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Old 03-02-2013, 12:32 PM
 
Location: San Marcos, TX
2,572 posts, read 6,272,133 times
Reputation: 3999

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Just wondering. I have taken 2 semesters of Spanish. Now I need 2 more. I have no illusions that when I graduate I will be able to actually communicate on any level in Spanish, aside from what I already can manage, unless I work very hard at it OUTSIDE of school and do a lot of self study. My level of current Spanish can be credited more to the area where I live, rather than classes alone. I have no doubt that if I lived in some other part of the country and took those same courses, I'd have much less in the way of Spanish language skills and knowledge.

I'm just wondering if anyone else had a different experiene. Classes that were on such a high level that you actually completed 4 semesters of foreign language and had useful language skills without extreme self-study.

I have made my peace with the need for 2 more semesters of Spanish, just wish it wore more useful I guess (more intensive, more practical methods of learning, more immersion I suppose), and wondering why they require it when it does not result in any sort of fluency, as far as I know anyway...

Oh jeez. Title corrections: form should be from, foreing should be foreign! Gah. Sorry. Typing too fast even for me.
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:39 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
28,447 posts, read 50,699,085 times
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Depends where you are, I would guess that it could be helpful in your area. I minored in Spanish in the San Francisco Bay area, and was able to use it in my job in utilities, with Spanish speaking customers, and they paid a slight premium for people speaking additional languages. I even went on the radio and TV Spanish stations during a drought to talk
about the rationing plan and conservation. Probably was not worth the time based on the small additional pay and overtime. Now that I am in the Seattle area there is little or no chance to use it and a lot has been forgotten, here Asian, Russian and Indian languages would be a better choice but there are plenty of immigrant workers from those areas that speak good English.
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:48 PM
 
3,515 posts, read 4,364,962 times
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Find someone Spanish to talk to. Speaking, every day and in context, is the only way to become fluent. You need the language classes for the basics and to give yourself something to draw from when you are talking. Language classes do not give you fluency. Find native speakers to talk to. Tell them to correct you ('cause some people think it's rude to correct pronunciation - my mother wasn't one of them). Most people love to be helpful.
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:48 PM
 
Location: San Marcos, TX
2,572 posts, read 6,272,133 times
Reputation: 3999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemlock140 View Post
Depends where you are, I would guess that it could be helpful in your area. I minored in Spanish in the San Francisco Bay area, and was able to use it in my job in utilities, with Spanish speaking customers, and they paid a slight premium for people speaking additional languages. I even went on the radio and TV Spanish stations during a drought to talk
about the rationing plan and conservation. Probably was not worth the time based on the small additional pay and overtime. Now that I am in the Seattle area there is little or no chance to use it and a lot has been forgotten, here Asian, Russian and Indian languages would be a better choice but there are plenty of immigrant workers from those areas that speak good English.

Well I guess what I am asking is, did you graduate with strong enough Spanish skills just from college courses? You minored so I am guessing 18 hours, right? For me it will be 12 credit hours over the course of a BA, and it seems like that is just enough so that you understand bits and pieces of conversations, or can read a billboard here and there, but not enough to actually let you speak Spanish with any confidence unless you dedicate a LOT of time on your own to filling in the gaps.

So I understand how it can be very useful, I am just wondering if anyone found the minimum required foreign language courses to be real-world useful on their own. Seems to me that if it's going to be required, it should be more intensive and should be more than 4 semesters, otherwise, what's the point? It's like teaching someone how to write a good sentence but neglecting to teach them about paragraph structure or how to write an organized essay. IMHO.
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:53 PM
 
2,893 posts, read 3,403,782 times
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Yes -- at one time I could read French fairly well (maybe 12 SH), and found it to be quite useful when working with Europeans. The official language of most international businesses is Bad English. But if you want to understand what the people in the French Office are really up to, learn to read French (just as an example). It's even better if you can speak fluently, but I never got to that level (even in English ).
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Texas
42,283 posts, read 49,833,895 times
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Yes.
You get what you put into it.
Universities also usually offer conversation classes.
And higher level foreign language courses will be conducted IN that language.
Immersion experiences are your best bet.
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Old 03-02-2013, 02:28 PM
 
3,515 posts, read 4,364,962 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamish Forbes View Post
at one time I could read French fairly well
I never thought I would say this, but I am liking you more and more (that's never a good thing, btw)
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:22 PM
 
Location: Boone, NC
1,047 posts, read 1,900,852 times
Reputation: 1043
I'm actually gaining useful information from my Arabic class, but that's because I'm starting at the VERY beginning, with almost no prior knowledge. If I had any background in the language (like high school classes, although I'm not sure any high school has it) it wouldn't be beneficial for me to have to start over in college.
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:08 AM
 
Location: Wooster, Ohio
880 posts, read 655,524 times
Reputation: 1224
This is a great question. My college did not require a foreign language, so I took nothing beyond 2 years of high school Latin.

Why don't you turn the television to Univision when you have it on? I enjoy trying to figure out what is going on (I do not speak Spanish). You can turn on the closed captions, too. I believe some shows have English captions, in addition to Spanish.
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:19 AM
 
Location: Middle America
35,821 posts, read 39,419,773 times
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I was required to take either a year of foreign language or a year of linguistics to fulfill general requirements. Since I was an English major, I went with linguistics. I did have two years of high school Spanish, enough to have a reasonably broad vocabulary, but my conjugations skills were never great, and I'm not anything resembling even minimally fluent in any way. But having a decent grasp of vocab has been somewhat useful.
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