Consequences of setting my Google default language to Spanish.

As Mike! points out, my email reply headers are now in Spanish. You have been warned.

My Google Takeout archive is structured in Spanish. I guess this means I can’t just forget it all when I’m done. ;)

My Project Fi payment notification email is now in Spanish. Thankfully, the statement itself is in English, so finance won’t get mad when I submit my expenses.

Google searches return a combination of Spanish and English. This is probably because my searches are in English. I’m not quite at the point of searching in Spanish yet, although it would be interesting to do parallel searches in both languages to compare results and sources.

Mi Amigo Google Traductor

I’ve been approaching this Spanish thing from several fronts.

Progress is good. I’m starting to read fast enough that I can keep up with internet video subtitles. I don’t understand every word, but I can get the gist of things. I’ll periodically pause to look up words or phrases I don’t know.

Listening is the hardest part. Once I build a little more structure in my head around verb tenses I’ll dive more into listening activities.


Litoterapia Para Mi Cabeza, Por Favor

In my quest for Spanish content, I navigated my way to a video about lithotherapy for pets. It showed Spanish subtitles. “How nice,” I thought, “I’ll be able to read what I don’t understand listening.”

Bonjour… on va parler de nos compagnons de…

My head exploded.


I’ve been listening to Buenos Días América every morning for my Spanish practice and news. I get the gist of most segments, but the last few days I’ve been wondering what the president was doing in Casablanca. I hadn’t read anything about another overseas visit, so what was I missing?

I realized this morning they’re talking about La Casa Blanca. The White House.

Language Art

I’m starting to outgrow Duolingo.

I credit this app with being exactly the kick start I needed to really get into learning Spanish. It was fun and easy and I looked forward to using it every day.

I got to the end. I earned the golden owl. I refreshed my skills a bit more over time. I struggled with tenses. (I need to work on tense in other contexts; Duolingo is not how my brain wants to learn verb tense.)

These days, I fire up the app a few times a week. But it’s not the same.

I’ve learned different ways to express the same thing. But Duolingo does not accept many of my new answers. It would be nice if it did, but I’m not surprised that it doesn’t. Apps aren’t people. We’re not there yet.

I’ll probably still use the app here and there, but it’s not longer my main source of learning. These days, I’m enjoying my reading and music adventures.

Actually, I think reading is the reason I’m having disagreements with Duolingo. Different authors expose me to different uses of language. It’s beautiful, colorful, language art.

A whole other world has opened.

¿Puedo Leer!

Last week, while walking through the Mission and Potrero, I found myself reading new-to-me neighborhood signs. Only after I’d passed them did I realize they were in Spanish.

I can read basic Spanish now. Yeeeeeh!

Speaking of reading, I love when I come across a longer Spanish read with parallel English translation. I’ll read the Spanish version one paragraph at a time, check my understanding against the English one, and repeat.

This week’s read: Yonder Alonso’s Carta a Mi Yo Más Joven. Lots of future tense practice.

Let’s Share Bullets

I’m trying to incorporate more Spanish into my day. This means in addition to watching children’s videos (Pocoyo is totes adorbs), I’ve started working out to Latino hip hop.

Things I learned to say today: “Let’s share bubbles!” and “There are a lot of bullets.”

Words for every situation.