Phonics and Me Are Not Friends – My Adventures with the word, Pruebar

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Today, Duolingo asked me to type this sentence when prompted by its computer synthesizer saying it.

La mujer prueba el arroz.

I’d typed all of the words correctly except “prueba”.  I don’t know that word.  I did remember that I was trying to spell the word for “taste”  but I don’t know the word yet.  So, instead of checking my Spanish dictionary (which, in the future, is probably the better tactic for me.), I decided to sound it out.

So, I pulled out my trusty Spanish Vowel Pronunciation Card <I shall insert a picture here of it, later today.  until then, just check my previous post>

I figured out that the first vowel sounded like “oo” therefore a “u”, but I hadn’t figured out the diphthong.  That will come with time.

But, the last vowel sound was the trouble maker.  My brain was absolutely convinced that the last sound was “eh”, so that makes the letter be “e”.   NO.

So, that’s my problem with learning a foreign language.  Essentially, I do not distinguish the “a” sound from the “e” sound.  It’s like having red-green color blindness.  I’m several decades old, so this isn’t going to fix over night.  But, what’s cool is that I do know how I learn.

I will learn how to spell and pronounce “probar”.  But, first step will be spelling it, or, in other words, being able to see it.  Also, it’s really cool that I was able to map the meaning of the word to its sound and context.  I’m halfway there.

Practicing or drilling the /a/ sound vs. /e/ sound is torture for me.  Yes, it will help, but it is SLLLLOOOOOWWWW for me.

The goal is to learn the word, “probar”.  I will be able to hear and understand that word by spelling it a lot faster than practicing the sounds that make it up.

By the way “probar” means “to try” (to prove).  In this context it means “to taste”.

Also, by writing up this post, I’ve hopefully drilled the appearance of the word probar into my brain.


DISCLAIMER – If I hadn’t been taught phonics way back when, I might never have learned to read.  Essentially, the average student figures out phonics on their own, but I can’t.  So if I hadn’t been taught phonics, I may never  have figured out the code for reading.  This does not mean that I LIKE phonics.  I recognize Phonics’ value, but I will always hate it, because it’s difficult.



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