My Language-Learning Journey

My Language-Learning Journey

Hello guys! I hope that you’re having an absolutely beautiful day. πŸ™‚ It has been quite a while since I talked about language learning (except for in practically every single Little Accomplishments, haha), so for today, that’s what I have written about! I’ve touched on this in the past, but it was one of the very first blog posts on my blog (haha), so I will expound on that post, go back a bit further, talk more about the present, stuff like that. If you’re interested, especially if you are learning or would like to learn a new language yourself, I’m sure that you will enjoy today’s post!

Exclusive English Speaker: My Childhood

Like many Americans, I grew up in a household that spoke only English. The only other languages I heard were fragments of conversations out in public, as well as the infrequent use of a foreign phrase, which really doesn’t count. As a whole, I had very minimal exposure to any language but English from the time I was a baby.

That is, any spoken language.

Do you know what ASL is?

American Sign Language and Learning New “Words”

When my little brother was a baby, and I was three to four years old, my mom discovered the world of baby signs. It is very much like American Sign Language (ASL), but only includes the basic signs babies and young children would want and need to use the most. She began using some signs to communicate better with Joshua, such as “more,” “eat,” and “drink,” and I was captivated. It was like this secret hand language that only my family knew, and while I can’t remember when exactly my fascination first began – maybe the first few times Joshua signed back? – but I quite quickly found it to be a lot of fun.

It wasn’t long before I’d learned to count to 10, sign off the alphabet, and express basic feelings and emotions, and my interest in this unspoken language has never gone away. ❀

The Art of ASL

Over the years, my family and I have learned so many signs. I have never sat down and attempted to list all the ones I know, as that would be quite a feat, but I’d say … maybe two hundred?? I have no idea. Anyway, I wanted to add to this post that ASL isn’t just a silent way of communicating; in my opinion, it is also a beautiful form of art.

Back when I was maybe eight or nine, I remember watching my mom sign along to a song we were listening to in the car at the time. I thought that this was the coolest thing EVER! It’s basically like dancing along to a songΒ with your hands – I mean, tell me, isn’t that insanely cool?! In the years that followed, I have signed along to songs I know the lyrics to, and also looked up signs to be able to do it more fully. It is an absolutely amazing experience, and absolutely free of charge, as well!

If for no other reason, I find that ASL comes extremely in handy when I need to ask my mom or brother something wordlessly. This can either be when I’m eating, or halfway across the room, or I have to be quiet for some reason. However, if I try to spell something in ASL, or use a complicated sign that only I know, it can get confusing really quickly, haha!! Still, they know all the main signs, so communicating simple things isn’t a big deal.

Taking A Second Language For School

My love for American Sign Language almost carried over into my education in 8th grade. The spring that I finished 7th grade, my mom told me I would need to take a second language as one of my subjects the following fall. So, I thought, “Oh, that’s cool! I’ll just take ASL.” Turns out, that’s not an official language you can learn and get academic credit; they just teach and approve spoken languages. lol I was extremely disappointed, though.

That summer, I checked out a French language course from the library and proceeded to teach myself the basics. I already knew that my mom wanted me to learn Spanish for school, not French, as it made more sense for where we live (little did we know it would make more sense for my future, too, haha), but I decided to go ahead and learn a bit of French, as well, as it’s a beautiful language and, at the time, I despised Spanish. I thought, why learn a language if it doesn’t look cool or sound pretty? I mean, what’s the point? xD

Ohh, younger me. There are so many points.

However, I didn’t enter 8th grade hating learning Spanish and barely living through the lessons. I didn’t keep up with French and secretly dedicate more time to that than my studies of the language I was actually required to learn. You know what happened?

My Introduction to Spanish

In 2013, I became friends with a family in our neighborhood whose parents only spoke Spanish. Over the course of the next few weeks that summer, I went from wanting nothing to do with the language, to needing to know as much as my friend could tell me so I could have short conversations with her family.

Looking back, I first thought that this immersion experience was a wonderful coincidence. I dropped French like it was hot (lol) and began learning Spanish that fall with ease. Getting to talk to someone who spoke the language and them understanding what I said when I spoke was (and still is!) one of the most exciting things I’ve ever experienced. Like I mentioned earlier in this post, knowing another language and being able to communicate in a different way is an invigorating experience for me.

At the beginning of 2017, when I almost simultaneously found the app Memrise and learned of the Lord’s plans for me and Guatemala, I corrected my observation and acknowledged the fact that His hand has been at work in my life for years. ❀

Meet Maggie: Aspiring Polyglot, and Servant of The Lord

To some, it may appear that I simply love learning new languages – and I do. But that’s not the whole of it.

Someone greater than I can comprehend has ordained this for me. He has a purpose for my life that I can only begin to imagine. Every second is vital, and this time of waiting is not meant to be wasted.

I love learning Spanish because He has placed the passion in my heart. I love Guatemala because of where He has lead my thoughts, hopes, and dreams. It blesses me exceedingly to be able to do my part, and watch Him do the rest. ❀

Now, before I go, I’d like to cover two more things in this post: what languages I know and how much of each (estimated, haha), and the resources I’ve used for learning Spanish over the years. Let’s get into this!

The Languages I Know

{in order of fluency}

English – I have been speaking English my whole life, and there are now few words I don’t know. My only drawback is that because I read so much as a child, I “taught” myself to pronounce different words a certain way, which ended up being the wrong way. I occasionally misstep on how a word is said, and I get sooo embarrassed, haha! I’m an ace at punctuation, and I’m quite the expert at grammar, but the grouping terms (adverbs, participles, etc.) are way beyond me.

Spanish – For the past four years, I have been teaching myself Spanish with various digital resources (listed below). It has not been a consistent process – I’ve taken time off when I grew weary or lost interest in the program I was currently using – but it has been a great journey as a whole. I know all of the basics by heart, am quite good at tenses, and could probably hold a pretty decent conversation with a native speaker, although I haven’t gotten to do that in a while.

American Sign Language (ASL) – I’ve been learning signs since I was four years old, and while I couldn’t hold a real conversation with a deaf person, they would get a pretty good idea of what I was trying to convey, lol.

Portuguese (Brazil) – I have been teaching myself the basics for the past few months. It’s exciting when I’m able to catch on to the similarities of this language and Spanish, but I’m taking it slowly because I fear I will mix up the two languages in my head, and I don’t want to do that.

French – For the last couple of years, I have acquired the knowledge of basic phrases and some. It won’t get me very far, but I’m fine with it for now.

Dutch – I went through a phase back in ’14 where I read a lot of books by an author who was from the Netherlands, and I quickly fell in love with the country and its language. I took a few lessons on an app on my phone and learned the basics, but that was it, and my understanding is quite dusty by now.

4 Language-Learning Courses / Apps
That I Have Used

  • Instant Immersion. This is a complete course you can buy on Amazon for less than $100, but I would not recommend it. The information is good, yet the setup is poor; the man and woman speaking the phrases make unnerving facial expressions; and I actually doubt the legitimacy of some of the words and sentences now. It was a nice introduction for me, but please, get something else.
  • Fluencia. This is an online course that has different package deals (you pay for how long you intend on learning the language), and while I used this website, I was really happy with what I learned! I love the setup, the voices and phrases they chose, and the review sessions were amazing. The main thing I learned that has proved extremely helpful now was tenses. I’m so thankful for what it taught me! However, when I wanted to take a break from learning after nearly a four-month streak, my mom went to cancel our subscription, and they basically said because we weren’t going to be paying them money anymore, they terminated my account, which made me lose all my progress. DON’T GIVE THESE GREEDY PEOPLE ANY MONEY! I was planning on returning to using Fluencia after my break, but then I saw how awful the people behind it were! Please, invest in other language-learning software!
  • DuoLingo. This is a fan-favorite for people wanting to quickly pick up a language, as it’s free and the courses are pretty thorough, but I honestly think it could be better in so many ways. The woman’s voice they chose for the Spanish course is very monotone and puts me to sleep. Also, there are too many phrases that were irrelevant. For example, I’M NOT GOING TO USE “I AM A POTATO” IN REAL LIFE. xD As a whole, I did enjoy it for a while, but now I know that there are better options for me. If you want to try out DuoLingo for yourself, go for it. If you already love it, that’s awesome! Personally, I don’t enjoy it now, but to each his own.
  • Memrise. You guys have heard me rave about this, but if you want to hear me get all excited about it again, I highly recommend that you get Memrise! It is the best one I’ve tried so far, all the best features are free, and there are so many languages to choose from. Please, if you have an Apple or Android phone, or if you’re interested in doing it on your PC (they have an online version, which is also free! – not sponsored!), definitely try it out!

That’s all for today, guys! (And at almost 2k words, I should certainly hope so, lol.) Let me know in the comments below:

What language/s are YOU learning?

thanks to jirah and elline for my signature! xx

Spotlight Saturday – Brittney from Southern Lights, Atlanta Nights

Spotlight Saturday – Brittney from Southern Lights, Atlanta Nights

Hi everyone! I hope that you’re having a beautiful weekend (: I have another interview to share with you today! I wrote this one with a blogging friend that I’ve known since the spring; I was very happy when I found her blog! (We’re both Georgian bloggers, haha) You guys are going to love this interview! Enjoy!

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Spotlight Saturday #16

Hello everybody! Welcome back to Spotlight Saturdays. Today, I’ve had the wonderful chance to interview a fellow blogger from Georgia who loves blogging about beauty, fashion, and everything in between! Please welcome Brittney from Southern Lights, Atlanta Nights!

Hey y’all! I’m so excited to be a part of this week’s Spotlight Saturday Series! I have been reading this series on Maggie’s blog for a while and have always dreamed about being a part of something like this! I love interacting with all of you in the blogging community and have really enjoyed getting to know Maggie over the last few months!

I can’t wait to interview you for this! So, let’s begin. The first thing I’d like for you to do is tell us about yourself. What are some of your hobbies and interests?

Hey guys, as most of you know, my name is Brittney and I’m a (newly) 30 year old that was born and raised in the South. My interests are kind of all over the place, which I suppose isn’t a bad thing! I’m interested in writing (hence why I got into blogging), fashion, beauty, faith, nature, southern culture and all things SPORTS! Some of my hobbies include blogging, DIY projects, dancing (I did it competitively for years), playing sports, working out and I’m trying to get more into cooking! πŸ™‚

That’s awesome, Brittney! I’ve been trying to cook more lately, as well – that has gone pretty well so far! So, what are the main topics you write about over at Southern Lights, Atlanta Nights?

I think I have the true definition of a lifestyle blog….at least as it pertains to my lifestyle – lol. I talk about beauty, fashion, fitness, mental health and I sprinkle in sports posts when I can. If I’m being honest, I could write about sports all day everyday but I’m not sure this is the best place for that, so for now, I just sprinkle it in when I get the chance! πŸ™‚

That’s awesome, girl!! Haha I also have subjects I would enjoy writing about all the time, but I do my best to give my blog variety. πŸ˜‰ So, what are a few posts that you had fun doing recently? What are they about?

I have really enjoyed creating my fashion lookbook posts; while they definitely take a lot of time and energy to put together, I thoroughly enjoy the finished product!

Another favorite is my Wednesday Spotlight post where I highlight my cousin’s journey in becoming a St. Jude Hero (again)!

And lastly, my post about my personal experience with an eating disorder. It was incredibly difficult to write but so rewarding in so many ways. I like that my readers were able to see a little more of me through that piece; makeup and fashion is fun, but sometimes I just want to connect with my readers on a deeper level!

Oh I love your fashion lookbook posts! They’re so much fun to read, and I’m sure that they do take a good bit of time for you to assemble. The spotlight post about your friend is such an inspiring one! And I actually haven’t read the last post you mentioned yet, so I’ll have to check that out. So, this past summer, I know that you went self-hosted on your blog! Can you tell my readers about that whole experience? What advice do you have for other bloggers thinking about going self-hosted one day?

Aww, I’m so glad you enjoy the fashion lookbook posts, I hope to continue them in the future!

I did go self-hosted this summer! I will be honest, it was a bit more challenging than I anticipated it to be but in the end it all worked out. I would say to anyone that’s thinking of taking the leap, be patient and understand that it might take a little longer to get all the details ironed out before you see the progress you were hoping for.

Make sure you do ample research and look into different host sites (BlueHost SiteGround, etc.,) so that you feel comfortable with the choice you are making. I chose to go with SiteGround and had nothing but a pleasurable experience with their customer service team. WordPress CS on the other hand, left a lot to be desired.. Just stick with it, ask a lot of questions and remember that it’ll all pay off in the end!

Thank you for sharing your experience and insight! It’s helpful to know a bit more about how it works. πŸ™‚ My last question for you is, do you have a bit of advice for other bloggers on staying inspired to post?

I think the thing to always remember is to stay true to who you are and always write about things that bring you joy and that you are passionate about.

When you start looking at other people’s blogs and comparing your content to theirs, you can start lose sight of your vision and that makes it incredibly difficult to keep going.

I find that writing about the things that I love (despite what anyone else thinks) makes it feel less like work and more like play! Just have fun with it and don’t be too hard on yourself if your “regular schedule” gets a little messed up; life happens and your readers will certainly understand and not hold it against you! πŸ™‚

Awesome advice, Brittney! That is the best way to blog; because it’s fun and you enjoy doing it! When it begins to feel like work, that’s when you know you’ve strayed from how you originally enjoyed blogging. Thank you so much for letting me interview you, Brittney! I had fun with this. Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers before we go?

Thank you so much for interviewing me, Maggie, I have thoroughly enjoyed doing this with you! And I’ll leave your readers with this; enjoy the ride and be yourself, everything else will fall into place! πŸ™‚

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I hope that you guys go and check out Brittney’s wonderful blog! She is an awesome lifestyle blogger; her fashion and beauty posts are absolutely fantastic.

Happy Saturday, guys!

thanks to jirah and elline for my signature! xx

The Fall Tag!

The Fall Tag!

Hi guys! I hope that you’re all doing well. πŸ™‚ I have something really exciting to share with you today! To celebrate the wonderful month of October, and because it’s been six months since I made the Awesome Blogger Award (haha ok not really), I decided to make The Fall Tag!! It’s this fantastic little tag where everyone answers the same 10 questions, then passes it on to all the other fall-loving bloggers they know. xx If you’d like to participate in this tag, comment ‘Tag me!’ down below, and you’re in!

Let’s get right into this!

The Fall Tag

Rules:

  • Put the tag badge and rules in your post.
  • Answer the 10 fall-related questions.
  • Tag at least 5 other bloggers to join in the fun!

  1. What’s your favorite fall outfit? I love pairing my crimson red tee with jeans and a blue and red plaid shirt tied around my waist. It makes me feel so festive!
  2. What is fall weather like where you live? Starting in late September and lasting until around mid-November, the air turns very crisp here in Georgia, and the leaves change to beautiful fall colors (red, orange, yellow, gold). It doesn’t rain very often in the fall (we had a bad drought last year!), but our bitter and rainy winters usually make up for that, haha.
  3. Your favorite drink to have in the fall? My year-round go-to is any caramel-flavored coffee drink. If I’m feeling really chilly, I’ll get it made hot, but I almost always prefer iced drinks!
  4. Does your family have any fall traditions? If so, what are they? We get out all of our fall decor on October 1st, which I absolutely love because seasonal decorations make me so happy!
  5. What are some activities and events you enjoy going to in the fall months? We go apple-picking most years, and even if we don’t manage to do that, we love going to state parks. In Georgia, it’s too cold in winter and too humid in the warm months to really do anything out-of-doors, so we honestly spend most of our falls outside.
  6. What’s your favorite fall-scented candle? ‘Pumpkin Spice.’ A classic!
  7. Tell us about one of your favorite fall memories. Last year, I went up to Jasper, GA with my family. We were on our way to a new farm we’d found online, but we stopped there to eat lunch and explore the downtown area. I took lots of pictures of all the beautiful scenery there, and after we finished eating, we drove further through the mountains up to where the farm was. That scenic drive was a wonderful experience, save the period of time when my parents thought we were lost, haha! When we got to the farm, I went zip-lining with Joshua (my first time, and it was amazing!), bought some apples (we were there too late in the season to pick some ourselves), and just overall had fun exploring everything that farm had to offer!
  8. What are some fall movies you enjoy watching? Honestly, I don’t think there are any for me. ‘Love Comes Softly’ is a pretty fall-ish movie, and I do love that one!
  9. What’s your favorite fall treat? Apple pie!! Although I would happily have that one year-round haha
  10. If you celebrate Halloween, what is the best costume you’ve worn? I think that the one I wore these past couple of years (pirate) was the most creative! The dress I used was super authentic, and my mom helped braid thin strands of my hair, adding a few silver beads here and there, and a feather and wooden beads to a tendril in the front. I felt legit!

Nominees:

A Little Mad Smith || Amelia in Hull || Christ, Crafts & Cuisine || Incomplete ThinkingΒ || Kittyp0p || Maysa Rose || Oxria || Peeking Beneath || PrincessBlabbermouth| She Lives Love || Trail of Lights || Veronica Marie || and YOU! Comment ‘Tag me!’ down below!

Thank you soooo much for reading, guys! I would love it if you would participate in this tag with me. I absolutely love fall, and spreading the festivities to other bloggers is my goal for the whole of this month! ❀ Happy blogging!

thanks to jirah and elline for my signature! xx