As I’ve alluded to before, the idea for this blog grew out of the many entertaining moments in my quest for fluency during my year in Spain. I’m going to start a Lost in Translation series that will cover all my favorite anecdotes throughout the process. Enjoy, and bear with me while I kick it off on a somber note: my biggest regret.
My biggest regret in my language learning process was that I didn’t record myself speaking Spanish before I first moved to Spain. I had taken seven years of Spanish and had lived in Nicaragua with a family for one month, but by no means was I fluent. During my time in Spain it was difficult to notice if I was improving my Spanish, because day-to-day conversations blend together and I was learning at such a gradual and consistent pace. Sort of the way you don’t realize you’re putting on weight, but then your friends, who haven’t seen you in a really long time, take one look at you and are like, That girl really let loose, eh? Anyway the same goes for learning a language. Which is why my biggest recommendation to anyone going abroad is: take a before-and-after shot. Or, in this case, recording. That way you can hear yourself talking in a hybrid valley-girl/Spanish accent or confusing gender and referring to yourself as a man. It will be very hilarious and oh-so-gratifying to look back on your progress.
A smartphone may be easier, but this old recorder is much cooler. Source.
Jenny Marshall studied Language, Culture, and Society at the University of California Santa Barbara, and now teaches English in Spain. Here she writes about the intersection of language and culture, and lives a life translated by travel.