I live about 1.5 to 2 hours from New York City, depending on where I’m going. Over the past couple of weeks, I thought it would be fun to drive down to a random section of the City and immerse in the local culture, language, food, etc. I’m not talking about walking around Midtown Manhattan and looking at the Christmas Tree, the Rockettes or Rockefeller Center. I’m talking about going to Spanish Harlem, Little Italy, Chinatown and anywhere else where they generally do not speak English and don’t eat hamburgers and hot dogs five times a week.
I found this great interactive map which shows all of the predominant languages of NYC by geography. There’s an option to remove English and Spanish as well if you really want to drill down to the local culture. I am going to use this to plan my next trip.
Here’s the link:
Languages of New York City
I picked up learning Spanish again, and heavy this time. No more “half-assing” these languages. Language learning is one of my passions and I decided that I need to get as close to fluent as possible in a least one of them … other than English of course. So, here’s where I’m at. I probably have an A-2 skill in Spanish, Italian and French. A-2 is what I would consider “advanced basic”. Meaning, I can read the languages with effort, converse in basic phrases and sentences with greater effort, yet probably be ultimately understood, and have little to no chance of understanding anything being spoken back to me.
I think that this is the point where most people give up. Why I am even doing this? If I can’t have a semi-intelligent conversation with anybody, what’s the use? Well, I’ve decided to get over this hurdle and I’m going to do it in Spanish!
(This is the flag of Mexico, BTW.)
I figure that if I put at least some effort into learning Spanish every day and better yet, find someone who will practice with me (ahem … my wife)
I admit that Gina is more skilled in Spanish than I am, which actually works out better for me. Plus, she’s kind of easy on the eyes …
So, here’s my plan, which I assume will go terribly wrong at some point:
- Do a least three segments of Duolingo every day.
- Read something in Spanish every day.
- Listen to something in Spanish every day.
- Speak something in Spanish every day.
- Flashcards for vocabulary.
That’s it. That’s the plan.
Oh and by the way, Gina and I may hit up a Mexican restaurant from time to time to further immerse myself in the culture.