I’ve reached a round number, 1000 hours of Spanish input. Here is a case study of what I can do now and why I believe input that students understand is the most effective AND efficient way to acquire any language.
Hey there. This is Maria from English without Fear. If you’ve watched some of these videos, you probably know that I have been working on my Spanish. Today, I’m going to talk to you about what I can do right now with 1000 hours of input under my belt. So, sit back, listen, relax, and just try to understand as much as you can.
(Intro: English without Fear where you can learn to speak English naturally, through listening to stories)
Yes, I use the same method, the same way of learning Spanish for me as I use in creating these videos for you to learn English. It’s based on input. That means watching videos, listening to podcasts, reading….things like that, that you do, and just try to understand as much as you can.
Why do I use this method for you and use this method for me? Because I think it is the most effective, the best method.
Why do I think it is the best way, the most effective way to acquire or learn a language? Because there’s lots of evidence. What kind of evidence? First off, you’ve learned your first language. You’ve watched children learn their first language. God wired, God made us, humans. He gave us the ability to watch, listen, and want to understand. Babies want to know what’s going on. Human beings, people, want to communicate with each other and God gave us language to do that, both oral and written and sung.
That’s the huge, the biggest piece of evidence about why this method works. The second piece of evidence to back up or prove why I think input that you understand is how to acquire a language is because I taught students for 27 years. Students came to me to learn French. They did not know anything. All that they learned to do was because of input I gave them or input they got for themselves from homework. I saw the evidence. Gradually, with enough hours of input, these students began to understand and speak more and more. Almost like magic, but it’s not magic. It’s just natural.
And the third piece of evidence of why I believe learning with input is the best way to acquire a language is because of my own experience with Spanish. I now have 1000 hours of Spanish input in me or we say in English ‘under my belt.’
You know, if you have seen me talk about this before, that I get my input through listening to podcasts, through reading and through watching some videos and a little bit through speaking and listening to other people. And I write down how many minutes of input, how many hours of input I get each day. I write this down in a little notebook. My goal each day is to get 180 minutes or three hours of Spanish input every day at least Monday through Friday.
I have found that with 1000 hours I now enjoy reading. That is the biggest change. What is it that I’m reading?
Every morning I normally read my Bible, now I’m reading it in Spanish. Mike bought me a Spanish-language study Bible for Christmas. And I probably spend about 35 minutes, I get about 35 minutes of reading in my Bible. It’s not hard to understand because I know my Bible well.
What else am I reading? I have two books going. The first book is a paperback, a real book that I can hold. And in English, it’s called The Alchemist. It’s written originally in Portuguese because the author is Brazilian and it’s been translated in Spanish. I find that I can understand it pretty well. Again, I don’t look up very many words, only if I’m stuck with the sense of the, the meaning of the passage. But I read slowly. Sometimes I have to reread a paragraph, but I’m reading for the storyline and that’s enjoyable.
The other book I’m reading, I’m reading on my Kindle and the English title is The Distance Between Us and that also has been translated into Spanish. I am enjoying both of those books. Do I understand every word? No, but I understand enough of the story to enjoy the story.
And friend, I think that is key. That is important. We need to read, we need to listen to, we need to watch what we like, what we find interesting, what we find fun, what we find pleasant, pleasurable. That is the key to wanting to continue to get the input.
The other activity I can do now much more easily since I have 1000 hours of input under my belt is I communicate every day using Whatsapp. I am speaking Spanish every day with a friend in Bogotá. And that has helped my Spanish-speaking ability. I can do that more and more comfortably. And my friend responds to me in English, so her English has gotten better. I’m noticing that her English has gotten better. We also write to each other in Spanish and in English.
Is there anything else I do? I do watch, um, some videos, Spanish news, uh, Telemundo, that kind of thing. But that’s, that’s not a whole lot. Maybe 10 – 15 minutes a day.
Well, what about you? Are you keeping track of your English input? It’s not too late to go back and figure it out. Make a guess about how much input you had. Then write that down. And then from now on, keep track every day.
How many minutes of input are you getting?
Leave me a comment below this video and tell me about your time that you’ve invested in English and the input you’re getting.