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Learning the language: Spanish

Posted: Sat Feb 1, 2020 5:32pm
40 replies1171 views13 members subscribed
KCSunshine

Posts: 26

6 helpful points

Location: Arboleas

Joined: 18 Jul 2019

We started Spanish lessons two weeks ago.  I was wondering whether other folks found it difficult at the start?  Whilst my hubby seems to be grasping the language really well, I’m really struggling.  Did others find it really hard and and if so, was there a time period when it suddenly ‘clicked’’?  We hope to be living Spain by August this year and we are both keen to integrate as fully as we can with the local community but at the moment, I can only count from 1-10 and greet someone morning, noon and night!  Any advice would be gratefully received.  Karen 

KCSunshine

Posted: Sat Feb 1, 2020 6:40pm

KCSunshine

Original Poster

Posts: 26

6 helpful points

Location: Arboleas

Joined: 18 Jul 2019

Posted: Sat Feb 1, 2020 6:40pm

Thank you Warren.  I became quite despondent after this week as I hadn’t a clue what the tutor was talking about; whereas my hubby was grasping it!  I will look at the CDs to supplement.

Saludos - Katrn

Champ

Posted: Sun Feb 2, 2020 7:24am

Champ

Helpful member

Posts: 105

60 helpful points

Location: Huércal-Overa

Joined: 19 Jun 2018

Posted: Sun Feb 2, 2020 7:24am

Karen try the free ten minute lessons on YouTube - called ProSpanish - I think this way of learning is easier for some brains! My brain scrambles too quickly when being taught the conventional way! Buena suerte (good luck) it’s like learning a new instrument or knitting - the more you practice the better you become - a little bit every day - watch Netflix in Spanish with subtitles to get your ear used to the music of the language. 

KCSunshine

Posted: Sun Feb 2, 2020 8:57am

KCSunshine

Original Poster

Posts: 26

6 helpful points

Location: Arboleas

Joined: 18 Jul 2019

Posted: Sun Feb 2, 2020 8:57am

Thank you Champ. I will look at YouTube and Netflix.  I did put Spanish music on Alexa the other day to get used to the sounds etc.  I think our tutor has paced it too fast for me.  My hubby spent a month on a Spanish exchange as a teenager (many many years ago!) so it’s all coming cackle to him.  

DonnaDiana

Posted: Sun Feb 2, 2020 10:24am

Posts: 27

29 helpful points

Joined: 21 May 2018

Posted: Sun Feb 2, 2020 10:24am

Hi Karen

Have you thought about downloading Duolingo App.  I find it very easy and use it every day.  I too have a Spanish Teacher and at times have forgotten everything she's just taught me.  So don't give up your not alone.  Good luck.  Donna

Matthew

Posted: Sun Feb 2, 2020 11:01am

Matthew

Very helpful member

Posts: 687

787 helpful points

Location: Mojacar

Joined: 16 May 2018

Posted: Sun Feb 2, 2020 11:01am

Hi Karen, You are getting some good suggestions here. If the advice works for you then great! I reckon they would not have worked for me, but they would have helped. I don't wish to sound like a cocky Paddy dictating to Brits but the following worked for my wife and I:-

1. Buy a Teach Yourself Spanish book complete with CD. On first glance and listening you'll be as confused as me on Grand National Day picking out my horses which usually lose. 

2. Open Chapter 1. Read it through and don't be dismayed when you pick up nothing. Listen to the Chapter 1 on the CD where you'll be equally confused. This is where you decide that this can be a hard slog or I'm going to enjoy my Spanish learning experience.

3. Begin Chapter 1 again. Learn what's on offer paragraph by paragraph. You're in no rush (if you are just give-up now). Enjoy what you are doing and note that you are actually learning piece by piece. Use the CD especially for pronunciation and answering any questions. Don't fool yourself. Take it paragraph by paragraph and don't progress to the next until you come to grips what you've read. If you leap ahead you are only fooling yourself. It's no harm to remember you must enjoy this.If you don't you're wasting your time.

4. You've mastered Chapter 1. Great! Clap yourself on the back, you deserve it. Now, you want to progress to Chapter 2. No, hold on! Go back to the start of Chapter 1 and do the whole chapter again ensuring you left nothing out and you're acquainted with everything therein. I bet you're enjoying yourself more on completion of this.

5. On to Chapter 2. Again take it paragraph by paragraph and don't go forward until you understand what you have read.You have mastered Chapter 2 after re-reading. Great! You've achieved more and it's becoming more fun.

6. Can I now progress to Chapter 3? No Way! Go back to Chapter 1 again and take it paragraph by paragraph again. If you are happy, then take on Chapter 2 again and paragraph by paragraph. Bring yourself up todate with any task. Listen to the CD again taking note of pronounciation.

7. Practise your Spanish with anybody who is prepared to listen to you. Waiters/waitresses are usually helpful to anybody making the effort. Be thankful for any advice they give. 

8. Listen to Spanish Radio. Forget about the wall-to-wall greatest Spanish Hits and disc jockeys screaming at you and blabbering away in some goddawful Spanish. Try Radio Nacional, especially at night, when dj's speak more clearly and slowly. You won't understand much, but you'll make out lots of what you are hearing. 

9. Bring your Teach Yourself Spanish book everywhere you go. Take it out, peruse and believe it or not you are learning discreetly and effortlessly. 

10. Listen to Spanish Radio in your car.

11. Word Box:- Cut light cardboard into small rectangles and insert a Spanish word on one side and write the English equivalent on the other. Do this every day with Spanish words you do not know. Your vocabulary will increase and with little effort. Remember you must still enjoy what you are doing!!!!!

12. Don't apologise for what you are learning. 

13. Now you are ready for Chapter 3? - No! you're not. Go back and learn Chapter 1 again and then do the same with Chapter 2. Then take on Chapter 3. Before you progress to Chapter 4, return to Chapters 1,2,3. Do the same with future Chapters.

14. Set yourself about 13 weeks to get through the whole book, but if you are slower, be patient, just keep enjoying what you are doing and believe me you'll have that Cortez feeling eventually.

15. You'll suffer set-backs, you'll meet people who'll knock you back, but keep on. You have a goal - only you can achieve it.

16. When will your learning stop? The answer is Never. Extend your word box to take in Spanish expressions on those small rectangles.

17. Listen and look at  good Spanish television if you can find it. News programmes might be a good place to start. Read El Páis perhaps once a week. Enjoy what television you're watching and enjoy what articles you read.

18. Do your own thing. What suits your partner/spouse might not suit you. Plough on and smile or should I say Smile and Plough on . . . . ?

19. You are now speaking good Spanish and you have no embarrassment or fear in the ayuntamiento or in local shops. Pass on your knowledge of English to Spaniards and non Spaniards; you'll make friends that you never thought you would. Don't become cocky (like me!!!!!!!) and remember at what stage of learning you once were.

20. Oh! - Keep on smiling - it works, repeat, It Works.

Champ

Posted: Sun Feb 2, 2020 11:51am

Champ

Helpful member

Posts: 105

60 helpful points

Location: Huércal-Overa

Joined: 19 Jun 2018

Posted: Sun Feb 2, 2020 11:51am

I agree with Donna - I use Duolingo every morning and it is at times boring and repetitive but repetition works and it’s a great free app - there are a few South American words and American words but you soon learn which to accept as part of Duolingo and not Spanish - carro (coche - car) acá (aquí here) dormitorio (habitación bedroom) for example. 🤓

Champ

Posted: Sun Feb 2, 2020 12:02pm

Champ

Helpful member

Posts: 105

60 helpful points

Location: Huércal-Overa

Joined: 19 Jun 2018

Posted: Sun Feb 2, 2020 12:02pm

You are brilliant Matthew and your posts always make me smile! I think 1-6 points maybe for the male brain or non-dyslexic brain but the rest are hugely important points for learning - at the beginning I would understand one word in every sentence -usually because it was the same in English on the radio and TV - now I understand 80%! Practicing on everyone you can is fun too - Centaura car hire in Murcia know only to speak to me in slow Spanish now! The most important point you make is your own attitude and enthusiasm for achieving your fluency! Bravo y me encanta tus palabras!

KatySJ

Posted: Sun Feb 2, 2020 1:04pm

Posts: 31

27 helpful points

Location: Mojacar

Joined: 8 Mar 2017

Posted: Sun Feb 2, 2020 1:04pm

Hi Karen,

Sorry to hear you're finding it more difficult than you thought - I can only say the same - i feel hopeless when I open my mouth!  In fact i teach English as a Foreign Language - so i really thought i would find it easier, but I don't feel that i am developing any fluency.

I've read through all the replies above, and every single one of them is useful for you - try out all the things that people are suggesting, and copy all the replies and keep them in a doc - there is a lot of really useful advice there.  There two things that i would add, and which I recommend to my students for learning English.

The first is to talk to yourself - when you learn a new expression, say it to yourself again and again and again - in the shower - when you are cooking ... all the time. Greet your reflection in the mirror every time you think of it!!

The second is that all the research has shown that to learn a word, you need exposure to it 12/13 times (the number depends on which research you read).  This applies for learning new words in English too - if you hear a new word, you don't immediately remember it - sometimes you don't even notice it - although of course you do know how to pronounce it, and you know how it might be used in a sentence.  When you're learning Spanish - do keep repeating the word(s) yourself, and if you have a recording such as the ones that other people have suggested, play it again and again.  it could be that you will acquire a wider range of language that you can understand, but don't feel that you are confident about using, whereas your husband is able to use the language more quickly - that may well happen.

And finally - if you have a good teacher, if you're worried about pronunciation, ask him or her to let you record the pronunciation of words or expressions on your phone, so you can repeat them at home. Learning a language does require frequent practice - this is where i am not successful - I have too much to do and like you, I'm still based in the UK. Just make sure that when you go to Spain, you use the language you have - greet everybody until you're blue in the face!!!! - even if they want to speak English to you - make sure you use what you do know, and you will learn more!

Hope that's helpful - good luck!!!!!!

Katy

Champ

Posted: Sun Feb 2, 2020 1:37pm

Champ

Helpful member

Posts: 105

60 helpful points

Location: Huércal-Overa

Joined: 19 Jun 2018

Posted: Sun Feb 2, 2020 1:37pm

Muy útil - gracias Katy

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