- Education and Science
Be Fluent Fast - Learn Spanish
The key to learning a foreign language as quickly as possible is to immerse yourself. That's right, 'get into it', be part of it and let it be part of you. Think about it for a second... you can spend days studying text books telling you about verbs, nouns, constructing sentences and so on but how will you learn proper pronunciation and put it all into context?
So, how do you immerse yourself at the start of your language learning journey?
- Listen to the music of that country
- watch their television channels
- read their newspapers
- speak to people from that country
I will be talking about Spanish so let's look at some examples. Most of the above can be done online so its simple to do. Visit websites, for example - The Spanish Royal Family Official Website. Read newspapers online - Cinco Dias, a Spanish newspaper from Madrid. If you don't know anybody from Spain or a Latin American country (although there are differences in dialect) you could even use Skype to interact within groups of people from around the globe. Once you start learning a language you will soon pick up words within a sentence and be able to recognise what the conversation is about. Prepare to be impressed by your own achievements!
Using these methods you can be fluent quite fast. Or at least you will be even more familiar with how the words and phrases you are learning fit into every day life in the real world.
No method of learning a language is an over night thing. It will take time and practice. However, your best chance to be fluent fast is to use the method that works best for you.
Years ago audio tapes were a popular method of learning languages. If you are not familiar with these, they were simply spoken word in cassette format that got you to repeat, 'parrot fashion', the words and phrases you heard.
There are pros and cons to this method, for example, being able to learn at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home, not experiencing any meaningful interaction, feeling silly in front of others.
Over time this method has evolved and there are still many useful and effective methods of using CDs or MP3 audio files to learn languages.
One of the easiest for some people is to use audio CDs, or these days MP3 files. Ask yourself how much time you spend in your car going to and from work or going to the grocery store. DO you listen to music at the gym? Instead of listening to music or the radio, use a language CD. There is a good series called 'Learn [Spanish] In Your Car'.
I have used this and I put it on at the start of my journey and began by repeating what I heard, as if the little Spanish man was in the car with me. We started with basics... "Hello!"..."¡Hola!"... "¡Hola!". "Good morning!"... "¡Buenos días!"... "¡Buenos días!" and so on. An English speaker says the words then a Spanish speaker says the same words twice, with a pause between each so you can repeat what you hear. This progresses at a pace that suits you to more useful everyday phrases, such as "Where is the bathroom?" and "Which train goes to Madrid?". Of course these lessons are structured and you can skip to more useful parts or repeat others if you wish.
In a similar way that you would learn in a language lab at school, this method uses repetition. Words or phrases are spoken to you and you are encouraged to repeat them. In audio-lingualism, there is no explicit grammar instruction - everything is simply memorized in form.
The idea is for the learner to practice the particular phrases or words until they can use them spontaneously. I was amazed at how easily I picked it up just by listening and talking back to the voice in the speakers! Within a couple of days I could remember basic questions and answers and started to use them on friends as practice.
There are two other, way more effective learning systems I can recommend to you. For learning Spanish as well as many other languages. The first is Rocket Languages. A professional language course that is:
- fun to use
- easy to follow
- minimizes study time
- give you the confidence to actually speak Spanish!
This course guides you through what you need to know so not only are you repeating words and phrases, you gain an understanding why. For me, this is the key to learning anything. I need to know why I am doing something, rather than just being told to do it.
Also included in the course are software based lessons. There are a series of games to aid you in your learning. These fun games enable you to develop a sound understanding of reading, writing, speaking, and listening in Spanish.
You should take a look at Rocket Spanish if you are serious about learning Spanish, or any other language for that matter!
The second learning system is Rosetta Stone. I have had great success with this software. The Rosetta Stone method is to recreate the natural way you learned your first language and reveal skills that you already have using Dynamic Immersion.
We all had to learn our native language in the same way didn't we? As infants we looked at pictures, words were said to us over and over by our parents until we eventually got the idea that the hairy thing with four legs is a 'dog'. Then we learn to say dog for ourselves.
So, Rosetta Stone really is tapping into what we all already have within us - the ability to learn pretty much anything we want. What they have developed is an effective method of presenting to the user a series of words, pictures, sounds that enables and encourages easy learning.
With Rosetta Stone you will :
Learn Naturally: Discover how to speak, read, write, and understand--all without translating or memorizing. Our award-winning solution recreates how you learned your first language, unlocking your natural abilities.
Speak Confidently: Perfect your pronunciation with speech-recognition technology. Gain the confidence in your new voice as you practice with other learners in our exclusive online community and participate in online sessions coached by native tutors.
Immerse Yourself: Be surrounded by your new language. From core lessons to online sessions, Rosetta Stone gets you engaged and interacting with others.
Stay Motivated: Experience accomplishment with each moment of achievement; with dedicated success agents you will never lose sight of your language-learning goals.
Sample topics in the first level include:
- Age, family relations, household items
- Introductions and greetings
- Times of day and calendar terms
- Buying and selling
The software even uses voice recognition technology to provide immediate and ongoing assessments of your speech, helping you to pronounce syllables, words and sentences correctly and easily.
For many, traditional language learning fails because it lacks real conversation. With Rosetta Stone you'll play games and chat with native speakers and other learners in our online language community.
The second level of Rosetta Stone (Level II - Intermediate) builds upon what you learnt in level I. Using the same award winning software and learning system, you will advance to more complex topics and vocabulary.
Level II sample topics include:
- Destinations, directions, locations, telling time
- Past and future tenses
- Letter writing and polite requests
- Celebrations, meal courses
If you are serious about learning Spanish or any other language, you need to look at these methods first before deciding how you want to learn. All of these language products are tried, tested and proven as some of the most effective methods out there. Rosetta Stone has been used around the world by governments and official bodies in training their staff. What more do you need to know? If you are serious about learning Spanish, try one of these today.
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