On Learning Spanish
(San Jose, California, USA)
I have been learning Spanish since I was in the seventh grade. I occasionally tutor high school Spanish one students now. I took Spanish through intermediate college level. I learned it very slowly. In California it is easy to learn Spanish because there are many opportunities to practice. Almost everyone knows someone who is a native speaker.
I worked in restaurants in high school and most of my coworkers knew Spanish. They were happy to teach me Spanish if I would teach them English.
There are many opportunities to listen to Spanish radio or watch Spanish television. The community college television stations frequently play Spanish lessons.
I have also tried learning Latin and German with very little success. I stayed in both of those classes for approximately three weeks.
Spanish is considered a beautiful language. It has a Latin root so it sounds very much like French or English. This makes it very easy to learn. Puerto Ricans speak Spanish very fast. In Spain, Spanish is spoken with a pronounced lisp. But many countries speak Spanish so it is very useful. It is good for business people to learn it because Latin America is a fast emerging market.
I have found the best way to learn Spanish is to practice out loud. Have a lot of conversations in Spanish. Use flashcards. Flashcards are key to learning Spanish. I have tutored many people in Spanish, and I really believe most people can learn it, if they practice it enough. A simple exercise is to listen to the song, La Bamba. Get a hold of the lyrics and try to translate them. I am teaching my children Spanish very slowly so they will enjoy it. I use bilingual books and Sesame Street Fiesta.