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Old 06-06-2008, 04:30 PM
 
1,278 posts, read 4,086,734 times
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I saw a thread on this forum asking people what languages they spoke, and it looks like many people on here speak multiple languages.

I would like to learn Spanish and be able to somewhat speak it in a year from now.

This is the catch though, I currently work and I am getting a masters degree, so I have no room for additional classes.

I need some suggestions for ways to learn Spanish without sitting in class. Any specific books you know? What about tapes, are they a good way to learn, or music, or whatever?

Is it possible to learn the basics of a language and be able to communicate well with someone in a year?
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Old 06-06-2008, 05:24 PM
 
Location: here and there
1,177 posts, read 458,034 times
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Well, I am not sure but, I always see commercials for this:

Language Learning with Rosetta Stone

They say you are supposed to learn quickly with it.
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Old 06-06-2008, 05:50 PM
 
16,433 posts, read 22,107,952 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudbeckia View Post
II need some suggestions for ways to learn Spanish without sitting in class. Any specific books you know? What about tapes, are they a good way to learn, or music, or whatever?
I don't have time for classes either. I have a 30 minute commute so I listen to "Learn While You Drive" Spanish, "Spanish For Gringos", and "Pimsleur Spanish". They are all good in different ways and there are several other audio programs that are well regarded. Learning by only listening is slow, so don't expect fluency in a year. Learn a little each day, stay with it, and you'll get there.
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:00 PM
 
Location: In a delirium
2,588 posts, read 5,418,400 times
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If you've a talent, then you can pick up some of a language through books, DVDs, television. The problem with the books, CDs, DVDs, etcetera is that real people don't speak that way. Real speech involves speaking over one another, not necessarily waiting for the other to finish a sentence, and so on. It's also filled with tons of cultural references, vernacular, and rapid topic changes. You could get the grammar rules in your head, memorize a bunch of vocabulary and stock phrases, but they won't always help you with real conversations.

So, get your tapes and DVDs, watch Spanish TV, but don't think you'll be able to have truly deep conversations. That comes with real practice. Oh, and it's okay to learn grammar, but it often inhibits one's ability to communicate. It acts as a filter through which you have to run everything and that really slows down your speech. Learn the bare basics, but it's something one should focus on after having learned to have conversations. Bad grammar is often easier to understand than really slow speech that might be grammatically correct.
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:45 PM
 
3,089 posts, read 8,490,118 times
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The best way to learn a language is to be surrounded by it go to a spanish speaking country.
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:49 PM
 
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i think watching it on TV is a good suggestion fjtee made.
if your tv is able to give caption--even better. just watch and hour or so a day. i think the best way to learn a language is to just listen to it.
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Old 06-07-2008, 08:12 AM
 
1,278 posts, read 4,086,734 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtee View Post
If you've a talent, then you can pick up some of a language through books, DVDs, television. The problem with the books, CDs, DVDs, etcetera is that real people don't speak that way. Real speech involves speaking over one another, not necessarily waiting for the other to finish a sentence, and so on. It's also filled with tons of cultural references, vernacular, and rapid topic changes. You could get the grammar rules in your head, memorize a bunch of vocabulary and stock phrases, but they won't always help you with real conversations.

So, get your tapes and DVDs, watch Spanish TV, but don't think you'll be able to have truly deep conversations. That comes with real practice. Oh, and it's okay to learn grammar, but it often inhibits one's ability to communicate. It acts as a filter through which you have to run everything and that really slows down your speech. Learn the bare basics, but it's something one should focus on after having learned to have conversations. Bad grammar is often easier to understand than really slow speech that might be grammatically correct.

Thank you for the advice. I have in the past had a few classes, so I do know some very very basic rules of grammar. So you would suggest just focusing more on vocabulary rather than grammar.

Also, some Spanish text books say either Spain vs Latin America Spanish, Is there a huge difference?
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Old 06-07-2008, 02:46 PM
 
Location: In a delirium
2,588 posts, read 5,418,400 times
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Hi.

There is a difference between Spain's Spanish and Latin America's Spanish, but they have no difficulty understanding each other. I believe it's similar to what has happened with French in France versus in French Canada. I don't speak much of either language, but this is my understanding.

I wouldn't necessarily focus on learning lists of words instead of grammar. You need just enough of each to be able to string coherent sentences together. I guess I warned against overly studying grammar, because that's the mistake I made with Russian and I watched so many others walk down the same painful road. I had to force myself to forget a lot of it. I can't even cite Russian grammar rules anymore, but I do speak correctly. In short, you need just enough grammar to put some simple sentences together.

To really grow a language, you need practice in conversation. If you're not in a position to get a tutor, you might be able to find a Spanish speaker through Craigslist who needs to learn English. Then you just set times to get together and help each other.

Good luck! It's great speaking another language.
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Old 06-07-2008, 08:40 PM
 
Location: Maryland's 6th District.
8,358 posts, read 25,151,111 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudbeckia View Post
Also, some Spanish text books say either Spain vs Latin America Spanish, Is there a huge difference?
The pronunciation is basically the same, but you will have some accents depending on which country. The difference is like how America, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and a few other countries all speak English, but each country has different uses of certain words and phrases. I sometimes find it hard to watch BBC because I have no idea of what they are saying half the time even tough they are speaking English.

I know that the word for truck, for example, is different in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, even though it is all Spanish.
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Old 06-07-2008, 10:58 PM
 
Location: Mission Viejo, CA
2,498 posts, read 11,400,547 times
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One major difference is in Spain they use the "vosotros" form for informal you plural verbs and "ustedes" for formal you plural verbs. In the rest of the Spanish speaking world, they use ustedes for formal and informal, but they still get the point if you use vosotros. There are slight word differences also. I use Latin American Spanish more because I live in Southern California and Hispanics are the largest ethnic group here. The most important thing is to get out and use the language. I went to the Broadway area of Los Angeles a few weekends to practice because many of the shop owners there only spoke Spanish. I also went to Spain and use the language to talk to various people like my gardener who feels more comfortable speaking Spanish.
My son is doing a really great project right now at his high school. He is in AP Spanish IV and his class is paired up with 18 English learners that recently came to America. They don't know English so it forces my son to use his Spanish when he is with his partner and they do projects together. It also has been a great opportunity for my son to see how hard working these kids are and how they love being a part of this country now. Since this project my son's Spanish has gotten so much better. It is getting out there and using the language that brings fluency.
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