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Old 8th February 2008, 02:40 AM   #61
bil
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Told you I was groping for the apt phrase. I obviously did worse than I thought!
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Old 8th February 2008, 09:26 AM   #62
Edith
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Originally Posted by guapo View Post
I think this difference between the language you learn in the classroom and what "normal" people use is what makes learning a language so challenging but also so rewarding - at least once you get over the initial embarassment.
This makes me wonder why we have to learn these 'classroom words' in the first place! Some foreign language textbooks are clearly out of touch with reality.
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Old 8th February 2008, 12:00 PM   #63
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I think it's a shame they don't teach a bit more grammar. I think it's a scandal that grammar isn't taught as a subject in schools. It certainly isn't over here, anyway.
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Old 8th February 2008, 12:53 PM   #64
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As when my wife, to whom the waiter was pointing out the chicken, said to him "Me gusta polla mucho." The guy's face was a picture.
A similar thing happened to me two years ago on Tenerife, even though I speak passable (if somewhat faulty) Spanish. I wanted to order 'pollo', but for some reason I blurted out 'polla'! What a howler! Was my subconcious acting up?!

Thank goodness, the waiters weren't offended and we all had a good laugh.

Last edited by Edith; 8th February 2008 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 7th April 2008, 10:10 AM   #65
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Could anyone recommend some books to read in Spanish, as I haven't read any yet. I tried the library but they only had translated novels which were way too hard.
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Old 10th April 2008, 10:53 PM   #66
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I think the phone is the biggest barrier of all, so don't worry, you are not alone! Why is it so much harder to speak to someone on the phone in another language than it is in person?
Couldn't agree more. I had a nightmare conversation with the owner of a hire bike shop when the two bikes we hired got 3 punctures. Having ridden about 12 kilometers into the next town, we were a bit stuck so I tried ringing the store. Never again, there were lots of ''no entiendos'' and ''que se dice'' but they didn't come to pick us up. My husband trudged back to our apartment like Beau Gest in the midday sun to get our hire car and drove back to pick me and the bikes up. Even our Spanish teacher says she doesn't like speaking on the phone in England and she has been here for years.
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Old 19th May 2008, 08:15 PM   #67
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I agree whole-heartedly. I studied Spanish throughout middle and high school in Missouri and it was definitely Latin American centered. There wasn't a vosotros in sight. Most of my college professors were also from Central or South America but when I chose to study abroad in Madrid all of the professors were obviously Spanish. I picked up the accent basically without a hitch and after living here for about 3 years I speak with a Spain-Spanish accent and vocabulary. The transition was fairly smooth.

Similarly, my husband is Spanish and we've travelled to both Mexico and the Dominican Republic. He was definitely in his element and was completely able to speak with the locals. Save a few minor vocabularly gaffs (like coger un taxi in Mexico) the communication between Spanish speakers from all over the world is, I think, not overly difficult.
Thanks for your post. It gave me a little more confidence to forget about the differences and just continue learning. The questions about the differences in Spain vs Latin American Spanish has been my only real major stumbling block...a little voice in the back of my mind, nagging me. I think I can relax and forget about it now. Muchisimas gracias!
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Old 19th May 2008, 09:51 PM   #68
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I found this a very interesting thread and confirmed my own thoughts on:
1. Adapt to your environment
2. If stuck select a "rodeo"
3. Stand firm on globals.

Like most people who arrive in a new country with 50 odd words/phrases, I signed up for lessons (group classes) They were good for learning but no "atajo" to the perceived summit of learning a new language.
I quickly realised that, considering my limited linguistic talent, climbing my own (new language mountain) would take some time and personalised classes.
Over five years later I consider myself as regards reaching the summit, to be somewhere around "camp 5" I only refer to understanding/listening and expression in that respect. The written word in depth of sentiment I believe is another equally challenging "cumbre" and on that I consider myself to be approaching "camp 3".

But most importantly I no longer seek the summit, for I realise that for various reasons my Spanish will probably never be equal to my native British English. But it is crystal clear that I must keep working to maintain my level and add a little, "paso a paso"

So if I may clarify (from my personal experience) the three points above:

1. The area were I live,: the local people speak nothing like anything I was taught in my classes here, so I have a choice of maintaining perfectly taught castillano and walking into a bar and saying: "una cerveza por favor" and being met with an incredulous look (not recommended for a confidence booster) or adapting to my environment. It is a hard choice and each will make their own as to which linguistic direction to pursue.

2. I get stuck every day trying to express my deep feelings with some conversation or another, but I have come to realise that although limited in my depth of the new language there are "rodeos" and they often, no, very often are the salvation for the listener to understand my personal thoughts on that particular matter.

3.Every country has it`s own systems and of course many may be very different from your native country, but there are "globals" eg:

A while back I needed to renew the intercom phone in my house, my neighbour also, so intercom phone man duly arrives, explains what is needed and the cost. (from his delivery despite the fact that he is a registered company etc,it is clear that we are talking cash no receipts etc)
In my recent past here I would have bit the 40 euro bullet, paid and moved on, but for me this is a "global", so I wait for him to finish the repair and then say
: "Vale tenemos dos opciones es 40 euros con tu recibo incluso IVA o es 30 euros en efectivo"

There is no rocket science needed to guess what the exchange of money was, and I do not feel insulted by his attempt to make fat profit ( for many it's human nature and he tried to charge my Spanish neighbour the same, but it's a "global"

En
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Old 2nd July 2008, 06:06 PM   #69
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Hi again, Edith!

At what point in learning English (or any other language you speak) did you actually begin to "think" in that language? I've been studying Spanish for about 4 years now, and I only have little moments, maybe when I'm watching a TV program. I'll forget to translate for a few minutes and just understand. As soon a I become aware of it, it goes away! Maddening! I'm much improved since listening to the podcasts, however. I still hear Spanish, then translate to English most of the time.
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Old 11th July 2008, 11:01 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by greytop View Post
I found this site WordChamp and was impressed by the "read foreign websites" facility. It allows you to see the meaning of a word simply by rolling the cursor over it. Haven't registered and tried the other facilities yet but it also offers customised flash cards and vocabulary exercises.
May help those who are struggling to read Spanish news items etc.

Great link, I've been looking for something like this.
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Old 24th July 2008, 10:18 PM   #71
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Hi all,

I seem to have reached a stage where I have larned all the basic grammar and words, but can't seem to reach the next level or don't know how to go about getting better, for example the standard I have which is small includes : Words and Phrases for time/days/months/occupations/food/clothes/weather etc and all the stuff like basic grammar for er, ir, ar verbs and their conjugations and I know a lot of verbs as well...but now that I know all the basic words and phrases and grammar, how do I go about reaching the next level in spanish? How did you reach the next level so? Thanks.
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Old 25th July 2008, 08:01 PM   #72
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Hi all,

... how do I go about reaching the next level in spanish? How did you reach the next level so? Thanks.
Find yourself someone native to practice speaking with and keep at it! I had a tutor for a couple of months, and even though speaking felt painfully slow at first, she was very encouraging and I made progress a bit at a time. I then did an evening class for a year and the teacher spoke entirely in Spanish which definitely helped. Listening to the intermediate and advanced podcasts also helped me loads. I can now hold a conversation at a fairly normal pace with a native Spanish person (although sometimes I struggle with understanding them!)

The biggest thing I think is not to get disheartened and to keep at it, you will improve! Good luck
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Old 26th July 2008, 06:45 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by Brent View Post
Hi again, Edith!

At what point in learning English (or any other language you speak) did you actually begin to "think" in that language? I've been studying Spanish for about 4 years now, and I only have little moments, maybe when I'm watching a TV program. I'll forget to translate for a few minutes and just understand. As soon a I become aware of it, it goes away! Maddening! I'm much improved since listening to the podcasts, however. I still hear Spanish, then translate to English most of the time.
I'm from Poland and I was learning English over there for about 4 years and I only started thinking in English once I moved to Australia 3,5 years ago. Being surrounded by the language really helps and I would never ever manage to reach the level I am on now (fluent but still making mistakes) without living in English-speaking country for some time. I am now planning to move to Spain in about year and a half and in preparation I started learning Spanish about 4 months ago. I am putting lots of effort into learning and I think I am making progress pretty fast but I know from my experience with learning English that I will never become fluent in Spanish until I actually live in Spain, work there, interact with local people, watch tv, read books, simply completely immerse myself into the language. Can't wait
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Old 26th July 2008, 07:14 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by irishluke View Post
Hi all,

How did you reach the next level so?
Get a Spanish lover who doesn't speak English. Failing that, practice, practice, practice. Here are my tips:
  • Talk to yourself in Spanish throughout the day. You already have an internal dialogue with yourself in English, just switch it up to Spanish a few minutes each day.
  • Talk to your dog, cat or whatever pet you may have, in Spanish.
  • Do language intercambios via Skype or face-to-face.
  • Look for a local Spanish conversation group via MeetUp.com or start your own.
  • Plan an extended language learning vacation in a Spanish-speaking country.
  • Do volunteer work where you get to use the language and interact with people in Spanish.
  • Write short stories in Spanish and then read them to your intercambio for corrections.
  • Read Spanish-language newspapers, blogs, books.
  • Listen to Spanish radio/podcasts, watch Spanish TV.
I'm sure there are other ways. With a little creativity and consistency, you can raise your Spanish level. Suerte.
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Old 30th July 2008, 09:00 PM   #75
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Hi, here is a tool I wrote for looking up phrases or words in context (the context being El Pais, presumably grammatically accurate). Just type in your search term and see what pops up.

I'll be trying to improve the results it returns and maybe try and make the words searched for Bold or something. Work in progress and I'm learning as I go.
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Old 30th July 2008, 09:29 PM   #76
Margot
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Originally Posted by Steve W View Post
Hi, here is a tool I wrote for looking up phrases or words in context (the context being El Pais, presumably grammatically accurate). Just type in your search term and see what pops up.
I'll be trying to improve the results it returns and maybe try and make the words searched for Bold or something. Work in progress and I'm learning as I go.
What a wild coincidence...because......many months ago Omeyas (Frank) posted a message in the forum describing doing just that....i.e. using ElPais as a tool to find correct usage of any phrase or word.....and as I recall - what one typed was very short and simple (only I cant recall if one typed it in the URL or in Google search, which seems to make more sense - only I don't remember that it even required this extra step) - and up would pop a ton of recent articles in which your phrase (or word) appeared, used correctly.
I've hunted thru the forum trying to find his post - perhaps you'll have better luck if you try (let me know if you do)
because I thought it was invaluable and o-so-simple!
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Old 30th July 2008, 09:49 PM   #77
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just re-read you message and now see that the link in it is YOUR tool. Sorry ...didn't realize - tho I'd still love to find Omeyas message - because one didn't have to go to yahoo first.....but thanks in any case!
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Old 30th July 2008, 10:26 PM   #78
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Er, I seem to remember writing that post myself way back when.

the Google trick is

"your search phrase" site:elpais.com

and using that trick I can find my original post

elpais search phrase site:www.notesfromspain.com/forums
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Old 30th July 2008, 10:44 PM   #79
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That's it!
(tho I would swear Frank "swiped" the idea from you sometime later - because I would not have seen it back in Aug. 2006 when you wrote that - I don't tend to search the archives).
The reason (I will admit to you )- I prefer this to the other - is that it gives the article and date etc. - and sometimes (like if youre in a fist fight over definitions or usage or whatever - you can cite ElPais - a "higher authority" (as George Bush (in)famously said when referring to God).
Gracias tanto Steve.
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Old 30th July 2008, 10:52 PM   #80
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Here's another handy google search tip:

If your search phrase contains a word with an accent in it, and you only want to get results for the accented version, prefix the word with a +

By default google will include both the accented and unaccented forms of the word as search terms.

For example, if you type into the search box, you'll get about 1.4 billion results, containng both forms te and .

But if you type in +, you only get the hits for the form (and a meagre 32 million of them, no less).
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