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Re: learning a new language
Old 11-09-2005, 10:30 AM   #21
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Re: learning a new language

I'm trying to learn a foreign language (or recapture my knowledge of it) via CDs during my one-hour commute (each way ) to work. Unfortunately, it's difficult to concentrate (but relatively easy to do the "repeat after me") while driving in stop-and-go traffic. My preference is to listen to good books on CD (some classics and others popular fiction), or the "Mastery Series" of college lectures that I pick up for free at my local library.

I've looked at the Rosetta Stone software, but the price is rather high. Regardless of the method used, learning a foreign language will take time and discipline, two things that are hard to come by for personal endeavors when you're working full time, commuting long distances and have a family life.
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Re: learning a new language
Old 11-09-2005, 11:50 AM   #22
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Re: learning a new language

Quote:
Originally Posted by dougdo

Guatemala is definitely the cheapest place to do it; for under a $100 a week you can get one on one* instruction, a room in a family's house and 3 meals a day.

Let me know if you have some more questions that the blogs don't answer.
Doug, How did you find the quality of the instruction in Guatamala?
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Re: learning a new language
Old 11-09-2005, 12:39 PM   #23
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Re: learning a new language

The quality of the teachers was fairly good; they were often burdened by poor support and not great facilities. But it's one on one so you can drive the lessons yourself. And if you don't like your teacher, change. If you don't like your school, change.

I wouldn't recommend booking a program in Guatemala in advance. Just go to Antigua or Xela, poke around a few schools and book a week at a time and see how you like it.

I really like my new teacher here in Mexico. Unfortunately this was her last day! Apparently there are some politics afoot that predate me. Que lastima.
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Re: learning a new language
Old 11-09-2005, 04:48 PM   #24
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Re: learning a new language

I'm a fan of the Pimsleur Language Program on CD. These were recommended to me by 3 different people before I finally gave them a try. They are Excellent!
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Re: learning a new language
Old 11-11-2005, 05:20 PM   #25
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Re: learning a new language

Now that i'm on my second teacher in Mexico, I'm thinking that the quality of instruction IS better here than Guatemala. However that is moderated by the fact that you'd get one on one instruction in Guatemala for less than group classes here. And, if you Spanish training is like mine--in other words it has randomn gaps all over from different learning approaches--then one on one is definitely more efficient.
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Re: learning a new language
Old 11-13-2005, 03:10 PM   #26
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Re: learning a new language

dougdo,

Nice blog on Guad. I will be watching it for new stuff.

Thanks.

Ed
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Re: learning a new language
Old 11-13-2005, 04:39 PM   #27
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Re: learning a new language

Ditto, Dougdo -
I enjoyed the entry.

Now if I could just get that darn Steely Dan song out of my head....


"Whoa, no, Guadalajara won't do...."
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Re: learning a new language
Old 11-14-2005, 12:09 AM   #28
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Re: learning a new language

I studied Spanish both academically and by the immersion method (in Jalapa, Veracruz, Mexico). That was over 20 years ago, and to be honest, I let my Spanish lapse since then (although I've vacationed in Mexico since then). I am returning to Mexico this summer in order to spend 6 weeks studying and traveling. I'm going to the Pacific coast of Mexico this time, despite the rain and humidity. What can I say, I like palm trees (and fishing).

What I am doing to prepare is a little of everything suggested above: I listen to tapes in my car to practice rolling those rrrs in private; I am memorizing verbs and their tenses from my "501 Spanish verbs"; I have a basic grammer, a vocabulary list, some elementary texts (I'm about a 4th grader in Spanish). I listen to the news and shows on telemundo and Univision. A little of everything every day is my method.

From past experience, I know that staying with a host family will teach you as much or more Spanish than the lessons with tutors. You'll learn all that beautiful slang--Scandinavians don't have the corner on creative swears, y'know. Plus you'll meet some really nice people. Mexicans treat guests like royalty.

I've heard people say not to take more than 3 or 4 hours of instruction daily--you'll get burned out. And wherever you study, try to minimize contact with English speakers. The more you have to speak Spanish, the faster you'll learn. Buena suerte!
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Re: learning a new language
Old 11-26-2005, 01:10 PM   #29
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Re: learning a new language

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed_The_Gypsy
dougdo,

Nice blog on Guad.* I will be watching it for new stuff.*

Thanks.

Ed
Thanks Ed & Sheryl!* *I do appreciate the feedback.

I finally wrote something about (and posted pics) my visit to the Copper Canyon in mid-October. You can find that at Ten Days in the Sierra Tarahumara.

It's one of the world's most spectacular train rides!

BTW, if you want to be notified in general when I post new stuff (from me and other authors) you can join my mailing list from this page:* Yahoo Groups - Travel Blogs.* I promise no more than one email per week and no spam.
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Re: learning a new language
Old 11-27-2005, 10:06 PM   #30
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Re: learning a new language

Taking language in school is different than speaking it in 'real life.' Generally, in school they teach the grammar and the rules. In 'real life' the regular folk don't speak that way.. and we who have learned in school can sound very stilted.

Before we went to Mexico to live, Billy and I took this taped class (Speed Spanish) which did a lot of association techniques (The light is luce) and gave us all the sentences we would need to get along. Categories such as Food, Travel, Going to the Doctor, Getting a Hotel Room, etc. were all given in easy format, with vocabulary.

It was functional and jump started us in excellent fashion.* Once there in Mexico, I found the best book -- Madrigals Magic Key to Spanish - - which also gives comprehensive formulaic tools (EASY) for sentence structure and all kinds of ways to easily increase vocabulary. This book is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. I still have it to this day, and refer to it all the time.

Available online at Amazon.com

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Re: learning a new language
Old 11-29-2005, 01:19 PM   #31
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Re: learning a new language

I'm sure finding that the Spanish is Mexico has more Mexico-only/Regionalisms than any other Spanish speaking country I've spent time in.

In other places you may not sound like a local with your formal Spanish but I think here you'd just be lost there are so many friggin' regionalisms.

On that topic, I found an excellent resource on the 'net to decode those:
Sitio de Regionalismos en Español.

As you can guess from the title, it's a Spanish-Spanish resource though.
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Re: learning a new language
Old 11-29-2005, 04:59 PM   #32
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Re: learning a new language

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlowGirl
I'm a fan of the Pimsleur Language Program on CD. These were recommended to me by 3 different people before I finally gave them a try. They are Excellent!
Yup. I did the all three 30 lesson levels before starting Mandarin Chinese classes at the local college, and it put me head and shoulders above everyone in there. Well, at least besides the two Chinese kids taking it for the easy language requirement grade. This was probably amplified by it being a difficult tonal language but all I got was fellow students asking why I sounded so fluent and why could I understand the professor or come up with responses when they couldn't.

Expensive, but well worth it.

I did the their Spanish ones too, and can communicate pretty well. You do Pimsleur you'll lack lots of vocabulary... you can't say "green" but you'll have used "to have" "to go" etc. so many times in so many ways.
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Re: learning a new language
Old 11-30-2005, 05:26 PM   #33
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Re: learning a new language

Martha,

There's great advice here - I've done the immersion route for Spanish in Quito, Ecuador - it was fun, but hard work. I know that my Spanish got better, too, especially the speaking part - ummm, you really know you are doing well when your host family speaks to you in Spanish and you are translating for the newbies that are staying there after you. It also helped me get over my fear of verbally communicating as I didn't have a choice.

I've also taken adult ed classes in German (in Germany, so there was some immersion but I was surrounded and worked in an English environment) and French. I think that once you learn one language it makes it a bit eaiser to learn the other languages as you understand language structures better - especially language 'families' like Germanic versus Romantic versus Slavic, etc. I would say Spanish is one of the easier languages to learn except for when one gets into the subjunctive sense (which takes into account emotion)

Bridget
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