My Goal to be Fluent
My goal is to speak fluent Spanish when i graduate high school. I have studied Spanish for an entire year and, I have two more full years in high school. Is this an obtainable goal? I know that it depends on how often I study and speak it. I have a knowedge of the indictative and small amounts of the subjuctive and imperative. Will i be able to obtain this goal?
If you can become fluent in 3 years it will be the result of some very hard work on your part, perhaps nearly to the point of obsession.
But how awesome it would be for you to pull that off! You would reap rewards for a lifetime, and find yourself extremely useful to an employer or a church or many, many other situations.
But you will need more than the lessons you will get in a high school Spanish class. I'd recommend some CD sets and podcasts on your Ipod and other forms of quasi Spanish immersion.
Buena suerte. And you know what? I wish I had done the same thing when I was in high school.
Becoming fluent in Spanish in 3 years is definitely an attainable goal, but you won't do it by merely attending high school Spanish class. It's a good start, but it's not enough. I took 4 years of high school Spanish, 2 of them in Venezuela, and it still took me 6 months after moving to Venezuela before I was comfortable holding a conversation at speed with a local. Nowadays I own a horse ranch in Southern California and I talk to native Spanish speaking workers constantly, but I still don't consider myself fluent.
Immersion is the key. That's difficult to accomplish if you're not living in a Spanish speaking country. It requires a lot of effort on your part, trying to hold conversations with native speakers at every opportunity, reading books and newspapers in Spanish, listening to Spanish language radio and television broadcasts, watching movies with a Spanish language soundtrack, reading out loud and recording yourself so you can hear your mistakes, everything you can think of to do to practice.
It can be done, but you're going to have to average a couple of hours a day of quality practice. Just going to class and doing your homework will not get you there. That's just one piece of the puzzle.
Hi Lucas, I agree with Margaret that your goal should be attainable, and that the success will go according with your hard work. If I may add suggestions, one of our fine members gave mention of another fine site that additionally to this one, is a very good place for learning online, also for free. It is a video teacher with his co-partner (His wife). There goal is to have people attain fluency in one year, and they started in January 2010, but the videos are all there for purposes of beginning from the start. It is a one year only availability. This year. It is www.lacasarojas.com
Other tips: 1. Pick up a Spanish song CD with words on sleeve/booklet if you have not yet done so. And / Or listen to spanish songs on youtube. 2. Many English novels of popular authors will have a Spanish translation. Pick up a 'young readers' fictional novel in both the english and spanish version to read alongside one another. (Or whatever age bracket will suit your present ability to be challenged with sufficient understanding to cope. Expect (look for) that some differences will have been made to accomodate the cultural or other differences. I've purchased the 9 to 12 yrs of age readers book titled, Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary in both English and Spanish. In spanish it is titled Querido Señor Henshaw. I read these side by side (one page in English, and then revert to the Spanish) on my subway/bus transit to work/etc. 3. Of course, if you can find a spanish person to practice with, that is a real bonus!
Not that all this is necessary! Just ideas that you can incorporate to 'gung-ho' along. Since the Christian bible is a passion of mine, I personally also bought a bilingual bible (English- Spanish) with the chapters along side one another. Have a great time in learning!
As has been mentioned, immersion is the real key, even just playing a spanish speaker in the background actually helps to attune your ear. Say while you're washing the dishes etc, try having the ipod going with lessons or news or a book being read in Spanish.
Even if you feel that you don't understand much you'll be surprised actually how much you're learning without knowing. Before too long you'll just have hear or read something and you'll automatically know if it's right or wrong without even knowing why. That's the beauty of immersion, even if it's in your own kitchen
I'm with Jack. As someone who's been spending the last 2 years learning Spanish for like 5 hours a day, I sometimes feel good about my Spanish and sometimes bad. I can understand a movie, most of the time, but casual conversations with the guys at work are still very difficult. There's so many dialects in Spanish.. So many different ways of saying things. Some people say "Que eso" instead of "Que es eso" there's a million things like that. I learned C++ programming. I learned Crystal Reports, SQL databases, how to build computers from scratch (used to sell em cheap), and I used to design websites back when you didn't have all these nifty tools at your disposal. All of that is way easier than learning Spanish. Way easier. To clarify: Learning to program in C++ is way easier than learning Spanish.
Not to rain on anyone's parade, but the goal of becoming fluent in the Spanish language is indeed a lofty goal, but will probably be one of the hardest things you ever accomplish in life. All of this of course is predicated on whether or not we can agree on the definition of 'fluent'. If you are to become fluent in Spanish (according to my definition of 'fluent') you are going to have to immerse yourself in the Spanish language and culture at a level that will drive your friends and family crazy, to the level of being called 'obsessed' and some other names as well. If you're not going to another country for your immersion experience, you're going to have to live, eat and breath everything in Spanish here, and that means making friends with native Spanish speakers (not just casual encounter types) and spending quality time with them, watching television, movies, etc, in Spanish. On this side of the task it's hard to understand the difficulty of the task, but in the middle of it, the weight of it may be more than most people can bear. However, if you have, or if you develop a love for the language and the people, it will give you a drive to complete your task. You've got to have something to fuel your passion, and I hope you have it. Best of luck.
. Hi Lucas. My advice is to find a private teacher. I used to do this a couple of years ago - every Wednesday for 1.5 hours.. Because I had already studied hard (like yourself) I didn't need much "grammar coaching" so this gave me more time to speak/listen.
I think this is the closest thing to "real world" Spanish .....
It forces you to speak (if you are shy you will soon get over it)
You get instant feedback (you will know if you've made a mistake by the look on his/her face - just like in the "real world").
You are in a "pressure-situation" - better think how to conjugate that verb quickly!!!
You can practise what you want to talk about (e.g. music, sports, movies, holidays etc)
This is pretty intensive stuff though - you will stammer, you will stutter, you will get headaches and you will scream with frustration
But it works.
Best of luck
Hi Lucas. I, too, believe that your goal is obtainable with hard work and diligence.
My advice is to find a private teacher.
Send me a PM if you need help finding a private tutor.
I think so, of course the harder you work the faster you will reach your goal but I think it is a very attainable goal! Buena suerte.
I agree with all of the great advice provided already. I especially agree with the fact that you should immerse yourself in the Spanish language. You will especially need to focus on "listening". I took four years of French in High School and did well on every test. I was able to read French novels by the end of the third year. However, because all of my learning was from the classroom and from books, I was unprepared when the teacher introduced us to French speaking Canadian students at the end of my senior year. I lost all of my confidence because I couldn't keep up with them.
I think if you follow everyone's advice here, you will be amazed at your progress. You will be way ahead of all of the other kids in your class!!
A minor quibble/caveat regarding books in translation or dubbed movies/TV programs. If you have a choice, I think you are better off with translations into English. From the grammatical/vocabulary point of view it doesn't make much difference but part of learning a language involves learning about the culture/history that surrounds (and shapes) that language. In an English/American novel/movie, the people think and behave in ways that are conditioned by their culture. This is, of course, also true of Spanish novels/movies but the cultures (and, therefore, the [re]actions) are different.
In many ways, these cultural nuances are the hardest part of doing a translation. One can produce a straightforward translation that is entirely correct (from the grammatical point of view) but that native speakers would never use. This may be simply due to the fact that there is some standard (colloquial way) of saying something but can also be due to the fact that people from different cultures react differently to the same situation.
If you really want to speak their language, you also have to learn how they view the world.
You've set quite a challange for yourself! That's good. I think you will be very far along at least for having attempted it. Try making Spanish speaking friends on Skype, or try joining in the Skype chats here. Go for it!
When you are learning a second or third language you have to expose yourself to it. Watch as many movies in spanish as you can, listen to as many songs as you can, read as much as you can, speak as much as you can. Imagine yourself in daily life situations speaking in spanish. To make a long story short, experience the language and I'm sure you'll achieve your goal.
I believe you can do it, Lucas! If you really push yourself and work at it, you can. And, know that you aren't alone! I'm a high school student as well and while I'm not going for being fluent out of high school, I am trying to get a deep rooting in it and possibly be fluent in Spanish by the time I'm out of college. If possible, I'd even like to minor in it and do some studying abroad.
The best way to learn is to immerse yourself. Listen, even if you don't totally understand, to native speakers. If you haven't seen it before you should check out this website. Each lesson is focused on a topic and has several different native speakers talking using the vocabulary along with a grammar section and a page of related vocabulary and phrases.
Here's an idea for you that may give you a Spanish emersion experience in small doses while you are in high school...
If you live in or near a city with a Spanish-speaking population, call the United Way in your area and tell them that you would like to volunteer in a capacity where you will be interacting with Spanish speaking people.
Pick something that is low key where you may meet some nice people. For example, in my town the housing authority has a couple of buildings where almost every resident is a native Spanish speaking retiree. These senior citizens just sit around all day and chat. You could organize a once a week game time when you bring in board games, card games, etc. You could lead them in gentle stretching.
As you get confident in your language skills and get to know them, you could interview them about their lives.
As you got to know them better, in this relaxed setting, they would probably L O V E to chat with you in Spanish, anytime, all day.