What are some tips for me to speak Spanish fluently?

I am 27 and speak only English. I have took two semesters of Elementary Spanish in college. My teacher was from Spain and the Spanish was so different that the FEW WORDS/VERBS I did retain I really cannot use.

I have the strongest desire EVER to learn Spanish and become bilingual. What are some tips? Is the Rosetta Stone software worth 0?!

Any help and/or guidance would be greatly appreciated. I am very afraid that I will not be able to learn it or retain anything :0(

8 Comments

  1. I seriously consider that since you are already a grown-up and it is a well-known fact that one’s brain is less likely to, say, learn a new language, the best option is to GO AND LIVE for a while in a spanish speaking country.

    BUT I must say that there are a few places which one should avoid:

    I seriously think that the worst idea in the world is to go to Argentina to learn Spanish. Mainly, because they have their own orthographic rules and their own way for conjugating verbs (in the imperative mood for instance, they say things like "jugá" instead of "juega", etc), not to mention the fact that their accent is hideous (it is a fact that other spanish-speaking countries despise it).
    Spain is not a good option either (as an interesting fact: I don’t know if you are aware of this, but Spanish is not the only language spoken in Spain. Spanish or "castellano" which is the proper name, comes from a specific Spanish region, "Castilla"). Spanish people lisp A LOT and the rest cannot understand them. This is a FACT. They use conjugations which are outdated for the rest of the Spanish-speaking world (for instance jugais instead of juegan), and they have lots of slang we don’t understand.

    Cuba (despite its hideous political situation) is a good place to learn spanish. Most of the other countries in central america are not a good idea since they have strong accents and are too Americanized, in most of them people tend to speak Spanglish.
    Mexico is a great place to learn spanish. We all know how they speak and are familiar with their terms (mainly bc every TV series is dubbed by Mexicans).
    I think Peru is probably the GREATEST place to learn spanish. They don’t have a strong accent and they don’t have too much slang.

    I am from Chile, which is also a spanish-speaking country. We don’t have a strong accent but I wouldn’t reccomend your coming here to learn spanish because we speak too fast and we have too much slang.

    makkabeusdans
  2. Your best bet, first of all, is to finish getting the basics. If you haven’t had four semesters of college, you won’t have the base of knowledge that you need to get there. Rosetta Stone can help, I think, but I’m not familiar with the program. My experience with that type of program…tapes, cds, whatever, is that they teach you phrases. They don’t teach you how to form your own thoughts into cohesive sentences, but I have heard that Rosetta is better than most.

    How about this? Rather than going out and spending the 500 or more on it, try going to the library and see if they have a copy you can borrow and see if it works for you.

    Alternatively, you could try the local community college for a couple of inexpensive (albeit time consuming) courses. I understand your interest in trying to make it fit into YOUR schedule, rather than the other way around.

    Another way to get the basics down is livemocha.com. With it, you can take the lessons, and practice with real natives, and, for Spanish, with English speakers who are fluent.

    Once you have learned the basics, you need to GO to a country where Spanish is the native tongue, and live there for at LEAST four months, if at all possible, better for a full year, in order to cement and really become fluent.

    Then you need to keep it up.

    It’s tough, but totally worth it!

    And, just out of curiosity, what verbs/words can’t you use? do you mean, you really can’t form sentences? or that you find them to be bad words?

    SUE
  3. I can help you, I really like teaching what I know (I speak English and Spanish) and what a best way to learn a language than practicing it (chatting on the msn or talking).

    doesblue
  4. watch spanish tv. Use close captions. Also read it and try to learn some pronunciation rules such as:

    the E at the end is NOT silent! sounds like the first E in Elephant. Example: Nueve (nine)

    the H is silent. Example: Hotel sounds like otel.

    the J sounds like H. Example: Juan sounds like huan.

    the letter "ñ" sounds like when you are saying lasagna (the gn combination) Example: Niña.

    Hope this helps a little bit

    Emilia C
  5. Rosetta Stone is a visual program, so you have to be sitting at a computer to use it. Pimsleur is a listen and respond type of audio program, so you can listen to it anywhere. It’s expensive too, but the library might have it. My wife is studying Spanish and has tried everything. She’s done a blog on it (not selling anything — just a blog) if you want to read about her experiences with books, cds, classes, immersion, etc. It’s https://learningspanishanywayican.blogspot.com if you’re interested. Good luck. (I got bored with Rosetta Stone)

    William B
  6. First of all, I vote for Sue’s answer above. I think it makes a lot of sense. One thing I would suggest is that there are flexible online programs that include a real live human teacher in private classes.

    If the goal is flexible flexible flexible, and you still want it to be a good quality service, you should check them out. One option is https://www.lejoslearning.com.

    But pay a lot of attention to Sue’s answer. It makes a lot of sense. Use all of the resources you can get your hands on.

    Mauricio E

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