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Best way to progress in Spanish from here on


Mainecoons

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Michael Thomas method is very casual and easy to pick up. (http://www.michelthomas.com/). They are reasonably inexpensive (~ $50US +/-) depending on which program. It is an audiobook with supporting printed materials. The training is doen is a conversational way, mixing english and the spanish words being taught. It allows you to slowly add more and more spanish words to your general conversation as you become more fluent. Certainly a worthy option.

Yikes! Sorry guys. Apparently I posted the wrong link (for some furniture store). Here is the correct link (http://www.michelthomas.com/). As a bonus, since I screwed up, here is another resource I have been having a LOT of fun with. It is an iPhone/iPad app from mindSnacks that teaches you spanish via different games. It helps you learn not just words, but spelling, sentence structure, quick recognition of words and their meanings, etc. It is a GREAT app and fun to use. Here is a link to their site (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id385497068?mt=8) the app is free, but the lesson ("full version" costs $4.99 US WELL worth it!

Again, sorry for the bad link.

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  • 1 month later...

We've been studying Warren Hardy religiously right through book 3 and have mastered the verbs and pronouns pretty well and have a good grasp of sentence structure. Where we lack is vocabulary and just simply acquiring the mental skill to hear and understand the language. We've been using childrens' elementary readers to improve reading skills. Having some problems finding suitable ones.

We want to move to the next level, improving speaking, hearing and vocabulary. What have you all found to work best at that?

Thanks.

We've been studying Warren Hardy religiously right through book 3 and have mastered the verbs and pronouns pretty well and have a good grasp of sentence structure. Where we lack is vocabulary and just simply acquiring the mental skill to hear and understand the language. We've been using childrens' elementary readers to improve reading skills. Having some problems finding suitable ones.

We want to move to the next level, improving speaking, hearing and vocabulary. What have you all found to work best at that?

Thanks.

We've been studying Warren Hardy religiously right through book 3 and have mastered the verbs and pronouns pretty well and have a good grasp of sentence structure. Where we lack is vocabulary and just simply acquiring the mental skill to hear and understand the language. We've been using childrens' elementary readers to improve reading skills. Having some problems finding suitable ones.

We want to move to the next level, improving speaking, hearing and vocabulary. What have you all found to work best at that?

Thanks.

are you still looking??? i would offer Lina as a teacher to get you listening and speaking. let me know if you would like her contact info

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hope this is not a taboo subject, but there are quite a few audiobooks and lessons (in many languages) available on torrent websites. The speakers are usually very clear, and lessons and readings are graded by level. They will help to develop your ear and you can adjust volume on your computer if you have a hearing problem, use earphones to isolate the sound.

I don't think anyone here was trying to be insulting Mainecoons about your difficulties - hearing problems really make learning languages challenging, which is why I suggest something as an aid where you can control the way you hear sounds without the stress of a live situation or the quirks of a speaker not trained in, say, elocution. With the right program, you can even slow speech down or lower pitch.

What you should take away from Travis's comment is that aging does NOT have to affect your ability to learn a new language. Download some books on improving memory, brain exercise is as important as the rest of the body, and you will find your language skills improve as well.

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Some of you may be interested in http://www.language-exchanges.org/ or "The Mixxer" where learners of any of several languages can get in touch with qualified native speakers through Skype. It's also free, and teachers have to be vetted as such. It would be useful for people who have already made a bit of progress and have basic communication skills in the language, though Skype may not be a great medium for listening clearly. Chat however might help develop written skills.

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Sorry but aging does affect your ability to learn a language: your sort term memory is not as good, your ability to hear sounds and reproduce them has been going down from age 12 so you can imagine where you are at age 60 or over, your span of attention is shorter and patience are shorter and your stamina is downl.

I am in the process of learning a new language and it is a whole lot more difficult for me now that it was even 10 years ago.

As you age you can still learn but it is way more difficult, if you do not believe it go to a language class with a bunch of 20 year old kids, I have done it and I can tell you , there is a big difference in the learning curve between older people and yonger people.

Phone, skype and other means of listening to languages make the problem worst as the reproduction of sound is bad. Slowing down a language is not the way to learn as the pronunciation of words is different at different speeds. You need to train your ear to pick up the words at normal speaking speed otherwise you are wasting your time.

It helps to be able to listen and go back to what you do not understand and play it again and again. If you still cannot get it, having the written version helps and then listening without the written words. What we need is a good old fashion language lab where you can listen and tape yourself and are able to go back and listen to the speaker and listen to your own voice but boy is that tedious.

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...................It helps to be able to listen and go back to what you do not understand and play it again and again. If you still cannot get it, having the written version helps and then listening without the written words. What we need is a good old fashion language lab where you can listen and tape yourself and are able to go back and listen to the speaker and listen to your own voice but boy is that tedious.

That is exaclty why I recommend duolingo.com, which provides all of those advantages, and more. It is new and free and even at 75+ I find it very helpful, even if you only use it for an hour or less each day.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bmh, I said age doesn't have to affect your ability to learn a language - there are limitations at any age, and yes remembering is less easy as we age, but it starts with effort and determination. See RV's comments above. What's the point in setting people up for failure by having them think they've reached some magical age where they just can't learn? Hearing difficulties and strokes are a different matter.

I know plenty of young people, students, who are not enchanted by the idea of engaging with a culture through the language and who have bad or lazy memories. They won't learn because they don't care. Some lack aptitude - but could make up for it by working harder, if they cared to.

I suspect there are many expats here who just can't be bothered, don't see the point, or are intimidated by the idea that they are "too old" to learn, which is a sad mistake if the interest is there, as it is with the original poster.

If you want to set up a simple "language lab", buy a decent set of headphones, download Audacity (free), download something in Spanish, or any other language you want to learn, an audiobook, a podcast; record bits of it right off your computer in a quiet room and start repeating and recording and repeating again. It's not monitored by a native speaker as a language lab is (or used to be), but it does help. Or get Rosetta Stone which allows you to repeat and listen. Go to the site that RV mentioned if Skype is a deterrent. What's the bother if you really want to do it?

Oh, and you can slow down the speech without distorting pitch, it is very helpful to analyse pronunciation, to hear it all if you don't get it - why else do you think learners of a language ask natives to speak more slowly when they don't understand the first time? Your ear (actually, your brain) is trained by "getting" what you are hearing. You don't have to slow everything down all the time, just what you can't "hear" if speech is too fast.

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Canamex I speak 3 languages fluently I can read a fourth one and I am learning a fifth one, I learned 2 as a teenager and young adult, the third one I learned in my 5o´s and I am now in my 60´s and I can say that age affects your ability to learn-

I did not say it was impossible to learn when you are older but I am saying it is more difficult.

If it is as easy for you to learn now that it was 30 years ago you are one of the happy few.

I am not setting up people for failure but I am saying they cannot expect to go as fast or learn as fast as when they were younger.

As far as the pronunciation not being different when you speak slower you are plain wrong. It has nothing to do with pitch but if you speak slower you have a tendency to enunciate every sylable if you speak faster your swallow some sylables and you are making a differnt sound altogether a different word. This is why you cannot understand it when it is pronounce fast versus slowly.

When I was young ,I took Russian for fun and the method was interesting we were taught for 3 months without a book and then we started from the beginning with a book. That was a real mind opener as we had no notion of how the language broken up.

We did not know a noun from a phrase when we saw it written it was a revelation.If you do that in French it is the same thing as the ending of a word will often link with the next word, When you go through that exercise you realize that a word by itself is not pronounced the same way as a word in a sentence , it is the same in Spanish. When you slow dow you pronounce every word by itself and it becomes clear but this is not what the word sounds like in a sentence.

Canamex , I believe that people can learn at all ages and should try no matter what and that is exactly what I am doing. Some expats have other priorities and I cannot blame them either we have so much time to do all the things we always wanted to do and for some people Spanish is not a priority because they live in an area where they do not have to lear, Their choice.

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Just to clarify: you listen to a slower recording of your target language by a competent speaker who enunciates well and you speak at a normal speed or whatever speed you're comfortable in at that moment - you yourself do not slow down your speech, that's not helpful. You can then view the differences - it's particularly useful for languages that have length. Having done research years ago in a phonetics lab (French), I do know that it's very helpful. I have degrees in Russian (and its historical variants) and studied many other languages, as well as linguistics and do know something about learning and teaching foreign languages.

People who "swallow syllables" have no business teaching languages, and that's not the way a learner learns to speak a language well. That's one reason why the original poster was complaining about a particular person locally who doesn't speak clearly. Language studies in Mexico have an enormous leap to make, and it would be good if the OP could find a local speaker, but the person has to have some competence and speak well. After a student gains skill, then they can go on to "swallow syllables" if that's the style they choose to adopt (or the norm in the language, like Danish).

People do have other priorities, but it's a bit of an embarrassment not to speak the language of the country you're living it - so perhaps it should be a priority. I'll be those same people grumbled about "foreigners" in their own country not speaking their adopted country's language.

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