Speaking Spanish

Jun 24th, 2006, 04:29 PM
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Speaking Spanish

Can anybody tell me a good system or method to learn spanish quickly. Is Rosetta Stone worth the big investment? Or is there a better one out there on the market? If so what is it and where can I get it. I would like to learn spanish before my trip in September.
D2Hardy is offline  
Jun 24th, 2006, 05:05 PM
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I've been using the Pimsleur system I copied from the CDs from the library. It's a good system (I'm just not that good a student #39;()
artlover is offline  
Jun 24th, 2006, 05:06 PM
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I don't know about Rosetta Stone, but I know there are expensive classes out there that you can take. My suggestion is to familiarize yourself enough with the language through a book and tape that you can get at any bookstore. Then, try and put yourself in the environment as much as possible - watch Spanish speaking television, use cue cards, practice your pronunciation, and speak Spanish to anyone you can.

Buena suerte! (That's good luck!)

AnnaBananaDeux is offline  
Jun 24th, 2006, 05:14 PM
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How much effort do you want to spend? I am presuming you are a beginner.

Take a CREDIT summer term 1st year Spanish class at a local college.

Take a non-CREDIT summer term beginning Spanish class. At a community college I have gone, there is an enormous difference between the quality of instruction between the CREDIT and the non-CREDIT classes. Non-CREDIT classes of course costed less.

Use Pimsleur series. The whole course is very expensive. Try to find it in your library.
greg is offline  
Jun 24th, 2006, 08:13 PM
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To learn Spanish in two months is going to take a lot of work. There's a set of CD's from Michel Thomas. It doesn't need any books and it does teaches you just spoken Spanish. Written Spanish isn't part of this program.

With only two months, it might give you a basic Spanish but don't think you're going to be very fluent in the time.

If you buy this system of CD's, you could spend hours on the airplane travelling over to Spain.

Have a good time in Spain.

blackduff is offline  
Jun 25th, 2006, 12:00 AM
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to maximize your learning time and getting your ear accustomed i find putting the tapes on while you are doing your teeth, etc.. and in the car/bus/train on your commute are a great way to pack in more hours of a language.

don't be too hard on yourself. but i am sure in two months you will have learned enough to be able to control several typical petitions.. but understanding most of what people say back to you or conversations they might initiate will be another story.

i would not spend a fortune on tapes when your libraries have so much.
lincasanova is offline  
Jun 25th, 2006, 01:29 AM
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Two months: stick to the basics! You won't learn much in 2-months on your own or unless you do a conversational Spanish course at your local Community College. The Spanish you learn there will probably be taught by a person of Mexican or Puerto Rican descent, and may not be pure Castellano. Speaking of which, Spain has 4-Official languages: Castellano, Galego, Catalan and Euskera. Most everyone understands Castellano but you won't understand Euskera.

Don't spend 'big bucks!' Buy the least expensive CD or Tape course that comes with a Phrasebook.
NEDSIRELAND is offline  
Jun 25th, 2006, 09:18 AM
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With only two months, I would try to find classes aimed at tourists. Attend and faithfully do the homework.

There is no sense to me in taking a credited Spanish 101 college course, because that focuses on grammar, verb tenses, etc. which is of little use in immediate situations you will encounter.

Know that you will not "learn spanish" before September. But you can improve your ability to understand what is going on and get around. It is highly unlikely you will be conversational.

Focus on numbers, telling time, build a basic vocabulary including transportation and restaurant words, all the pleasantries (hello, good morning, good afternoon, good evening goodbye, please, thank you, I'm sorry, excuse me). And "Where is ___ ?" and "How much?" are good phrases.

The trick about languages for a beginner is you may be able to carefully ask "Where is the train station?" but unlikely you can understand the quickly spoken three or four sentences you may receive in reply.

This is not meant to discourage you from trying. Just be realistic. Over a decade I've taken numerous classes, travel to Mexico yearly, watch TV and movies in Spanish, practice with tapes in my car, speak with people given the opportunity, etc. etc. And I am still a beginner, but one with a good attitude. And people notice that.
suze is offline  
Jun 25th, 2006, 06:13 PM
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Thanks Suze, I've got several books;i.e. "Spanish-English dictionary" et al. As well as 3-cd set of Instant Immersion Spanish. These should be helpful.--Dave.
D2Hardy is offline  
Jun 25th, 2006, 07:12 PM
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HI d2--in a previous lifetime I was a Spanish teacher and your question is an intriguing one...I could not help but imagine your counterpart in Madrid writing to an alternate universe board and posting, "Going to New York in 2 months and I want to learn English" Learning another language is a lot of work, but you can certainly pick up some useful phrases and some basics in that amount of time. Good luck!!
socialworker is offline  
Jun 25th, 2006, 07:50 PM
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For learning Spanish, the most importnat variable is you. It takes a lot of discipline to learn a language, but as long as you know how you operate and what works for you in studies, you should be able to come out of 2 months with some very basic vocabulary and probably a good sense of the present tense.

I am not a shy person at all, and have found that speaking the language is the best way to learn it. So, if you have an international grocery store around you, go shopping there and try out your new vocabulary. If you know someone who speaks it, try to get in an exchange or two (do not do this while you are drunk. . . there is nothing more annoying. . . unless of course the other party is drunk).

I have German on my iPod and listen to it while I am working out. Sometimes I think the people next to me think I am crazy because I do repeat what is on the CD out loud, but it works and it actually got a German woman at my gym to come up to me and start up a conversation.
laclaire is offline  
Jun 25th, 2006, 08:04 PM
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Others have given you good advice. Let me just add that any amount you manage to learn in two months is worthwhile. With foreign languages, a little goes a long way. Just making an effort will open doors, and get you friendly reactions.

Stick to the basics: the present tense, and basic vocabulary you will use. I don't like flash cards - it's hard to remember words you learn in isolation. Try to learn words in context.

A good way to learn nouns is to label everything in your house. But then, you must say the word to yourself, or better, out loud, every time you see the label. That is, put a label on a door that says "la puerta", and then, every time you go through the door, read "la puerta". It will sink in. Then label "la ventana", "la computadora", "el teléfono", "el horno", and everything else in sight.

Learn correct pronunciation from the beginning! If you make pronunciation errors from the beginning, they become hard to break later. Spanish pronunciation is very easy, and highly regular (remember, the letter "h" is ALWAYS totally silent).

Good luck, and have a great trip.

- Larry
justretired is offline  
Jun 25th, 2006, 08:21 PM
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Learning a language in the same general family as your own requires very roughly about 800 hours of study, if you start from zero. That's full-time study for over three months. There is thus no way to achieve useful fluency in just two months, for the average learner. You can learn useful expressions and you can learn how to form basic sentences, but you won't be holding long conversations.

One-hour classes twice a week, or similar arrangements, will hardly teach you anything by September (that's only about 16 hours of instruction).
AnthonyGA is offline  
Jun 26th, 2006, 06:17 AM
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Start with the Berlitz "Rush Hour Express" CD in your car. The first time I listened to mine, I read the box to make sure they had a money back guaranty, because it seemed so silly. They have this whole little story and set things to music....the thing is, music works...I could always ask for a table at a restaurant because I'd remember their silly "Table for Two" song.

What I have learned about myself is that I CANNOT learn totally by hearing. I NEED to see the words, so the "just listening to CDs" method just doesn't work for me.

I also hate to say it, but the Fodor's CDs are just terrible. They repeat a word and you repeat it back. That's it. Just memorizing long lists of vocabulary.
missypie is offline  
Jun 26th, 2006, 06:20 AM
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Also, don't know where you live, but here in Texas, we have a large number of Spanish language radio and TV stations. Soap operas are pretty good for giving you a feel for how the language sounds, because the actors tend to talk slower than game show hosts, sports announcers or radio DJs.
missypie is offline  
Jun 26th, 2006, 07:20 AM
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My two tricks such as they are...

Besides pleasantries and numbers, I think the single most helpful phrase for me was learning to say fluently without stumbling in Spanish "I'm sorry, I don't speak Spanish. Do you speak English?" and emphasize the I'm sorry part with an apolgetic smile.

Second, you can build your vocabulary while traveling using the phrases in Spanish "What is this?", "What is that?", and "What do you call it in Spanish?" and pointing to things. People will give you the word. Write it down and practice it.
suze is offline  
Jun 26th, 2006, 07:44 AM
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You can watch the "Destinos" series---a teaching video that is often broadcast on PBS---on your computer:
I found this so helpful for learning Spanish I bought the tapes, but on the computer you can do the lessons for free. It's fun to follow the story of Raquel and her search for a missing heir---I couldn't wait to get home from work and do the next episode. It made studying the language pretty painless. There is a text to go along; I did that too, but if you're focusing on speaking, the videos might be enough.
enzian is offline  
Jun 26th, 2006, 11:37 AM
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Good suggestion Enzian! I've watched Destinos on PBS but didn't realize I could find it on the net.

"Spanish in 10 Mins. a Day" is a fun workbook. Simple exercises, plus you can put stickers of the Spanish names of things all over your house, etc.
suze is offline  
Jun 26th, 2006, 01:53 PM
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I found that when watching the "soap operas" (telenovellas on the Univision network, with a modern TV, I could turn the "closed captioning" on or off. The closed captions are in Spanish, of course.

Furthermore, I could record the shows on a VCR, and then turn the "closed captioning" on or off on the replay. Thus, I could watch the show without the captions, to see what I could understand. Then I could watch it again with the captions, to get the things I had missed. Then I could try it without the captions again.

You can also watch Spanish language movies on DVDs, and turn the subtitles in English on or off. Sometimes you can select Spanish subtitles on a Spanish movie. But note that subtitles aren't the same as captions. Captions try to show every word that is said. Subtitles just try to get the idea across, but often change the words. I've even heard a short sentence in Spanish, and the short subtitle in Spanish used different words. I think the words used in the soundtrack were Mexican slang, and the subtitle "translated" it into more standard Castillian Spanish, for a wider audience.

Someone once told me about an American war movie he saw in France, subtitled in French. A soldier in the trenches heard a sound in the distance, and called out, "tanks!". The subtitle read "merci".

I once saw "The Karate Kid, Part II", in France, in English, with French subtitles (don't ask why). There was a line something like, "Are you going to the Senior Prom?". The subtitle read something like "Est-ce que tu assistera au bal des étudiants de la dernière année?" ("Are you attending the ball for the students of the last year?"). Some things are hard to translate.

Side note: A "telenovella" isn't exactly the same as a "soap". Soaps go on and on, often for years. A "telenovella", as the name implies, is a "television novel". It has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and then another one starts, with a different name, a different plot, and different characters.

- Larry
justretired is offline  
Jun 26th, 2006, 02:48 PM
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...but at the same time each evening.
suze is offline  
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