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Old 31st January 2008, 03:56 PM   #58
Finster
Forero
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 29
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Now that I'm moving into an intermediate level, my approach to learning Spanish has changed. Well, I am not sure if it has actually changed, or if I have realized something that was there all along.

I thought that a class would be my primary learning source, but that I should complement it with outside activities (audio, internet, intercambios, etc). Now it seems that the class is the complement to all the others. This is an obvious point, but I have better retention when I see the same vocab/lesson in multiple places.

For instance, last week I heard Ben use the expression "de hecho". Later I read it in the "Harry Potter" book I am reading. I asked about it in class and now I know it, and I will be more likely to remember it than if I was just taught it once in class. The same happened with the expression "Antes de (+infinitive)". I was corrected here in the forum, and that very night, we went over it in class.

Sooo, what are you trying to say Finster? Basically, everyone agrees that immersion is the best approach. Typically that is not an option, so you need to create an immersion environment yourself.

My self-immersion techniques:
Audio lessons and podcasts for commutes. (daily)
Spanish language music with lyric printouts for reference. (almost daily)
Internet reading: Word of the Day, this forum, Spanish language news sites, and Spanish5000 grammar tools. (daily)
Class (2 times a week)
Mexican restaurant (1-2 times a week) - I found a great one with great bartenders that are patient with my Spanish. Plus they will slide me a free margarita now and then...This Spanish thing is already showing benefits!
Spanish language books (almost daily). I have found that it is more enjoyable to not sit there with a dictionary and stop with every other word, but to plow through it and try to get the general story. Look up words later.
Spanish language movies (1-2 times a week). Many DVD's will have a Spanish audio and/or subtitle option. Sometimes I will turn on both.

The important thing to pick a grab bag of things you enjoy to do, and then it doesn't feel like you are trying to make time to "work" at learning Spanish. Not to knock the benefits of learning about Spanish culture by watching and reading Spanish TV, movies, and books, but it can be easier to watch movies and books you are already familiar with. Plus I have discovered that I already have a whole library of Spanish language DVDs by just change the audio option on my current library.
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