spanish lesson program?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by gumbellion, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. gumbellion

    gumbellion Been here awhile

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    Hey all
    I starting to roughly plan a trip from Canada to Ushuaia and back for when i have my student loans paid off (1 year i hope). I am looking into learning some basic spanish and what programs are available for do it your self. I hear rosetta stone is good but at $300 for each level is totally out of my budget. If you could steer me in the right direction i would appreciate it.
    #1
  2. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    This is a FAQ around here. You are to be commended for your initiative.

    Simply mimic the search protocol below, and you'll be rewarded with lots of informtion suited to your question, already researched here on ADV.


    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    PS For even more fun, try replacing learn spanish with Ushuaia, and you'll get another treasure trove of information about the goal of your upcoming trip.

    "site:advrider.com" typed in Google's search box, followed by any search word or phrase, plus a beer, makes a nice afternoon.

    buena suerte
    #3
  4. gumbellion

    gumbellion Been here awhile

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    ahhh. so thats what it means when it asks if i have google when my searches come back empty. Also ive been plugging away at all the Ushuaia threads on here slowly gaining info.
    #4
  5. TomTom63

    TomTom63 Motorradfahrer

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    Well, find a native Spanish speaking girlfriend. Whatever you do, just don't marry her :nono. Because this will be more expensive than Rosetta Stone. I talking from experience here...:bluduh
    #5
  6. gumbellion

    gumbellion Been here awhile

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    I like the idea of a sexy latino lady, but it seems there pretty rare up here in the great white north. I will just have to settle for a native indian that speaks ojibway instead!
    #6
  7. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Just for fun, try this search, one of my favorites:

    site:advrider.com toolkit

    The first thread that comes up should be: The Toolkit Thread .

    Below that thread are plenty of other ADV threads on the same subject

    Obviously, there's a wealth of experience and knowledge around here, that's already been recorded. Spend a chunk of time cross-referencng your personal list of interest area topics for your upcoming epic, and you'll likely be more capable and more confident in your endeavor.

    IMHO, this the real genius behind ADV, besides all the stress-relief going on in Jo Momma :wave
    #7
  8. Creekrider

    Creekrider Been here awhile

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    I read a lot of reviews before getting a Spanish software and I ended up getting Fluenz and have been very happy with it. I can not compare it to Rosetta Stone though.
    #8
  9. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    [​IMG]

    Part of the crowd runs with Rosetta Stone (visual based) and similar programs, and part of the crowd runs with Pimsleur (auditory based) and similar programs. Still, others swear by immersion, learing in the setting (learning by doing).

    Rosetta Stone advertises: "The Fastest Way To Learn A Language - Guaranteed"; but, they are submitting to you a marketing ploy, not a learning guarantee. They know that the number of customers that will return the product is infinitesimal compared to number of units sold. That said, Rosetta Stone is for visiual learners, for that is how the program is structured (I have a copy), and it may be your personal Gold Standard if you are a visual learner.

    I am a fan of Pimsleur, or better said, that's how I gained traction on my endless journey to learn and incorporate the Spanish language into my life. Perhaps that speaks to my affinity for group discussion and word association.

    However, nothing beats my personal Gold Key - tactile learning. For me, going there (field trips), note taking, lists, all of that, is what pushes me along.

    The real truth is that nobody fits into one category. Most people's learning modality are really a fusion of modalities - fusions of more than one way of learning.

    This translates to describing learning a language in this way: with a warning. No one commercial product can in reality guarantee you anything, unless they hit upon your personal learning "sweet spot". And your "sweet spot" is usually a blend of ways to learn a language, a blend that no one commercial product usually provides.

    Go back into your history, and ask yourself, what was the best way you learned anything? Try to find a product or experience that best matches what you know about yourself, the way you learn. Don't be surprised if you find yourself taking pieces from more than one "product", or book, and discovering your personal magic key.

    "You have to know how you are hardwired" - one of the best quotes for knowing yourself, both intellectually and physically. Were you a 220 pound linebacker in high school, but now, you're tying to become a marathoner? Perhaps you're suited for at best for cycling, or kick-boxing. Same with learning a language. If you're not a visual learner, you'll have a hard time with Rosetta Stone. If you are a solid visual learner, you'll have a hard time with Pimsleur or some of the Foreign Service Institute type programs.

    Somewhere in this discussion may be a clue as to why you did or didn't learn a ton of Spanish in your high school or college days. Also, there may or may not be success in your future by going to language school in Mexico or Guatemala. Note the difference between going to language school in Mexico, for example, and going to Mexico to actually live.

    Finally, I believe you learn more by trying and making mistakes, than by not trying because of a fear of making mistakes or looking foolish. A universal truth is that you broadcast a message of respect by trying the language, practically guaranteeing you a warm reception anywhere you go.

    As usual, Your Mileage May Vary.

    buena suerte
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  10. gumbellion

    gumbellion Been here awhile

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    ^^^ Great Post, youve been am amazing help just over the last 2 days tricepilot!
    I think that from your discription pimsleur will work best for me thinking back to how I best soaked up info in University (during lectures) I dont think my learning style will have changed over the last 6 months. Its really expensive but the more I think about it the more meaning it will add to my trip. Which no amount of money will ever be able to buy.
    #10
    Tricepilot likes this.
  11. Johnny Drunkard

    Johnny Drunkard Todo utz Super Moderator

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    :lol3
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  12. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    Excellent post :thumb

    I've taken Spanish classes in three different locations south of our border. One of these schools, in San Cristobal, used black/chaulk boards, and I found myself grasping things faster - lights clicking on - by having a 'picture' to refer to.

    My son gave me an intro copy of Roseta Spanish, and I was able to blow right thru it, so that means I must be a visual person, and like looking at pretty wimmins...much more than listening to them...:).
    #12
  13. Eduardo

    Eduardo Eduardo

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    Hola, One of the most useful tools I have to improve my Spanish and use as a travel aid, is a electronic translator, that speaks. Franklin makes a really nice one, about 4"x5.5" in size, takes 2 AAA batteries, has a huge vocabulary in English and Spanish, with learning exercises and games, conjugates verbs, speaks words with proper pronounciation, and has a metric converter. The down side is they are about $100.

    In general, I've found that Central Americans are flattered that we want to learn their language, and are ready to help, and cut us a lot of slack. Some of the best learning times for me were when I had to use it to be able to float around in their society traveling.
    Buena Suerte amigo :D
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  14. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    :thumb

    Here is a Franklin as well, the one I use, for about $40 on Amazon:

    [​IMG]

    It doesn't speak, but that's not a feature I would want for the price point. I typically ask mis amigos platicadores to correct my pronunciation - more fun for me and I really get the gist of how to pronounce the more challenging words. I also like, as Eduardo mentioned, the conjugation feature. It flies through all of the tenses. I actually take it to appointments in the states and pass the time reviewing useful verbs. Once I was asked if I was texting on a Blackberry. I replied "no, I'm reviewing the subjunctive mood of the spanish verb Querer". All I got in return was a stare.

    Note: I've bought more of these than I can shake a stick at. Why? I usually give the one I take on trips as a gift to a new Mexican friend - they like to use it in reverse - looking up english words. The only other gift I've given received as warmly, has been my Yankees ballcap.
    #14
  15. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    :rofl

    May I suggest fusing the "Kinesthetic/Tactile Learn by Doing" approach to that thought :wave
    #15
  16. gumbellion

    gumbellion Been here awhile

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    HOLY SHIT!
    I just looked up a franklin translator and they have one listed for 24 beans on their website. I think that it will be a good idea for me but, I am going to try and learn the language first then maybe get one just prior to departure. That way i wont be dependent on it and will only use it when I am in a bind. I hear that Spanish is easier to learn if you can speak French as well, anyone have experience with that? Being a young Canadian I have been forced into learning French and speaking it against my own will.
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  17. Eduardo

    Eduardo Eduardo

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    Hola Gumbellion, The Franklin translator is a great tool, and your plan of learning basic espanol is a good one. I think that to even utilize the translator a person must have a basic background of vocabulary, grammer, and pronounciation. I use mine a lot for homework, and am currently wading through the wonderful world of conjugations, so I don't make too many errors that show my ignorance.

    Originally, I learned phrases, common greetings, questions and replies. I used to make up little cheat notes in the hotel at night for phrases I knew I would need the next day in regard to things like questions for part and repair shops, directions, and advice.

    I have a French Canadian friend that I see every year for the last 9 years in the Caribbean, and he talks about how it is in fact easier to learn espanol if you have a background in French, Italian, or Latin. Of which I had none of, and started pretty much from square one. Practice with real people and situations is the best, and dictated the areas I needed lots of work in. I had trouble with pronounciation, and the Franklin, that speaks, helps me immensely with that. I didn't take a pure academic approach, but one that concentrated on what I needed to travel smoothly. My goal is to eventually reach a point of being able to express myself conversationally fairly similar to my English skills....it's going to take years more I'm sure, but I enjoy the challenge, and the reward is actually having a conversation with someone in Spanish. Saludos :D
    #17
  18. nicholastanguma

    nicholastanguma nicholastanguma

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    Gumbellion, I know this reply is a little late, and may not help you at all by now, but...

    I'm a native English speaker; learned French second, by both seeing words written out and hearing them pronounced (like in any high school class); having French as a second language has aided me ENORMOUSLY in learning Spanish.
    #18
  19. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    I would do the Pimsleur first program first. It is cheaper. Start with the elementary set and see how you do. Progress upwards from there, or go to Rosetta afterward.

    What I would really suggest you do, and this may sound silly, is after you do the first level of Pimsleur, go get yourself a couple of music CD's of Spanish boleros. A bolero is simply a Spanish love song. The CD will come with the lyrics, or you can just grab the lyrics from the internet. Take the time to translate the lyrics so that you know what they mean. Then sing along with the songs in Spanish, karaoke style (I know this sounds goofy). The songs have most of the vocabulary and sentence structure you need for common conversation. Because you sing with them, the words become easy to memorize as well as the sentence structure. Because they are love songs, the words are sung clearly. Two titles I would recommend for starters are (1) Boleros para Siempre by Jose Feliciano, and (2) Segundo Romance by Luis Miguel. You should probably recall that in kindergarten you learned songs quite quickly as opposed to memorizing passages from say Shakespeare.

    BTW, if you know just a few of these songs when you are down there, because they are timeless, you become very popular. Latinos, we are a musical people.
    #19
  20. PunkinHead

    PunkinHead Moobless Adventurer Super Supporter

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    I agree with Tricepilot about the different learning styles. You can't ask "what's the best way to learn Spanish" without understanding how you learn best. I learn by listening, so I started with the free podcasts from Coffee Break Spanish, which are excellent. From there I listened to the beginner and advanced Michel Thomas CDs which I got from the library. I listened to them every day during my commute to work. My wife and daughter tried listening to the podcasts but hated them - they're both visual learners and learn better from books and interactive computer programs.

    I make it a point to weave spanish into my daily life as much as possible. I have Mexican coworkers. I don't work closely with them, so there's no opportunity for in-depth conversations, but I make a point of exchanging daily pleasantries in Spanish as we meet in the hallways. Even a simple "buenos días" gets you speaking out loud and builds your confidence. I try to use Spanish in Mexican restaurants - latina waitresses really seem pleased when you try, no matter how bad your accent & vocabulary. My company has factories in Mexico, so whenever I exchange e-mails with the engineers down there I try to do it in Spanish, even if it takes me 10 times longer to formulate what I want to say. The act of looking up words and figuring out the grammar really helps me. When I see a number, for example on a speed limit sign, I say it out loud in Spanish. I try to read at least 1 online news article each day in Spanish.

    Last but not least, YOU CAN'T LEARN A LANGUAGE WITHOUT SPEAKING IT. Look for an intercambio program in your area. My local library and a couple churches give free English lessons to immigrants. Those people are looking for native speakers to practice English with. I meet weekly with a lady from El Salvador and we speak 1/2 hour or so in English and 1/2 hour in Spanish. Look for an organization in your area that teaches English and see if they have an intercambio program. If not, ask the teacher/coordinator if any of the students are interested in practicing with you. I guarantee they'll want to because they're in the US and need to improve their English to get along day to day.
    #20