Learning Spanish as an adult

Over the last few weeks, a few people have asked me how I went about learning Spanish as an adult.

A recent guest post on Tim Ferriss’ blog by Gabriel Wyner may be helpful for people that want to learn.

At a high level, the plan I followed was similar:

  1. Learn spelling and sound.
  2. Build a foundational vocabulary.
  3. Learn grammar, abstract vocabulary and patterns.
  4. Get as much exposure to the language as possible. Identify your trouble spots and work them out through self-study.

Although Wyner’s definition of fluency is a little too loose for my taste, the post is filled with solid insights.


Why watch the same movie twice?

I’m a huge fan of revisiting good movies again and again over the span of several years. But not just movies—books, music, other works of art, foods. Anything of quality is fair game, even if I was only lukewarm to it initially.

This quote attributed to Heraclitus comes to mind:

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.

In this case, the work you are revisiting is the same. You, however, are not. And the context from which you are experiencing it is not.

It’s rewarding to dive into the same good book every few years and find fresh lessons and insights waiting there for you each time. You see things you did not see and likely could not see at a previous point in your life. In a way, the fact that this happens is a sign of life—a confirmation that you are still growing in whatever areas that work covers.

Relearning to Concentrate

I’ve been studying for my MCTS Examp 70-448 the last month and a half and have found my ability to block things out and focus for long stretches of time to be lacking. And I don’t think it is the somewhat dry nature of the material. I’m tackling an engaging book on a different topic in my spare time and find the same thing — my attention seems much less disciplined than it used to be. [Read more...]

My Toastmasters Icebreaker Speech

The first speech you give when you join Toastmasters is called The Icebreaker. It’s designed to ease you into public speaking. The assignment is to speak for 4 – 6 minutes about yourself.

Creating the speech was more challenging than I thought it would be. But the writing was fun and so was delivering it.

Here is The Icebreaker I gave tonight. [Read more...]