Parallelogram: English as a Second Language, UPDATE!

\One experience explored from two points-of-view\



What have you been doing to practice your new language since you moved?

Listening to Pimsler audios but that didn’t usually work very well with screaming kids in the background. I have about eight apps on my phone to help learn Spanish but those only work if you actually remember to use them. I had ambitions to listen to the radio a lot and speak Spanish with everyone I saw.

None of that really happened a whole lot. But I have forced myself to speak Spanish to more and more people.

Have you been able to speak Spanish more easily with the locals?

A little. My vocabulary has been growing slowly – only about 3-4 new words a week (sometimes less) – but it helps. I still can only understand them if they speak much much slower than they normally do. When they speak I can pick up more and more but sometimes I’m still pretty lost.


How has it been going for your spouse to learn the language?

Trevor has been a little better by using the apps on his phone. I catch him talking to himself and practicing new words once in a while ha ha Sometimes now he even understands written words that I don’t. He can recognize enough words to glance over the sports page in our local newspaper.

Have your kids learned the language at all? How was their progress?

I think my son understands quite a bit. Out of the four of us he is the one who is exposed to Spanish speakers the most just by going to school. He doesn’t use very many Spanish words when speaking with us but every once in a while I catch him singing a little song in Spanish. I ask him to sing it for me and of course he clams up. It hasn’t gotten to the point yet that he can tell me what people are saying when I don’t understand. But that will be a good day…haha

My daughter actually is testing out a lot of Spanish words. Sometimes Trevor and my mom can’t even understand her and I have to tell them what she’s saying. Right now she just picks up the words from me.

D at school

D at school

What are your plans for the future to help you learn more?

We hired a tutor! One of the parents of Mr. D’s classmates is an English professor at the local university. She hooked us up with one of her students to be a tutor to help us with our conversation and grammar skills. I think this is essential because is just no good for married couples if they want to stay happily married for one of them to teach another a language (or dancing for that matter; it’s the same.)

We now meet with Mildred twice a week at our house. At first I thought I would this would be very very awkward. I thought it would feel like I was paying her to be my friend and to come over and socialize with me, but she was very professional and very prepared and it ended up being great. I think will have her come around for a while. I secretly wish she could follow me around all day and tell me how to say everything I say in Spanish. Like a little Spanish echo over my shoulder. Now THAT wouldn’t be weird at all.

Mildred and Trevor

Mildred and Trevor



What have you been doing to practice your new language since you moved?

Ha Ha Ha.


I’ve been doing nothing formal to practice French; I just keep using the same broken phrases when out and about:

…le premiere fois ici! … (the first time here!)

…quelque choses pour les enfants?… (something for children?)

Oui. Je besoin d’un sac. (Yes. I need a bag.)

But all hope is not lost.  I’ve since remembered to say “DES sacs” (plural) when I have a lot of groceries, for example, things like that are coming back.  Also Arlo brings home library books from school and they are all in French.  We read these same books repeatedly so that gives me some solid practice.  Did you know Clifford is called Bertrand here? (Or maybe vice-versa.)

Previous Owner's Note

Previous Owner’s Note

Have you been able to speak French more easily with the locals?

I’d say it’s getting worse and that has to do with the now frigid temperature.  There are simply less people around and us who remain are in a big hurry to get someplace indoors.  Idle chit-cat seems to hibernate like everything else.

 How has it been going for your spouse to learn the language?

I don’t know how Kris has been doing to be honest, I think it’s been a while since he’s done the Duo Lingo app.

Have your kids learned the language at all? How was their progress?

 I was very heartened to learn just this morning that an acquaintance’s second grade daughter can read and write in both French and English (she attends the same bi-lingual school).  School doesn’t become governed until first grade here so the bi-lingual aspect is not strictly adhered to until then.  Arlo’s interest remains lukewarm.

What are your plans for the future to help you learn more?

I’ve got nothing honestly and I can blame it all on the weather.  Everything has changed now that there’s snow and ice on the ground – transportation, time, home organization — absolutely everything.  French will have to take le back burner for now.


The stroller, like our bike, has been packed away for the season. And the walls close in …

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1 Response to Parallelogram: English as a Second Language, UPDATE!

  1. Pingback: Parallelogram: English as a Second Language, UPDATE! | | Black Panty Salvation

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