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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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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 21st July 2009, 09:55 PM   #6
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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 22nd July 2009, 09:06 AM   #7
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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   #8
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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   #9
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 23rd July 2009, 08:25 PM   #10
ArielleRDJ1
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I'd definitely try SpanishDict. I've recommended it on the forum before, but they've got great Spanish translation and also free videos that you can plow through if you're really committed. Suerte!

Last edited by Ben; 7th August 2009 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 5th August 2009, 07:07 AM   #11
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Hi,MiCasaEsSuCasa(an interesting name, i must say):

I don't have much good learning tips for you since i am struggling with my Spanish grammar now. "Las conjugaciones y subjuntivo" is really killing me~~Actually i have got a grammar book with all those irregular verbs.
The worst part is that i mix up Spanish and English from time to time since both are not my native language.But i think i will handle it quite soon.Finger crossed for myself.

Learning a new language without a genuine language community is like living in a vacuum. Not everyone who wants to learn a new language can afford to move in a new community.Yet the best part is we still get the Internet, which would provide anything we want.

So all i wanna say is to keep inspired, keep motivated, keep on learning Spanish in a relaxed way.Isn't it true that when we are relaxed, we can acquire more than we expected.
  • A piece of Spanish song could tell us more about Subjunctive than a dull grammar book[have a try of Beyoncé's "Si yo fuera un chico"]
  • Some tongue twisters to "abuse" our tongues(the most easy one i have tried is "cómo como, como como como" )
  • Try some short writing in Spanish(not too long,50-100 is enough, keep it on)
  • Listen to Ben and Marina´s podcast(right now i find it quite useful, besides, i listen to other podcasts, too, like "Coffee Break Spanish" and "Showtime Spanish").There is no language community at all, then i will create one myself.
  • Have faith in myself, para siempre.(There are downs during my learning process, which is as normal as the sunset, but things will turn ok for me quite soon.)
¡Buena suerte!
P.S.I´d like to try those recommended webs, thank you to all!I think this is the language community i am seeking!La gente aquí es muy simpática.
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Old 7th August 2009, 06:44 PM   #12
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He estado estudiando español desde 2007, pero cuando iba a la escuela segundaria (entre 1995-1999), tomé clases de español. Comó tu, no disfruté las clases, y ahora he dado cuenta que es una lastima no trabajé más. Yo quería aprender la idioma en un año tambien, pero he dado cuenta que no es posible saber todo en solo un año. El mejor cosa hacer es tratar de practicar un poco cada día pero entiende que no puede aprender todo en un noche. Tratando de hacer demasiado cosas es el peor cosa tu puedes hacer. Poco a poco, aprenderás más y más y muy temprano podrás hablar muy bien. Si tienes paciencia, tu puedes hacer cualquiera cosa tu quieres. Buena suerte.

James


(I tried to write this in Spanish to the best of my ability, but please feel free to correct any horrible errors I have made...Thanks!!)
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Old 13th August 2009, 12:00 PM   #13
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Many people think my views on language learning are a bit extreme and not realistic. However, I succeeded following certain tips and many people with me. In daily life I coach people to learn Spanish (both paid and unpaid), so I have an idea where I'm talking about.

First, I think 10 months won't bring you native fluency, but adding 5 months to that you'll be fine with your near-native fluency. But it takes time and dedication, you really have to go for it. But because you said you're more or less free as a bird the next 10 months, I don't see a problem.

Many people on this forum advice others to take classes, cram grammar, use sites or programs to get better at Spanish. Wakeup call: most people that are fluent at Spanish never took a single class nor did they use any program. Everything was done by getting input and living like a native.

From my own experience I know that moving to Spain isn't working if you don't already speak Spanish. Whatever others say, speaking in an early stage will actually damage your pronunciation and fluency in the long run.

So what do I advice? Getting loads of input. Just buy some CDs, DVDs, newspapers, books, etc. in Spanish and use them. Don't analyze anything; just take in. This is how kids learn, and despite what many believe; we can learn as kids as well!If you just forget about grammar (for the people that gave this advice in this thread as well: karma to you!) and enjoy the things you understand, you're off to become a master at Spanish.

I major Spanish in college and people often ask me how it's possible that I'm so good at Spanish. How do I study grammar? Words? Speaking? When I tell them I just shut up the first 1000 hours of my Spanish 'study', never study grammar and word lists they think I'm lying. But I'm not. I just took some tips and advices from the internet, thought about them and implemented it into my life.

Because you have a lot of time to dedicate to Spanish I'd say: do it now! But 8 hours isn't enough. Spanish doesn't have to be part of you life. It has to be your life, it's not something you can do one moment and then other you're doing something else in English. Everything you did before will be in Spanish. That is, if you want to become good at Spanish. If you want to be like the expat that has been living in Spain for over 10 years and still can't hold a simple conversations, a few minutes a day is enough.

Again: forget about speaking in the beginning (will destroy your accent and you can't put out what hasn't come in yet), forget about grammar, forget about word lists. Take in, take in, take in. Use a Spaced Repetition System (I wrote something about it on my blog: What's an SRS? to not forget the things you've learned (I only use full Spanish -> English sentences, which is the way to go) and change your environment to make is all Spanish.

If you have questions or doubt I'm happy to answer them/help you further.

Last edited by ValenciaSon; 13th August 2009 at 12:10 PM. Reason: Unauthorized URL posting removed
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Old 13th August 2009, 12:12 PM   #14
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So you question Noam Chomsky's work in early language development?
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Old 13th August 2009, 03:12 PM   #15
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So you question Noam Chomsky's work in early language development?
Hm, I posted this before, but now my post disappeared.

But you mean the Critical Period Hypothesis? Yes, because it has been proven (by people like dr. Marvin Brown and prof. Stephen D. Krashen) that it just doesn't work that way.

There are enough people that learned like kids but were adults that became fluent at 'difficult' languages like Chinese and Japanese, while the 'grammar crammers' and word list learners never reach that level.
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Old 13th August 2009, 07:48 PM   #16
La Vaquera
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Cdowis, I cannot thank you enough for turning me onto the BBC "Mi Vida Loca" site -- it is my new favorite toy! I see it has won an "Interactive Innovation" award, and it is well deserved. I can't believe how you can actually order something off the menu in a tapas place, and haha, the waiter actually brings it to you! Not to mention your Spanish "friends" staring at you expectantly while you formulate your answer....truly simulates real conversational situations. What a great site. Thank you!
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Old 14th August 2009, 04:26 AM   #17
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Cdowis, I cannot thank you enough for turning me onto the BBC "Mi Vida Loca" site...
After reading your post, I looked up the site and was extremely impressed. Just spent about an hour playing with it...absolutely fantastic. Thanks for mentioning it.

Last edited by SBS; 16th August 2009 at 01:20 AM.
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Old 14th August 2009, 04:07 PM   #18
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Isn't it fun? I'm addicted!
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Old 24th November 2009, 11:22 AM   #19
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Hi!
he best way to learn a new language like Spanish in 10 months is to immerse into the language and culture. You have to get connected with the natives or visit Spain to get indulged with their culture. But most of the people living outside Spain will not get such an opportunity. In such cases you have to look for other easy ways to learn Rocket Spanish language. A person trying to learn rocket Spanish should first learn commonly used Spanish words and phrases. There are many online courses available that help you develop the language skills quickly. You can access these online sites from any where in the world. The online course to learn Spanish language can be easily attended from your home at any time you want. Once you are familiar with the words you can learn the Spanish verbs and formation of sentences. To speak properly in Spanish you have to master the way in which the Spanish words are pronounced.
The need for a person to learn Spanish may vary depending on their circumstances. The depth of learning depends on the needs of a person. You have to learn specialized Spanish vocabulary depending on your need to learn. But to carry on with a conversation you have to learn other words also. The easy way to learn Spanish vocabulary is to classify it into themes. You have to learn words for each theme that will ultimately cover all the basics of Spanish language. You can classify the words into themes like seasonal words, weather, parts of the body, food, adjectives etc.
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Old 7th December 2009, 02:38 PM   #20
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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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