The Three hs of Language Learning – First h: Hobby.
The magpie (urraca) is a bird that in folk tradition supposedly steals and accumulates objects. The magpie shares this trait (rasgo, característica) with man who also enjoys hoarding (acaparar, acumular) all kinds of objects and loves to classify them in different ways.
I believe this is a psychological disorder that forces many people to hoard things compulsively. Many try to disguise or hide the disorder by giving it a harmless name: hobby. “My hobby is stamp-collecting,” one will say. “I collect bottles from all over the world,” another will explain. Book hoarders or collectors make it their hobby to have 25,000 books in an apartment. Still others collect dirty pictures, used theater tickets, shoes, neckties, boxes, etc.
It has occurred to me that we might put to good use this mental disorder we all suffer from. We can make language learning our hobby and employ our collecting instincts to our benefit. Instead of collecting used toilet paper, we can collect words. We can collect phrases, we can hoard proverbs, we can accumulate idioms… and even grammar. You can boast that “I have an English vocabulary collection of 6,000 words. No less.” Also “I know 200 English proverbs.”
If you make your studies of English or Spanish your hobby, your collection, you will be killing two birds with one stone: you will satisfy your hoarding instincts and improve your English or Spanish at the same time.
Like bird watchers, use notebooks to add words and phrases to your collection, giving dates of acquisition and definitions. Also where you came across the word or sentence.
Underline interesting new words when you read a novel, article or headline.
Try making your language-learning interest into a hobby. You will never regret it.
Two more hs to go.