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My name is Miguel (Mike)
I speak, read, write, and THINK in English and Spanish—I am near-native in both. I have spoken English since the age of six and Spanish since I can remember. English is my dominant language because I use it most.
I was born in Mexico (State of Guanajuato), was raised in Northern Illinois, and have lived most of my adult life in Northern California. Thus, those are the areas that have influenced my accents.
I feel very blessed to have learned English at an early age because it is such a widespread language and a lot of "cutting-edge" information is only available in English. I am, also, grateful for knowing Spanish because of its geographic expansiveness and its cultural treasures—Latin Pop music, etc.
When I was first introduced to English, I had just started learning to read in Spanish. Despite the fact that English has become more natural to me, my mind has always rebelled against English because its pronunciation rules are not as elegant as the Spanish pronunciation rules.
For, Spanish, I prefer pronunciations that are faithful to the written form of the word. I believe it gives one a more polished image. For English, I find it difficult to use the written form of words as a guide; so for English my preference in pronunciation becomes more of a choice of accent and an act of careful imitation.
COMMENTS ABOUT LEARNING ENGLISH & SPANISH
I don't consider myself an expert in both languages. But, to those learning any language, I suggest they do a lot of reading and a lot of listening. You need to be very thoughtful about the quality and style of your inputs (reading and listening) because that will determine the quality of your outputs (writing and speaking).
Also, there is a mental process that is neither an input or an output—we call it thinking. When you find yourself thinking in your new language—then and only then—will you have truly dominated it.
I believe grammar and spelling are important too. However, if I were learning either English or Spanish, I would not spend a lot of time learning the mechanics of the language—I would just plunge right in and start reading and listening to as much material that interests me—preferably videos which have transcripts—I would first read and figure out what is being said before viewing and listening to the video. I would repeat that exercise until I would not have to look up too many word definitions.
I believe, one’s grammar is shaped by careful attention to how native professionals arrange their phrases and sentences. And, good spelling is a byproduct of good reading and writing habits.
I am a Forvo Editor for both English and Spanish.
I plan to inject a lot of practical words into the Forvo database, I am trying to be very careful about my pronunciations. If you find one of my pronunciations to be totally off, please let me know and I will look into correcting it.
I am trying to be creative in how I select my words for Forvo. I have done the words of the US Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and currently, I am working on the words of Jesus Christ.
2011-12-22: Blue Yeti Microphone with Blue Pop Filter.
Prior Eqmt.: ThinkPad integrated microphone and others.