggling through. It has led me to choose some intermediate 1 content over beginner 2 because those seemed easier. On top of lingq I have started to watch Dreaming Spanish and story learning Spanish outside of lingq as an extensive practice. There is a limit to what I can read from a computer screen, but watching youtube doesn’t have that problem. I also bought a grammar book that has been a little helpful at times, but it has been a lot less showing the grammar and more telling by using grammar terms which isn’t helpful.
The target is to continue more or less this way as long as I can. Winter it’s easier to find time to study, but from spring to summer there are more things to do. By then I would hope that my level would be high enough to do more extensive practice. At some time I would also be interested to get back to Swedish and German, but not before Spanish feels like it has enough momentum that it doesn’t need as much effort. The ultimate goal for any language is to get to the same level as English and that takes years.
I thought first I would try to write something short in Spanish, and I could, but don’t feel like writing a few sentences would do much. Vocabulary still has so many gaps and most known words don’t come to mind immediately so I’ll give that some more time. I can tell that sentences do start to come to mind and last few weeks I have had lots of dreams with Spanish words in them. If one month has got me this far I wonder where another or 5 will get me?