Help with a school decision??
Hola! Me llamo Harry. I am an American student and I am going back to college in January. I had a question with the Spanish I would be learning. I practice Rosetta Stone (Spain) version pretty regularly. I am only on the beginning of level 2. I was thinking about taking a Spanish class while I am in school but I did not know if I should worry about mixing the two accents I am trying to learn? Or do you think just more Spanish is better no matter what kind. (I am only learning it because I want to.) Would it be better to wait until I can choose a teacher from Spain? I do want to sound somewhat elegant when I speak (far off into the future I mean) and not sound like someone mixing two accents and sound funny. Would that happen if I kept learning Rosetta Stone and took college courses from a teacher from somewhere other than Spain? Anyway, I am probably more concerned with this than I should be but any reassurances would be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance, Harry
I think unless you have the equivalent of a photogenic memory with your hearing of the language it would be unlikely as a beginner that you would pick up an accent so fast that it would blur as far as the Spanish accent. I think everyone learning a second language will have to wrestle the influence of their native tongue more than regional differences in the second language.
At this point I would just try to learn as much as you can about the form of the language and worry about accents later.
I remember when I was taking French classes in high school there were people in class who could understand the teacher but could not understand other French speakers. For this reason it is good to be exposed to different people using different accents when learning a foreign language. After all the point of learning a new language is generally so you can communicate with anyone who speaks your new language.
Dear Harry, why wait? Any teacher who speaks clearly will be valuable to you, regardless of country of origin, In fact, being exposed to different accents will fine tune your ear.
It seems to me that right now you need to learn the language rather than concentrate on accents. You should do that in any and every way possible so as to come as close to the immersion concept as you can.
Of course, doing it that way will expose you to multiple accents and regional colloquialisms. But none of that is bad, because I'm sure your goal (other than sounding elegant) is to communicate with others who speak Spanish. Thus is is a good thing to expose yourself to Spanish from various places.
You will pick a style and an accent for yourself from what you learn. But in my opinion, that comes later.
Thanks everyone. It seems that the consensus is that it's best to learn any Spanish and don't worry about the accent thing as it will come naturally. Thanks again!
I think that it is not important of where your professor is--as long as he is a native speaker, you will still learn all that you need to learn to be able to communicate in spanish. I learned english of an Irish professor, but I can still understand speakers from other countries. And I think that either way your accent will be still american and not castellano or whatever else since you are american, and it is very difficult to get rid of an accent. It will be very good for you to study spanish in the university because there you will learn better the grammar, and you will be able to interact more in the language--which is the most important thing to learning a new language! suerte con tus estudios!
I agree with all of the above
After you learn Spanish and feel confortable with the level you have achieved.
If Castillian is what you want to sound like, go and live in Spain for at leats a couple of years after you graduate from school (maybe be an English teacher).
Do not go to Galicia since their Spanish is a mixture of Spanish and Potugese stay in Madrid, anyhow there is more fun things to do there....
Maybe when you come back you will pronounce the word "Cenar" as "Zenar"...
I agree with the others. It will help you tremendously to expand your ideas. One thing I love about the classes I take is that I frequently have different teachers from different areas. It will really round out your appreciation of the dialects as well as languages. PLUS, you will get a chance to learn many different words for the same things. The best teachers are the type that when you ask how to say something, they will respond with: "Well, a Cuban would say ____, but a person from Chile would call it this _____" That way, you'll learn them all.
My first exposure to real Spanish was two summers in Mexico (a semester in high-school doesn't count because the teacher couldn't really speak Spanish). I then, made a conscious effort to change to "Castillian" pronunciation (in anticipation of going to Spain). The change required some effort but had the benefit of reducing spelling errors/confusions.
I've spent time in Mexico and Spain and (much less) in Chile and Panamá and Puerto Rico and, in my experience, it makes very little difference which dialect/version/pronunciation one learns. There are (at least, subtle) differences with almost any country but once one gets past the "intermediate" (roughly) stage one's problems are almost entirely vocabulary (and pronunciation becomes a minor consideration).
Acquiring accents can be amusing.
I acquired mine by meeting border-crossing migrants here in Arizona. Most were rural folk.
When I was tested for placement in a language school in Mexico, the interviewer remarked that my accent was that of rural Mexico.
I took that as a compliment; I love visiting rural areas and talking with rural people!
My accent likely is still sort of rural, which is fine by me, because so many of the campesinos are such delightful, "salt-of-the-earth" folk...