Learning a New Language

When I was around 10 or 11 years old, I knew I could write relatively well in English. I remember my teacher reading my works to the entire class. Today I can say without reservations that my written English is good at the very least. When it comes to spoken English though, I am far from being fluent. Yes I do work in a call center and I do deal with American clients however, I speak English almost always in a very robotic manner (due to scripts being provided) and only around 6 hours a day (removing the breaks and the idle time).

It’s interesting to note that I learned to read in English first before learning to write in the same language. In fact it was my interest in reading that encouraged me to try writing in English (by writing I mean write stories).
In learning Spanish, I am trying to develop my reading skills first because I am trying to follow the same path that I took with learning English. It’s unfortunate though that my brain isn’t like what it used to be. It is a fact that your brain is more susceptible to new knowledge at a younger age.

I guess the most important thing here is practice. There’s a very good reason why you’ll see the English Only policy being implemented in all call centers.

During my call center training for a new account, I was asked to introduce myself in Chabacano. I was horrified because I couldn’t remember how to say how old I was in Chabacano! In hindsight, I was supposed to say veinte uno anos ya yo but I proceeded to say tengo veinte uno anos de edad which is sort of Spanish (because that was the closest thing I could remember to the Chabacano equivalent!). In my defense, I only speak chabacano to my brother (which is like once a month or once every two months), to my family over the phone (which is only once every week or once every two weeks), and I write to my best friend back home in Chabacano as well (which is also once or twice a month). In a month, I speak/write in Chabacano an average of only two hours. The rest of my communication is done in Tagalog and English. No wonder my Chabacano is deteriorating!

Anyway, this incident gives me a clear tip in learning Spanish. Practice, practice, practice! I decided to give up the notion of going to school to learn Spanish. I figured out that it was useless. I mean I have a book on Spanish which has dialogues, exercises, and lessons in it. If I am in doubt about something, I go to the internet. Besides, I have already concluded that going to school to study Spanish formally won’t speed up the process. My goal is not just to know all the tenses; I would like to be able to speak Spanish fluently or at least well enough for a call center post.

Right now, I am trying to learn the tenses, grammar, etc. I would start reading Spanish literature afterwards. Hopefully, this formula would make me speak Spanish with relative ease in a year.