Learning Spanish FAST

Old Apr 18th, 2006, 09:25 AM
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Learning Spanish FAST

Any suggestions for a Spanish language course? I am thinking of Berlitz/Rosetta Stone type things that I could do at home. We are planning a trip to Spain this August for a friend's wedding. The brides' parents speak only Spanish. I would love to able to have a decent conversation with them.
I have had 1 year of college spanish, many years ago. I speak very little Spanish - and only in the present tense!
Any suggestions/experiences appreciated!
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 09:38 AM
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If you want to speak halfway decently by August, your best bet is to take classes at a local language school, such as Berlitz, a university or an adult night school. Pimsleur is good for most tourist type conversations, but probably will not help you converse much with the bride's parents. Where do you live? New York City as a few language schools and Berlitz is just about in every metropolitan area.

If you would rather study on your own, I would recommend Living Language CDs and book. They have beginner to advanced levels.

Joe
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 10:35 AM
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Thanks Joe for the advice. I'll look in to Living Language.
I checked out the local community college class offerings and am worried they will not get me as far as I'd like to be my August. I also have a really erratic schedule so would prefer to work from home.
Any one tried the Rosetta Stone program?
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 10:36 AM
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First, I realize everyone is different, and what works for me might not work for you, but this is my experience:

For the last 3 months, I have been using Rosetta Stone to learn Italian. Iím now on level 2, and I have learned so much, itís amazing. I can verbalize and understand complete, somewhat complex, sentences on many useful subjects.

As mentioned in another thread, some people think it teaches unnecessary things, such as ďthe boy is under the plane.Ē That may be how it starts, but just as you learned English as a child, youíre learning vocabulary, grammar, tenses, and pronunciation almost without realizing it. Before you know it, you can say, ďthe boy has forgotten to fill up the gas tank,Ē or ďthat plane will be going to Venice.Ē

I took Spanish, French, and German in high school, and Spanish and French in college. To me, Rosetta is an easier and vastly superior way to learn compared to my previous experiences.

For anyone who is interested, you can rent the program online on a monthly basis (or longer). One month for approximately $50 is how I started, to see if I liked the program. However, itís cheaper if you rent in 3-month increments.

Buena suerte, whichever method of learning you use!
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 10:39 AM
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I have used Rosetta Stone, though not for Spanish. Honestly, I wasn't that impressed--not really at all handy when it comes to learning grammar (such as tenses of verbs, etc..it's fine for learning NOUNS, but I don't think it's very useful if you wish to converse). A friend of mine recommended a CD rom set callled "Tell Me More", though I haven't checked it out.

I would say buy a Berlitz book and buy listening CD's.



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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 11:17 AM
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I would do any and everything you can fit into your schedule: classes in person are the most helpful, followed by tapes/CDs (but you MUST speak outloud), watch Spanish language TV and movies, listen to Spanish music, try to find someone to speak with in person, etc. etc.

I don't mean to burst your balloon but fluency in 4 months is an unrealistic goal. Do the best you can, but I do encourage you to practice phrases such as "I'm sorry I only speak a little Spanish" or "I am a student of Spanish" and "I am sorry but I do not understand".

What you need to realize about "decent conversation" is you need to be able to understand. Getting a coherent correct sentence out is the easier part, understanding what is said in reply to you much more difficult.

(from a frequent traveler to Mexico and off and on student of Spanish for the past decade!)
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 11:21 AM
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you coulg also, during the day listen to spañish tapes in the car on your way to work and turn on the spañish channel @ home every day for an hour, watch the news and see how much you
undestand and can pick up.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 11:54 AM
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In a bit, there will be many high school and middle school Spanish teachers with a lot of time on their hands. Call your local school and see if you can hire someone as a tutor. I would still listen to CDs and Spanish radio and TV, too, but a private tutor could teach you to say specific phrases that you might need (like "You have a lovely daughter&quot.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 01:12 PM
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great advice - thank you! Especially the "you have a lovely daughter" bit ;-)

I have some Spanish language tapes I have been listening to in the car, but it feels very slow to me. I am excited to check out the one month Rosetta Stone option.

I do have access to a Spanish tutor - I'll set that up as quickly as I can.

I don't expect to be fluent but would feel I might be able to manage a simple conversation (what I do, where I am from, what I want to do in Spain, what they do, etc)
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 01:35 PM
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a private tutor is the best way to learn the most the quickest

suerte!
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 01:43 PM
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Iím not fluent yet, of course, but I feel able to carry on simple, basic conversation at this point. No matter how you choose to learn, the results will, obviously, depend on the effort expended.

One thing that has helped me a lot is to try to think as much as I can in Italian wherever I amómy house, a store, in the car.

For example, if Iím taking my dog for a walk, I try to describe things to myself (I am going outside; we are going outside; my dog is brown; the grass is green; my dog likes to bark; that big white house is made of brick); or I imagine possible scenarios (Excuse me sir; we are lost; can you tell me where the train to Venice is?) At first, I only knew a few nouns and verbs, but progressed to more complicated sentences everyday.

If you try Rosetta, I hope you like it as much as I do. I think itís great you have access to a Spanish tutor as well.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 01:48 PM
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I had many "decent conversations" before I was anywhere near fluent in spanish (and other languages, for that matter) and I think that they key is to acquire a vocabulary that works. You will always learn to listen better than speak, so try to be able to hear and understand what they are saying and the ask basic questions. My host parents were quite fond of my emphatic gestures and sincere facial expressions and they always knew what I was talking about. So, work hard, yes, but also work on other forms of expression. Non-verbal goes a very long way in conversation.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 03:02 PM
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Check your local library for spanish tapes/cds before you invest. At the moment, I'm trying the Pimsleur Spanish cds. I think the most important thing is a good knowledge of the present tense, clear pronunciation, and the biggest vocab you can manage. This will get you a lot farther than you might realize. I think in 5 months you'll be able to converse pretty well, though you'll be far from fluent.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 03:08 PM
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My son is currently using the Pimsleur tapes (checked them out from the library) and I was amazed to hear how much he has already learned!

He listens to the tapes everyday on his commute -- give them a try, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 03:21 PM
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laclaire's points about non verbals, learning to listen, and empathetic hosts are all excellent ones!

friends of my friend in Switzerland asked why I always laughed in the right places at their jokes (the conversation was in French which I do not speak). especially in storytelling with lots of wine in a party setting, it's easy to get the jist of a story even if you couldn't translate word for word. i can read newspaper articles with this same method (general grasp of the idea).
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 04:15 PM
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Ok - the search feature isn't working for me and it is driving me nuts! Much harder to find my post just scrolling through.
The library - what a great idea. I have off tomorrow and will have to check it out.
Thanks - the specific info on which programs you have tried is helpful.
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Old Apr 20th, 2006, 10:28 PM
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For conversational Spanish try Michel Thomas Language CD's. You can listen in the car and learn a lot!
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Old Apr 21st, 2006, 10:47 AM
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topping for shaya
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Old Apr 21st, 2006, 11:47 AM
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For what it's worth, it takes about 800 hours of study to become reasonably fluent in a foreign language that is of the same family as your own (e.g., almost any European language if you speak English), which works out to about 3 months of full-time work. The most important determinant of success is motivation, followed by general intelligence.
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