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When I first came to Spain, I was certain I would never be able to crack the language.
After a fair bit of studying, I could understand the written word, sure, but it was a whole other ball game out there in the real world.
Listening to the Spaniards chatter away super-rápido, I could barely pick out a single word I recognised! Blank faces when I feebly tried to communicate, no doubt mispronouncing everything, further compounded my misery, and nearly sent me home with my tail between my legs.
But I stayed strong. I persevered.
With a dogged determination to conquer the language I launched a three prong attack-
1. Tediously, diligently copying out verb tables, again and again
2. Reading the dictionary
3. Talking, talking, talking.
While all these methods were vital to my education, by far the most important, and I can´t stress it enough, was daily conversation. Once I got over my fear of sounding like an idiot, I was conversing more and more each day. The joy I got from every small snippet of communication was enough to spur me on, and within time, I was speaking and understanding without even noticing it.
Of course I still read the dictionary, but I do that in English too . ☺
The way I look at it, once you are forced to create sentences in a new language to express your thoughts, you are laying down the foundations for fluency. And the more you practise, the more you build on it.
Anyone else have opinions on the best ways to learn?
Hello Ireland. Thanks for your post. I'm kind of at that point where you sometimes felt like an idiot. But like you, I have decided to stick with it and turn it up a notch. I'm hoping to find smeone on italki with whom I can talk and practice mi español. It would help me a lot - just as it did for you.
Films are a great way to learn, especially if you already know the original version in English, even better if it has Spanish subtitles and English audio so that you can get know the nearest translation for the English coloquialisms, or also if you watch a Spanish film with audio in Spanish and subtitles in English for us to get their coloquialisms, any way round is a good learning aid, really, and suits me because I'm not a good student, in the swot sense, anyway.