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Old 18th September 2007, 04:08 PM   #41
eldeano
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Originally Posted by Jeremy Hawk View Post
Coger down Mexico way means to have intimate relations with(in a manner of speaking). Bit strange with a taxi-but there are some funny people about.
What is even stranger is that you know this.
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Old 26th September 2007, 05:59 PM   #42
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I sympathize with all of you because I experience all of your problems. I hope this will make you feel better.
Remember where you were a year ago, a month ago, a week ago & I bet you have improved. Think about what you have accomplished & don't focus on what you haven't.
Being what the periódico would call an elderly woman, if they were writing about me, I think makes it even harder. But I know I am progressing, although it can get discouraging when you thought you knew something & when you need it, it escapes you.
I look at it this way, I'm learning something useful, living in South Florida, and I'm exercising my brain cells & hopefully someday I will be able to carry on a conversation.
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Old 27th September 2007, 11:16 AM   #43
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I sympathize with all of you because I experience all of your problems. I hope this will make you feel better.
Remember where you were a year ago, a month ago, a week ago & I bet you have improved. Think about what you have accomplished & don't focus on what you haven't.
Being what the periódico would call an elderly woman, if they were writing about me, I think makes it even harder. But I know I am progressing, although it can get discouraging when you thought you knew something & when you need it, it escapes you.
I look at it this way, I'm learning something useful, living in South Florida, and I'm exercising my brain cells & hopefully someday I will be able to carry on a conversation.
Motley,
¡Me encanta tu actitud! ¡Qué consejo tan bueno! Ojalá hubiera más gente como tú. Siga así lo que estás haciendo.
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Old 27th October 2007, 12:54 AM   #44
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I would say never be afraid to make mistakes and master the basics
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Old 4th November 2007, 11:37 AM   #45
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ive just started lsitening to a spanish audiobook (bought on the US amazon site) - Angeles y Demonios by Dan Brown. I can really reccommend it.

Im not a great reader so its good from that point of view, but of course you also get the benefit of listening skills & concentration thrown in.

If i read a book to myself, at times i can hear my english accent creep into my head, so im sure its helping me to improve in this respect also.
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Old 9th December 2007, 05:20 PM   #46
Culebronchris
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I started feeling sorry for myself again as I noticed I'd posted in this thread about a year ago complaining about my inability to string a coherent sentence together in Castellano. It's still the case but I haven't given up yet.

Does anyone know though how high profile, non Spanish speaking, personalities are coached in Castellano when they first arrive? I'm particularly thinking of the football players and trainers who seem to do pretty well remarkably quickly (with the odd Beckham like exception). Is there some language tutor to the stars with an infallible confidence and language building technique?
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Old 10th December 2007, 11:27 AM   #47
barry
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Originally Posted by Culebronchris View Post

Does anyone know though how high profile, non Spanish speaking, personalities are coached in Castellano when they first arrive? I'm particularly thinking of the football players and trainers who seem to do pretty well remarkably quickly (with the odd Beckham like exception). Is there some language tutor to the stars with an infallible confidence and language building technique?
I'm always suspicious of people who give the impression that they have mastered the spanish language in double quick time. Beckham is no exceptiion, just exceptionally honest about his abilties. The broadcasts that you might have seen of apparent rapid mastery of a second language have more than likely been previously prepared. I have yet to see Gary Lineker in a genuine spontaneous situation that would convince me of his fluency , although like many in this forum, has probaly mastered reading writing and listening to an advanced level. I recently came across a local college spanish teacher and I asked her (in spanish) if there were any conversational classes coming up. Her reply " Sorry I'm Italian, I don't speak spanish , I just teach year one spanish".
I have come across many people claiming to be fluent in spanish but when challenged their speaking level was barely above touristy phrases, but they probaly had a degree in spanish. Players and managers speaking english is a different kettle of fish, apart from pronounciation, english must be childs play.compared to spanish.

I'm no expert but I have broken the enormous barrier between so called advanced student (according to online tests !! ) and the pathetic beginnings of conversation at level 0.1, but it wasn't easy, and I don't believe spending a fortune on so called immersion classes would have made any difference. In fact my main motivation to keep going is not spending any money. No need with all the free material available. Sitting back comfortably and waiting for it to soak in is not an option either, as Richard Vaughan implies below.

Richard Vaughan, an American, is a respected english teacher based in spain, founder of 'pueblo inglés' . I have seen him on video teaching english to a small group of spaniards, he must be the best there is and obviously doesn't come cheap However he claims he can only help with 20% of the task. What he has to say about adults learning a second language must be unquestionably definitive about any adult learning a second language.


10 common mistakes Spaniards make , By Richard Vaughan
1.Spaniards think that with 300 hours of class they will have mastered the language enough to get by. The real figure should be around 3,000 hours, including classes, home study and real-life practice.
2 Classes are not the only solution. At best they solve 20% of the problem. It is absolutely essential to study alone (40%) and nip all language-related fears in the bud in real-life situations (40%).
3. Spaniards cannot accept that there is a tedious part: mastering oral agility of the grammar.
4. They assume that if they can understand their teacher, they will be able to understand in real communication situations.
5. They link progress to accumulating grammar and vocabulary. When we do focus on oral and aural confidence-building, they complain about "not progressing".
6. They leave learning English until after their degree.
7. They are not persistent in their efforts to learn and become easily disheartened.
8. They refuse to accept that attaining a good level of English requires a heavy investment of both time and money.
9. They aspire to a perfect mastery of the spoken language which is impossible. Listening should be their priority.
10. They think that they can learn English simply by going abroad. This is not usually true unless they live there for years.
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Old 10th December 2007, 08:46 PM   #48
Culebronchris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barry View Post
10 common mistakes Spaniards make , By Richard Vaughan
1.Spaniards think that with 300 hours of class they will have mastered the language enough to get by. The real figure should be around 3,000 hours, including classes, home study and real-life practice.
2 Classes are not the only solution. At best they solve 20% of the problem. It is absolutely essential to study alone (40%) and nip all language-related fears in the bud in real-life situations (40%).
3. Spaniards cannot accept that there is a tedious part: mastering oral agility of the grammar.
4. They assume that if they can understand their teacher, they will be able to understand in real communication situations.
5. They link progress to accumulating grammar and vocabulary. When we do focus on oral and aural confidence-building, they complain about "not progressing".
6. They leave learning English until after their degree.
7. They are not persistent in their efforts to learn and become easily disheartened.
8. They refuse to accept that attaining a good level of English requires a heavy investment of both time and money.
9. They aspire to a perfect mastery of the spoken language which is impossible. Listening should be their priority.
10. They think that they can learn English simply by going abroad. This is not usually true unless they live there for years.
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What he says seems fair enough (though I rather like how he mentions needing time then says it again but links it to spending money!) but it only suggests the problems.

"Rangers lost because they failed to score enough goals" may be correct but it's hardly useful.

So what does Richard Vaughan have to say about
  • how to master the oral agility of grammar
  • how to focus on oral and aural confidence building
  • how to listen
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Old 10th December 2007, 09:43 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Culebronchris View Post
So what does Richard Vaughan have to say about:
how to master the oral agility of grammar
how to focus on oral and aural confidence building
how to listen
He makes it quite clear that if you stated learning late that you will NEVER be fluent to native speakers level. He puts native speakers on a level ten and says that no late learner will ever acheive more than an eight.

The improvement in the oral and the aural abilities of his students are why he began English Village. (Pueblo Inglés is a similar idea, but a different company. Now!) In his introductory talk to students he offers phrases like "Which world war was the worst world war" and "Do you own a boat" spoken very quickly and naturally. ie, with the words running into each other. It spooks the students, but does point out that classroom English ain´t what is spoke in the street.

If you ever listen to his radio station (Vaughan Radio - it´s on the internet. His personal segment is "Cloverdale".) you will hear that he works his students hard and repetatively. He´s very successful, so his system must work.
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Old 10th December 2007, 10:00 PM   #50
barry
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Originally Posted by Culebronchris View Post
I rather like how he mentions needing time then says it again but links it to spending money!
Well he would say that wouldn't he.


Well at least you have identified your own problems so you are half way there.

I had already identified these as problem areas and now feel confident enough in these areas, but he doesn't mention my current problem of mental agilty of grammar usage, or straying into a topic in which I don't have sufficient vocabulary.

The relevant point is that if you are at all concious of shortcomings in your abilities as a speaker then a mental block is a certainty and nothing coherent will occur.

Students have various methods for achieving these goals, which is why he says 80% is down to you. Maybe a good teacher could recommend the best methods that would suit an individual.

David Beckham famously said
Quote:
I can string the words together but can't understand the replies.
So if you can't yet listen effectively don't even try a conversation. Once you can listen effectively the learning curve is exponential.
Quote:
Listening should be their priority
I found the original article, it may be of some help.

http://www.elmundo.es/suplementos/ma...128105087.html
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Old 21st December 2007, 09:01 AM   #51
Kathy
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Originally Posted by Jeremy Hawk
Coger down Mexico way means to have intimate relations with(in a manner of speaking). Bit strange with a taxi-but there are some funny people about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eldeano View Post
What is even stranger is that you know this.
It's not really that strange. It's one of the first things you learn in the states if you're learning spanish! (but not in a class, of course!)
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Old 21st December 2007, 09:05 AM   #52
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Pepino said, "My other tip is to get drunk. No, seriously! After a hard day in work feeling like I'm understanding nothing of what my colleagues are saying and feeling like a complete failure who doesn't deserve to even attempt a foreign language, there's nothing better than heading out for a few drinks and seeing the difference. This isn't a scientific discovery of mine of course, and you'll have to be careful not to get completely plastered!! Obviously, if you're totally wrecked then you'll have no real perception of how your Spanish is coming across and you certainly won't learn much from your conversations, but being mildly drunk de-activates that annoying gland in the back of your brain that makes you subconsciously check every word before you say it. With me, that gland "spoils" my Spanish as I end up thinking too much before each word resulting in a big disjointed mess. Before you know it, you'll find you just let the words come out. Many will be wrong of course, but your conversation will flow like never before. And if nothing else, it gives you a boost to be able to feel like you're communicating freely, and what better way is there to round off a hard day?? "


Drinking a bit seems like it would work wonders for my Spanish! (too bad I don't drink!)

Last edited by Kathy; 21st December 2007 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 21st December 2007, 10:13 PM   #53
Cervecero
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Is it really that difficult?
The only problem I ran into in spain was after I FINALLY found a mail box and asked a local street vendor to borrow a pen to finish writing a few addresses.

Me: "Tienes una pluma que puedo usar?"
hombre: "una que??" - looking at me like I'm crazy.
Me: "una pluma" - making the motions of writing
hombre: "ahhh, un boli!"

He gave me a pen and went away, probably telling his coworker that I'm crazy. That was the only time I felt embarrased speaking spanish in spain. I didn't feel so bad though because after I left, on the very same street I saw a store called something like "Papeles y plumas." At that point I didn't know which was the correct word to use in spain.
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Old 21st December 2007, 11:40 PM   #54
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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.
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Old 31st December 2007, 06:58 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cervecero View Post
The only problem I ran into in spain was after I FINALLY found a mail box and asked a local street vendor to borrow a pen to finish writing a few addresses.

Me: "Tienes una pluma que puedo usar?"
hombre: "una que??" - looking at me like I'm crazy.
Me: "una pluma" - making the motions of writing
hombre: "ahhh, un boli!"

He gave me a pen and went away, probably telling his coworker that I'm crazy. That was the only time I felt embarrased speaking spanish in spain. I didn't feel so bad though because after I left, on the very same street I saw a store called something like "Papeles y plumas." At that point I didn't know which was the correct word to use in spain.
This shows clearly that besides learning vocabulary it is important to learn strategies to describe things. In this case it would have been: algo para escribir which includes lápiz, pluma, lapicera/-o, birome, plumafuente, estilo, portaminas, rotulador ...
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Old 17th January 2008, 11:12 AM   #56
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Default Spanish channel on Sky TV

Hola a todos,

This is just a quick tip for anyone with Sky TV (mainly the UK but it is widely available in parts of Spain, I believe.)

Anyway, there is a Spanish-language channel included in the basic Sky package. It's called TVE and you can find it on channel 795. I find it really useful to watch, even though I don't understand large parts of it!

Adios!
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Old 21st January 2008, 09:48 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cervecero View Post
The only problem I ran into in spain was after I FINALLY found a mail box and asked a local street vendor to borrow a pen to finish writing a few addresses.

Me: "Tienes una pluma que puedo usar?"
hombre: "una que??" - looking at me like I'm crazy.
Me: "una pluma" - making the motions of writing
hombre: "ahhh, un boli!"

He gave me a pen and went away, probably telling his coworker that I'm crazy. That was the only time I felt embarrased speaking spanish in spain. I didn't feel so bad though because after I left, on the very same street I saw a store called something like "Papeles y plumas." At that point I didn't know which was the correct word to use in spain.
Es un detalle,igual no lo sabes, pluma y boligrafo no es lo mismo.
Pluma:
http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pluma_estilogr%C3%A1fica
boli:
http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bol%C3%ADgrafo

Yo creo que tambien es importante que el interlocutor (la persona que escucha) haga el esfuerzo de entenderte porque yo al menos te hubiese entendido pero de sobra. Un saludo
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Old 31st January 2008, 03:56 PM   #58
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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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Old 6th February 2008, 06:11 PM   #59
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What drives me crazy is that have to learn Castillian, then adjust it to Andalucian, and then re adjust it to my neighbours in the village who speak something completely different.

We have been going there for three years, and I can understand (usually) most of what is being said to me, especially if the speaker is being considerate.

My two neighbours tho, lovely old dears tho they are, I still cannot comprehend ni un puta palabra.

The advice given to just throw yourself in is very true. Your mistakes will usually endear you to people, sometimes in ways you didn't intend.

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.
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Old 7th February 2008, 01:47 AM   #60
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Then there was the time we were out with our friends, and we were discussing the seafood menu. Choco (cuttlefish) was on the menu so I said 'Me gusta chocho en la parilla!'

I thought they were going to choke.

Ah well. Then there was the time when a collection of little old ladies all in black from the village stopped to ask me what I had been doing to get all hot and sweaty in the garden. Desperately groping for the apt phrase, I remembered the one the teacher had said, but instead of coming out with 'Estoy hecho en polvo' I managed something like 'Estoy echo un polvo'

Ever seen respectable little old ladies sobbing with mirth? I thought they were going to end up on the floor.

Ah well, it certainly broke the ice!
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