What Is The Point In Trying

3
votes

As noted in another thread I am 3 hours into my Pimsleur Spanish course.

I spent some time looking on the internet tonight at Pimsleur v Rosetta Stone v This V That and on each one people post things like - ' these CD's even level 3" will not make you fluent in a language.

Most post seem to be very critical of the courses.

Now, my ambition is to be able to speak a bit of pidgeon Spanish if I go to Panama, or Miami - but the posts on the sites that compare the teaching courses available are really quiet depressing.

Today is my first day at work and having to find my 1/2 an hour - which quite hondestly is pretty difficult to do.

So off outside to listen to lesson 8 and 'waste my time' 8 as the general opinion of CD courses goes.

Anyone get any more positive views '

7516 views
updated OCT 19, 2010
posted by Roger
never quit
Hey Roger, I hope you don't mind me suggesting a couple of corrections, some I'm sure are just typos but to help our learners of English :) most 'posts', pidgin english, quite, honestly :)

26 Answers

2
votes

You might appreciate this

"Mi gato es bilingüe. Si le digo "Miso ven aquí" me ignora, y si le digo "come here" me ignora igual.

updated MAR 6, 2011
posted by motley
2
votes

Those who succeed are the ones who stick with it.

"There is no try. Do, or do not."

updated OCT 24, 2010
posted by 008f2974
2
votes

I agree with ricardo. I learnt spanish via linguaphone. I spent half an hour every night for 9 months, many times listening to the same record over and over again. even after that length of time, I still only knew the basics. in my opinion, the only true way to become fluent, is to immerse yourself, ie live or work in the country whose language you want to learn. as this is not possible for 99.9% of people learning another language, you just have to keep trying. reading spanish books, listening to spanish channels on the tele. the books I used to prefer were parallel text ones, spanish on the left page and english on the right. this saved a lot of time hunting through a dictionary. ricardo is also right since after learning spanish I also speak decect french and am at the moment learning portuguese. it just depends on how badly you want it and to bear in mind that it will NEVER be easy. Querer es poder (where there's a will there's a way).

ps: ricardo, why do you want to go to the river with me.

updated OCT 19, 2010
edited by Eddy
posted by Eddy
2
votes

I agree that 3 hours isn't very long to expect to learn a new language. I"ve been "learning" on and off for 6 years, and I still can't listen to Spanish and understand most of what's being said. I think you'll do well to use flash cards, or to make post its around the house to learn household items, we did that in my first year of Spanish. I also think a real class is a good idea. Several universities have classes online that you can take. I'm currently taking a Spanish class online through Penn State, and it's very educational. There's even a program where we can get together in a chat room type setting and all talk to each other. The good thing about Spanish is that all the letters sound the same in every word, so once you understand how to make the sounds, you can read almost anything. Also, once you understand the basics of conjugating verbs, you can conjugate almost anything, with a few exceptions. Good luck!
Also, you know, for almost any product you will purchase, you're going to find postings on the Internet about how much that product sucks.

updated OCT 19, 2010
posted by jen3
1
vote

Eddy,

I like your ps. grin

When you asked the question I was reminded of:

Y que me la llevé al rio
creyendo que era mozuela
pero tenía marido

(part of a poem I read many years ago.
I think by Antonio Machado but I could be corrected on this one.)

and then I realized that Eddy could be male or female.
So enjoy anyway! grin

ps why did you want to know?
Couldn't you wait 'til I got you there to find out?
grin
R

updated OCT 19, 2010
posted by RicardoN
1
vote

As a fluent speaker of 2 languages, Spanish and English, and an average speaker of French and bad speaker of Italian let me clarify some things.

3 hours is not enough study to learn the basics of any language let alone become fluent. I have spent more than that on my Italian and it is dreadful!
Fluency comes with practice preferably with native speakers in that language or at least very fluent speakers of the language. (ordering in a restaurant doesn't count unless you can have a conversation. Trust me I do that in italian all the time!

The most diffcult is your first foreign language. YOu need to establish new pathways in your brain and these do not come easily. The younger you are the easier they are to establish. Once you have learned a second language the third, fourth and so on are a lot easier but they all require practice!

People that learn from CDs often expect that once they have gone through the CDs they'll speak the new language. This is impossible. They may have gained the knowledge but they need practice to parse the language instinctively, ie to split what you hear into the component words.

People that have learned it through a second language speaker, ie not a native speaker, often find they have a problem speaking to a native speaker. Native speakers, in any language, speak faster and run their words together which makes parsing difficult.
They also often swallow sounds as their listeners are used to it.
I mean they will say 'sallrite instead of 'it is all right.'

Similarly in Spanish they may say maomeno instead of 'mas o menos'. This of course just make parsing more difficult as you must do it on the fly as you listen to someone.
So I might say 'Cuandoqueresquevayamosalrio'' and it is your job to split it into the actual words.

So don't get discouraged and make sure you can find ways of practising what you learn with another person.

Take care.
R

updated OCT 19, 2010
posted by RicardoN
1
vote

Thanks. I looked at some of the resources here - they are pretty good !! I will be using.

updated OCT 19, 2010
posted by Roger
1
vote

For me the the best way to learn spanish was go to a spanish speaking country. I was at university studying spanish but wasn't getting anywhere fast, in my 3rd year we spent a year in Spain. When I arrived I coul speak broken spanish, after 3 months I was speaking with ease and after 6 months I was speaking fluently, beacuse I was surround by spaniards. I lived with 2 spanish girls that couldn't speak english and got a job in a hotel, where I spoke spanish the majority of the time, but was useful to them with my english. I would definitly advise on just packing some stuff and going. I know there are a lot of companies that do learning holidays like gapyear.com where you spend anything from 1 week to 1 year in the country of your choice (lots of south american countries) and you work with the locals and in return you for your help you get help with learning spanish.

updated OCT 19, 2010
posted by poppadoms01235
Great if you are free to do it. :)
1
vote

I was just thinking, 3 hours, I've been at it for almost 3 years. Even though my vocabulary is pretty good, I have a problem with conversation, & that is always having to translate. I really think you are asking too much of yourself. Relax, learn what you can, hopefully you have a better memory than I do. It will come, be patient, it takes TIME & dedication. My class keeps me going, the teacher is fun, the class diversified, & we laugh at our mistakes, which are many. When I make a serious mistake, the way it should be, tends to stick..

updated AGO 17, 2009
posted by motley
1
vote

I think you need to use several resources.
An adult education class would help
You need a good verb book, "501 Spanish Verbs" is a good one.
I make flashcards & study when I do my morning walk. Spanish on one side, English on the other.
Play CD's in your car. You can check out most anything before you buy it at Amazon.com, read the reviews from others.
Watch Spanish TV, I turn on the subtitles. Even though they are in Spanish, I find I can understand better reading than listening. Maybe someday I'll be able to understand what they say. At least you get the manner of speaking.
Check the resources from this site, just click on lessons, there are many.
Don't get discouraged, it's not easy. When I start to get down on myself, I try to think of how much more I know now than when I started.. Some people are just good at learning languages, others, like me, aren't. I'm just determined.

There is a book
Word by Word English/Spanish
Diccionario Ilustrado de Inglés by
Steven J Molinsky, Bill Bliss & Herlinda Charpentier Saitz

I call it a pictionary. It illustrates everyday events, items & gives the meaning in English & Spanish. It wasn't very expensive. I got it at Amazon.com. Check it out ISBN 0-13-125865-6
Use the ISBN, there are several editions.

updated AGO 17, 2009
posted by motley
0
votes

I've spent about 4 hours a day studying Spanish grammar and vocabulary for the last year or so, including living in Ecuador for the last 8 1/2 months which has given me lots of additional time to listen to and try to speak Spanish every day. My reading and writing are still far ahead of my speaking, and I consider myself to only be at the advanced beginner level. I think it will take two more years for me to become fluent and I will never be mistaken for a native. Part of that is due to being over 50 and having a slower learning rate than when I was young.

I also noticed that when I neglected grammar and conjugation practice to concentrate on vocabulary, I backslid rapidly.

updated OCT 19, 2010
posted by lorenzo9
0
votes

I agree with the previous comments - the best way to learn a language is by total immersion (and at the earliest age possible!).

If, like most, you are not able to go to a Spanish-speaking country and live there for a while, you can try and attempt immersion at home.

  1. Learn: Choose a Spanish class where the teacher and students speak only Spanish, no (or very minimal) English should be used.
  2. Watch: Watch Spanish programmes on telly, watch Spanish films on DVD (you can cheat and put on the subtitles the second time you watch it), etc.
  3. Listen: Put on a Spanish radio station or listen to Latin music CDs (the Buena Vista Social Club have pretty clear accents and you can access their lyrics online to read along with listening to the music).
  4. Read: My least favourite part, if I'm honest! Try and read a news report or an article from a magazine, or even a children's book in Spanish.
  5. Practice: Use flashcards, stick lists of vocab up on the bathroom mirror (you can read it while you brush your teeth!), etc.
  6. Fun: Try to have fun with it - play role games with other learners, use the SpanishDict website, play games, make up poems or do puzzles in Spanish, etc.

.
Basically, try and get as much Spanish around you as you can manage... and don't be too hard on yourself - I certainly wouldn't expect to become fluent in only 3 hours of listening exercises!! .
Suerte con tus estudios smile

updated OCT 19, 2010
posted by amy_moreno
0
votes

Well... I tried Pimsleur for Italian and I'd say I liked it. But for Spanish language I found much more interesting and useful resources. It's not CD courses but free audio/video programs that are much better in my opinion (and cheaper wink) I'm not sure if I can put ads here but a lot of people already mentioned some, so:


  1. Destinos - Introduction to Spanish - TV series perfect for beginners. Just spanish - no english comments. There is a plot and a lot of episodes give you information about spanish speaking countries, its culture and traditions - not only Spain but also Argentina, Mexico, Puerto-Rico,... Watching last episodes I could understand every word they were saying! I think I really made a big progress thanks to this program. Free online
  2. Notes in Spanish Podcast - this podcast is just great. The guys are really cool and they give a lot of speaking spanish phrases that you won't find in the normal lessons. Free podcasts and a lot of supplementary materials here

I really think these resources can help a lot. Combining grammar articles, SpanishDict.com lessons and watching/listening to native spanish from these programs I think I made a big progress studying spanish.

Hope it'll help!

updated AGO 18, 2009
posted by xsway
0
votes

I've tried the rosetta stone (I haven't finished it yet) but I'm on the second disk and I already know just by what I've done so far that it would be silly to think that I could be fluent by the time I finish the third disk.

That doesn't mean I don't think it's a good program. I think it is great! I really recommend it. It associates pictures and sounds and there is no english as a crutch. You work out what the pictures have in common with the sounds and words and trough trial and error it is so much more memorable than studying on your own. Try doing a section a day (probably an hour) and on the side watch some spanish tv or do some other activity in spanish in your free time.

To expect to be fluent soon, I really recommend the site alljapaneseallthetime.com. Just substitute Japanese with Spanish. It really helped me learn Japanese very quickly just because I could trade off all of my english activities and make them in Japanese. After placing into the second class in college, I decided to give it up for focusing on Spanish, but the few months I practiced I was racing past the beginner's Japanese course by just putting the time in.

updated AGO 4, 2008
posted by sarah3
0
votes

I tried the Pimsleur for Japanese. I didn't get very far, probably more due to the fact that my ears are bad. I would really love to learn Japanese and Italian. Italian has got to be one of the most beautiful sounding languages today, and there is so much culture and history with Japanese it's a shame I don't have better access to it.

I took a couple of years of Spanish in high school (1962-1964). I didn't learn much. Then a few years later I moved to Colombia for two years. Suddenly a lot of what I had been taught in high school seemed to make sense. After just a few months in Colombia (immersed for about 4 months) I was pretty much fluent, but still with a lot of errors. By six months I was thinking in Spanish and there were less errors. By the time I returned to the US my Spanish was pretty good (not as good as a native speaker, of course). That was in 1972.

Since then I've always lamented the fact that I really didn't have any opportunities to keep up my Spanish. I've lost a huge amount of vocabulary and some of the verb structures. Recently, my wife and I moved to an area where there are lots of native Spanish speakers. My Spanish was bad when we first got here, but it's coming back faster than I expected. I think I'll be able to get by when we go to Colombia this summer (assuming we'll actually get to go).

I have never regretted learning Spanish, only that I've forgotten so much. Even what I didn't learn in high school seemed to come back while I was immersed. Don't give up on the Pimsleur and other methods, but be aware that other methods may work better for you. Always the best option is immersion, but as someone said, that's not available to 99.9% of those who want to learn.

Best of luck to you
¡Que Dios le bendiga!

updated ABR 2, 2008
posted by CalvoViejo