Looking for some advice on learning Spanish....

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 17, 2009 5:09 PM GMT
    Hey guys,

    I am serious about learning Spanish as a second language and I've done research online trying to find the best option for language software...I've seen the many positive reviews about "Rosetta Stone" and "Tell Me More".... I don't mind spending the cash once I know that people have had success with these products (besides the online reviews, which I have a hard time trusting).

    I only know a few Spanish phrases and words, nothing more.

    Have any of you had any experience with language software, and have you had success becoming fluent using these?

    Thanks!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 17, 2009 6:33 PM GMT
    One of my friends is a district manager for Rosetta Stone. If you're interested in emailing him let me know. He'd obviously be bias, but he might be able to answer some of your questions.

    I've studied Latin (4 years middle and high school), French (2 years high school), and Japanese (12 college credit hours) but only in a classroom environment.
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    Nov 17, 2009 6:33 PM GMT
    I have Rosetta stone and I like it. I haven't used it in a while because I'm taking Spanish 112 in school but I definitely found it helped before i started and I plan to use it for review before my oral exam next week. The immersion aspect is just like they do in spanish class.
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    Nov 17, 2009 6:43 PM GMT
    Do the tapes and then go on vacation where the language is Spanish. You will pick up so much more by actually having to use it.
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    Nov 17, 2009 6:46 PM GMT
    Don't buy Rosetta stone, it's a waste of time. I bought spanish Rosetta stone and honestly, it's a rip off. Because I learned very few spanish from it. Mostly because it has alot of pictures files which easily fill up the disk space and very little indepth information. It's like a adult toy version of sing-along. It has these speak-into-the-microphone thing in Rosetta. I learned that so long as you say close to the sound, the program says that you are speaking it correctly. Ripoff. I tried speaking gibberish and it still says that I'm correct. icon_sad.gif You can easily learn those phrases on youtube or taking a tutoring lession from a spanish speaker. At least, it's more interactive and you can ask question about specific anunciations and cultural insight and stuff. In this case, you will also be learning how a native speaker speak, the language quirks instead of learning how to speak like a textbook. That's something you can't learn in a book and only learn from a native speaker. Most of alll, learning a language requires dedication. Take a few classes and reach the level of intermediate level before going abroad. At least, you'll have some basic skills to communicate. I would suggest even taking advanced level classes abroad. icon_smile.gif
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    Nov 17, 2009 7:01 PM GMT
    I use Rosetta Stone, and it's helping, but it's not practical enough.

    You learn the words for running before you learn the words for walking, which, I think, is a metaphor for how the program pushes you along.

    Lots of wasted time on useless multiple-choice flash-cards, particularly for pronunciation drills that wouldn't stump a three-year-old ("Na..." contrasted with"Fa..." as if I can't hear the difference).

    I know WHEN I may have coffee, but I have yet to learn WHERE the baños are.

    My main criticism is that it doesn't train you as you would train a child, covering the most important words first (no, yes, potty, sleep, bed, chair, floor, shoe...).

    However, it really is helpful to see and hear the word simultaneously, while seeing a picture. In that regard it's better than the others.
  • jrs1

    Posts: 4388

    Nov 17, 2009 7:09 PM GMT

    1. Immerse yourself in the language and culture.

    2. Pemsler, Rosetta Stone combined.

    3. Get the 500 spanish verbs book and dive inside.
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    Nov 17, 2009 7:15 PM GMT
    Most importantly, use it as much as you can. Spanish was my minor in college and yet when I travel to spanish-speaking countries I speak at a 5th vocabulary level because I stopped using it.
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    Nov 17, 2009 7:55 PM GMT
    Pimsleur. (Although it's not software.)
    Rosetta Stone is, like others have said, garbage.
    If you don't have $1000 (vol. I-III) to spend on pimsleur, you could always just borrow a copy of it from your local library. Spanish is a fairly common language so it should not be very hard to come across.
    Pimsleur essentially teaches you how to speak (not read or write) the language through the repetition of various phrases, or dialogs. It starts off with a brief conversation between two native speakers, then it goes on to ask you to repeat one word after the next, often breaking it up into syllables, and throughout the course it will ask you, "how do you say... ...in spanish?"
    Have I had any luck with it?
    I prefer learning a new language through the use of books. However, pimsleur is a great supplement. And if you want the "complete immersion" experience... you could watch movies and/or listen to music in spanish.
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    Nov 17, 2009 8:10 PM GMT
    I don't think software is all that great. They mostly teach you tourist phrases or household phrases. Not a bad thing really. But if you really want to be fluent, then you should take a class. All community colleges offer various levels of Spanish classes. As someone else suggested, you need to immerse yourself. By taking a class, you're surrounding yourself with Spanish speaker and forcing yourself to speak as well. Listening and speaking exercises are very helpful. Practice is the only way you'll become fluent.

    Also, tune in to Spanish language TV. Watch the news and listen to the announcers carefully. Turn on the closed captioning, so that you can see the words being said. And the YouTube suggestion is also a good idea.
  • allatonce

    Posts: 904

    Nov 17, 2009 8:30 PM GMT
    I tried a cd program from michel thomas (it was for french but I'm pretty sure he has one for spanish too). I was impressed at how natural he made the language feel, as opposed to conjugating verbs and learning grammar rules in a classroom setting.

    That being said the best thing you can do is practice. If you can find a way to practice some conversation it is well worth the time. If you don't have any classes available, maybe even you can find a "skype pal" who wants to learn english and you guys skype each other and speak half english and half spanish. Practicing speaking is always important.
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    Nov 17, 2009 8:35 PM GMT
    Go watch latin soaps with cc and translate the words u find interesting or the most used. Keep conecting the dots till you understand the whole dialogue. Try understanding their behaviour, sense of humour and how they organize the words. After you finish the whole soap... watch it again to see how much you have learned.


    Forget about writing or reading in spanish.. It will only get you frustrated. This can be applied to any language.
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    Nov 17, 2009 8:37 PM GMT
    leothelion saidDon't buy Rosetta stone, it's a waste of time. I bought spanish Rosetta stone and honestly, it's a rip off. ...


    I actually learned a lot more from Rosetta Stone than I did with other audio/self-paced tutorials. While I agree that in-person tutoring, and travel to Spanish-speaking countries (does Texas count? haha), would be even more effective, I actually remember much more from the Rosetta Stone course than via other teaching methods I've used. For those of us who don't have time for either, Rosetta Stone is a good alternative.

    However, once you've learned the basics of the language, I think it's pretty much a given that you'll need to attend some sort of in-person 'Conversational Spanish' course. It's much easier to speak the language than it is to understand native speakers, and conversational courses help you do just that.
  • nadaquever_rm

    Posts: 139

    Nov 18, 2009 12:02 AM GMT
    Take a beginner's class for some basic vocab and structure- I wouldn't recommend self-study for this step. Then, go where you must use Spanish. Ideally, that's abroad, but it could also be conversation groups, stores etc. where Spanish is used. For extra practice, listen to Spanish radio or watch a Spanish language channel on TV.

    Oh, if it matters to you, I'm a linguists and make my living teaching language.
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    Nov 18, 2009 12:15 AM GMT
    ADD ME ON MSN/SKYPE if you wanna practice speaking and have some Q´s

    rouroni_kenshin_jimura@hotmail.com

    skype: vveinbender

    all of you who want to improve your spanish add me icon_razz.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 18, 2009 12:39 AM GMT
    WEINBENDER saidADD ME ON MSN/SKYPE if you wanna practice speaking and have some Q´s

    rouroni_kenshin_jimura@hotmail.com

    skype: vveinbender

    all of you who want to improve your spanish add me icon_razz.gif



    BTW....(skype: vveinbender) is wrote whit 2 v´s .....its not a "W"
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 18, 2009 1:25 AM GMT
    Gracias hombres!!

    Looks like a combination of these methods will get me where I need to be...
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    Nov 18, 2009 1:47 AM GMT
    I took classes. Really you need a professor/teacher who can go over things with you... practice pronunciation... help you when you have questions.

    If you have the means, try getting a tutor who can sit and converse with you and teach you grammar etc. There are tons of people out there who will sit with you for an hour for 10 or 15 dollars and just carry on conversation. That's the best way to learn. And if you think about it... you can get say 25-50 hours of private tutoring for the price of one volume of rosetta stone....

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    Nov 18, 2009 1:51 AM GMT
    allatonce saidI tried a cd program from michel thomas (it was for french but I'm pretty sure he has one for spanish too). I was impressed at how natural he made the language feel, as opposed to conjugating verbs and learning grammar rules in a classroom setting.



    I have the French, Italian and Spanish CDs and they are great. The emphasis is on the teacher teaching, not the student trying to memorise vasts lists of words. I'd recommend these.

    But I agree with others - emerse yourself in the culture and you'll pick it up in no time.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 18, 2009 2:58 AM GMT
    I want to start learning Spanish soon myself.

    Sorry, but I have no idea about any of the softwares. I highly doubt you will become a fluent speaker with only some software. It is maybe a good starting point though.

    When I was learning french a while back I listened to podcasts on itunes (there are many great free ones). The lessons came with pdf versions as well so you could follow along. But I did take several french courses and what I had learned by listening to podcasts was extremely helpful.

    I would say that immersion is the most efficient and effective way if it is possible. I am lucky since french is the main language where I live and most people I know speak it as a first language. BUT before immersion it is important to have some solid base first, meaning grammar and basic pronunciation. Or else you will feel very lost.



    Good luck to you!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 18, 2009 3:03 AM GMT
    The best way to learn spanish is to immerse yourself in the language every day. You need to make spanish speaking friends who will only speak spanish. You need to practice it with them every day too. Then you will get it. I don't believe in any kind of software.
  • westguy79

    Posts: 175

    Nov 18, 2009 3:27 AM GMT
    Don't buy rosetta stone! There is a ton of free stuff online. (Like studyspanish.com).

    I would recommend taking classes at your local college and then traveling to a country where Spanish is spoken.

    I've been teaching Spanish for 8 years; don't waste your money on products you WON"T use!

    Hay que hablar para aprender el espanol. Te deseo mucha suerte en tus estudios.
    icon_smile.gif
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    Nov 18, 2009 3:31 AM GMT
    westguy79 saidDon't buy rosetta stone! There is a ton of free stuff online. (Like studyspanish.com).

    I would recommend taking classes at your local college and then traveling to a country where Spanish is spoken.

    I've been teaching Spanish for 8 years; don't waste your money on products you WON"T use!

    Hay que hablar para aprender el espanol. Te deseo mucha suerte en tus estudios.
    icon_smile.gif



    Damn, not bad for a white guy icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 18, 2009 3:32 AM GMT
    Use a program on the computer to learn more stuff, then maybe join a conversation group where they only speak spanish. Thats the best way to learn it! also watch some TV in spanish, you will get better at listening.
  • FredMG

    Posts: 988

    Nov 18, 2009 3:34 AM GMT
    take some college classes!

    And for fun 'switch' your favorite movies to the spanish audio program, with or without subtitles. I didn't realize how hilarious (and simple the dialog was) in Star Wars (the first movie) until I'd finished 100 level spanish and watch the movie in spanish.

    I've also read the first two Harry Potter books in spanish and the Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings is a bit much for me to wade through in spanish, and I still have to finish the last book in spanish, one day...