Possible Spanish experiment

I´ve just decided to spend about 2 weeks on the Canary Islands around Christmas time. I´ve done a bit of Spanish on LingQ here and there this year, mostly in August and now again since late October. I´ve mostly just read and am up to about 18K known words.

Even though I was sort of going to spend less time on LingQ for a while, I´m thinking about putting a lot of effort into Spanish now and seeing whether I can practice it during the trip.

I´m wondering whether it would be worth the effort. I´d have to not just read though. I´d have to at the very least practice creating sentences, throw some texts into the writing exchange here and so on etc. and maybe all it would bring would be the ability to ask about a few things and then quickly get stuck where you can´t really converse much. I think it would depend a whole lot on the patience of the people you´d meet. My experience is that you can get surprisingly far, even when you are very poor at a language, if the native speaker gives you time and patience.

Anybody know the attitude of the Spanish residents of the Grand Canary about foreigners trying to converse with them in extremely primitive Spanish?


I’m sure you’ll find people to speak with. What islands are you planning to visit? I’ve been to Tenerife (mostly the northern part), Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.
One thing you could try is to enrol in some kind of activity meant for natives, if you have the time for it But even if you don’t, just talk to people and explain that you come from Iceland and want to practise your Spanish.
Buena suerte

It´s going to be the Grand Canary.

I will try that. Even if it´s just an exchange of a few words it´s going to be better than nothing. I´m weighing a little how much effort I should put into it. It might not be good to get too insane trying to learn it as fast as I could and stressing about it too much, when you want to look forward to your holiday and relax once you get there.

I might not have the time for an activity meant for natives, but that is certainly a great idea for learning. At the very least I´ll learn to form some basic sentences, the typical “where do I find…”, “how do I …”, “are you …” etc. before I go there. I can understand quite a bit of written Spanish and a slight bit of spoken Spanish, but I´m usually grabbing at air (or French) when I try to build sentences.

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I´ll certainly post on the forum again once I get back and report how it all went. What kind of effort I ended up putting into the preparation, how much I tried speaking there and how it turned out.

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I agree with Francisco’s approach and have found that Spaniards on the mainland were very accomodating and appreciative.

However, I would add my own suspicion that if you are at 18K words now, and will probably be around 20K by the time you guy and continue to improve throughout the trip, I doubt you’ll be offering " extremely primitive Spanish."

Como ftornay te dijo, “Buena Suerte.”

just to get some quick speaking practice, maybe pimsleur is a good idea for a couple of weeks? It’s relatively cheap if you get the subscription for a month and it gets you “used to” actually speaking.

Can you speak to real people on Primsleur with a subscription, without paying for it like a private lesson each time?

You need to be aware of how you say things in your native language when ordering coffee and cakes at a Bakery. Catching a bus from point A to point B. And, other daily interactions, etc
As humans, we have limited things to do in a day therefore we can easily acquire the required phrases and sentences. I think you need to have speaking lessons tailored-made for this purpose and some sort of shadowing on your own if audio is available.
After living in Germany one thing I have noticed is that “listening” is very important. You can only reply back if you can understand what the other person is saying. Don’t neglect it.
As an aside, don’t stress it over; Enjoy your holidays; English is always there :wink:

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In my experience (although that was in Catalonia) and what I’ve heard from others (but again, not on the Canaries), Spaniards already appreciate it if you try to speak some Spanish. Years ago my parents were in Andalusia and people already appreciated it that my father used the correct greetings depending on the time of day whereas the other tourists would use “buenos días” throughout.

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I don’t even think it’s possible at all to speak to real people via pimsleur. If I would compare to anything, I would say it’s more like assimil but fully audio.

I used it for italian for about 40 days. Although the vocab I learned was really minimal and to be honest I also thought it was boring, but I do have to admit that it really got me used to speaking out loud in the language. I felt quite confident in being able to have a simple conversation after 30 days.

You’ll probably get a lot better results doing the same amount of speaking via Italki, but costwise pimsleur is comparatively a bargain.

I would second having some conversations with italki. I don´t know how much time you spend listening to content or trying to improve your listening comprehension, but I´m sure you could get to a point of basic spoken competency in a short time.

I would communicate with italki tutors about your goal, and you should be able to find some that are excited to help.

As asad100101 said a key part for me is definitely listening comprehension. I went to the Dominican Republic a few years ago and was surprised to learn how many people spoke German. At that time my level in German was at most A2. I was able to order food (the menus were almost all Spanish then German and maybe English) and bumble my way through saying things, but I understood almost nothing being said to me without them miming things out.

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I have been talking to Russian speakers that I met at

It’s free.

As a test, I have just searched for
and found several potential partners

That´s great, cause I also really need French and Dutch speakers so talk to in particular. I´m much further along in those two languages than in Spanish.

I agree with the people who have said I need to do a lot of listening. I´m honestly pretty worn out from using LingQ. It´s my 2 year anniversary today and I´ve read over 5.5 million words and listened for over 300 hrs, among other things and it´s gotten to the point where I both find it hard to keep at it as much and just don´t want to miss out on other things I could be doing. I am however starting to listen to Spanish now more than before. Sometimes just something really easy like the mini-stories, but it´s a start.


I have also tended to get lost in reading here, because I´ll get obsessed with getting known-word-goals. It´s resulted in my reading ability being way ahead of my other abilities and I need to catch up. Listening is one thing I need to do more, but also to write and talk. I´d still need to read a bunch of Spanish (unlike the other languages I´ve studied so far), but I´m really tired of reading.

Yeah, it’s totally possible to get burnout, especially for as long as you’ve been going at it. I’ve dragged out my “official” Spanish learning over so many years as I go away and return to it. My reading was also way ahead of my other abilities for my entire time learning, and especially since I started at LingQ–and that’s a good thing. You need to read in order to get the words, and you need the words in order to be able to listen/comprehend spoken language, and you to listen in order to participate in a coversation if you want to understand what comes back to you when you speak.

If I were you, right now I’d be working on my listening by watching Spanish telenovelas with Spanish subtitles on Netflix, especially since it is mosly diaglogue and that will prepare you for good coversations (both comprehension and your own speaking). Once I got beyond 300 hours my comphrension was more comforable and noticeably better when I got over 100 hours of listening. Right now I’m at 800 hours. The benefit you have now is you can dump those subtitles into LingQ, update your stats, and practice speaking with people on Italki, (heard it’s good) and here on LinQ so you can activate more of that 18K and 5.5 million words.

I actually only have about 350K read words in Spanish and a just few hours of listening. The 5.5+ million words and 300+ hours are my totals in all languages on LingQ. Lots of my known words in Spanish come from the fact that I recognize them from how similar they are to the French word.

But I think your points are valid. The approach of 1) read to learn the words 2) listen to catch the words when they are spoken 3) start to write and/or talk to learn to communicate - is a valid approach that works.

I think the point that was made before here on it being easy to learn a few sentences like “Where is the store”, but it then being useless when you understand nothing of the answer, is a good point too.

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If you need to get basic speaking skills as fast as possible with LingQ, I would just start going through “Who is She” and mini stories, and read / listen to them over and over again on a loop. I actually started doing that once when I looked like I was gonna go on assignment to Spain, but then the gig didn’t happen, so I just went back to my regular reading, but the experiment showed me that that would be thing to do if I needed to get my speaking up quickly at any time.

That´s one idea

If you want to learn to understand spoken you can’t do it by reading. They are different skills and need to be practised separately.
With that in mind, if I was in your position I would watch Spanish TPRS for 3-4 hours a night until you go on vacation.
So go on youtube and search for “Spanish TPRS”.

For reference I learn languages purely by listening.