What is the best way for me to learn Spanish? | SpanishDict Answers
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7 Vote

Hi there.... I am new to this site and wanted to reach out and ask a question. I work for a company where knowing Spanish would greatly help me. I would be able to be hired on a full time basis if I knew the language. I am wondering what y'all think my best course of action would be. Please don't respond to this telling me to live with a family that speaks the language as that is totally unrealistic. I need honest opinions from people who either have had to do the same as what I am asking or know people who've done the same.
Would it be best to take a class at a local college?
Best to do Rosetta Stone? Audio tapes ?

Thank goodness there isn't any time constraints. I am a part time employee and my job is not in jeopardy.... but I would like to get this started asap.

I appreciate realistic advice. Thank you all so much.

  • Posted Aug 2, 2013
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  • Welome mate , there is no "best way" , only " a way " try to complete the lessons on this site , attempt to ask questions and we will correct them , read all you can, and listen to radio and TV in spanish . Buena suerte. - ray76 Aug 3, 2013 flag
  • Oh and in a little while some lovely members will post some of their gems of wisdom on how best to go about this. - ray76 Aug 3, 2013 flag
  • I know they are coming... gems... but people can't help themselves ...can they? I tried to deter said gems by asking people to not respond with unrealistic suggestions, but I know they'll be people that will still do it. - goosh Aug 3, 2013 flag
  • Hey, goosh, what do you think is the best answer so far? Be sure to mark it, so we know. Are you still visiting this site? - 1Rajaji Aug 3, 2013 flag

9 Answers

3 Vote

Welcome to the forum! Ray is right - whatever works best for you is the only real 'best' way to go about learning Spanish. I can only share with you what's helping me to learn, so I hope it'll be of some use...

You're in the right place to start - everything here is free, including the learning videos which are brilliant. And if you've got any questions about speaking or writing or whatever, there are plenty of native Spanish-speaking users who are only too happy to answer anything you have to ask. And of course there are games and flashcards, which I've found to be a real help. Listening to Spanish-language videos on other sites has been a big help to me too - LoMasTV looks like a great site to try (although you do have to pay for it), but there are plenty of videos in Spanish on Youtube as well (and they're free!).

Hope that's some sort of help - and again, welcome!

  • Great advice mate , and as I said they are all gems of wisdom. - ray76 Aug 3, 2013 flag
2 Vote

My suggestions,

If you can take classes do so and use this site to assist. Also, write down the phrases you use daily at work and then translate them into Spanish then if you have questions ask them here.

The classes will give you the foundation you will need and the translation of your daily communication will give you practical application.

Since you need Spanish for work you probably have coworkers that can help you practice.

I am learning Spanish by the living in Costa Rica method. I wish I took classes, it would be easier. But I did write and translate what I needed to say and that worked good for me.

I don't find it necessary to write in English and translate to Spanish any more. But I do use SD to help with my grammer and writing practice. I also have a S-E dictionary on my cell phone I use almost daily. You can find a free download if you want.

As far as R.S. and other learning programs I can't comment other than investigate before buying. Personaly, I would not use these as a substitute for classes. Also, SD is free and has much to offer. So you might want to consider these expensive programs only after you have exhausted your other options.

Best of luck.

2 Vote

I'm not anywhere near fluent in Spanish, so take this all with a grain of salt.

Like the others have said, it really depends on your personal learning style. I was privately tutored for 3 years and then had to take 2 college level courses for my major. My tutor was much harder on me than the classes ever were. Partially because I had already learned what was in the class, and also because the classes were easy and the professors lenient, though this will depend on your individual instructor, but just know that the classes are not always all they are cracked up to be.

So if possible, I would recommend looking for a native speaker who offers tutoring as opposed to taking a class.

Personally, I would not recommend Rosetta Stone to you. I have not personally used it, but I have seen others use it. I recently asked someone who had been a user for about a year "¿Cómo te llamas?" (What is your name?) and they could not answer me. It may have been the individual person, it may be the program, but from what I've seen I wouldn't recommend it.

Once you have gotten the very basics down, it's important to listen to Spanish too. There is a local PBS channel where I live that is in Spanish, that I try to watch at least an hour of each week. I find that the cooking and travel shows are the easiest for me to understand right now, as they use less slang and idioms than sitcoms and dramas--and generally speak slower.

2 Vote

There are a lot of ways to go about learning a new language, it all depends on how you best learn. If I can give my opinion, listening to music is a great way to learn a language.

  • Bad advice. I know plenty of English, but still cannot understand much of what they sing in English! Singing twists the words to various degrees! - 1Rajaji Aug 3, 2013 flag
  • That may or may not be, but please refrain from calling someone's answer, "bad advice". - rac1 Aug 4, 2013 flag
2 Vote

Here's the Realistic Answer. If you want to learn Spanish for a job, then you don't need to learn all of it. You need to learn only what you will use at your job. For example, there's a book "Spanish for Construction Workers." Of course, construction workers don't need to learn how to shop for clothes, how to order food in a restaurant, how to take a taxi, how to ask for directions in a town, etc. So start by learning what you will actually use! That's what I am doing! I am learning all I need right here free of charge! You can learn more later. Buena suerte! (Good luck!)

  • "...construction workers don't need to learn how to shop for clothes [but job seekers should always know how to "dress for success" within their chosen field how to order food in a restaurant, how to take a taxi, how to ask for directions in a town, etc." - Parrandero Aug 3, 2013 flag
  • You are right, amigo. Once again: Learn whatever you will *actually* use. That's what I am doing :-) - 1Rajaji Aug 3, 2013 flag
2 Vote

I concur with 1Rajaji...... as an emergency resource.

If you want to continue learning Spanish as challenge, then read my blog and get in contact with me on Skype.

You don't have to learn grammar in order to learn Spanish. Am I saying that grammar is not good? No, but if you are interested in grammar, learn it after you know how to speak Spanish well.

Most likely you don't know much, or should I say, remember much, English grammar, right?

What on earth would make you delve into grammar but in a language you don't even understand? That notion beats the hell out of me. enter image description here

  • Amigo, thanks for concurring. But when you concur, then you vote *up*. I did. You made me smile. :-) - 1Rajaji Aug 3, 2013 flag
  • If I could, I would transfer all of the points i have, I don't want them. They don't mean a thing, to say the least. Why did I make you smile? - chileno Aug 3, 2013 flag
  • Oh, you have a big heart and are diplomatic too! Your points may not mean a thing to you, but they tell others that you have a high reputation. *That's why this system exists.* Thanks, but I don't want your points. I will get there myself. - 1Rajaji Aug 3, 2013 flag
  • You made me smile with your last sentence and the funny emoticon. - 1Rajaji Aug 3, 2013 flag
  • Ah yes.... as for the points, the reputation speaks of friendship, popularity eagernes etc but not exactly knowledge. ;) - chileno Aug 4, 2013 flag
1 Vote

I agree with Andreknue. Enrolling is a Spanish class is a good, if not the best, way to learn the grammar and an other basics of the language. I don't think you said but, I am guessing that you are in the US. Although you look fairly young, there is an outside chance that you may be of an age that allows you to enroll free in colleges in your state. Many states have that benefit for seniors. (I attend free in my state.) Even if you are not, enrolling part time in a local college/university may not be too expensive.

Supplement the Spanish class foundation with other resources such as this site and the Pimsleur language learning series. Just search for that name at your local library. That learning method is CD based and can be done in the car. Buene suerte.

1 Vote

Hello Goosh

You will need lots of different elements to achieve your success, pero puedes hacerlo.

This is a good site that has a listening section with simultaneous Spanish and English text.

Learn Spanish Online

click on "un paseo"

It also has garmmar sections.

Of course also do Paralee's video lessons on this site. Click on "learn" above.

1 Vote

I think it's a good idea to get familiar with a number of the resources that exist, including websites, textbooks, and CD/DVD courses, as well as possibly enrolling in a class. I'm just beginning to learn Spanish, but already I've found that if something is confusing on first encounter, I can almost always find a clearer explanation and/or some helpful exercises somewhere.

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