Project C2: Update

Rob Ashby
The Spanish Obsessive

Here’s a quick update for my 2019 Spanish goal – reaching C2. Read on to find out what is and isn’t working for me, and about some of my early forays into the exam itself.

What’s going well

I’ve managed to build my Spanish input gradually, to the point where I’m getting 2-3 hours of Spanish input each day (including chatting with Lis…!). Here’s the routine which I’m (mostly) following each day:

Check news in Spanish

I’ve downloaded the El País app to give me a European flavour of news, and a Colombian news aggregator which lets me check a few of the top Colombian papers, including El Espectador, El Tiempo, and La Vanguardia.

It helps equip me with some of the specialised vocabulary that I need to discuss what’s going on. I can talk about Brexit in Spanish, and also get a perspective from the European Union, outside the UK.

From today’s El País, for example:

El Brexit suave – Soft Brexit
Un Brexit salvaje – Hard Brexit
Respaldar una moción – To support a motion
La Union Aduanera – The Customs Union
Referéndum confirmatorio – Confirmatory referendum (the people’s vote?)
La Cámara de los Comunes – House of Commons
Salvaguarda irlandesa – Irish Backstop
Libertad de movimiento – Freedom of movement

Listening and watching Spanish

I watch a lot of RTVE – I tend to go for the more specialised documentaries. I’ve already got my dose of current affairs, and watching documentaries enables me to choose specific domains. I watch history and culture documentaries, as I know I’ll get some new language with these programmes, and they won’t be too heavy on slang.

Talking… More

I have an unfair advantage in that I can speak in Spanish with Lis whenever I want. We made the switch to speak only Spanish since February, and we’ve kept with it almost all the time. Easier said than done in London!

What’s yet to start

Presentations

One of my goals was to be able to speak for longer periods of time about specialised subjects. I can chat and do small talk all day, but when it comes to more specialised topics it gets harder. I’m haven’t yet done any “presentations”, but will look to start these soon.

“Active” study

I haven’t really been keeping a notebook up to date with doubts, vocabulary, and new language structures. I’m not too concerned about this, but I know it would probably help to keep this up to date.

I don’t read any grammar references, and don’t look up anything in the dictionary. That’s not because I know it all, but I prefer to spend my time getting more input, and don’t like to interrupt this with checking in dictionaries or looking things up.

Finding more academic material

I read quite a lot, both books and news. However, I’m not really familiar with academic material in Spanish. The C2 exam features a lot of academic language, so it’s important to be familiar with the conventions and language used in this type of language.

Speaking of the C2 exam…

Exam preparation

I’ve been taking bi-weekly lessons with a Spanish tutor (Sebastian, who also features in our Advanced Series 2), who’s been showing me how the exam works. I’ve worked through a couple of sections (not quite under exam conditions), and while it’s very hard, it also seems possible. Fortunately, I don’t struggle much with the Spanish, but I lack some of the exam tactics – hopefully with practice it will come!

You can see an example of some of the exam here.

How about you – how are your 2019 Spanish goals progressing? Let me know in the comments!

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