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Tips on Learning Spanish
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A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!


Visit Expedia…

Expedia is my favorite place to book airfare, and they handle hotels, car rentals, cruises, etc. I like the organization of the site for figuring out what flights I want. Click on the suitcase to take a look.

I was very pleased to win an award for this blog! Even better for you: click through for lists of all sorts of award-winning travel blogs.

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

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I’ve been reading the blog of David Rodriguez for a while now, and we have emailed a little. He is a Spanish professor and I asked him for a guest column on learning Spanish. He kindly obliged, and this is what he sent. I can vouch for his advice to read the Bible in Spanish — I have a paperback of the New Testament with English on one side and Spanish on the other, and it’s fun to read.

So you want to learn Spanish! Or, maybe you just want to improve your Spanish. Well, you will if you put your mind to it. I’ve been teaching Spanish for twelve years now and I’ve noticed that persistence leads to fluency. The secret to learning Spanish is to think in Spanish. You should always be learning Spanish. Continue doing whatever has been working for you, such as college courses, listening to audio recordings while you drive, or computer programs. But try a few new things, too. You need to expose yourself to Spanish in different settings.

Watch the news in Spanish. If you keep up with current affairs, watch the news in Spanish. You’ll be surprised how much you will understand. The pictures and films will give you a context that will help understand what they’re saying.

Watch DVDs in Spanish. What’s your favorite movie? I imagine that you’ve probably seen it a few times so you know exactly what the characters will say and what will happen next. Most DVDs of recent movies allow you to listen to the movie in Spanish. Turn on the Spanish subtitles while you’re at it. Just beware that sometimes the subtitles don’t correspond exactly to the soundtrack.

Read in Spanish. What’s your favorite hobby or topic? Search for it on wikipedia.org and read it in English. Most articles are fairly short, so reading it won’t take long. Now look in the left margin for the link that says Español. Click on it and you will be able to read the same article in Spanish. And this is proper Spanish and not this horrendous Spanish produced by some computer translator.

Read the Bible in Spanish. This is a good resource for learning to read Spanish because most people are familiar with parts of the Bible, Genesis, for example. You can find it on the internet for free. The nice thing about reading the Bible is that all the lines are numbered. You can look up the corresponding line in an English Bible and figure out what you just read.

Study Spanish grammar. That’s right, grammar. Most Spanish students hate to study grammar, so if you do, just skip over the grammar explanations, and study the Spanish examples provided. That’s all you really need. Memorize some of the sentence constructions and substitute your own words to suit different situations. I have some Spanish grammar pages on my website if you’re interested: http://davidrodriguez.us/espanol.html

Of course you should continue to practice speaking Spanish whenever possible because perhaps the most difficult part of learning any language is developing your ear for understanding what is said.

1 Comment from the old blog:

At May 03, 2008 12:05 PM,  Steve Cotton said…

Your idea of reading the Bible in Spanish was very helpful. I have several translations of the Bible on my PDA — one in Spanish. It is very helpful to put the versions side by side while reading. More than increasing my vocabulary, it has taught me how to start thinking in Spanish concepts. Great blog by the way.

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