Learning Spanish as a Second Language is...

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Avatar for LucyStephanie
1 year ago

It's been more than 7 weeks since I seriously started self studying Spanish. Well I had been trying to learn it since a decade or so ago, along with Japanese and Korean. 😂 Of course it means I just watched some TV series or listened to songs, downloaded apps and used it for maybe a few months and then nothing. 😆

For the Japanese language, I started trying to learn it back when I was a teenager. Thanks to all the anime I've watched back then, it made me interested to know more. Unfortunately I still have very basic mastery of the language until now. 😅

I even enrolled in UP Diliman extramural language classes when I started working. Sadly I don't really like the way they teach. Or maybe I just expected too much from them. I even enrolled twice at different times!

I finished the first cycle and then nothing. Yeah I did learn the basics but I did not use/practice what I learned at all. Thus I enrolled for the second time to the same cycle after some time but then I didn't even finish it. 😂 I shouldn't have wasted my money by just attending 2 or 3 classes... 💔 Oh well...

Flag of Spain

Regarding Spanish, well I have been trying to enroll to the free TESDA language course randomly since 2015, in 2018 and again in Nov 2022 but alas they seem to not want me. What else could I do but just try to learn on my own so it's still relatively free?

Anyway back in mid-December I started self-studying Spanish. 😂 And I gotta tell you, without a guide I tend to go all over the place. 😆 I don't think it's a good idea to do this unless one is serious to learn. 😅

For those who are unaware, the Philippines was a Spanish colony for more than 300 yrs. Unfortunately the American colonization made us more fluent in English than any other foreign language. On a side note, the Filipinos know Arabic too.

Why learn Spanish?

I think I got this idea of learning it because of watching Maria Clara at (and) Ibarra (MCI), a sort of fantasy period show of Jose Rizal's novel Noli Me Tangere.

Oh I love this TV series. It's the latest trending local show that everybody's watching. Actually MCI is the only thing I watch locally. I haven't watched any local shows in real time for more than a decade now and then this came along. Wow.

All I can say is, everything in it is top notch! Setting and production design (including costume!) are quite authentic, the graphics are very fun and unique. The acting is commendable and the story is not boring at all! Pretty world class, to say the least.

Title Card Screenshot from a YouTube episode of Maria Clara at Ibarra by GMA Network

And so since there's a sprinkling of Spanish in it, perhaps subconsciously it made me want to watch a telenovela I never finished. Back in the '90s there was also a smattering of Filipino dubbed Spanish telenovelas. One of them was Muñeca Brava (Monica Brava in local version).

I did an online search for that series to see if I could watch it and found the complete episodes online! Hurray! Of course I had to watch with English subtitles. Well, from watching less than a hundred episodes I guess naturally it made me want to study Spanish more seriously. 😂

Of course another benefit of learning a second foreign language is the possibility of earning more money. Hahaha. Or maybe traveling too? Whatever, I just wanna do something with my life hence my current "obsession".

Here are some thoughts on my Spanish language learning journey...

Learning Spanish is... fun (divertido)?

Yes in a way it is fun. If you like to learn things of course you will find it enjoyable and a novel experience. Plus I get to hear familiar words in the telenovela I'm watching. Makes it fun at some point until you wanna understand everything without subtitles. 😂

Learning Spanish is... difficult (difícil)?

I admit, because I am trying to learn in many ways I am finding it hard. 😂 I'm using three apps, one is a game while the other has words and is full of vocabularies while the other is learning through activity exercises.

Aside from that I also use free online resources including random websites and a YouTube channel. Omg. 😅 I think I'm having figurative nosebleeds and headaches from learning this way.

Most of the time quizzes I find are multiple choice. Only on the app have I found 'fill in the blanks'. What I'm looking for is learning from scratch. Like something that shows pictures and words in Spanish instead of English-Spanish language learning. I dunno, I think that's way better so I don't go into translation mode in my head all the time.

All this makes me wanna just enroll in a class but then I don't want to spend money so...

Philippine Peso bills. Photo by @Lucystephanie

Learning Spanish is... expensive (caro)?

Not really. It depends where you study. In the Philippines, if you learn from a prestigious organization called Instituto Cervantes it is kinda premium priced. Of course the quality of education is most probably the best.

If you learn from other language institutes it would probably be a bit affordable. Also there's UP Diliman as I mentioned. It's the next best thing when you're on a budget.

Then again it's free with TESDA but it's not easy to get a slot because it's limited. I also think they only choose those who should be allowed to get free education. (Most probably the supposedly really less fortunate ones. But I think the graduates are usually those that are to be deployed abroad. Ugh.)

Learning Spanish is... kinda complicated (complicado).

Spanish is spoken not just in one country but many! Oh my, I think it is used in 19 countries? Found out about it in a video I watched but haven't really checked which ones yet aside from what I know.

Flag of Argentina

Now that I've mentioned it you'll also be aware that anyone can find different types of Spanish words, accents and such online. For sure as I've discovered some Argentinian slang from watching Muñeca Brava. (Examples: {a}The word che which is like hey. {b} Their usage of vos.) Watching it is not the best way to learn Spanish as I found out that telenovela is most probably best for advanced students. 😂 Way to go self! 😆)

Also in Colombian telenovelas you will hear them say doctor/doctora a lot. Uhm.. I was wondering if the character was indeed a doctor despite not wearing a white coat. Upon further checking it seems Colombians use it as a form of respect to their bosses. Go figure. 😆

Anyway, to make the most of it, I'm trying to watch several shows from different countries just to familiarize my ears. Good luck to me eh? 😂

Learning Spanish is... for everyone!

Yes, for those who don't have it as their first language it is definitely worth knowing. Here in the Philippines we have our own Spanish creole language but of course I am not familiar with it. Hehe.

One of the places I plan to visit is Zamboanga. Guess what language they speak there? Chavacano, the Spanish based Filipino language can be found there! Oh I dunno when I'll be going there but I hope to visit it at least once before I die. (Lol yeah I have several places on my bucket list and I dunno when I could go to all of them. 😅)

The Philippine Flag in front of The National Museum of Fine Arts across Intramuros in Manila City. Photo by Art x Stephanie Rue.

I think the government should make this another language required to be taught in our schools, or not. Well I just think it would give us more reasons to enjoy a lot more things. But thank God for people who put subtitles on foreign language shows otherwise we won't be able to understand anything. On that note I am going to end this post.

Have you also studied Spanish before? Hope you had an easier time than me. Haha. Of course if you are a native speaker maybe you have something to say about the things I mentioned? Feel free to share tips and suggestions!


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All photos are from Pixabay except those otherwise noted.

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Avatar for LucyStephanie
1 year ago


Omg I am also from the Philippines and the tv series Maria Clara at Ibarra made me want to learn spanish too! But since I'm just a broke student with a busy schedule, it will be just a dream for now but I'm hoping for you to finish your journey in learning spanish. Also, you inspired me, maybe I'll try to download apps that might help me learn languages I want. Thank you!

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1 year ago

Haha good luck! It's free to learn but it's a challenge.

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1 year ago

Muchas Gracias Chica for sponsorship. I had 1 year of Spanish in high school. I too have thought about furthering my Spanish.

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1 year ago

Welcome. Oh for sure you will have an easier time to be really fluent because you've already learned it in high school. Haha.

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1 year ago

Yo también aprendo español 🙂

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1 year ago

Wow, ¡eso increible!

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1 year ago