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Want to Learn Spanish
Old 01-13-2008, 06:41 PM   #1
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Want to Learn Spanish

I'd like to spend a couple of months in Mexico. I had 2 years of Spanish in HS, back in the dark ages, and don't remember much. Anyone had success with a particular method, book, tapes, CDs? Went to Barnes and Noble and there was a wide variety of stuff ranging from "point-to-phrases" to the Rosetta Stone. Suggestions/evaluations requested.

Thanks in advance!
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BBC Languages - Maybe a starting point
Old 01-13-2008, 06:59 PM   #2
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BBC Languages - Maybe a starting point

This site has free interactive language videos. Buena Suerte!
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Old 01-13-2008, 07:49 PM   #3
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i'm thinking of signing up for spanish conversational beginners course at adult education class near here so i can better enjoy vagabonding central & south america. classes are $65 for 2 & 1/2 hours per week for i think six or eight weeks.
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Old 01-14-2008, 12:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum View Post
i'm thinking of signing up for spanish conversational beginners course at adult education class near here so i can better enjoy vagabonding central & south america. classes are $65 for 2 & 1/2 hours per week for i think six or eight weeks.
DH had a work assignment in Argentina about 15 years ago. We took one of those "fun-ed" courses and he really paid closer attention than I did. So, he could ask where to eat, where the bathroom was, etc. The problem he had was...after he asked a question...he got the answer, which wasn't what he studied. He got by OK because one of the guys in his team spoke Italian...which is sort of close. The Fun-Ed course was fun, but not too educational.

I googled BBC Languages, Spanish and didn't get anywhere. I watched some Univision this afternoon and found that I still recognize lots of words...but not really enough. I've seen advertisements for the Rosetta Stone program on TV, but wonder if it really works. It is kind of pricey and before I plunk down the money for it, I would like to hear from someone who might have used it....any language.
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Old 01-14-2008, 02:43 AM   #5
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I spoke Spanish fluently some years ago. I took Berlitz lessons here in USA, and then spent quite a bit on time on the ground in Latin America.

Lately I have tried to get it back, without moving to a Spanish speaking country. I used Pimsleur tapes, Behind the Wheel Spanish and the US Foreign Service Adaptation of the Monterey Language School tapes. All are good, but nothing like a good teacher, or going to the country and taking lessons and immersing yourself without any English speakers around to give you a vacation. Using these home study aids helps for part of our education.

The tapes (now CDs) are very good for helping accent, building vocabulary, etc. Where a teacher really helps is in answering pesky questions about grammar, about the actual current use of forms such as usted vs. tu, and by actually physically showing how to hold the mouth to make the correct sounds, and by listening to what we are saying and helping to pull the pronunciation into line with what he or she is using. The other thing is, you get the visual. Part of communicating like a native is seeming like one. Americans are often stiff, relatively unexpressive with their faces and hands, yet at the same time maybe loud. We also have different concepts of personal space and interpersonal comfort.

Even fairly modern CDs use constructions that are much more formal and actually stilted than what people use in the countries.

I speak with people as often as I can. Still its hard, and I think to really get what I am hoping to get Iíll have to pick up and leave for a while. At least a couple months, then a couple more, then a couple more. That should really help.

My accent and rhythm are still good, since I mostly learned on the ground. When a Spanish speaker hears me, he lets fly and then I am lost because I have lost too much vocabulary, as well as verb constructions.

So I'd recocmmend some CDs. Pimsleur are good but expensive. Then go for while. This helps with the motivation too, since you get pretty lonesome and really quickly try to develop enough to talk to people.


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Old 01-14-2008, 02:51 AM   #6
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I've learned two languages more or less fluently as an adult (Spanish and Portuguese). In both cases my method was the 'long-haired dictionary' Seriously, I learned both on the ground through immersion, which is obviously the best way.

I also made some progress on French (I don't count it as one of my languages, but I can get by when I need to - traveling in north africa for instance). THis I started through classes at the Alliance Francaise here in NY. Later I spent some time in Paris, took classes and also had a private tutor - and got much more out of the latter.

I think constant practice (and constant correction) is necessary - if you can afford a private tutor instead of a class, I think you'd get much more out of it.
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Old 01-14-2008, 03:49 AM   #7
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I've learned two languages more or less fluently as an adult (Spanish and Portuguese). In both cases my method was the 'long-haired dictionary' Seriously, I learned both on the ground through immersion, which is obviously the best way.
I believe the movie "The Sleeping Dictionary" describes this method :

The Sleeping Dictionary (2003)

It seems like a good method
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Old 01-14-2008, 04:10 AM   #8
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In my personal experience, you'll get more out of two weeks with a good teacher than you would in 2 months with a book/CD.

One problem with the book/CD method is there is no one listening to you. So although you might think you're exactly mimicking the voices on the CD, you really might not be. A teacher can make immediate corrections to you when you're speaking and give you feedback as to how understandable you really are.

That's not to say that books or CD's aren't helpful. They really can be for the right person. I'm just not one of them.

If you're not in an area with a large Spanish speaking community, it may also help to take a class with others, so you can make a friend to practice with away from class.

I know what you mean though about taking HS classes. I took 3 years of Spanish in high school (19 years ago), but didn't use it all that much after. But back in 2004 I took a trip to Central America (Panama) and was pleasantly surprised how much of it came right back to me. I think you'll be amazed how much of your HS Spanish will come out of your brain storage area right when you need it.
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Old 01-14-2008, 07:37 AM   #9
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A friend of mine swears by Rosetta Stone. I would like to try it myself but I am waiting for brain implants.
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:00 AM   #10
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I'd like to spend a couple of months in Mexico.
Best method is to take a full immersion course while in Mexico. I speak Spanish (fairly) fluently, but lacked the patience to teach DW and kids. My daughter went to Guatemala for a summer of full immersion, learning Spanish and doing volunteer work. She returned almost as fluent as I am.
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Old 01-14-2008, 10:52 AM   #11
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A good free resource for many folks is spanish soap operas on Univision or TV azteca or whatever you get locally broadcast or over the satellite. The enunciation is usually very good and they speak fairly slowly. You can tell sort of what is going on from the context of the situation. Many soap opera scenes are of the type that a tourist would experience (ie - meeting people, shopping, going to a bar/restaurant, spending time in jail/court, going to a doctor/hospital, etc).

But you would need at least a basic to intermediate level of understanding spanish before these telenovelas really made any sense I suppose.

I also read spanish news websites/commercial sites and professional publications from time to time to brush up - again, these are more useful to those with at least a basic understanding of spanish.
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Old 01-14-2008, 12:14 PM   #12
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I wanted to add that I found the link to the BBC Languages page:

BBC - Languages - Homepage

Looks like a really promising resource. Foreign languages are one of my "hobbies/interests" so I can see using this resource a lot.
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Old 01-14-2008, 12:16 PM   #13
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I believe the movie "The Sleeping Dictionary" describes this method :

The Sleeping Dictionary (2003)

It seems like a good method
Talk about total immersion...
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Old 01-14-2008, 01:02 PM   #14
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Wish I knew how to include multiple quotes so I could comment on several of your recommendations in one post. So, thanks to each of you for your suggestions. We are (sort of) planning on a month or two in Mexico next winter...so I have some time for study. We are currently just north of the border and cross over to Algodones frequently to shop, eat, etc. Because Algodones relies heavily on its winter visitors, most of its residents speak at least a little English...so I don't really have an urgent need to speak Spanish. I'd love to take a course, but we travel so much that it's hard to stay put long enough to do it. We'll be in Colorado for several months this summer, so...maybe.
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Old 01-14-2008, 04:12 PM   #15
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Wish I knew how to include multiple quotes so I could comment on several of your recommendations in one post.
In another thread 2Cor just explained that you click on the "+ button the the right of the main quote button on each post you want to quote and then click on the post reply button. That will pull quotes in from each of the selected posts.
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:53 PM   #16
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Lots of great suggestions here....total immersion whenever possible is always best Also, this book is a excellent investment to get you started with Spanish.

Madrigals Magic Key to Spanish
by Margarita Madrigal
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:22 PM   #17
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I learned Italian at Berlitz. The semi private lessons (max 4 people and a native speaking teacher) were 2 hours long twice per week. English is not spoken at all during class and the emphasis is on conversation. There are tapes and written exercises to do on your own as a supplement to the class time. I found it the easiest way to learn. The only downside is that the class moves at the pace of the slowest student. If you have a flair for languages, you may be frustrated sometimes. An (expensive) alternative is fully private lessons where you can move at your own pace.

Many years ago, I learned Spanish "on the ground" in South America. Pretty women were a mighty potent incentive for this student.
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:49 PM   #18
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Many years ago, I learned Spanish "on the ground" in South America. Pretty women were a mighty potent incentive for this student.
This is called the 3-B approach- barroom, baile and bedroom.

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Old 01-14-2008, 10:04 PM   #19
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I just saw this write up on a new online tool...

Babbel: Help Me, Help You Learn A New Language
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Old 01-18-2008, 07:12 AM   #20
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The best I ever did wit ha foreign language was when I went to italy. I had taken some courses in college and then went there a few years after. Learn the basic stuff, like how to ask for things, directions, food, transportation. These are the most important things when going to a country. I found I became and expert in asking directions and about a month I was also an expert in giving them as well. I just made up flash cards and studied the words and important verbs.
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