Anyone else finding it impossible to learn Spanish?

chrisdr

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Oct 7, 2012
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Ok, I am embarrassed to say that I have been here for the best part of two years and I still cannot speak Spanish. Don't get me wrong I know a bit, I get by in shops, driving, etc but I am finding it impossible to follow conversations and engage in them.

In England I only ever learnt French and was never any good at that. I have tried books, Rosetta Stone and did try a course here at one of the Uni's - it was beginner Spanish but I found that everyone was already fluent speaking so I got lost after a few weeks...

Now I know my problem is laziness - all of my friends and family here speak English so there was no immediate necessity to start - but now I find myself almost 2 years down the line and feeling stupid every time someone asks me why I haven't learnt Spanish.

Anyone else got any tips?... motivation?... want to teach me??
 

dv8

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Sep 27, 2006
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what you have to do it to have to do it :) ditch the wife and find spanish only girlfriend :) ;)

you need to be forced. i did not bother to learn spanish for years and then all of a sudden i started working in the pharmacy and things clicked. when i entered the job i had no idea what people said to me. our workers did not speak english. they only repeated what was said but slower and clearer. all of a sudden i had no other choice but only to communicate in spanish...

you need to have no other option. volunteer - if you have time - in spanish only environment. find a job - if you do not have one - where you will be forced to use spanish. nothing else will work...
 

rogerjac

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Feb 9, 2012
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what you have to do it to have to do it :) ditch the wife and find spanish only girlfriend :) ;)

you need to be forced. i did not bother to learn spanish for years and then all of a sudden i started working in the pharmacy and things clicked. when i entered the job i had no idea what people said to me. our workers did not speak english. they only repeated what was said but slower and clearer. all of a sudden i had no other choice but only to communicate in spanish...

you need to have no other option. volunteer - if you have time - in spanish only environment. find a job - if you do not have one - where you will be forced to use spanish. nothing else will work...

Option 2
Teach them all english:cheeky:
 
Dec 26, 2011
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Immersion is key. Buy a book in Spanish. Write down every word you don't know and look it up. After a few chapters the list will get shorter and shorter. No more English radio or tv. Associate more with locals.

Good luck!
 

CaptnGlenn

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Mar 29, 2010
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A couple of thoughts: I agree, immersion is the key.

One problem is that learning "book language" is different from learning from "real life speaking" language -- whatever language that might be. The book language will definitely help, but it's almost a different language.

I took a couple of semesters of Spanish a few years ago, and have lost much of what I learned. You need to use it every day.
 

rogerjac

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Feb 9, 2012
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I still like option 2. Its working in the USA where the Spanish speakers from allover have made Spanish an almost 2nd language
 

chrisdr

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I do like the book idea - but I am pretty good with writing, and can understand 40% of what is written in a newspaper (and can piece together the rest). But CaptnGlenn - you are right - just when I think I have learnt something I go out and havent a clue what people are saying.

i got told to try and start with childrens books to help learn...
 

La Rubia

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Jan 1, 2010
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Make the immersion and volunteering to include children, I've found it's much easier to learn from them. (And they don't judge, like you may percieve adults do.)

I would also keep a notebook, and jot down key words you don't understand and look those up at the end of the day. (Yes, spoken Dominican Spanish deviates from standard Spanish, but it's much better to find out now that the word really does have an s in it, than later, when you have been using it incorrectly forever.

It's hard work, so if you are tired and your head hurts, you are on the right track!
 

cjp2010

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Mar 25, 2013
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I started with the books, rosetta stone, etc. Even watching TV in Spanish. Even started looking up every word I didn't know. But simply knowing words doesn't mean you will follow real conversations. Accents are different, slang, etc. The difference I noticed was when I started living with a Dominican woman who is now my wife and we spoke it in the house every day. I learned more in two months than I did in two years with the books and everything else. And now I can speak it with Dominicans and follow their conversations no problem. But short of living in a house where it is spoken you can emerge yourself in it other ways. As dv8 said get yourself into a Spanish environment and work through it.
 

Tarheel

Well-known member
Dec 19, 2005
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I think there are people that have great difficulty learning a second language. For instance, say you have dyslexia (I do) it will be very hard to learn Spanish. One of the symptons of dyslexia is you are a poor speller. CC on our board has it. Another trait I have is I'm tone deaf. Spoken spanish sounds like gibberish to me. If some one will speak very slowly I can pick some of it up. Not always but sometimes.

Now having said that you can learn spanish with a big effort. Keep at it and I don't think it is laziness on your part.
 
Dec 26, 2011
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I would also keep a notebook, and jot down key words you don't understand and look those up at the end of the day. (Yes, spoken Dominican Spanish deviates from standard Spanish, but it's much better to find out now that the word really does have an s in it, than later, when you have been using it incorrectly forever.

Exactly.

Learn Spanish and Dominican. You will end up speaking somewhat like those with whom you speak most. It's unavoidable. But it's best to master the language as it's written.
 

donluis99

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Jul 12, 2004
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dude get a Dominican girl friend...................that do not speak no English and does not want to learn.....

motivation can be a big factor, but to get a job for the sake of immersion when you do not need a job will only lead to frustration and quitting, maybe turning into a vicious cycle.

The motivation you are going to have to find within yourself and that's all there is to it! The girlfriend will only help pass the time while you look for your motivation.

Me I came here to the DR passing through, dead ass broke this guy I meet gave me a chance, paid a meager wage for a while, I learned Spanish, by

1. Listening
2. writing 5 new words on a little piece of paper and repeating them all day long
3. plus one sentence to learn each day

Made a lot of mistakes, I remember one time I was calling for some guys to help do a task, I was up on a machine calling out -hambre subir hambre aca or something like that, somebody brought me 2 pan de aguas con huevos like they have seen me eat in the morning sometimes......I wanted un hombre que suba para ayudarme, later I figured out my mistake, what an idiot they must have thought I was ....or really really hungy mad americano.

That was one type of external motivation....
after a year he made me the G.M. until his son was ready to take over, which he did back in 2010, and I am still working there......

also used a computer program called "The Spanish Teacher" I thought it was fairly decent program comparability speaking to everything else I tried, it helped with grammar, pronunciation & vocabulary, a good US$39.95 spent at the time.

I was like 36 years old, never learned a language except english, and bubba I felt my brain actually rerouting circuits and signals as I learned, now I even think in spanish!

so reach on in deep and pullout some motivation and learn Spanish/Dominican...

g'luck
 
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AlterEgo

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Jan 9, 2009
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Some people just learn easier than others. I'm not one of the easy learners when it comes to languages. After all these years, I get by. After we're in DR for a few weeks, I start thinking in Spanish, and even caught myself talking to Mr. AE in Spanish a couple of times. [We normally only speak English together]
 

cjp2010

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Mar 25, 2013
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The thing is if you don't find a way to speak it and hear it on a regular basis the way it is spoken here in the DR you will not easily be able to follow conversations. After all my book learning and other BS I was to the point where I could read one of the local newspapers and understand about 80% - 90% of it. I could get by very well in shops, etc. But I still couldn't follow a real conversation if people weren't trying to talk directly to me "on my level". There is no substitute for having those regular conversations on a daily basis. Whatever you need to do to have it, new girlfriend, volunteer work, etc. you have to get yourself in an environment where you are conversing regularly. The people you converse with will have to accept your level at first and be willing to help you keep up. If you find those people you'll learn very fast.
 

Matilda

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Sep 13, 2006
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I learned French and German at university so I had a grounding to how to learn languages. Came here knowing no Spanish at all. Start with the verbs. Learn the present tense of 6 verbs: to be, to go, to have, to do, to want, to come then learn 10 words of vocab a day. I used to teach Spanish and have loads of worksheets so if you want me to send them to you and correct them then please pm me. I will send them with pleasure.

Matilda
 

Lanami

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Apr 16, 2013
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Hi! I remember I watched TV show about learning languages. Teacher gave Italian classes. I had Spanish dictionary and when I looked there a lot of words were same with Italian. After watching only two shows of Italian classes I started to build sentences in Spanish. It's very easy language. You just need time for learning it or find really good video classes
 

La Profe_1

Moderator: Daily Headline News, Travel & Tourism
Oct 15, 2003
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I had a friend who could read Spanish perfectly. However, he had no "ear" for languages and was totally unable to speak in Spanish.

Another thing that complicates learning a language is a hearing deficiency. I am hard of hearing, and that makes it difficult for me at times to catch every word spoken to me - especially if it is espa?ol de la calle.

My son was excused from the mandatory language requirement for a NYS Regents' diploma based on his hearing. He could not hear well enough to be able to replicate the sound of a new language. The school board got him a waiver on the requirement.
 

CaptnGlenn

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Mar 29, 2010
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I ALMOST FORGOT. Don't worry about making miStakes.
In fact embrace them.
You learn more from mistakes. Don't get paralyzed by the fear of saying
Somethng wrong
 

dv8

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Sep 27, 2006
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do not learn from children. they cannot speak any language known to human. they mumble and grumble and they have poor pronunciation. i cannot understand them even in polish. i distinctly see their lips move and i hear them making sounds but honestly, it makes no sense to me :)

i suggest you talk as much as you can to dominicans you know, those who do not speak english, that is. talk about food. everyone loves food. and it will not surprise them that you do not know names of the dishes. they will explain. you will learn. then ask about power. about politics. delinquencia. pick up one subject per day. gather vocabulary.

verbs are easy. learn the basic: to do, to go, to have, to make. memorize two forms only: i do, you do. present tense only. then you can say: i do tomorrow, i do yesterday. yes, wrong, but you will communicate. slowly you will learn the basic verbs in different forms and tenses.