How I’m Learning Spanish

I’m reaching the halfway point in Spain, the first of four countries, in my year without speaking English. I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on what I’ve been doing to learn Spanish, what’s worked well and what hasn’t.

I want to stress that this article is intended to be descriptive rather than prescriptive. I want to tell you how I’m learning, rather than suggest my approach is the best. If I’m going to give language learning advice, I’d rather wait until I’ve had the chance to see how these methods hold up in Chinese and Korean.

What’s a Typical Day Like Without Speaking English?

The principle constraint of this project has been not speaking in English. I hadn’t thought of it initially, but around week two I added a second constraint: no reading or watching anything in English except for one day each week.

I talk to my parents in English once a week, I write an article here in English once per week and I need to answer work-related emails in English. But, otherwise I’ve managed to eliminate English communication from my life. This includes speaking with my roommate Vat, who is also working on this challenge with me.

Right now, a typical day is usually:

  • Wake up around 9 (or later if there was a party the night before)
  • Eat breakfast and watch the news
  • Go to a private tutor for 90 minutes (4x per week)
  • Get lunch with Vat and record the daily conversation (listen to our recordings here)
  • Take my grammar booklet to the park and do some exercises
  • Read from my book (currently reading Errores Geniales que Cambiaron el Mundo)
  • Go to the gym
  • Head home, relax to some television in Spanish and eat dinner
  • Go out to a party or spend time with friends

My days aren’t identical so that’s only a rough outline of the routine I’ve established here.

The first thing that may stand out is how little studying I’m doing, in general. During the MIT Challenge my schedule was 10 hours of studying every day. Here it’s more like 10 hours per week.

But what I’m foregoing in study, I’m making up for in practice. I’d guess I spend at least 10-12 hours speaking, reading, listening or writing in Spanish every day. That means by the end of my 3-month adventure, I’ll probably have logged nearly a thousand hours of practice.

What’s Worked

My learning schedule is actually quite different from my original plan I formulated in Canada. I had expected I would be doing a lot of Anki flashcards, tutoring and deliberate exercises for advancing my ability. This hasn’t been the case.

What has worked really well is sticking to the no-speaking English rule. I can say this with confidence by comparing my experience in learning French to learning Spanish. Upholding this constraint has worked better for me than any trick, class or piece of software.

After the first two weeks, I noticed myself using the internet a bit too much in English. Originally, the constraint of the trip was going to be not speaking in English, and I had thought keeping a constraint of not reading or listening to any English might be too difficult or unpleasant.

However, after my first two weeks I switched to omitting all my consumption of English in books, movies and the web aside from one day per week. This was a hard step for me as a blogger who practically lives online, but after a two weeks with this new system I think it has also helped immensely.

The only “tool” I’ve found effective for me has been a simple Spanish grammar book. It has little exercises to help explain and practice things like the past tense and subjunctive. On it’s own, it’s probably fairly useless, but a small amount of grammar study has been quite helpful because it’s combined with so much practice.

What Hasn’t Worked

Anki was a program I enjoyed using in Canada prior to my arrival here. It’s a spaced repetition software that gives you flashcards you can study from (and you can make your own). The advantage of this software over paper flashcards is that the software tries to anticipate when you’ll forget a fact, and tries to remind you right at the cusp of that forgetting curve.

Unfortunately, I haven’t found Anki useful at all here. I’m still holding out hope that it will prove more useful in learning Chinese characters, which was my main use of Anki in Canada.

My main critique of Anki is the one I voiced originally, before working extensively with the software. The memory associations aren’t learned in context and are doled out irrespective of the actual importance of words. I had even worked out a system to only add cards to my deck that I had previously translated, to try to triage out unimportant words. But this was still too cumbersome.

Maybe Anki is simply better suited for learning in a non-immersive environment? This could be the case, but I’m always worried about tools that give you the feeling of accomplishment without direct translations to ability.

In fact many of the things I did for study in Canada I dropped upon arriving in Spain. Pimsleur was one of my favorite courses for the preparation phase of this project and reviewing the exercises now, the level it covers is laughably basic. I still think Pimsleur was valuable for the first month when speaking at all is too hard, but it quickly reached the point of diminishing returns and I wouldn’t invest in later months.

Then again, my experiences with both Anki and Pimsleur may be idiosyncratic, so I can’t say how they’ll apply to other people. I’m still hoping to find a use for Anki in Chinese, but I’ve become a bit more pessimistic now.

What’s My Level in Spanish Right Now?

I haven’t done any tests to objectively measure my Spanish ability (although native Spanish speakers are free to judge the daily recordings of my conversations with Vat). Instead, I’d like to describe what the experience has been like. For those of you reading this who haven’t ever learned a language from scratch as an adult, I want to share what I think is possible after one month.

The first thing to smooth over were my conversations with Vat. In the first two weeks, discussing more complicated concepts was frustrated and tiresome. We had more than a few arguments which probably could have been avoided in English.

Now, however, we can converse more or less with the same ease as in English with each other. We’re less articulate and likely have many errors in our speech, but we understand each other quite well. Generally I forget we’re speaking in Spanish with each other, which could only happen if the conversational friction had disappeared.

A harder challenge which has just recently become more manageable is having conversations with Spaniards. Conversations with other learners of a language is much easier than speaking with natives. Because their vocabulary is more limited, and their speech slower, learners are easier to understand.

Two weeks into our trip, Vat and I met two Spanish girls. One of them was speaking to me for over an hour and I understood probably less than half of what she said. This was frustrating because by the time I realized I didn’t understand something, the conversation had moved on and interrupting felt awkward.

In contrast, a few days ago we had several friends over for dinner, including the same Spanish girls. This time I understood everything they said.

I’m able to read many things in Spanish more or less comfortably. My current book is retelling stories about important discoveries in science and I feel I can follow along most of the time. Shorter articles and stories are even easier, but I’ve yet to tackle Spanish literature which tends to be more verbose.

There are still many things I can’t do proficiently at my current level.

For the most part, I can’t understand television that isn’t something I’ve previously watched in English or has an obvious context. I can understand many chunks but sometimes misinterpreting even a snippet of dialog can confuse the plot.

I have an unabridged audiobook of Don Quixote which I’m still not able to understand at all. I’m hoping to give it another attack in a few weeks to see if it’s any easier.

Understanding group conversations in which I’m not actively participating is also difficult. I wouldn’t be able to overhear most conversations and explain what is being discussed with any confidence. This is a challenge in group settings where joining a conversation midway is very difficult.

Comparing my Spanish to my French, I’d say that my level is probably similar to what I was able to do after a whole year spent in France. Some of that advantage is definitely because of the similarities between Spanish and French, and that I now have prior experience with language learning. However, Vat has gotten to a level I feel similar to my 6-month mark in French without having either of those advantages, so I’m inclined to believe it’s the method, not the individual, making the difference.

In terms of experience, Spanish has definitely hurdled the frustration barrier. One month in, I’m finding living almost entirely in the language is normal. There is still a lot to learn, but I’m pleased that I was able to get over this barrier and enjoy life here so quickly.

What’s Next

Unfortunately hurdling the frustration barrier also tends to mean you’re reaching the phase where learning is slower. I’m looking to increase my rate of learning Spanish, but I want to be careful that I don’t do this by increasing busywork.

One thing I’m trying to do more of is spend more time with Spaniards. Although virtually all of our friends speak in Spanish to us, only native or advanced speakers can correct our usage or demonstrate new expressions and terms. We already have a number of Spanish friends, but I’d like to increase the time I spend with them or other Spanish speakers.

I’m also trying to encourage my Spanish friends to more actively correct my Spanish. It can be a big ego-deflating to hear your mistakes pointed out, but it’s something I appreciate nonetheless.

Input has also been something I’ve spent time doing. I enjoy watching television in Spanish, especially shows which I’ve previously watched in English, which I find far more helpful for picking up specific phrases at my current level. Encountering words and expressions naturally (rather than from a translator) is something I’m striving for.

I can’t say how my experience with Spanish can be generalized. I expect that Portuguese, Chinese and Korean will offer different challenges which may force me to change my strategy. Some of these experiences may also be idiosyncratic to me, although I plan to share Vat’s experiences with Spanish as well as a counterpoint.

What do you think? For the Spanish speakers, I’d be happy if you’d check out some of the more recent uploads of our daily conversation logs and give some feedback (or even a friendly correction!). If you’ve learned a foreign language before, share your experiences in the comments below about what you felt was the same or different.

  • Michael

    Hi Scott, I have been following your progress during the project which has been really interesting for me as I just returned from 3 weeks of immersion in French in Cameroon, after learning Spanish to a good level from Australia – so kind of like a reverse of your situation!

    I firstly want to say you guys are doing a great job and after 3 months your level is going to be really excellent. I really agree with and share most of your observations in the post. The immersion in French really boosted my level – of course this is possible anywhere but requires discipline no matter where you are.

    On Anki: I love Anki from Australia but in Cameroon I also found it far less useful. My opinion now is that it’s super useful in earlier stages but suffers from diminishing returns (like many other learning methods). However I still think when used well it works nicely to supplement other forms of input and output. You might have read this excellent post at Street Smart Language Learning which (part of a series) which I tend to agree with: http://bit.ly/12bOkye (may be worth reading during your English web reading day!)

    I’m far from native level – but one small correction which I noticed a couple of times in your latest dialogue: “Es no” (muy dificil etc) -> “No es” (muy dificil etc). Overall though I think your accent is great and your handling of grammatical structures is going really well too.

    Well done once again and really looking forward to your future observations both in Spanish and the other three languages! Cheers

  • Kel

    Scott and Vat, I don’t speak Spanish, but going by your daily recordings, you both seem to be doing extremely well! Keep up the good work and I look forward to future updates 🙂

  • Serge Gorodish

    I think one of the best benefits of Pimsleur is simply getting your mouth used to the sounds of the the particular language. Speaking is a physical skill, like hitting a tennis ball. You also get used to starting a sentence before you are sure how the end will turn out, which is what real fluency requires.

    As for Anki, whether or not there is context depends on what you choose to put into the system. Some people do strictly sentences rather than individual words. Personally, I find fairly short phrases to be perhaps the most convenient unit to memorize–they incorporate both vocabulary and a little bit of grammar.

  • Nat

    Hi Scott,

    I enjoy reading your blog and have a special interest in learning languages too. One of the things that I have found useful in the past is listening to music, and singing along (not necessarily in public). I am not a singer, but learning phonetics by singing is easier than by speaking. Most people focus on vocabulary and grammar, and forget about phonetics. Unless you get it right from the beginning, it’s very hard to correct when you’re fluent. When I lived in France, I met many people who had lived there for many years, were fluent in French, but had a persistent thick accent.

    Also, learning vocabulary from songs is easier than from a text (context, rhyme), and the cultural aspect and slang is a bonus. Also, it’s kind of funny.

  • dag

    Good to hear you guys are doing quite well.

    I wouldn’t be worry about reading el Quijote. The original version is very difficult even for most of Spanish speaking people. It’s suppose to be a very funny book. However, while reading you feel you’re missing most of the jokes just because some words, puns and proverbs are not exactly the same, apart from the archaic vocabulary. So you get lost of hints, though you are not able to fully understand most of them. I’d first try either a modern version or another book.

  • Nikita

    I have wanted to do a project like this ever since I started high school and I’m waiting until I graduate to do so but this is incredibly exciting and cool to read about your adventures. Yo tambien estoy aprendiendo espanol ahora en mi clase del colegio pero no la había aprendido rápido porque solamente aprendo en un clase. Yo sé muchas conceptos gramaticos pero no sé basta vocublario para tener fluencia. (I couldn’t figure out how to do the tilde with the n on my keyboard.)
    My question for you is, what do you try to focus on in your conversations with native speakers to improve your Spanish? Do you try to pick up the way they speak and learn the mannerisms of the language that way or do you focus on getting your point across as clearly as possible? And how are you working on your accent and pronunciation and learning the phrases of the language that aren’t direct English translations, if they can be translated into English at all?

  • Juan

    I think that I owe most of my French and Swedish skills to speaking to both natives and learners (I got the basics in language courses, but having conversations made me aware of what I needed to improve, and the vocabulary learned in them was easier to remember). And I completely agree, it’s easier to speak with learners, but when you reach a certain level you need natives’ feedback.

    In my experience both as a native helping learners and as a learner being helped, initially people won’t correct you or they will even switch to the language everyone is more comfortable with, mostly because they are trying to be polite. Although, if you ask them to correct you or slow down, most people will gladly do. But, again, you need to ask (I need being reminded to do so as well, from time to time!).

    Regarding El Quijote, it’s a tough read for native speakers so I wouldn’t worry about not understanding anything. In high school we had to read it, and we used a modern version (we read and analysed original fragments or chapters, but as I said it’s a tough task).

  • Maribel

    Learning words out of context doesn´t work. That has been my experience too.
    I would recommend to you watching t.v. or movies sometimes with closed caption, sometimes without it. It helped me a lot when learning English (I´m a native spanish speaker).
    Also, after I spent 3 months in Boston only speaking English (kind of what you´re doing) my English improved a lot at home by reading novels using only an English dictionary (not an English-Spanish dictionary). At the beginning it was tiresome because I had to look also for the meaning of some of the words in the definitions but I think it was worthwhile.
    I would recommend you to read a bestselling Spanish autor, like Arturo Pérez Reverte. If the novel is engaging it helps a lot.

    I actually loved reading Don Quijote when I was 10 years old. But I had an edition that explained archaic terms in footnotes, and it helped a lot. Did you know Freud learned Spanish because he wanted to read Don Quijote? But, if you do not feel passionate about it, I would not recommend it. Rather, find a book you really really want to read.

  • Sebastian

    Hola, yo soy de Paraguay, avisame si necesitas alguien con quien practicar tu español.

    Keep it up man! I recommend to live in a spanish speaking country for 3 months.

  • Jesus

    Hi Scott and Vat,
    I was born in Mexico but moved to Canada when I was young so I speak both Spanish and English as my native languages. I have been living in The Netherlands for close to three years and have learned Dutch at what believe is a reasonable level.

    I listened to your audio clips and I am impressed! Granted, there is still quite a bit of room for improvement but for being in Spain for only a couple of months you are both doing really well. Keep it up! If you guys want to pass by The Netherlands and go out in Amsterdam (and only speak Spanish while we’re at it), just let me know.

    Veel succes! Mucha suerte y saludos!
    -Jesus

  • Scott Young

    Michael,

    Ah yes–my “es no” problem is one I’ve been trying to fix. It usually sneaks in when I’m speaking a bit faster and the rhythm of the sentence sounds more natural to me coming from English. But I’ve been trying to fix it!

    Juan,

    I would like to read Don Quixote, but perhaps I won’t get to it on this trip. Plus my version is an audiobook which is more challenging than a text.

    -Scott

  • Mariano

    Hola Scott,

    soy español, te llevo leyendo desde hace varios años y siempre he disfrutado con tus artículos. He aprendido mucho.

    Ahora que estás en España, sería para mí un placer conocerte y contribuir a mejorar tu español. Yo soy un buen conversador y creo que lo pasaría bien hablando contigo.

    Da la casualidad de que también yo tengo un proyecto este año. Un proyecto llamado “Proyecto 52 comidas”: http://homominimus.com/2013/02

    En esencia, el Proyecto 52 consiste en comer con una persona distinta y desconocida e interesante todas las semanas del 2013.

    Para mí sería un honor y un placer comer contigo la próxima semana, Aunque vivo habitualmente en Madrid, voy a estar en Valencia el miércoles y el jueves.
    Te invito a comer el próximo jueves 24 de octubre; y si no pudieras, a cenar, el miércoles 23 de octubre.

    Espero tus noticias.
    Un abrazo,
    Mariano.

  • juan manuel

    Scott
    siempre la inmersión total en un idioma da muy buenos resultados. felicidades.

    te recomiendo no escuchar ni leer el QUIJOTE todavía, pues muchas palabras y giros idiomáticos están en español antiguo (1616) y necesitan explicación adicional. lee mejor temas modernos y aun mejor léete algunas novelas policíacas, que siempre atrapan al lector en la trama, hay muy buenos títulos como “el halcón maltés” originalmente en ingles de Dashiel Hammett.

    hay bastantes palabras en inglés que provienen del latín (los Romanos estuvieron en Inglaterra durante casi 600 años) de modo que si pones atención en los prefijos y/o en los sufijos de las palabras en ambos idiomas podrás tener mejor entendimiento, muchas de las palabras que se usan en inglés “culto” son como en español, porque son latinas.

    te deseo lo mejor.
    Juan Manuel

  • juan manuel

    my previous coment was written in Spanish, for the porpouse you are pursuing, and do not content any attack or insult, but nice, polite and constructive suggestions
    Juan Manuel.

  • Varun Godbole

    Hi Scott

    Your challenge sounds awesome!!

    Have you taken a look at Duolingo (http://www.duolingo.com/) ? I know they support Spanish. I’ve been using it to learn German and I feel that it’s helped me a lot. But it’s still early days for me.

    Good luck with the challenge! Please keep posting on your progress!

    Cheers,
    Varun

  • David

    Scott,

    I’m not sure what method you are using for Anki but personally I have found massive context cloze deletions (MCDs) to work the best for me. They are more interesting than your run of the mill vocabulary flash cards and you have the benefit of learning some grammar/syntax because you retain the context in which the words are used.

    David

  • dd.stevenson

    “My main critique of Anki is the one I voiced originally, before working extensively with the software. The memory associations aren’t learned in context and are doled out irrespective of the actual importance of words.”

    I agree with your point, but I think that this is an insight on how to use flashcards in general, rather than a critique of Anki. Specifically, flashcards should be used to present the same content repeatedly in many different contexts.

    Since I’m working on Japanese, I’ll use kanji as an example. Right now I’m studying a kanji/heisig meaning anki card deck. But what is the material that is being shown repeatedly in different contexts? The primitive elements of the kanji–not the kanji themselves. So this deck is a tool for learning the primitives, as opposed to learning the kanji.

    I also study a deck with a variety of kanji compound words. But in actuality? This deck is teaching me the kanji themselves, not the words, since it is the kanji that are being shown in a variety of different contexts.

    Likewise, when I want to study whole words, I pull a bunch of different complete sentences containing the target word from the corpus and turn them into flashcards. (I could as easily just read and let myself learn naturally; however, this method is useful for targeting problematic vocab or grammar constructions.)

    The key to context learning in anki is: take the element you want to learn, and make many different flashcards showing the element in different contexts.

  • Scott Young

    Juan Manuel,

    Estoy decuerdo contigo, Don Quixote usa muchas palabras antiguas. Por eso estoy leindo dos libros cientifico que me interesia en ingles tambien.

    -Scott

    David,

    Your message was the first I heard about MCDs. Some cursory research didn’t illuminate too much on the topic, but I take it that it is a target-language text with blanks in it you’re supposed to fill?

    I might try that in Chinese or Korean, but I’m still skeptical. My distaste for anki wasn’t that single-word translations lack context, but that using a software program on my phone is highly dissociated from the context I want to use the word in (which would be a conversation or a movie or a book). Repeating snippets of text wouldn’t change that core problem, however, I’ll withhold judgement until I’m able to see how my current methods are holding up in Taiwan/Korea.

    -Scott

  • Eric-Wubbo

    Hi Scott,

    thank you for the update! I especially enjoyed the Anki discussion, as I’m learning vocabulary as well (Chinese and Japanese, in my case).

    My personal opinion is that using any learning method depends on circumstances and where you are in the learning process.

    For example, traditional schools let students first spend years rote-learning vocabulary (after all, kids have all time in the world) and reading specially constructed simple texts, until they are ‘ripe’ enough to read normal reading material in that language on their own, at what point rote-learning almost goes extinct; you can maintain (at least passive) language vocabulary quite well by reading, but you need to have a minimum vocabulary first, otherwise reading is an exercise in frustration. With good materials (so simple yet compelling reading books) you can jump faster into reading, without that much rote learning to start with. Book flood projects did that, for example.

    I think that Anki may be best-suited if, as an adult:
    1) you are not in a hurry or in an opportunity to study a language intensively. If you only have half an hour a day for studying, using Anki works much better than memorizing traditional vocabulary lists.
    2) you are not yet that advanced. As soon as you have mastered 2000-3000 words you can basically extend your vocabulary by reading. [I think this number is by prof. Nation in his book on vocabulary learning]
    3) it’s hard to find proper ‘simple’ texts in the target language to read with any speed and fluency and which don’t bore you to death.

    In your case: your vocabulary is probably quite a bit above the 2000 words now (even if it may not feel like it), and if you can understand native material (speech and writing), then even if you read ‘slowly’ or listen to a slow speaker at 100 words per minute, you’ll get many more words than you’d ever get in that same time with Anki. Of course, many of those words you already know and don’t add much skill other than faster recognition (which is also valuable, since it lets you read/listen even faster, which also speeds up how fast you encounter new words), but the sheer volume of words makes up for the lack of optimal spacing.

    Briefly on context: yes, learning words in context is much easier, at least in the sense of fewer failed cards on your Anki runs. The cost is more time in constructing cards, needing more time for reviewing cards, and the danger that your brain learns a bit too context-dependently. Still, I guess it can work. I myself don’t use context but mnemonics, [even though some scientists still seem to be discussing whether one should use mnemonics for vocabulary at all and not simply learn by rote] but I see that more as a temporary phase until I can make the transition to learning-by-reading.

    Anyway, in your case your vocabulary is probably big enough to both make Anki be in the zone of ‘diminishing returns’, and to allow processing of native material with such a speed that it can take over Anki in learning efficiency.

    [tested: if I read Chinese children’s stories, I read about 20 characters per minute. I may remember some of the words, but given the memory forgetting curves, if I just read 5 minutes a day (or even half an hour per day) I may not encounter less-frequent words often enough to get them into memory efficiently. If I had more frequent exposure (say 4 hours of reading Chinese per day, every day) _or_ if I could read say 200 characters per minute, the number of characters I could ‘learn by reading’ in a given time might rival those I could learn from Anki. Also because I would likely know so many words then that each new word I would add to Anki would be less and less frequent and therefore less and less worth memorizing]
    So basically:
    -since you can spend so much time per day on language learning
    -_and_ you seem to find meaningful material on which you have significant reading/listening speed
    -_and_ your vocabulary is big enough for any vocabulary learning diminishing returns to kick in,

    yeah, Anki is probably not that useful anymore to you.

    On correcting your grammar and such: have you tried the Benjamin Franklin-method? [Actually, Franklin did it to improve his writing style, but it’s probably applicable to grammar as well] Read a sentence, make notes (perhaps in English, or in French if you’re determined ;), and the next day try to reconstruct the sentence from your notes? Comparing the new sentence to the original one should highlight any grammatical difficulties.

  • Eric-Wubbo

    And one more thing on context: I don’t think that the context (Anki on your phone, or speaking to a friend) would be the real problem. At least it does not seem to be for me, I can use a ‘doumo’ without ever having had to thank a Japanese person, or ‘sakuranbo’ without ordering cherries.

    The problem may sooner be that the intervals on SRSs are programmed for ‘correctness’; which means that you learn to reproduce the correct translation in X% (say 90% or 95% of time). However, practical memory has two dimensions, not only correctness, but also speed (if you’re speaking or writing).

    If you want to reproduce things faster, you have to rehearse them more often than is necessary for strict ‘correctness’. If you want to get words faster from memory so you can use them fluently instead of thinking 10 seconds before you can say ‘reizouko’, you either have to use the ‘overlearn’ options on your SRS, or just… well practice the words a lot in lots of conversations! (which you are already doing). Or give yourself only one or two seconds to respond to each Anki card, which will also result in lots more repetitions and hence ‘overlearning’. So the problem I think with using Anki for your purposes has more to do that for fluency in a language you need overlearning, and Anki has been designed to avoid overlearning [as it is a waste of time in the first phase of learning a language or whatever]. Anyway, I’m looking forward to your next posts!

  • Scott Young

    Eric-Wubbo,

    Really good point there–the speed factor is important, and I’ll be keeping that in mind when I retry Anki with Chinese. For Spanish, I agree with the other commentors, my vocabulary is definitely above 2000-3000 words (especially when you include the cognates I recognize easily with English).

    My feeling is that the goal of tools like Anki and Pimsleur should be to enable a bridge between beginner levels of comprehension and being able to enjoy actually using a language in real situations (whether watching actual movies, conversations with people, etc.). Since we crossed that bridge a lot faster in our immersion challenge, it lessened the returns to programs like Anki.

    But, given that the method we’re using is to not speak in English whatsoever from the first day, it seems like a lot of that “bridge” vocabulary is learned by necessity and doesn’t require too much help from Anki. That, anyways, is my overall skepticism towards the program given the learning methods we’re using.

    -Scott

  • KC St.

    No estoy seguro que estaré en Corea cuando vienen ustedes, pero si estoy, me gustaría conocerlos y saber más sobre el proyecto.
    Yo he vivido en Corea ya casi siete años y no he podido pasar del nivel 1 del coreano. Es una historia que se repiten mucho aquí, especialmente por los de nosotros que son maestros de inglés.
    No sé dónde piensen vivir en Corea. Lo que sí sé es que quieren aprender el dialecto de Seúl.
    Si quieren preguntarme sobre mis experiencias aquí, les respondo con gusto, en inglés o español.

  • Amar

    Learning Spanish is A great experience for me, this article has inspired me So much, I’m learning From Profe Krista Croghan, She is a Brilliant Teacher, I’m really impressed with her teaching method, Always helping. Also She is Famous Just Search Her name, You will get her on top or go to her website for free tutorials spanish-clicks.com …. :), I’m Proud to be her Student.

  • Antonia

    Hi Scott.

    Wonderful post and blog. I will recommended my spanish language students. Sorry for my english 🙂 Just a one recomendation keep up the hard work and enjoy learning spanish. And at the moment you will be able to visit Spain, Come on.

    Un saludo

    Antonia

  • Harsh

    Scott, I spent 4 months in Mexico and 4 months in Barcelona to learn Spanish during university. I can still have basic conversations but if I talk for too long I run out of vocabulary. My grammer is also not right. My uncle who is living with us now only speaks Spanish. I would love to converse with him better. Can you please share the grammer book that has helped you in your trip? You mentioned that it was one of your best investments.

  • Aroa

    Really interesting post! Learning Spanish is definitely a challenge but it sounds like you had a great action plan!

    I agree with the previous comments about Anki. I am a Spanish tutor and I use it with my students a lot, but only with words that have appeared in context, like when reading an article or when they come up in conversation. Adding them to Anki reinforces those words, and my students progress a lot faster when they do use it this way!

    Great blog! Keep up the good work!

  • Antonio Ortiz

    As a Spanish teacher, my advice is always practicing what you have learned. Getting the Grammatical structures of the language and the necessary vocabulary isn’t enough. Talking to people to practice what you have learned is always the key to truly learn Spanish. You will certainly feel embarrassed at times when you aren’t able to understand what people are saying, but it will definitely help you learn. Never try to sound perfect while talking to people, just talk to everyone, and learn from your mistakes.

  • Paul C

    keep up your good work, you’ll soon be fluent (pronto, muy pronto vas a aprender el idioma español) The hardest part of learning is to keep yourself motivated, and also having a good memory. If you try to imagine each word then the image and name will be stored in your subconscious mind forever. As they say, ” a picture is worth a thousand words” I learned to speak spanish, firstly by talking to spanish friends and watching spanish tv, and then by using self-hypnosis, and now I’m fluent. Keep learning, because it’s a beautiful language, and I especially enjoy learning modisms and typical phrases such as “sleep like a log” “duermo como un tronco”
    self hypnosis by paul clinton

  • Paul C

    keep up your good work, you’ll soon be fluent (pronto, muy pronto vas a aprender el idioma español) The hardest part of learning is to keep yourself motivated, and also having a good memory. If you try to imagine each word then the image and name will be stored in your subconscious mind forever. As they say, ” a picture is worth a thousand words” I learned to speak spanish, firstly by talking to spanish friends and watching spanish tv, and then by using self-hypnosis, and now I’m fluent. Keep learning, because it’s a beautiful language, and I especially enjoy learning modisms and typical phrases such as “sleep like a log” “duermo como un tronco”
    self hypnosis by paul clinton

  • Siavash Avesta
  • Siavash Avesta
  • Profetube
  • Profetube

    Here a little help to improve your Spanish with free classes on Youtube:
    https://www.facebook.com/espan
    http://profetube.com
    https://www.youtube.com/channe

  • classblox

    Hi everyone!

    We are planning on offering spanish classes with a live online tutor (via webcam/virtual classroom technology) on Classblox. Would love to have your thoughts on this for those who may not have access to a private tutor nearby!

  • classblox

    Hi everyone!

    We are planning on offering spanish classes with a live online tutor (via webcam/virtual classroom technology) on Classblox. Would love to have your thoughts on this for those who may not have access to a private tutor nearby!

  • Jospeh

    It’simportant to keep the passion! Seriously, if you lose interest or
    motivation it can be tough to stick through it. But it’s not like riding
    a bike, you don’t remember how to do it after a long hiatus, you can check out my free guide =>> 4 Easy Ways to Take Your Spanish to The Next Level =>> http://learnspanishguide.blogspot.com/2016/05/4-easy-ways-to-take-your-spanish-to.html

  • Jospeh

    It’simportant to keep the passion! Seriously, if you lose interest or
    motivation it can be tough to stick through it. But it’s not like riding
    a bike, you don’t remember how to do it after a long hiatus, you can check out my free guide =>> 4 Easy Ways to Take Your Spanish to The Next Level =>> http://learnspanishguide.blogs

  • Rein

    I really liked studying Spanish at Íbero because of the chilled out atmosphere in the school. The teachers were awesome and really knew how to keep things interesting in the small classes. Also the school organized many opportunities to socialize with fellow students/travelers. These are only some of the many reasons to choose Ibero as the place to learn Spanish! Rein from Holland. http://www.iberospanish.com

  • Rein

    I really liked studying Spanish at Íbero because of the chilled out atmosphere in the school. The teachers were awesome and really knew how to keep things interesting in the small classes. Also the school organized many opportunities to socialize with fellow students/travelers. These are only some of the many reasons to choose Ibero as the place to learn Spanish! Rein from Holland. http://www.iberospanish.com

  • Mónica Galp

    Thank you for sharing your experience. Definitely, the best way of learning Spanish is having your life in Spanish. From my point of view, It is mandatory to talk with a native Spanish speaker so you can hear someone speaking the language correctly whereas she/he is correcting your mistakes. That’s why I recommend taking Spanish lessons on Skype at http://www.lingua-online.com. They are very good and you can learn from everywhere!

  • Mónica Galp

    Thank you for sharing your experience. Definitely, the best way of learning Spanish is having your life in Spanish. From my point of view, It is mandatory to talk with a native Spanish speaker so you can hear someone speaking the language correctly whereas she/he is correcting your mistakes. That’s why I recommend taking Spanish lessons on Skype at http://www.lingua-online.com. They are very good and you can learn from everywhere!

  • Unai Becerra

    Hi guys. I’m an online Spanish teacher with about 2 years of experience in education. If you are interested please feel free to contact me unaijo08@gmail.com

  • Unai Becerra

    Hi guys. I’m an online Spanish teacher with about 2 years of experience in education. If you are interested please feel free to contact me unaijo08@gmail.com

  • Hassan

    The easiest way to get started and learn the most useful building blocks of Spanish.

    Perfect for learning Spanish in the car.
    There are a lot of softs that can help, and I recommand my favorit : http://www.clickbank.ma/
    If someone wants to learn Arabic, I can help by organising same live conversations on skype (or other)

  • Hassan

    The easiest way to get started and learn the most useful building blocks of Spanish.

    Perfect for learning Spanish in the car.
    There are a lot of softs that can help, and I recommand my favorit : http://www.clickbank.ma/
    If someone wants to learn Arabic, I can help by organising same live conversations on skype (or other)

  • Ann Kelley

    This article reminded me of how I tried and failed to learn Spanish many times in the past.

    Part of the problem was that I was always so busy that I didn’t even have time to eat.

    I also felt that I was too old and that you couldn’t teach a dog new tricks.

    To make it worse, I’m totally tone deaf and no language had ever stuck in my brain!

    Finally, after a lot of disappointment and frustration, I found a way to learn Spanish so that it sticks to my brain like Krazy glue!

    It only took a few minutes a day and was actually easier for an older person like me.

    I’m now ordering quesadillas and burritos like a native Spanish speaker.

    If you’re wondering how I did it, you can see the website yourself right here:

    http://www.bestquicktips.com/easyspanish

    Hope this helps!

  • Ann Kelley

    This article reminded me of how I tried and failed to learn Spanish many times in the past.

    Part of the problem was that I was always so busy that I didn’t even have time to eat.

    I also felt that I was too old and that you couldn’t teach a dog new tricks.

    To make it worse, I’m totally tone deaf and no language had ever stuck in my brain!

    Finally, after a lot of disappointment and frustration, I found a way to learn Spanish so that it sticks to my brain like Krazy glue!

    It only took a few minutes a day and was actually easier for an older person like me.

    I’m now ordering quesadillas and burritos like a native Spanish speaker.

    If you’re wondering how I did it, you can see the website yourself right here:

    http://www.bestquicktips.com/e

    Hope this helps!

  • Angelica

    Hi guys, thanks for the article. It was helpful.
    I recommend this site: http://www.chac-mool.com

    Blessings!

  • Angelica

    Hi guys, thanks for the article. It was helpful.
    I recommend this site: http://www.chac-mool.com

    Blessings!

  • Angelica

    Hi!!! I learn spanish at Chacmool

    Instituto Chac-Mool
    Privada de la Pradera 108
    La Pradera 62170 Cuernavaca, MOR
    Call us: 01 777 317 2555

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