Archive for the ‘Learning Methods’ Category

Whats The Best Way To Learn Spanish

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

So you have decided that you are going to take the plunge and learn Spanish? Great idea, with more than 400 million Spanish speakers in more than 20 countries around the world, it is a very handy language to have up your sleeve.

You may be wondering what the best way for you to learn Spanish is. If you want to become fluent in the language in a very short time, then the best way to go is full immersion. Taking a trip to Spain or Latin America, doing a home stay with a local family and taking classes while you are there is really the perfect formula.

If this does not seem like an entirely practical option for you, then never fear as there are many other things you can do to learn Spanish and become fluent.

First and foremost enroll yourself in some classes at your local university, college or community center. You may also be able to find private tutors in your area for one on one classes. Spanish grammar is, unfortunately, quite complicated and developing a good foundation in the basics will stand you in very good stead.

Strapped for cash or time and can’t make it to a class? That is okay too as there are literally mountains of Spanish language resources floating around in cyber land these days. A simple Google search will point you in the right direction and give you a good grammar and vocabulary base.

Reading much and often from different Spanish language websites is a fantastic way to develop your Spanish vocabulary and unfamiliar words can be searched in an online Spanish to English dictionary.

To develop your listening skills make Youtube your new best friend and download Spanish language programs or songs. Some Spanish websites also have pod casts that you can download to your I-pod or MP3 player and listen to as you drive to work or train at the gym.

Any good video store will have a range of Spanish language movies for hire and these days you can often change the audio option on your DVD to Spanish. Listening to Spanish frequently will improve your listening skills and your pronunciation. Adding Spanish subtitles to your movie is a wonderful way to learn new Spanish vocabulary and grammar as well as slang.

There are Spanish speakers literally everywhere. Most cities have a large Spanish or Latino community. Many of them have social groups that organize social gatherings. Check your Yellow Pages for Spanish clubs or cruise by the local salsa night at a local bar and you are sure to find Latinos or at least people who know where you can find them. By hooking up with Latino and Spanish people in your area you can create an immersion program in your hometown. Some of them may even be interested in doing a language exchange with you.

Even if you do not have the freedom to pack your bags and go live in a Spanish speaking country, you can still immerse yourself in all things Spanish and reap the benefits. By surrounding yourself with as much of the language as possible such as reading Spanish news online, watching movies in Spanish, listening to Spanish pod casts or radio stations or joining Spanish related cultural groups and activities.

The secret to becoming fluent in Spanish without stepping foot in a Spanish speaking country is to use a variety of the resources available to you. Meanwhile, keep saving up the Pesos to make it to one of the exotic and stunning countries that boast Spanish as their official language.

The Best Way to Learn Spanish is to Get a Spanish Speaking Girlfriend / Boyfriend

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

People often talk tongue in cheek about the “language of love” when two people from opposing cultures and languages get together. But… if you want to become fluent in Spanish, then one of the best ways to do it is to get a Spanish speaking girlfriend or boyfriend.

I met my partner in Japan: he is Peruvian and I am Australian. Hence he speaks Spanish and I speak English. During the opening phase of our relationship we communicated in an odd mix of English, Japanese and very little Spanish since my “Castellano” was limited to the lyrics to La Bamba and words gleaned from Terminator movies.

I had always wanted to learn Spanish, but never done anything about it. I saw this as the opportune time to learn and I promptly got myself a Spanish tutor. We continued to speak English to each other and quickly my boyfriend’s English got better and my Spanish ability limped very slowly along.

Fast forward a few years to the day I stepped off the airplane in Lima, Peru. My boyfriend was waiting for me with open arms and was excited to introduce me to his exotic and fascinating country. After greeting each other and getting the luggage all taken care of my mean and nasty partner dropped the bombshell. He said: “Well now that you are going to live here, that means you will have to speak to me in Spanish.”

My Spanish by that stage was still pretty basic. I could read it pretty fluently, but my Speaking ability was pretty much limited to using the present tense. My boyfriend is nothing if not stubborn and every time I forgot and spoke to him in English, he would reply to me in Spanish. I cursed him for about a month (if I could have cursed him in Spanish, I would have), but then suddenly it started getting easier.

After about three months of speaking to each other in Spanish, I found that I could now do it with ease. I was no longer searching for the correct word all the time or feeling frustrated that I could not express myself clearly.

After six months I could now confidently converse with Peruvian friends and his family. More importantly I could make my points well enough to win a verbal tussle with him – very satisfying indeed. At about this point I often found that I would go into a shop to buy something and as I was walking away I would wonder to myself: “Did I just speak to them in English or Spanish?” This happened because I no longer had to consciously think about what I wanted to say.

While it was frustrating at the beginning, I now have to admit that being so strict on me with learning Spanish was the best thing my boyfriend could have done. Now not only have I achieved my aim of becoming fluent in Spanish, but I can function confidently in Peruvian society. I am now coming up to the end of my third year here in Latin America and I can read Spanish novels, watch Spanish language movies and successfully complete all the little jobs one has to do when living somewhere such as banking and paying bills.

If you already have a Spanish speaking partner, make sure you are taking advantage of their presence to help you become better at the language. Having a Spanish speaking boyfriend or girlfriend gives you the opportunity to learn the language much faster, to learn slang and clear pronunciation and get an insider’s perspective on important cultural elements that accompany any language.