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Old 21st July 2009, 12:37 PM   #1
MiCasaEsSuCasa
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Default Learning Spanish in 10 months

iHola! (I will be using an "i" as the reversed "!")

I've studied Spanish for three years in school, although I barely passed the course. The last two years of the course I didn't have any motivation whatsoever to learn the language. I didn't learn all the things that I should have learned, which is a shame.

But I have some basic knowledge of the Spanish grammar, I got a small vocabulary as well, and I do know how to pronounce the words correct (Although the double r sound is really hard to pronounce).

My timeframe is approximately 10 months. I'm going to Spain in 10 months. When it's time to get on the plane I want my Spanish to be as good as a native speaker's Spanish is. I wanna be able to speak Spanish fluently, with confidence. I want to know all the basic grammar that every other Spaniard knows. I want my vocabulary to be big enough so I can have everyday conversations without having to stop and think "what did that word mean now again...?". I'm not gonna work in Spain or anything so I don't need to learn speciallised words, like if I would work within medical care in Spain I would have to learn medical terms and so on.

Is this possible? I got a lot of spare time. At the moment I'm free as a bird. I can spend about 8 hours each day studying.

So, I got: Enough time (although I probably will have to study Spanish almost all of my free time), motivation and learning material. What I lack is a teacher. Someone who can put up a plan. Tell me what I should learn and when I should learn it.

Right now I'm using this webpage: http://www.studyspanish.com

I'm going through the grammar parts. It's killing me, really. I want to learn fast and see results immediatly, but it doesn't work that way does it.

What is the best method for learning a new language? Should I read and study every part of the grammar lessons slowly to make sure it stays in my memory or should I read every lesson one, maybe two times, and then move on to the next one?

Or, is it possible to only learn the most basic grammar, then expand your vocabulary and just speak Spanish a lot?

I'm in desperate need of help!
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Old 21st July 2009, 03:36 PM   #2
Legazpi
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If you are free as a bird right now then the best thing you can do is go and live in a Spanish-speaking country, while at the same time going to a Spanish school, studying in private, and doing plenty of intercambios. If that's impossible then the main thing is to practice with someone. Studying verb conjugations and grammar is important, but it's passive. You need to practice your spoken Spanish - i.e. making yourself understood and understanding others - if you want to become fluent. In fact burying yourself in grammar can become detrimental to your fluency because you become yoo preoccupied in speaking grammatically correct Spanish rather than comunicating in Spanish.

Also it seems from your post that you consider learning Spanish to be a case of studying hard for a year or two and then suddenly you know it all. I'm afraid it doesn't work like that - it's an ongoing process. You'll never get to be a native Spanish speaker (those skills are only picked up in childhood) but you can become pretty fluent in a couple of years. However it'll never be as easy as speaking your mother tongue.
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Old 21st July 2009, 04:06 PM   #3
MiCasaEsSuCasa
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If you are free as a bird right now then the best thing you can do is go and live in a Spanish-speaking country, while at the same time going to a Spanish school, studying in private, and doing plenty of intercambios. If that's impossible then the main thing is to practice with someone. Studying verb conjugations and grammar is important, but it's passive. You need to practice your spoken Spanish - i.e. making yourself understood and understanding others - if you want to become fluent. In fact burying yourself in grammar can become detrimental to your fluency because you become yoo preoccupied in speaking grammatically correct Spanish rather than comunicating in Spanish.

Also it seems from your post that you consider learning Spanish to be a case of studying hard for a year or two and then suddenly you know it all. I'm afraid it doesn't work like that - it's an ongoing process. You'll never get to be a native Spanish speaker (those skills are only picked up in childhood) but you can become pretty fluent in a couple of years. However it'll never be as easy as speaking your mother tongue.
Ah yes, moving to a Spanish-speaking country would make wonders for my Spanish. Unfortunately, that's not an option for me

You're right, I won't be fluent in a year.

But learning all the basic and needed grammar shouldn't take too long. I don't think that'll take more than a few weeks tbh. Vocabulary shouldn't take too long either. I think I'll aim at learning 100 new words each day (sounds insane doesn't it).

What's left when I know the grammar and have a good vocabulary? The oral parts. I don't know anyone who speaks Spanish - unfortunately, but I might find someone on the net who is willing to help me practice Spanish over Skype or a similar program.

Maybe I'm just being too optimistic. Or maybe you're wrong ^^

But I honestly think I can learn everything I need in 10 months. Also, while I might not be fluent and people will hear and realize that Spanish isn't my 1st language, I think if I practice enough and build up enough confidence, I should be able to hold simple, everyday conversations with Spaniards

Then again, I might be too optimistic. When I thought of this idéa I said to myself "hey as long as I'm motivated I can do anything", but lately I've realized exactly how incredibly hard learning a new language is.
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Old 21st July 2009, 05:15 PM   #4
Stephen
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If you've got a fantastic memory then the reading (and writing) side could be pretty good fairly quickly. I think an awful lot of language learning is just being able to remember what you've learnt. When you read the grammar rules what is there to understand? Nothing! You've just got to be able to remember it.

I think a lot of people gifted at foreign languages are in part just good sponges of detail.

The hardest part for me is getting what is being spoken. Some people just have an ear for this - maybe you have.
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Old 21st July 2009, 05:32 PM   #5
MiCasaEsSuCasa
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Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
If you've got a fantastic memory then the reading (and writing) side could be pretty good fairly quickly. I think an awful lot of language learning is just being able to remember what you've learnt. When you read the grammar rules what is there to understand? Nothing! You've just got to be able to remember it.

I think a lot of people gifted at foreign languages are in part just good sponges of detail.

The hardest part for me is getting what is being spoken. Some people just have an ear for this - maybe you have.
I don't know how good my memory is compared to other people's memory buy I learn fairly quickly if I'm studying something I'm interested in - like Spanish!

I also don't find it hard to hear what's spoken when I listen to people speaking Spanish. I listen to Spanish radio every single day. I rarely understand complete sentences but I do hear and understand a lot of words - and that feels great (especially considering how fast they talk!)! If you want to improve your hearing skills then listening to radio is a great way (google "listen to spanish radio online" or something similar if you're interested).
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Old 22nd July 2009, 09:06 AM   #6
Legazpi
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Originally Posted by MiCasaEsSuCasa View Post
Ah yes, moving to a Spanish-speaking country would make wonders for my Spanish. Unfortunately, that's not an option for me

You're right, I won't be fluent in a year.

But learning all the basic and needed grammar shouldn't take too long. I don't think that'll take more than a few weeks tbh. Vocabulary shouldn't take too long either. I think I'll aim at learning 100 new words each day (sounds insane doesn't it).

What's left when I know the grammar and have a good vocabulary? The oral parts. I don't know anyone who speaks Spanish - unfortunately, but I might find someone on the net who is willing to help me practice Spanish over Skype or a similar program.

Maybe I'm just being too optimistic. Or maybe you're wrong ^^

But I honestly think I can learn everything I need in 10 months. Also, while I might not be fluent and people will hear and realize that Spanish isn't my 1st language, I think if I practice enough and build up enough confidence, I should be able to hold simple, everyday conversations with Spaniards

Then again, I might be too optimistic. When I thought of this idéa I said to myself "hey as long as I'm motivated I can do anything", but lately I've realized exactly how incredibly hard learning a new language is.
Yes, after 10 months you should be able to hold simple conversations with Spanish. Be prepared to get frustrated and disappointed at times. Spanish grammar has a sting in the tail called the subjunctive - you need to learn it because it's used frequently. Learn the 10 most common verbs (hacer, tener, poner, dar, querer, ir, ser, estar, etc) and their conjugations and a bit of vocab but don't delay practicing your spoken Spanish. I see from your other post that you're Swedish so the fact that you already speak two languages should help.

I've been told this is a good website for practicing languages with people from all over the world: http://www.livemocha.com/

Good luck!
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Old 22nd July 2009, 04:41 PM   #7
cdowis
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One thing that has helped me was when I got my vocabulary up past 500 words. I could tell a noticeable difference.

www.wordchamp.com Check it out for practicing vocabulary.

You can get the basic grammar and have fun by going thru the 12 episodes on the BBC site. Very entertaining and educational. You are actually able to interact with the individuals in each episode. They ask you a question and you can respond. Wow!

The episodes include booking a hotel room, going to the market, the restaurant, etc.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/spani...ca/index.shtml

Last edited by cdowis; 22nd July 2009 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 22nd July 2009, 08:34 PM   #8
MiCasaEsSuCasa
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I believe grammar is important (and neccesary). I find it hard to believe that too much grammar could hurt o.o

However, actually speaking the language is more important than learning all the grammar and expanding your vocabulary. If you know the grammar by heart, and know how to form correct sentences and so on, but never have actually done it out loud, it'll be hard to hold an oral conversation! So I definetely have to practice speaking a lot!

Thanks for all the help, I will keep on studying!
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Old 21st July 2009, 09:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Legazpi View Post
In fact burying yourself in grammar can become detrimental to your fluency because you become yoo preoccupied in speaking grammatically correct Spanish rather than comunicating in Spanish.
Free yourself from the grammar, it's quite liberating. In my first attempt at Spanish, I studied all the grammar and vocabulary that I could, but I got so caught up in the rules, I couldn't carry on a conversation.

Two years ago I started with a conversational focus, and it's been a lot of fun. If you can't make it to a Spanish speaking country, you have to create that experience at home. Listen to audiotapes and podcasts, read books and newspapers, got to Mexican restaurants, and supermercados. Seek out spanish speakers and just try to communicate. I did take a class, which added in some grammar, but they added just a little grammar every few weeks.
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Old 7th December 2009, 02:38 PM   #10
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Default Learning Spanish in 10 months

Ive been studying Japanese on and off for the past 6 months. I know how to write all the used Hiragana and Katakana. I also know basic words/greetings and phrases. Now what? I wish someone could teach me but my community college/state uni dont have any Japanese classes to offer, what a shame. Im starting to use Pimsleurs CD learning program to try and remember new words/phrases but i need a better system.
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