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Recommendation on Spanish

I can not help but recommend this course in Spanish, my wife uses it and she has learned a lot. While I do speak Spanish, she does not let me correct her or help her in any way. I am very proud of her growing Spanish.

The course is conversational, to get you up to speed quickly in all sorts of situations. But it is not just spoken Spanish, you also learn how to write and read it.

This is my recommendation:
https://www.amazon.com/Fluenz-Spanish-A … rds=fluenz

It is 5 DVDs each with about 30 lessons each, so go over each lesson many times until it becomes second nature. You can get the DVD's or download the content to your computer (Mac and Windows), also you can carry it with you on your iPhone or Android

I wish a similar course existed when I was trying to learn English over 40 years ago. Set aside 30 minutes or an hour a day and you will be well prepared for a lot of situations in no time.

PS. She has used Duelingo before but abandoned it after trying Fluentz.

Rey

Thanks Rey, the more resources the better.

I've been using many, many resources to help me learn Spanish. Duolingo, English Transfer, reading articles and translating them, taking private lessons and carrying around index cards with vocabulary, phrases and verb conjunctions. Currently I'm watching a children's animation series "Canciones de la granja" on Netflix and translating as I watch. I like it because it's repeats verses so they get ingrained quickly.

I've been doing this for about 2 and 1/2 years now, and I'm extremely frustrated that I still can't understand a lot of what people are saying to me. I get the gist most of the time but I'm not fully comprehending. I focus so hard to the point of almost getting a headache.

A couple of days ago my g/f and I had to go to immigration to renew our work visas here in Rosario, Argentina. We always see a bunch of Mormons from the states there on their mission, also renewing their visas. This time we struck up a conversation with them as they overheard us talking in English and inquired as to why we were in Argentina.

There were four of them and three of them had only been in Argentina for about 4 months and said they didn't know Spanish but were studying. One of them started talking to my Puerto Rican g/f in Spanish about their mission and the words flowed out like he had been studying for years. I was impressed but jealous and dumbfounded. All I could think of is what the heck I'm doing wrong that I've been diligent in my studies yet he already seems more competent then me!!! Maybe some of it has to do that he's in his early 20s and I'm in my late 40s.

So I'm going to keep at it harder than ever. I'm hoping to find some combination that will switch on the light in my brain. It almost seems like an impossible task for me to be fluent but I'm still going to try. I have 7 more months until I'm in PR and I want to be semi-fluent by the time I arrive.

Try that course, they explain everything, as to age my wife is 57 and she is getting it. One of the problems people have is the gender of words like La Casa, versus El Casa. In English it is just The, no gender. Also the order of words can cause problems. As a general rule think of it as the subject, are you referring to the green of the house or the house that happens to be green.
Try the course, not cheap but well worth it.

By the way I admire Argentina Spanish, it is very close to Spain Spanish, I find it more musical.

Some of the problems you face could be the speed at which people speak since you are translating. After many years in the US I learned to think in the language being used and not try to translate.

Also local words and word mangling used to speak faster, like the word "can" as I can, in Spanish it would be Puedo as in Yo Puedo, but in PR we drop the D and instead say "Pueo"

When I first moved to the US I started reading books in English on subjects that interested me. I used a dictionary when I could not figured it out.
I also used to read the dictionary cover to cover to gain additional words. During the two years I was in Germany I watched a lot of German commercials, they were funny for the most part and the naked women getting out of the tub in the commercials were a bonus. :D

Youtube is a great place to supplement the language programs you may be using while watching a topic you are interested in. I love cooking videos and videos about Puerto Rico so I search for those videos to learn about cooking and also to hear a native speak the language. I live in California so the Spanish I hear most are native speakers of Mexico. While it helps me learn Spanish, I know that Puerto Rican Spanish is different and listening to them on Youtube helps me pick out words and say them correctly for PR. Good luck!

So is fluenz still the top pick?

Fluenz is a recommendation, nothing more. A lot of people are going with DuoLingo which is free but in my opinion does not fit the bill like Fluntz.

Fluenz is conversational, where you learn what you need for day to day life and maximum reach in the community. You learn how to say it, how to write it and read it. What you learn is very useful and this is coming from a Native of PR who had to learn English the hard way.

I think it is a mistake not to spend the money for the product, it is an investment and under 400, not thousands.

My wife uses it and everyday I hear how well she is doing (I am not allowed to participate in her learning), so all I do is listen.

Rey,

You better off that way! You know once you start giving her your "opinion " , you will be in the dog house. We natives are too stubborn and opinionated for our own good.  :lol:

Yup, it is too fricking cold outside to be in the dog house. But I rarely feel I need to intervene, it is mostly when they use words that are popular in Mexico and not the Caribbean, like coche instead of carro. They are both correct but hardly nobody uses coche in Puerto Rico.

COLD?  It dipped into the sixties the other night! My teeth were chattering when I went to my water aerobics class.  Guess I have been acclimatized to life in Puerto Rico.

Let me put it this way, my pool is a skating ring right now.
So if she does not want me to correct her Spanish then......... my lips are sealed.

Rey, I fully understand your wife not allowing you to be part of her learning process.

Whenever I ask my g/f how to say something, or what something means, she provides more information than I need, thus confusing me even more. We joke about it. We newbies just need the bare bones right now, not the nuances.  We'll get that later. It's tough for a native speaker to know where to draw the line when giving help. I know you've been through this process yourself, but it's easier said than done as far as "dispensing-information-restraint" to someone trying to learn.

Also, people ask me if we talk in Spanish to help me learn. The answer is no. It's just too weird, after 10 years of talking only in English to start talking in Spanish. It seems weird for me to take the bus 50 minutes into town to take private lessons when I have a native speaker right at home, but, believe me, it preserves the relationship.

I think the toughest part about learning a new language is understanding people speaking like they normally would. Everywhere in the world people blend words, drop the endings of words or use combinations of words that make no sense when translated   in English, like "hace falta". Those combinations one just has to memorize and forget trying to make sense of it in an English sense.

I was recently watching some videos on http://www.spanishlistening.org/ which provides transcriptions of what is being said in the video. For the life of me, at certain parts of some videos, no matter how many times I watch a video and compare it to what is being said, I cannot understand what is being said.

Take this lesson for example http://www.spanishlistening.org/content … sport.html. When the male speaks he combines multiple words to sound like one long word. Some of the words are inseparable to me like "bueno tratar de usar trasporte" at the 30 second mark. To me it sounds like "bueno trataustransporte".

I think it's extremely important, and I don't do this enough, to ask people to speak slowly and clearly. It's a little embarrassing for me but people will understand. I was thinking about making a shirt which says "Please speak slowly and clearly, I'm trying to learn Spanish".

On Saturday afternoon I took the bus to a cerveceria Rosario's city center to fill up some growlers to enjoy while watching the Pats beat Pittsburg's butt. They open at 6pm and I got there at 6:15 which means, in Argentina, I got there way too early. They were just turning on the computer and the boss was trying to explain to me why it was taking so long for the computer to be ready to process my transaction. The sentence to me was "ujutoalbelaldlieuonnsder cenar". I was like "why is he talking about supper? I'm just getting my growlers filled". I apologized for my bad spanish and the waitress started putting her hand to her mouth, miming eating for "cenar". That's the only word I understood! I still don't know what they heck they were trying to explain to me but I got my growlers filled and that's the important part.

When Spanish speakers get accustomed to having you around they tend to forget you are still learning so it's important to keep reminding them to speak slowly and clearly. Immersion is great but you can't learn to swim by being thrown into a pool.

These are just my opinions, just flowing off my brain right, now so take them for what they are worth. Since I'm still learning the language feel free to correct me if any of these are off base. Also I'm a tad hungover from emptying those afore-mentioned growlers into my stomach last night. The game didn't start until 8:40pm here.

You need to study what is important and relevant to you. Things you will use daily so they will get ingrained quicker. I'm really into gardening so for one day I will study all the words for garden tools, etc. By the way, I want to give a spanking to whoever created the word "tool" in Spanish. "Herramienta"? Really?

Nail down the simple stuff first like present tense and allow the more difficult things to build around those. I look at it like trying to learn guitar with the early Beatles catalog. A lot of their chords in their early stuff are really simple and easy to learn for the beginner. But every now and then they throw in a b-minor chord that you have to learn to complete an otherwise very simple song.

Learn one thing at a time. Don't try and learn the preterite and imperfect at the same time. Understand that there specific uses for each but make mistakes only using one tense until you have nailed down all the conjugations for that tense. Then move on to the next one. Then figure out the nuances of when to use each tense.

Right away learn the conjunctions of estar, ser and ir. And I'll also add in "poder" and "tener" as well. Once you get those down knowing the conjunctions of verbs becomes less of a hassle because after using the conjunctions of estar, ser, ir, poder, and tener, you only need the infinitive of the following verbs.

I still struggle with this but try and learn about reflexive verbs as soon as possible. It's something that is used in Spanish way more than English and is very unnatural to the native English speaker. It's used so much in Spanish that you really need to learn this difficult part of the Spanish language early on.

Since we are talking about Puerto Rico, it goes without saying to just ignore vosotros in all its forms.

Learn some phrases and don't try to make sense of them. So you say "vale la pena" means "it's worthwhile"? Ok, I'll just accept it and try not to make sense of it in regards to English.

Learn about "haber". Once you learn how to conjugate "haber",  you have also learned how to conjugate  future tense verbs where one would use the word "will" in English as well, aside from irregular verbs.

This post has gone on way longer than I intended so I'll just stop here. :)

Hi Rich,
I want to explain somethings that may help out.
"Vale la Pena"- Vale refers to worth, while the word Pena in reality stands for sorrow, so it is not an exact translation to English: It is worth it or It is worth the Pain. The basic meaning is the same but the direct translation would be is worth the sorrow. The correct word for pain is Dolor, yet nobody says Vale el Dolor.

Asking people to speak slower is very important, this allows you to notice spacing in the sentence and gives you time to translate or register in your mind what was said and put it in context with what was previously said. You are doing the right thing and is not impolite.

As to separations between words .... some phrases are so common, that they either need not be finished or the full spacing maintained this happens in English also.  This is hard on those learning the language and you will miss some of what is being said between natives, but if you asked them to speak slower, more than likely they will do it slower when addressing you. A simple No Entendí eso or Por favor Repite eso, will get you going again.

Conjugation of verbs and male versus female is not worth to be addressed at first. Concentrate on the basic message, it is ok if they just label you as a gringo or get a good laugh at first as long as they understood the basis or intend and work with you. Try not to let them jump into Englishfor other than explanations.

Cena is not always dinner in some countries it can mean lunch. Also Cena may be at 8 or 9 pm in some countries so the midday lunch 1-3 may be what they are refering to.

Then you may have the issue of a siesta which is practiced in some countries. Typically a siesta is around the hottest time of the day because it makes people groggy, that time will likely vary by the country distance to the ecuator. In some places it maybe noon, others 3 pm or even 5 pm.

When a business is professional they keep the hours they posted unless something out of the ordinary has occurred.

We do not speak in Spanish at the house either because she said she is not yet ready but eventually she does wants me to speak it or mix it with English. We shall see how that works.

Do notice that I try to point out items related to culture because they have a meaning and change somewhat the language or word preferences.

Yes vosotros is mainly used in heavily Spaniard based cultures others use modern Spanish. Everyone knows vosotros but it is not used, only uneducated will not know the word vosotros. It is ok to use but may raise an eyebrow which is ok.

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