Learning a foreign language - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 08-29-2008, 02:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone learned a foreign language through a program outside of a college course?

I have always wanted to become fluent in Spanish. I took two years in high school so I have a very basic knowledge of the language. Taking Spanish as a college course isn't in my time or financial plans right now. Anyone use one of those teach yourself programs that are out there?

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#2 of 7 Old 08-29-2008, 03:16 AM
 
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I've started many languages with these cd/book courses. you have to really take the time to actually do the exercises and I find self-correction difficult as far as pronunciation is concerned. but it does work if you are disciplined enough. are there maybe some public classes outside of college, or student tutors? teach yourself is cheapest of course.
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#3 of 7 Old 08-29-2008, 02:15 PM
 
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Perhaps you can just watch some spanish chanel with the subtitles on? I did that last year with a daily telenovela (soap opera). I also found a website where folks would watch and post their translations of the episodes, which I would read after watching each one. Very helpful. I found that eventually I could get the gist of some of what was going on, but really needed the translation at other times.

It was a funny way to learn-- I got really good at some phrases that I'll probably never need-- particularly "bruja" for "witch," and "matalo" for "kill him"!
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#4 of 7 Old 08-29-2008, 04:49 PM
 
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My Spanish drastically improved in functionality when I started dancing tango and salsa. Sure I'd taken 2 years of it in college, but I couldn't use it much. Having to interact with people who spoken Spanish fluently forced me to dredge up all that forgotten vocab and use those difficult verb tenses. Also, I learned that Spanish from Cuba, Mexico and Argentina were vastly different.

So, in addition to an at-home learning program, hang out with people who speak the language!
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#5 of 7 Old 08-30-2008, 11:17 AM
 
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I learned Italian through a book/tape program. It was pre-baby - so I had more time and less tiredness in my life. But I was pretty successful - I was really nerdy and disciplined about doing my written exercises and every single time I was out in the car I had the tape on in the tape deck, repeating all the phrases. I must have looked pretty weird to oncoming traffic!

A friend of mine took Spanish lessons. To get the fluency going - he advertised for native spanish speakers in their area, and met up twice a week for chats in Spanish. In return, he taught the spaniards guitar. So if you have something you can trade, it can work well.

It's also great to have a definite goal - like maybe planning a trip to a Spanish speaking country - maybe 6 months or a year away. It helps to be focused on something concrete and learning so you can use it for real - rather than just learning it for the sake of learning it. I found this really helped with my "discipline" for doing my exercises.

Good luck. My philosophy is the more languages I speak, the more people I can talk to
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#6 of 7 Old 08-31-2008, 11:13 AM
 
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My friend swears by Rosetta Stone - she could access it for free through her public library. I agree the best thing to do is to try to get some exposure in person though to really learn conversational spanish. Reading and writing is almost a whole different cognitive level from carrying on a comversation. Here we have a spanish church whose members teach free spanish lessons as community outreach.

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#7 of 7 Old 08-31-2008, 03:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carita View Post
My friend swears by Rosetta Stone - she could access it for free through her public library. I agree the best thing to do is to try to get some exposure in person though to really learn conversational spanish. Reading and writing is almost a whole different cognitive level from carrying on a comversation. Here we have a spanish church whose members teach free spanish lessons as community outreach.
I don't know if this is true for everyone, but our library is no longer able to use Rosetta Stone, due to copyright issues
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