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6 Vote

I've taken 3 semesters of Spanish and I still can't have basic conversations with people. I'm terribly frustrated but don't want to quit. I stopped taking classes and now I'm losing the little I learned. Any advice would be gladly accepted.

  • Posted Jul 25, 2011
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14 Answers

7 Vote

It takes me too long to take what I want to say from my head to my mouth, if you get what I mean.

Read books out loud while trying to understand them at the same time.

Watch your favorite DVD with Spanish language track activated.

Participate in the Skype exercises here at SpanishDict.com.

Watch a movie in English and attempt to translate as much of it (in your mind) into Spanish as fast as you can (you will barely be able to do this at all at first...and progress will be veeeerrrry slow). This will make you physically and mentally exhausted quick. Don't be hard on yourself if you only do it for two or three minutes and then just slip into watching the movie.

Translate a book that you really enjoy from English to Spanish. Do another one from Spanish to English. Just do the first few pages or a chapter.

Hire an online tutor who is a native Spanish speaker (there are various websites offering such a service...you can come here for opinions on any of them if you find one you might like to sign up with).

  • I have recently started translating comic books. It's quick, entertaining, builds vocabulary. - webdunce Jul 25, 2011 flag
  • I have the same problem as you do, btw, pandabear. - webdunce Jul 25, 2011 flag
  • You know, there are some fantastic ideas in there......thanks! :D - Achsah Jul 25, 2011 flag
  • Buenos consejos! - 001a2987 Jul 25, 2011 flag
  • I really appreciate these tips. Im a very proactive person and get bored easy so the more different activities I have to do the more I am apt to stick with it. - pandabear2 Jul 25, 2011 flag
4 Vote

Go and take a look at Encouragement Island and see how many people say they are much better at reading and writing the language than they are at speaking it.

I used to think it was just me now I think it is a normal thing.

  • I totally agree, and great suggestion. I hope you don't mind if I add the link here. :) - GuitarWarrio Jul 25, 2011 flag
  • No, it is much appreciated. Thanks to both of you. :) The all-inclusive package is offered free of charge to anyone interested in visiting the island. The non-natives are restless today. ;) - Nicole-B Jul 25, 2011 flag
  • Thanks for adding the link. - MaryMcc Jul 25, 2011 flag
  • You are very welcome :-) - GuitarWarrio Jul 25, 2011 flag
  • I really like this suggestion too! It would really help to motivate me to keep going. Its not a very good feeling thinking that you're the only one that is struggling in that area. - pandabear2 Jul 25, 2011 flag
4 Vote

I feel for you in your frustration and I understand something of how you feel but realistically speaking It takes years to learn a language. 3 semesters is just the beginning. Please don't be discouraged ...Keep learning you will make progress if you don't give up!

The most important thing is to practise and use everything you know as much as possible and to regularly practise speaking the language/languages you are learning. I would encourage you to find a native speaker with whom you can do an exchange: you help them learn your native language and they will help you to learn theirs.

Heidi, our chief administrator and native from Madrid runs Skype chats and you can speak to her and join one of them. There are beginner chats, Intermediate level chats and advanced level chats. You can learn a lot through participating in them. wink smile grin

3 Vote

You have to ask yourself this....do you want to learn? As was stated before...you didn't set out to learn your native language....you just did. You did this in the appropriate developmental stages....it's ok that you can't carry on a conversation after three semesters of a language....you need to listen to Spanish, interact with Spanish, watch Spanish, read Spanish....yes read it!! We learn through a multitude of different paths...the dictionary will become your friend and the gentle corrections from people on this site will take hold of you and you will love it!! smile Remember never give up on something you truly want...it's there for the taking.....take it!!!! wink Good luck and see you around the forum!
"Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."

Winston Churchill

  • Yes, 5 to 7 years and our only job was to try to learn to walk, eat, clean ourselves and talk. - webdunce Jul 25, 2011 flag
  • Its funny that you used that quote... I have always had a desire to learn spanish and recently the Lord said just do it. 3 semesters later I was lead to a hispanic christian church and I now sing and play the guitar for the worship team. - pandabear2 Jul 25, 2011 flag
  • but I have a burden to minister to the congregation but I cant do that till I learn to speak to them. Lately I've felt like throwing in the towel but can't give up on my passion. hope this wasnt weird lol - pandabear2 Jul 25, 2011 flag
2 Vote

This website will really help you with your spanish. This website has been helping me with my spanish.Good luck with school and I hope you learn a lot on this website. LOL

2 Vote

Welcome to the forum. Learning a language is not a simple task. It takes time and a lot of practice. 3 semesters may seem like a long time, but how long did it take you to learn English when you were a baby?

If you don't want to quit, then don't. Maybe you just need to find another way to learn. Try taking the lessons here and see how you do. But you can't just watch the lessons and do the flashcards. You have to try to apply what you learn every chance you get.

  • thank you, I thought all I had to do was take a few classes and that is it. I need all the encouagement I can get. - pandabear2 Jul 25, 2011 flag
2 Vote

Hola! ^_^

If you want to learn Spanish then you're definitely in the right place grinwe have Spanish courses for learning Spanish and we have reference article section where you can find all of the Spanish grammar that you need ,we also have a dictionary ,translation section , flashcards , a phrasebook and a conjugation section for the Spanish verbs , and if you have any question about Spanish and you want to know the answers just ask it here and we will be very happy to help you smile

  • Wow, thanks for the heads up, I didnt know this website offered all that. How soon do you think I'll see improvement if I use this website about 3 times a week? - pandabear2 Jul 25, 2011 flag
  • that all depends on how long you spend here 3 times a week, and what you do while you are here. - amykay Jul 25, 2011 flag
  • what do you think I should I do while Im here to get the maximum benefits? - pandabear2 Jul 25, 2011 flag
  • Hi, sorry if this is butting in here :P , but just a bit of advice I think works to get the maximum benefit from the videos on this site is to take notes as you watch them, writing things down helps me a lot. :) - fi123 Jul 27, 2011 flag
2 Vote

After 3 semesters of Spanish you have likely covered the majority of the grammar. Try watching TV in Spanish. Telenovelas have simple plots so you know what is happening even if you don't understand every word. I have also found it helpful to watch shows in English with Spanish subtitles. You can download these from the internet. Good luck!

  • I can download shows from this site? My main problem is speaking it. It takes me too long to take what I want to say from my head to my mouth, if you get what I mean. - pandabear2 Jul 25, 2011 flag
  • I know exactly what you mean. I think of the most perfect sentences a minute too late. Lately, I've been litening to catchy songs in spanish, memorizing some of the lines and then use those lines in conversation. Sounds strange, but does help. - mopti Jul 28, 2011 flag
  • I don't think I can mention the name of the site here, but if you do a search popular Mexican telenovelas and put "download" in the search I'm sure you will find the site. - mopti Jul 28, 2011 flag
2 Vote

Coming here 3 times per week would be a good start, but I'd advice you to do something with Spanish EVERY DAY. Even if it's something as quick as thinking up the Spanish words of the objects around you, writing a few sentences in Spanish of what happened today or checking the sports page of El País.

Also: Accept that it's going to take a while and be happy with every little piece of progress that you see. The less you get frustrated the better.

Try to enjoy it. If it's a hassle for you then it's going to be very difficult to master. So see if there's things that you already enjoy doing in your native language that you can do in Spanish.

1 Vote

It's excellent that you've already taken 3 semesters, but the fun has just started. There's so much you can do at this point. There is so much more ahead of you smile

If you have taken 3 semesters, then you must know most of the basics by now. That's enough to get you going. You can use what you already know to learn more.

You can listen to Spanish movies with or without subtitles.

You can pick up a book in Spanish and read any story you like.

You can practice having conversations with natives. If you have any Spanish friends, that would be a great way to practice. (don't be afraid, get out there and SPEAK)

Oh, and I almost forgot, you have this awesome website, SpanishDict, with all of the features lovely pointed out, and you can come visit it any time you can! smile

You can do it! cheese

  • thank you for the encouragement! I didnt realize how much of it I would need when I started learning. - pandabear2 Jul 25, 2011 flag
1 Vote

Hi there!

Well you could try different ways of learning spanish after 3 semesters. First you have to focus on why YOU think you can't learn it. Is it memorization? or perhaps you can't get the details down? If you can pinpoint where your weaknesses are, it'll help.

Working with others helps as well. For now, maybe take a break? Do another activity and clear your mind. Don't focus on your negative aspects. It's almost guranteed if you have a positive attitude, you'll work better smile

Also its true what they say, practice makes perfect! So come and work a little everyday while doing something you like afterwards. It will give you something to look forward to.

For actual work, use flashcards? this website helps a lot too!

And remember never think you can't do something. It'll stop you from trying. If you don't try, you'll never succeed.

Goodluck! ...(not sure if this helped much)

  • Actually, this helped a lot. I never thot about pinpointing why its so difficult but I now that I think of it all 3 you mentioned are hard for me. The greatest being the negative attitude. Thanks again - pandabear2 Jul 25, 2011 flag
1 Vote

I would say take the plunge and go and learn in another country. do a course there and refuse to speak english to anybody unless absolutely necessary!

i recently did this in argentina, though it turned out speaking any english is easier said than done... however, my spanish is sill miles better than before!

i went to this school in buenos aires, if you're interested: www.expanish.com

good luck!

1 Vote

It took you 7/8 years learn English, you can not speak fluent Spanish in 3 semesters, you need more time...but watching "novelas" is an excellent idea

1 Vote

You didn't learn your native language in 3 semesters, and you won't learn another, either! wink

But, seriously, it is next to impossible to learn a language without interacting with native speakers. As a matter of fact, I've known people who had PhD.s in a language and couldn't speak itexcaim

One of them was a Secretary of State, too!

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