I work at an airport and I want to be able to help people who can’t understand English very well, with whatever problems they have without having to refer to Google translate/dictionary. I at least want to be fluent in Spanish and French. Practicing is hard when you don’t have anyone to practice with when everyone around you speaks English only.
-Steak-: Download the phone app Memrise. I’m still using it, but I used it before I went to Peru (probably only 3 months prior), and I knew enough Spanish to get us to wherever we wanted, places to sleep, food, and a very limited conversation with the locals.
It’s probably one of the few apps I would spend money on. I’ve used the free version so far, but I’ll probably buy the full today.
LapsarianJourneyer: A good starting point for learning Spanish (and other languages) would be using a site like Duolingo, or a similar site/app, for 10 to 15 minutes a day.
After building your vocabulary in said language, you should get a newspaper, book, or other reading material in that language and try reading it. Whenever you get to a word you don’t recognize, circle it and try to figure out the meaning based on the context clues. If you can’t do that, then simply google it. Keep doing this and you should greatly increase your vocabulary and comprehension skills.
If you want to practice with actual people, then I’d highly recommend the app Speaky. It’s free and allows you to exchange languages with other learners and native speakers.
Happy language learning!
Havocohm: Really depends on what you want and how you learn. Do you just want to learn spoken language and are an audible learner? Pimsleur would be great. Just know it takes a long time. I was a linguist in the military and they spent 6-8 hours a day, 5 days a week to learn a language fluently. Depending on language the course can be 6 months for Spanish, up to 18 months for some of the middle eastern and east Asian languages. Pick something that has a lot of supplemental material like movies, books, songs, etc. Makes it more fulfilling to watch a foreign movie and start catching words here and there.
Kswee55: Im a bilingual speaker (Portuguese and English) and if you’re planning to learn Spanish, Portuguese (Brazilian) would be a pretty good one to learn with it. The two languages are some what similar and if you speak one it makes it easier to learn the other! For example in high school I tested into advanced Spanish having not taken a single class.
Johnnymayflower: I took Spanish classes from 1st grade up until my senior year of high school. The language didn’t click for me until my sophomore year. I am now certified bilingual!
What helped me most was treating the language more like a puzzle, and trying to use the vocabulary I knew to figure out new words through context. You will almost never forget the words that you figured out on your own.
TL;DR: Use duolingo for vocab, use vocab to learn new words through context. Struggle = success.
sutsusame: Duolingo is a good starting point for getting used to grammar and sentence construction. Memrise is better for building vocabulary.
I got from zero to basic level in Spanish in about 4-5 months through regular practice on Duolingo. Nowhere near fluent, but can blunder around in the language quite a bit.
tchomptchomp: So there is no “easy” way to do this. Apps like Duolingo are a bare minimum, but they aren’t going to get you fluent.
If you’re serious about learning the language (let’s say, Spanish) then the first step is honestly to enroll in a conversational Spanish course (should be offered through a local university or community college for a reasonable amount). This is for two reasons. First, you need to learn the basics of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, and second, you need to meet people with whom you can practice. Taking a physical in-person course gives you both.
Then, once you’re working your way through that course, you need to find an opportunity to practice regularly your conversational skills. This means either finding opportunities in your town to converse in Spanish. Oftentimes you can find foreign-language speaking meetups for people who want to practice exactly this, and those will be a mix of expats, partners of expats trying to learn the language, and people like you. These sorts of groups can be found on something like Meetup or through local Hispanic (or other) community organizations.
Ultimately, the best way to learn is immersion, though. There are longer-term immersion programs in various countries, though that can be expensive and requires taking quite a bit of time off of work (3-6 months likely). Or live with someone who is ESL and have specific Spanish-language days.
But you also need to have a good motivation for wanting to learn. “I want to be able to help people at work” is a good sentiment, but there’s very little actual direct personal motivation there, and that will make it difficult for you to push forward when you hit barriers and plateaus. Learning a language, particularly your first foreign language, can be difficult. Not only does it take learning a whole new set of skills in addition to the language itself (e.g. learning to listen in a foreign language is tough. so is learning to think in it), and you can experience quite a lot of fatigue (and outright physical pain) during that process. If your goal is to be able to actually speak the language rather than say a few key phrases like “Donde esta el bano?” or “Cuidate porque el cafe es caldo” or whatever, then it’s going to really take quite a bit of hard work.
pussyfucker220: i’d recommend to start with spanish, it’s easier to learn than french and it’s also spoken in a ton of places. after you become fluent in spanish you can move onto french.
undercoverpunx: find native speakers of the language you’re looking to learn on youtube and watch with subtitles on. you can also download Duolingo and Memrise. I’ve been using these for less than a year and I’ve picked up 3 new languages enough to hold a good conversation.
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