Author Topic: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020  (Read 5714 times)

Luz

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Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« on: January 01, 2020, 08:44:04 PM »
I read that language fluency involves a working vocabulary of at least 10,000 of the most commonly used words.

I currently have around 2,500 frequently-used words in Spanish, which puts me at conversational level.
Having command of 3,000 frequently-used words will put me in advanced-level territory. Over the next 6 years, I'd like to break the 10,000 word mark.

I've had every intention of consistently building my vocabulary for a few years now. But I haven't made much progress. I think what I need is a little accountability so that I sit down and do the work.

My 2020 goal and strategy are listed in the comments. I'd love to do this with others working toward the same goal.

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2020, 09:00:05 PM »
My goal for 2020:
Learn 15 words/week for a total of 750 over the course of the year.

A little background:
My husband is a native Spanish-speaker. And we speak Spanish as a family when we're all together (we have a toddler). I also read to the toddler in Spanish to help build her vocabulary and increase her exposure to the language.

Strategy:
I have 1.5 hrs/week to study. I plan to look up unfamiliar words from my daughter's children's books. I will write them on a sticky note to place in the book (though she likes to remove them) and also keep a weekly list here, for accountability in moving forward.  In addition to accountability, it will be nice to have a record of the words I learn for reviewing purposes.
I find that picture books have been a helpful resource, since I'm a visual learner. Once I learn the word, it sticks in my head since there's an image to go along with it. We also read the same books over and over throughout the week, so that should help me commit it to memory.
I'm also beginning to translate English books to Spanish, since she's getting older and the Spanish collection at our library is limited. It's the same concept, although a lot more work. 

« Last Edit: January 01, 2020, 10:08:45 PM by Luz »

Steeze

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2020, 09:12:30 PM »
I am learning Chinese - not counting words, but completing a self study course. My goal is to complete 1 set of lessons per day.

DW is Chinese, and her parents do not speak English. I’m also traveling to China in a couple weeks! for the first time.

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2020, 09:59:40 PM »
Here's my first 15 of the year:

I think I'll also use this list to clarify words or groupings of words that are muddled in my mind, even if they are somewhat familiar (like the difference between drop and fall, for example).

1. female: hembra (animal) feminino
2. to pray: rezar (prayer: oración)
3. claw: garra
4. cloth (fabric): tela (rag: pedazo de tela o trapo)
5. to wear: llevar/traer puesto
6. to put on (clothing): ponerse
7. to take off (clothing): quitarse
8: to pump: bombear (pump: bomba)
9. coconut: coco
10. daisy: margarita
11. to dive: zambullirse
12. to wag (a tail): menearse
13. engine: motor (machine: máquina)
14. envelope: sobre
15. to fall: caerse (to drop: dejar caer)
« Last Edit: June 16, 2020, 08:48:35 PM by Luz »

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2020, 10:07:41 PM »
I am learning Chinese - not counting words, but completing a self study course. My goal is to complete 1 set of lessons per day.

DW is Chinese, and her parents do not speak English. I’m also traveling to China in a couple weeks! for the first time.

1 set of lessons per day is awesome! Setting aside that kind of time would be so helpful.  Are you doing it for the whole year? If so, what level of Chinese are you currently at, and where would you like to be (just out of curiosity)?

ysette9

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2020, 03:35:23 AM »
Here's my first 15 of the year:

I think I'll also use this list to clarify words or groupings of words that are muddled in my mind, even if they are somewhat familiar (like the difference between drop and fall, for example).

1. female: hembra
2. to pray: rezar (prayer: oración)
3. claw: garra
4. cloth (fabric): tela (rag: pedazo de tela o trapo)
5. to wear: llevar/traer puesto
6. to put on (clothing): ponerse
7. to take off (clothing): quitarse
8: to pump: bombear (pump: bomba)
9. coconut: coco
10. daisy: margarita
11. to dive: zambullirse
12. to wag (a tail): menearse
13. engine: motor (machine: máquina)
14. envelope: sobre
15. to fall: caerse (to drop: dejar caer)
It may not work for you at all, but I keep this tiny notebook in my work backpack where I jot down interesting vocabulary I want to retain. At this point it is not the standard stuff that I can look up easily but mostly the things Google Translate has trouble with for whatever reason. I can flip back through for a reminder lesson but often the process of writing it down is what I need to remember.

Steeze

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2020, 05:44:29 AM »
I am learning Chinese - not counting words, but completing a self study course. My goal is to complete 1 set of lessons per day.

DW is Chinese, and her parents do not speak English. I’m also traveling to China in a couple weeks! for the first time.

1 set of lessons per day is awesome! Setting aside that kind of time would be so helpful.  Are you doing it for the whole year? If so, what level of Chinese are you currently at, and where would you like to be (just out of curiosity)?

If I had to guess somewhere in the 300-600 word range (HSK 2-3)? I completed a course up to HSK 4, which is 1200 words, but restarted a new course from the beginning. I think I was (read: am still) missing some of the finer points of a tone based language.

I have up to HSK 2 (300 words) down pretty well - read, text message and talk, but cannot write any of it. The HSK 3 material I have no trouble with using when prompted in the app, but have trouble using it in sentences and have no idea what the correct tones are most of the time.

By the end of the year I would like to have HSK 3 words down, improve my use of tones on HSK 1-2, and complete the HSK 4 material again.

I think doing 1 HSK level per year is a good target for me.

ysette9

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2020, 12:25:35 PM »
Ahh, the tones are so hard! My husband speaks mandarin with our kids and it is totally unfair how easily they pick up on it, where I am left wondering whether they are talking about horse or mother.... ;-)

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2020, 12:34:27 PM »
I'm currently in a foreign country with two different languages but I've probably only picked up about 5-10 words between the two. I'm spoiled because most of the people I interact with speak English or there's an interpreter available.

sui generis

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2020, 11:47:13 AM »
Where can one get a measure of how many words they know in another language?  Is there some app or website that can estimate based on a quick test? 

I've been learning Spanish for most of my life and never have managed to attain fluency.  I always need more vocabulary, but the grammar is what really stops me from speaking with others (learning the subjunctive - ugh.  And as I've gotten better with that, it's made me forget basic verb forms like the present and preterite of irregular verbs!)

I listen to about 6-7 Spanish podcasts currently (most are weekly), so I get lots of comprehension but very little practice using the words, since I almost never speak it.  I feel like I need to speak to actually master new vocabulary and one of my goals is to find some groups or lessons where I have to speak this year, so joining in on this thread is applicable.

ysette9

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2020, 07:43:25 PM »
Where can one get a measure of how many words they know in another language?  Is there some app or website that can estimate based on a quick test? 

I've been learning Spanish for most of my life and never have managed to attain fluency.  I always need more vocabulary, but the grammar is what really stops me from speaking with others (learning the subjunctive - ugh.  And as I've gotten better with that, it's made me forget basic verb forms like the present and preterite of irregular verbs!)

I listen to about 6-7 Spanish podcasts currently (most are weekly), so I get lots of comprehension but very little practice using the words, since I almost never speak it.  I feel like I need to speak to actually master new vocabulary and one of my goals is to find some groups or lessons where I have to speak this year, so joining in on this thread is applicable.
For me podcasts are good as well as reading books. But the gold standard is just making yourself speak it. Haltingly, poorly, embarrassingly, whatever... just do it.

nessness

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2020, 08:32:17 PM »
I'm in. I started learning French about 5 months ago and would love to get to a very basic conversational level this year.

ysette9

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2020, 08:39:04 PM »
I'm in. I started learning French about 5 months ago and would love to get to a very basic conversational level this year.
Le français c’est ma langue aussi

ItsALongStory

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2020, 09:40:20 PM »
I am planning on setting up an internal job transfer to Portugal this upcoming summer so I have started Duolingo Portuguese. It appears to be more of the Brazilian dialect but it's the easiest path to learn it without having an opportunity to speak it on a regular basis. My native language is Dutch and I also speak (mostly) fluent French so that last one most definitely help with my Portuguese (and Spanish too although not focusing on that).

Several of my colleagues are Brazilian so technically I could speak it, but I am concerned that trying to force business meetings in Portuguese unnecessarily won't be very productive :)

I am about to complete the first 'stage' (not sure what they call it) on Duolingo having started right at or just before the new year.

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2020, 01:30:22 PM »
I'm going to try for 20 words this week. If I do 1,000/words per year, I'll be more likely to reach my goal of 10,000 words in 6 years. I also realize that language learning for me will be a lifetime pursuit. Supposedly, someone who is fluent has command of 10,000 to 30,000 words, including knowing all the verb conjugations and other variations of any given root word. So 10,000 is just scratching the surface- though it's a great foundation.

My receptive skills in Spanish are much more developed than my expressive ones. Is that common even in adults speaking their native language? I know it's true for young children: my toddler is at the point where she understands nearly all of what we say, but only says 20 words or so herself. When I look over a list of frequently-used Spanish vocabulary, I recognize the majority of the words. But so few come to mind when I'm trying to express myself.

I seem to remember Spanish words so much better when I translate them from English to Spanish rather than vice versa. I guess that means that I'm still thinking and translating from my native language, but that's ok for now. I lived in Mexico in my 20's and remember getting to the point where I started thinking in Spanish. Maybe immersion is the only way to enter that state. Hopefully I'll be able to live there again in the future. I'm guessing that being able to translate both ways is the goal. What do all of you do with learning vocab?

Today I'm translating straight from the dictionary. Usually I check with my husband to see what form is most commonly used in Mexico. But I'll do that this weekend and make needed corrections.

16. to hold: agarrar (to carry: llevar, cargar)
17. playful: juegetón
18. fin: aleta (flippers too)
19. to sting: picar
20 to twist: girar (to turn:girar/voltear)
21. elbow: codo
22. electrical outlet: toma de corriente
23. to pop: reventar
24. to bloom: florecer
25. to shed: mudar
26. fan (handheld): abanico
27. to wash away: llevarse
28. snowball: bola de nieve (snowflake: copo de nieve)
29. bush/shrub: arbusto (hedge: seto)
30. poisonous: venenoso
31. thankful/grateful: agradecido (blessing: bendición)
32. warm: caliente/cálido/caluroso- same as hot, maybe depends on context? (cool: fresco, lukewarm: tibio)
33. stream/brook: arroyo
34. eyelashes: pestaña (eyebrow: ceja, eyelid: párpado)
35. drawer: cajón (basket: cesta/canasta, shelf: estante, container: recipiente, cabinet: armario)

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2020, 02:00:26 PM »
Where can one get a measure of how many words they know in another language?  Is there some app or website that can estimate based on a quick test? 

I've been learning Spanish for most of my life and never have managed to attain fluency.  I always need more vocabulary, but the grammar is what really stops me from speaking with others (learning the subjunctive - ugh.  And as I've gotten better with that, it's made me forget basic verb forms like the present and preterite of irregular verbs!)

I listen to about 6-7 Spanish podcasts currently (most are weekly), so I get lots of comprehension but very little practice using the words, since I almost never speak it.  I feel like I need to speak to actually master new vocabulary and one of my goals is to find some groups or lessons where I have to speak this year, so joining in on this thread is applicable.

I did the Memrise program, "First 5,000 words in Spanish". I stopped halfway because I wasn't retaining the vocabulary very well. So I estimate that I'm at 2,500 words from what I remember from that program, what I pick up from my Spanish-speaking spouse, and from having lived in Mexico for a time . It's definitely not an exact calculation. But it's really hard for me to see forward movement with studying a language, so it's a way to help track the progress I'm making.

As for the word-count relationship to language-level, I read a few (unscientific) articles and liked how they categorized the different stages of language learning (though they categorize differently):
https://www.fluentu.com/blog/how-many-words-do-i-need-to-know/
https://universeofmemory.com/how-many-words-you-should-know/
https://markmanson.net/foreign-language

I agree that language exposure is where it's at! My husband wouldn't be able to explain the subjunctive to you (and I wouldn't be able to do so in English either), but he could easily spot when it's used incorrectly, simply because it will sound weird to him as a native speaker. I've heard that some people ignore grammar altogether when studying a language and just go with learning words and imitating the things they hear so they get an ear for what sounds right and what sounds wrong. Everyone has a way that works for them, but grammar is definitely the biggest barrier for me, so I'm focusing on having the words I need to express myself before worrying about their proper arrangement.


Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2020, 02:10:08 PM »
I am planning on setting up an internal job transfer to Portugal this upcoming summer so I have started Duolingo Portuguese. It appears to be more of the Brazilian dialect but it's the easiest path to learn it without having an opportunity to speak it on a regular basis. My native language is Dutch and I also speak (mostly) fluent French so that last one most definitely help with my Portuguese (and Spanish too although not focusing on that).

Several of my colleagues are Brazilian so technically I could speak it, but I am concerned that trying to force business meetings in Portuguese unnecessarily won't be very productive :)

I am about to complete the first 'stage' (not sure what they call it) on Duolingo having started right at or just before the new year.

How long will you be in Portugal for? I'm curious how much faster those of you who are multilingual pick up on additional languages in comparison to us monolingual folks. Did you study most of the languages you know as a kid? If so, how does studying Portuguese as an adult compare?

ItsALongStory

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2020, 02:51:46 PM »
@Luz it's certainly a benefit to have proficiency in other languages since I see similarities with other languages. A good trick is to watch peoples mouth when they are teaching you words. It's a bit odd at first but really helps me with pronunciation.

I learned french in school from age 10 and added English from 12. I learned most of my English from TV and french got tons better when I was in a multi lingual work environment with some folks who only spoke french.

Portuguese is certainly difficult but not nearly as bad as I thought. I just have to learn the verbs which Duolingo doesn't seem particularly suited for.

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2020, 09:33:25 AM »
36. joint: articulación
37. germ: microbio
38. layer: capa
39. role: función
40. tulip: tulipán
41. tiny: diminuto
42. vine: liana
43. tastebuds: papila gustativa
44. soft: suave (smooth: blando)
45. rough: áspero
46. bitter: amargo
47. set: vajilla
48. nostril: fosa nasal
49. to lift: levantar
50. to wrap (encircle): rodear, (cover): envolver
51. to taste (try): probar (flavor): saber
52. to bend: torcer
53. to dig: cavar
54. hump: joroba
55. to store: guardar

« Last Edit: June 16, 2020, 08:50:48 PM by Luz »

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2020, 08:08:26 PM »
This is my 4th week of vocabulary. I post the week's list on the fridge. Every morning before the toddler and I read her children's books, I review the list of English words and state their equivalent in Spanish. When we read, much of the words are reinforced.

I've retained all the words so far, much to my surprise. I think it's the repetition and images and probably most importantly, that I'm starting with the English word (and therefore am not relying on just receptive skills to get by). I've heard the Spanish word for envelope (sobre) at least 50 times and it never stuck. But now that I'm translating children's books from English to Spanish, and am forced to exercise my expressive skills, sobre is imprinted in my mind. It's not going anywhere.
I wish I had known this 7 years ago. I feel like learning how to learn a language is as important as going about learning one.

55. magnet: imán
56. buoy: boya
57. to keep: quedarse (also- mantener, conservar, guardar)
58. silk: seda (felt: fieltro)
59. row: hilera
60. to match: combinar con
61. to suck: sorber, chupar
62. bathrobe: bata
63. to dress up: ataviarse
64. helmet: casco
65. apron: delantal
66. to direct: dirigir
67. crew: equipo
68. to provide: preveer, propocionar
69. to rub: frotar(se)
70. teamwork: cooperación, trabajo en equipo
71. flashlight: linterna
72. sandbox: cajón de arena
73. shovel: pala
74. screw: tornillo, screwdriver: desarmador

Ockhamist

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2020, 08:35:53 AM »
A good resource is conversationexchange.com.   Connecting with someone with whom you can have a language exchange is really, really helpful.   You can do email exchanges or video calls, or face to face if you live in the same city.

You do have to kiss a few frogs to find a compatible partner, and there are some scammers who are interested in things from you other than help with English, but I've found those to be pretty easy to filter out.  I have connected with a total of four reliable partners over the years.   For three of them we discontinued due to time commitments or other issues (finding suitable call times across time zones can be a challenge) but I've actually been working with one guy I met on there for nearly five years now.   He's helped me enormously with my French, I've been able to help him a lot with English, and we've actually become quite good friends in the process. 

SunnyDays

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2020, 11:10:23 AM »
Interesting approach.  I have studied French, Spanish and German, and while building vocabulary does help, I find that it's putting the words into sentences that's hard.  And even if I can manage to do that, I often find out that it's not the common way to say something.  So many idioms!  I can see why people that speak more than one language are often not really fluent in any of them.



sui generis

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2020, 02:29:33 PM »
A good resource is conversationexchange.com.   Connecting with someone with whom you can have a language exchange is really, really helpful.   You can do email exchanges or video calls, or face to face if you live in the same city.

You do have to kiss a few frogs to find a compatible partner, and there are some scammers who are interested in things from you other than help with English, but I've found those to be pretty easy to filter out.  I have connected with a total of four reliable partners over the years.   For three of them we discontinued due to time commitments or other issues (finding suitable call times across time zones can be a challenge) but I've actually been working with one guy I met on there for nearly five years now.   He's helped me enormously with my French, I've been able to help him a lot with English, and we've actually become quite good friends in the process.

I've been meaning to check this out and also, italki (and see how much they each cost - I think at least one does charge).  There are two podcasts I've listened to with latina/gringo couples that met over searching for a conversation partner on italki.

YYK

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2020, 09:30:39 PM »
I'm not necessarily working on a specific goal this year, but I thought I would post in this thread to recommend Anki to everyone who's studying a language. It's a program that generates flash cards based on the information you input, such as a word/definition pair, then challenges you on the flashcards at intervals based on how well you remember the cards. The more times you get a card correct, the longer the time interval becomes before you see it again. This is supposed to allow you to retain more with the minimum amount of review time. You can use it to memorize pretty much anything, not just languages.

Website: https://apps.ankiweb.net/index.html

I've been studying Japanese for about two and a half years, and have been using Anki for about two. I started by reading a couple of grammar books over the course of six months or so, and then started reading and listening to material in Japanese, putting into Anki any words I didn't know. I had to look up almost every word in the beginning, a very tedious and tiring process, but my reading speed increased pretty quickly, and now I can comfortably read without looking up very many words. I currently have about 7300 words in my Anki deck.

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2020, 07:57:29 PM »
I'm adding Anki, conversationexchange.com, and italki to my language-learning resource list, thanks!

@SunnyDays right there with you on idioms! I find that even for the more literal uses of Spanish, it would be so much easier if there weren't multiple ways of saying the same thing. My husband (who is studying English) was puzzling over the phrase "in tandem with" the other day. It's just a fancy way of saying "together with" or "simultaneously" (depending on the context) or any other multitude of options.

The 10,000 words are just the jumping off point I'm trying to build up to. I think it will take living in Mexico and totally immersing myself in Spanish (using little to no English) for 2 years to really achieve the level of fluency I'd like (which is still far from the level of native speakers). But even then... my mom is from Germany and grew up bilingual German/English, though German was truly her native language since it was the community language. She's lived in the US for 40 years (the entirety of her adult life) and now sometimes has trouble finding the German word she wants to use. It's such a dynamic process.

sui generis

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2020, 10:01:08 PM »
I'm adding Anki, conversationexchange.com, and italki to my language-learning resource list, thanks!

@SunnyDays right there with you on idioms! I find that even for the more literal uses of Spanish, it would be so much easier if there weren't multiple ways of saying the same thing. My husband (who is studying English) was puzzling over the phrase "in tandem with" the other day. It's just a fancy way of saying "together with" or "simultaneously" (depending on the context) or any other multitude of options.

The 10,000 words are just the jumping off point I'm trying to build up to. I think it will take living in Mexico and totally immersing myself in Spanish (using little to no English) for 2 years to really achieve the level of fluency I'd like (which is still far from the level of native speakers). But even then... my mom is from Germany and grew up bilingual German/English, though German was truly her native language since it was the community language. She's lived in the US for 40 years (the entirety of her adult life) and now sometimes has trouble finding the German word she wants to use. It's such a dynamic process.

Very true. It's a little disheartening.  My BIL speaks like 6 languages, though, and I don't know how he maintains them.  Granted, he's a French teacher and I'm sure that helps him maintain Spanish and Italian but its been two or three decades since he lived in China (for not even that long!) and he can still speak Mandarin! And well enough that the waitress at our Chinese restaurant a couple years ago was absolutely delighted with surprise when the chubby bald Jewish guy started speaking to her. I know some people are just better at it but really?? So unfair!

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #26 on: February 05, 2020, 06:36:35 AM »
I switched up my study night since I rely on my husband to check that I'm choosing the correct translation and he has class some evenings. And also because I want to translate the children's books the day the toddler and I go to the library for a new batch, in order that I can reinforce the vocab in context for the full week.
Getting close to 100 and it's been fairly painless! Though my Spanish translations of the children's books are pretty rudimentary. Better than nothing, though!

75. to get stuck: atorarse
76. to get ready: prepararse
77. push: empujar (pull: jalar)
78. to march: desfilar
79. to sneak: colarse
80. to lie down: acostarse (to get up: levantarse)
81. shiny: brillante
82. to follow: seguir
83. to shake: agitar (shake your head: negar, shake hands: apretar)
84. to kick: dar patadas (animals: cocear)
85. to blink: pestañar
86. to lock: cerrarse (noun: candado)
87. fluffy: esponjoso
88. gentle: ligero o suave
89. to get hurt: herir, lastimar, hacer daño (injury: herida)
90. hook: gancho
91. sandpaper: papel de lija
92. to catch: atrapar
93. maze: laberinto
94. to rush: tener prisa

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2020, 08:52:01 PM »
Now that my list of words is getting longer, I'll have to set aside a bit more time every day to review it. I was looking it over for a few minutes before the toddler and I read each afternoon. But I think I'll move my review time to her after-nap snack, prior to reading time. That way she's occupied and I won't blow it off like I've done the past few days because she's not having it.
This week one of our books was about the farm.

95. preschool (noun): el jardín de infancia
96. glue: el pegamento (verb: pegar)
97. to ride: montar (bicicleta, caballo..) ir en (tren, autobus)
98. wool: la lana
99. to gather: recoger
100. mayor: el alcalde
101. to wave: saludar con la mano
102. sunrise: la salida del sol, amanecer (sunset: el puesto de sol, atardecer)
103. to produce (plants): dar (to make/create: producir) (to manufacture: fabricar)
104. to wander (walk without intention): deambular (to walk with leisure: pasear)
105. to milk (ie cows): ordeñar
106. dairy (farm): lechera (food group: lácteos)
107. poultry: aves de corral
108. to lay eggs: poner huevos
109. to harvest: cosechar (noun: la cosecha o la siega para cereales)
110. wheat: trigo (flour: harina- I always confuse this with sand: arena and oatmeal: avena)
111. orchard: el huerto
112. crop: el cultivo (produce: la cosecha as above)
113. gate: la puerta (fence: la cerca)
114. to lead: guiar

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2020, 08:33:58 PM »
I feel unmotivated to do my vocab tonight, but I know it'll feel good once I'm done. I also had a busy last week and only reviewed my words 4 out of the 7 days. But I'm just going to keep moving forward and review as much as possible. Try to keep it a habit while allowing for life to happen meanwhile.

*I've not been consistent about putting el/la. But I'll try to start now.

115. guinea pig: el conejillo de Indias
116. portrait: el retrato
117. to rise (the sun): salir
118. to set (the sun): meterse
119. to roam: vagar
120. to scatter: esparcir
121. (animal) pen: corral
122. to roll: rodar
123. pasture: el potrero
124. to herd: conducir en manada (la manada)
125. stable: la caballeriza (el establo- ganado)
126. to trot: trotar
127. to gallop: galopar
128. to stand: estar de pie/estar parado; ("  " up: levantarse, pararse, ponerse de pie)
129. toddler: el pequeno (I'm using a windows program on my MacPro today and can't figure out the symbol)
130. to get dark: oscurecer
131. to roost: dormirse (la percha)
132. coop: el gallinero
133. to flutter: revolotear (n: el aleteo)
134. quiet: tranquilo, silencioso

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2020, 01:19:28 PM »
I'm leaving on a trip tomorrow and have had a busy week. My laptop also crashed and my husband needs his for homework during the evenings when I usually post my vocab (I don't like typing on my phone). This week, I wrote out my list on paper. I'll try to post the list once I'm settled (maybe Monday). I'll visit the library in my new location and get new words translated that day as well, if possible. Then do another list next weekend so I stay where I should be.

I'm so excited about the forward movement I'm seeing. Even my husband has noticed that I'm saying new words. We switched to English after moving back to the US 5 years ago, for his sake. My Spanish has been at a stand still ever since. Even when we started speaking it as a family with my daughter. That is, until now. I've finally found something that works! I'm even considering switching completely to Spanish with our daughter. Our conversations aren't complex at this point. And if I use Spanish with her now, continue to build my vocab, and we spend a year or two living in Mexico in the near future, I might be able to keep up with her as she gets older. I didn't speak to her in Spanish full-time when she was born because I felt like I was spinning my wheels and getting nowhere.

If I do switch to Spanish, (I'll do a test run on my trip since we'll be in an English-speaking environment without my husband) I'll likely need to keep an additional list of unfamiliar words that come up during our interactions (as @ysette9 suggested). Today I was taking off her hat and couldn't remember the word for "untie". I'm able to say "vamos a quitar tu gorro" ("let's take off your hat") and can get by in most situations by using the more general translation, but I'd like to be able to express myself more specifically. During my vacation, I'll try to come up with a system for improving those daily interactions.

KathrinS

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #30 on: February 28, 2020, 01:52:28 PM »
Great thread! I started learning Spanish last week - it's Day 11 today. Something I've been meaning to do for years but never got around to.
So far, Duolingo says I've learned 425 words.

Some of the newest ones or the ones I've had trouble with are:
la direccion - the address (with an accent on the o, but can't find it on my computer)
el camarero/ la camarera - waiter, waitress
la cartera - purse or wallet
lunes, martes, miércoles, jueves, viernes, sabado (accent on a), domingo - days of the week

qué - what
este/esta - this


dougules

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #31 on: February 28, 2020, 02:18:06 PM »
Memrise has lessons for the 4000/5000 most common words ordered by word frequency in several languages.  It's really helping me with Thai, but I'm just a beginner. 

What can you use to help you figure out which words still need to learn with more advanced vocabulary?  I'm at a more advanced level in Spanish, so I already know pretty much all of the 5000 most frequent words. 
« Last Edit: February 28, 2020, 02:21:01 PM by dougules »

raincoast

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #32 on: February 28, 2020, 02:47:23 PM »
Memrise has lessons for the 4000/5000 most common words ordered by word frequency in several languages.  It's really helping me with Thai, but I'm just a beginner. 

What can you use to help you figure out which words still need to learn with more advanced vocabulary?  I'm at a more advanced level in Spanish, so I already know pretty much all of the 5000 most frequent words.

I suggest reading in Spanish and looking up words you don’t recognize. If a word is common enough to appear in a newspaper or magazine article, it’s probably one you should know. Same if you want to build vocabulary on a certain subject, such as your profession - read about that subject in Spanish.

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #33 on: March 03, 2020, 02:57:05 PM »
135. east: este (west: oeste) I always get these two mixed up
136. quite: bastante
137. sniffles: el resfriado (to sniffle: respirar con la nariz congestionada)
138. stuffed animal: el peluche o el oso/pinguino/canguro de peluche
139. to prop up (against): apoyar contra
140. gosling: el ansarino
141. back/backward: atrás/hacia atrás
142. uphill: (adv: cuesta ariba; adj: en subida (downhill: -adv/adj- cuesta abajo)
143. mess: el desorden/el disastre
144. to pout: hacer pucheros
145. to refuse: rechazar (to refuse to: negarse a)
146. to throw: tirar, aventar
147. to hog: monopolizar
148. ride: el paseo, la vuelta, el viaje, el aventón
149. over: encima (both above and on top)
150. tight: apretado, ajustado (loose: suelto)
151. instead of: en vez/lugar de
152. trash (can): el bote de basura
153. to stuff: rellenar (like chile relleno, that'll be easy to remember)
154. to spit: escupir

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #34 on: March 03, 2020, 03:11:47 PM »
Here are the words from last week that I wrote on paper:

155. to chase: perseguir
156. to hop/jump/leap: brincar, saltar (to bounce: botar)
157. excited: emocionado/entusiasmado
158. to entertain: entretener/divertir
159. to button/fasten: abrochar (to zip: subir/bajarcerrar el cierre)
160. must/should/have to: deber, tener que
161. to go away: irse/macharse (away/gone: ausente)
162. to look: mirar (to see: ver, to seem: parecer, to look for: buscar)
163. to snort: bufar
164. scary: espantoso
165. to tap: tocar ligeramente
166. to turn around: dar vuelta
167. to tuck in: arropar/tapar con la cobilla
168. to fluff up: mullir (fluff: la pelusa, down: el plumón)
169. to stroke: acariciar
170. to sprint: arranquar
171. to strut: pavonearse
172. to stomp: pisotear
173. to train: entrenar
174. to sigh: suspirar

dougules

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #35 on: March 03, 2020, 03:36:39 PM »
Gracias por darnos estas palabras.  A veces es difícil de identificar todas las palabras que se necesitan aprender para lograr fluidez.

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #36 on: March 03, 2020, 04:07:46 PM »
10 weeks so far, 200 words!

175. To line up: ponerse en fila, hacer cola
176. To roar: rugir
177. Fossil: el fósil
178. Banker: el/la banquero/ra
179. Oops: ¡uy!
180. To knock: golpear
181. Jet plane: el avión a reacción
182. Down: hacia abajo
183. To weave: serpentear, zigzaguear
184. Along: a lo largo de
185. Harbor: el refugio, el puerto
186. Bump: el bulto, la proturberancia
187. To spot: ubicar
188. Steep: escarpado, inclinado
189. Narrow: estrecho
190. Wide: ancho
191. Gradual: gradual (flat: plano)
192. To scrape: rozar (to scratch: rascar, rasguñar)
193. Bucket: la cubeta (pail: el cubo)
194. To flash: destellar, relampaguear
195. Siren: la sirena (I guess it’s the same for mermaid)
196. Pot: la olla (cocina) el bote (contenedor) la maceta (plantas)
197. Accessory el accessorio
198. To leave: dejar
199. Dresser: la cómoda
200. Heater: el calefactor

« Last Edit: June 16, 2020, 08:53:26 PM by Luz »

dougules

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #37 on: March 04, 2020, 09:21:59 AM »
¿Es posible que puedas escribir las palabras de una manera que nos permite ver las palabras inglesas sin ver las palabras españolas?  ¿Tal vez poner algunos espacios entre ellas para que podamos cubrir las palabras de un idioma?  Gracias

penguintroopers

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #38 on: March 07, 2020, 03:48:59 AM »
My husband and I have been talking about a trip to Japan in March of 2021, so I started learning Japanese. We've traveled out of the country before, but it always seemed 'easy' because most Europeans tended to know at least enough English to help when we couldn't express ourselves with our guidebooks well. The number of Japanese that also have English as a second language is much less than Europeans.

It is a little discouraging that I have to spend a really large amount of time on just the alphabet and pronunciation. I have graduated to some colors and numbers though.

Goals:
1. continue Duolingo streaks by completing at least 1 sub-lesson a day (I've been slacking on this)
2. Achieve level 5 in Hiragana lessons 1-4 by the end of March
3. Start journal of letters learned to practice writing

YYK

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2020, 01:03:41 PM »
My husband and I have been talking about a trip to Japan in March of 2021, so I started learning Japanese.

How is it going so far?

For practicing kana, here are a couple of trace sheets that I used.
http://www.guidetojapanese.org/pdf/hiragana_trace_sheet.pdf
http://www.guidetojapanese.org/pdf/katakana_trace_sheet.pdf

After doing those a couple times you'll be able to have the sounds down as well as write them from memory.

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #40 on: March 15, 2020, 12:58:44 PM »
201. huge:                                inmenso, enorme
       big:                                   grande
        giant:                               gigante
202. across:                              a través, del otro lado
203. loud:                                 alto, fuerte, en voz alta
        noisy:                               ruidoso
204. height:                              la altura, la estatura (person) al cima (peak)
205. to poke:                            golpear (con la punta de algo) asomar (to poke out)
206. lullaby:                             el arrullo
207. to race:                             ir corriendo, correr (una carrera)
208. spot:                                 el punto, la mancha (stain)
209. to spray:                           rociar
210. to squirm:                         retorcerse
211. to leave behind:                 abandonar, dejar
212. to tape:                            sujetar, arreglar con cinta adhesiva (tape)
213. to fry:                               freír
214. jungle:                              la selva, la jungla
215. to press:                           apretar
216. to bob:                             subir y bajar
217. to call:                             llamar, convocar (for someone's attention)
218. to stop by:                       visitar
219. ribbon:                             la cinta
220. marigold:                         la caléndula, el cempasúchil (Nahuatl, more used for Day of the Dead?)
« Last Edit: June 16, 2020, 08:59:39 PM by Luz »

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #41 on: March 15, 2020, 01:10:55 PM »
¿Es posible que puedas escribir las palabras de una manera que nos permite ver las palabras inglesas sin ver las palabras españolas?  ¿Tal vez poner algunos espacios entre ellas para que podamos cubrir las palabras de un idioma?  Gracias

¡Claro que si!

A caveat: the words I'm studying aren't necessarily the most frequently used. They are just words I have questions about when I'm translating my toddler's books from English to Spanish. I'm going this route instead of frequently used word lists because the images, repetition, and active use of the language help me commit them to memory. There may be spelling errors! I also am hit or miss with checking the correct form for Central Mexico with my husband.
Here's a word list I like: https://www.brainscape.com/flashcards/spanish-frequency-5000-1-5781583/packs/8804899

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #42 on: April 03, 2020, 09:21:30 PM »
I erased my last 20 words because they were from children's books I read only once to my daughter before returning from our trip. For the life of me, I can't commit them to memory. It confirms that I need at least a week of reading the same book on a daily basis before they go to my long term memory.

I don't have access to library books right now, but we do have both a visual children's dictionary and encyclopedia in English that should give me a lot of vocab to work with. I'd like to be at 300 words this week (15 weeks into the year x 20 words per week). I translated 50 words yesterday and will try to do 30 on Friday to get caught up. Some were super obvious. I just couldn't recall or was unsure of the correct word.

Here are the 50:
221. performer:                                el/la artista                   
222. acrobat:                                   el/la acróbata
223. to act:                                      actuar
224. play (theater):                          la obra de teatro
       show:                                       el espectáculo           
225. television show:                        el programa
226. to add:                                     sumar, añadir (to add a comment)
227. sum:                                        la suma
228. to become:                              volverse
229. to take off (airplane):                despegar
230. to land (airplane):                     aterrizar
231. reptile:                                    el reptil
232. scaly:                                       escamoso
233. van:                                        la van
234. chain:                                       la cadena
235. into:                                        en, a, dentro de, contra (against something)
236. upset:                                      disgustado
237. apple tree:                               el arbol de manzana
238. tank:                                        el tanque
239. sidewalk:                                 la banqueta
240. to attack:                                 atacar, enfrentarse con (to tackle, ie: a project)
241. bony:                                      huesudo
242. armor:                                    la armadura
243. sign:                                       el señal, el letrero (when it's a sign with words)
244. way:                                       el camino, la via, la ruta
245. to create:                                crear, hacer (always confuse this with raising kids: criar)
246. clay:                                       la arcilla
247. astronaut:                               el/la astronauta
248. outer space:                            el espacio
249. spacecraft/spaceship:               la nave espacial
250. rocket:                                    el cohete
251. audience:                                el público, los espectadores, la audiencia
252. text:                                       el texto
253. avalanche:                             la avalancha
254. behind:                                   atrás/detrás de
255. bottom:                                  el trasero, las nalgas
256. rubber:                                   el hule
257. to blow up (balloon):               inflar             
258. curved:                                  curvado
259. rind:                                      la cascara, la piel
260. bunch:                                   un puño, un montón, el ramo (flowers) el racimo (bananas)
261. bandage:                               la venda
262. strip (of material):                  la tira
263. riverbank:                              la orilla
264. bench:                                   la banca
265. blind:                                    ciego
266. seal:                                     el sello
267. case:                                    la funda
268. electricity:                            la electricidad (I always thought it was just la luz)
269. pebble:                                la piedrita (it seems like la piedra is used for stone, rock, pebble...)
270. piece (fragment):                   el pedazo, la pieza (component)             
« Last Edit: April 16, 2020, 05:59:25 PM by Luz »

dougules

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #43 on: April 09, 2020, 06:50:57 PM »
¿Es posible que puedas escribir las palabras de una manera que nos permite ver las palabras inglesas sin ver las palabras españolas?  ¿Tal vez poner algunos espacios entre ellas para que podamos cubrir las palabras de un idioma?  Gracias

¡Claro que si!

A caveat: the words I'm studying aren't necessarily the most frequently used. They are just words I have questions about when I'm translating my toddler's books from English to Spanish. I'm going this route instead of frequently used word lists because the images, repetition, and active use of the language help me commit them to memory. There may be spelling errors! I also am hit or miss with checking the correct form for Central Mexico with my husband.
Here's a word list I like: https://www.brainscape.com/flashcards/spanish-frequency-5000-1-5781583/packs/8804899

¡Gracias!

Ya sé las palabras básicas también, así que como tú yo estoy aprendiendo las palabras que encuentro.  Me inspiraste a escribir una lista de palabras.   Algunas de ellas:

chaleco salvavidas                                             life jacket
el salvavida                                                        lifeguard
desempeñar un papel                                        play a role
escollera/espigón                                               jetty
listo                                                                    clever
sabiduría                                                            wisdom
un remanso de paz                                            a peaceful haven
el altavoz                                                           speaker (electronic)
tacaño                                                                stingy
rellano                                                                landing in the middle of stairs (didn't know this in English either)
el pallar                                                              lima bean (Peru?)
erizo de mar                                                       sea urchin
acatar                                                                comply with, abide by, obey, respect
cubiertos                                                            silverware, utensils
petardo                                                              firecracker (Spain?)
comillas                                                              quotation marks
hierba luisa                                                        lemongrass
la incertidumbre                                                 uncertainty
el volante                                                           steering wheel
« »                                                                      angular quotation marks are apparently preferred to "comillas inglesas" in Spanish
embrocar                                                            to empty, to pour, to turn upside down (container)
grumos                                                               lumps (in food that's supposed to by smooth)
anduve                                                               I walked - past of «andar» is like «tener»
« Last Edit: April 09, 2020, 07:12:36 PM by dougules »

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #44 on: May 10, 2020, 04:41:36 PM »
271. to go to sleep:                    ir a dormirse
272. to turn into:                       convertirse
273. back (direction):                 la parte de atrás
274. hollow:                              hueco
275. bulb (tulip):                        el bulbo floral
276. stem:                                el tallo
277. strap:                                la correa
278. pit (peach):                        el hoyo de la fruta
279. to pedal:                            pedalear
        pedal:                               el pedal
280. to steer:                            conducir, manejar
281. handlebars:                       los manubrios                     
282. binoculars:                        los binoculares
283. cover (book):                     la cubierta             
284. guide dog:                         perro guía
285. to bleed:                           sangrar
286. boat:                                 el bote
       ship:                                 el barco
287. cargo:                              el cargamento
288. boomerang:                      el bumerán
289. straight:                           recto (lines), derecho (direction) el pelo liso (hair)
290. bottom:                            la parte de abajo, el fondo
291. to crack:                           rajar
292. brick:                               el ladrillo
293. block:                               el bloque
294. soil/earth/dirt:                  la tierra
       mud:                                el lodo   
       ground:                            el suelo
295. bristle:                            la cerda

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #45 on: May 10, 2020, 05:02:29 PM »
296. handle:                               la agarradera
297. to hold (contain):                contener
298. bud:                                   el capullo
299. roof:                                   el techo/tejado
       ceiling:                                el techo
300. to hum:                              zumbar
301. concrete:                            el concreto
302. light bulb:                          el foco
303. to break into:                      forzar
304. to set on fire:                     incendiar
305. butcher:                             el/la carnicero/a
306. to fasten:                           sujetar, atar (attach) abrochar (fasten
307. log:                                   el tronco         
308. prickly:                              espinoso
309. chart:                                la tabla, el gráfico
310. to camp:                           acampar
311. campsite/campground:       el campamento
312. equipment:                       el equipo
313. outdoors:                          al aire libre
314. wax:                                  la cera
315. canoe:                              la canoa
316. paddle:                            el remo
317. cap:                                 la gorra de béisbol
318. petal:                               el pétalo
319. carnation:                         el clavel
320. string:                              el cordel

Mariposa

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #46 on: May 10, 2020, 05:31:31 PM »
Hi! I'm trying to improve my Spanish now that I'm taking a break from work during the pandemic. I'm conversant in my specialized setting but not great outside of it. My goal is to be able to have a general conversation, read the newspaper, and be able to follow TV shows / podcasts. Duolingo says I blew through 2200 words in the first week, but a good number of them I'm sure I wouldn't be able to use actively. It's also sometimes a little too easy, being a native English speaker, to guess what the Spanish is while reading, so I started to close my eyes to focus on the listening. It's working really well for me to pick up words this way in context. I'm not formally trying to re-study the grammar, but I do scan conjugation tables sometimes so the exact shade of the sentence is clear. Do I really need to learn the imperfect subjunctive and imperfect2 subjuctive?

The accent in Duolingo seems to be Northern Mexican, but I hear a lot of Dominican and Puerto Rican where I live, and I first learned Spanish in Argentina, which has its own linguistic quirks.

After Spanish, I want to improve my Mandarin. I wish Duolingo had Cantonese.

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #47 on: May 11, 2020, 08:47:41 PM »
I have far fewer expressive words than I thought. Most of the vocab I've looked up the last week or so has been really obvious. But I can't seem to find the right word when translating from English to Spanish. Or I'm unsure. I guess they'll become expressive now.

321. to burn:                                                 quemar
322. middle:                                                  el medio
        center:                                                  el centro
        half:                                                      la mitad
323. breakfast cereal:                                     el cereal (same as grain)
324. to cheer:                                                aclamar
325. coat (animal's fur):                                 el pelaje
       to coat:                                                 cubrir, bañar
326. cheetah:                                                el guepardo
327. chess:                                                    el ajedrez
328. game board:                                         el tablero de juego
329. dice:                                                     los dados
330. deck of cards:                                         una baraja
331. smokestack:                                          la chimenea (same as chimney)
332. choir:                                                    el coro
333. to pick:                                                seleccionar (to choose: elegir)
334. chopsticks:                                           los palillos
335. to pick up:                                           recoger (like to gather)
336. hymn:                                                  el himno
337. muddy:                                                lodoso
338. cliff:                                                     el acantilado
339. item (object):                                       el artículo
340. spiderweb/cobweb:                               la telaraña
341. cockpit:                                                la cabina
342. flesh:                                                    la carne (animals/people) la pulpa (fruit)
343. chilly:                                                  frío
344. light (color):                                         claro
345. continent:                                            el continente
       -Africa:                                                África
       -Asia:                                                  Asia
       -Antarctica:                                          Antártida
       -Australia:                                            Australia
       -Europe:                                              Europa
       -North America:                                   Norteamérica
       -South America:                                   América del Sur

Luz

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #48 on: May 12, 2020, 08:11:30 PM »
346. antler:                                                       la asta
        tusk:                                                        el colmillo
       horn:                                                         el cuerno
347. to bring up:                                               mencionar
       to bring up (data on computer):                  sacar
348. conductor (orchestra):                               el director
349. to weave:                                                  tejer
350. to surround:                                              rodear (same as to wrap around/encircle)
351. cattle:                                                       el ganado
        bull:                                                          el toro
        calf:                                                         el/la ternero/a
352. claw (crustáceo):                                       la pinza
353. crayon:                                                     el crayón
        marker:                                                    el marcador
        paint:                                                       la pintura
        paintbrush:                                               el pincel
        chalk:                                                       el gis
354. cricket (sport):                                          el críquet
355. jaw:                                                         la mandíbula
356. crutch:                                                     la muleta
357. crowd:                                                     la multitud
358. headdress:                                                el tocado
359. gem:                                                        la piedra, la gema
        jewel:                                                      la joya
360 to run down (flow):                                    correr, ir
361. cushion:                                                   el cojín
362. to slice:                                                   cortar (same as to cut)
363. daffodil:                                                   el narciso
364. dam:                                                       la represa
365. to hold back:                                            detener
366. dandelion:                                               el diente de léon
367. wild flower:                                             la flor silvestre
368. deaf:                                                       sordo
369. sign language:                                         el lenguaje por señas
370. doe:                                                       la cierva
       fawn:                                                       el cervato
       stag:                                                       el ciervo

dougules

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Re: Expand Your Vocabulary in Another Language 2020
« Reply #49 on: May 13, 2020, 04:12:04 PM »
Hi! I'm trying to improve my Spanish now that I'm taking a break from work during the pandemic. I'm conversant in my specialized setting but not great outside of it. My goal is to be able to have a general conversation, read the newspaper, and be able to follow TV shows / podcasts. Duolingo says I blew through 2200 words in the first week, but a good number of them I'm sure I wouldn't be able to use actively. It's also sometimes a little too easy, being a native English speaker, to guess what the Spanish is while reading, so I started to close my eyes to focus on the listening. It's working really well for me to pick up words this way in context. I'm not formally trying to re-study the grammar, but I do scan conjugation tables sometimes so the exact shade of the sentence is clear. Do I really need to learn the imperfect subjunctive and imperfect2 subjuctive?

The accent in Duolingo seems to be Northern Mexican, but I hear a lot of Dominican and Puerto Rican where I live, and I first learned Spanish in Argentina, which has its own linguistic quirks.

After Spanish, I want to improve my Mandarin. I wish Duolingo had Cantonese.

They actually do use the imperfect subjunctive in Spanish, which is weird having come at Spanish from French and Italian where it is just something in old books.  It's not something you really need to learn for basic or intermediate Spanish, IMHO, but you need to learn it when you get to the point of wanting to make your Spanish sound less rough. 

I like the fact that Duolingo uses Mexican-ish Spanish.  Dominican, Puerto Rican, and Argentine Spanish are probably the hardest dialects to hear.  I'm getting to the point where I can understand Mexican Spanish reasonably well, but Caribbean and Southern Cone dialects, especially Dominican, might as well be Swahili for me.  When I do happen to understand Caribbean Spanish, it blows my mind how many letters they leave out.  It's basically French.  DH even had a coworker who had to be a translator when her Peruvian family and her Puertorican in-laws visited together.  Those dialects are not for beginners. 

Learning Mandarin is probably helpful if you eventually want to learn Cantonese.  Sort of like learning Spanish would really give you a leg up on Italian.