Monday, August 23, 2010

Learning Spanish

In the past, (it feels like it was eons ago), I'd taken private Spanish lessons from a real gentleman, his name was José-Maria Villasante, who had the most enchanting voice (he was a radio announcer) and an elegant pure Castilian accent. My very first Spanish book was Paso a Paso and it delighted me with short extracts from poems by Federico Garcia Lorca and my favourite, Antonio Machado. Nothing much remained that I could recall except the name of the teacher and those of the poets. It was more than 47 years ago. . .

Some 15 years later (yes... that would be 32 years ago), recently divorced and yearning to keep my mind busy and my evenings absorbed in anything but a new relationship, I took a course at college, but from English. My mother tongue is French, so learning a third language from a second one proved a bit of a drawback. I found that to recall the lessons, I had to translate from English to French first before tackling the lessons. Then comprehension dawned and something managed to remain, for a while.

Ages later came my wandering life, which took me to the Imperial Dam Long Term Visitor Area (yeah... it's a mouthful!) north of Yuma, which is right on the Mexico border. I thought I'd renew my study of the language but did little about it except buy a book and proceed to painstakingly translate from English to French first, then follow the lessons. The book featured much grammar. I eventually gave it up too. It proved to be much too much work. So, I'd say that I was ill-prepared, linguistically at least, to move to Mexico!

Living in Mexico meant total immersion. But I was starting from an insignificant knowledge of the language. Thanks to a certain knack for talking with the aid of gestures when all else fails, I managed for a while to make myself understood, but frustratingly so. Clearly, I had to learn all over again. Then, an expat mentioned a site that not only translates from English to Spanish but also offers courses absolutely free on the internet. The lessons are structured the best of all that I have encountered previously, and finally, something got through my senior brain. I cannot talk enough about that site and how finally, I have learned enough to hold a conversation after 10 months of living in Mexico. I highly recommend it. It is http://www.spanishdict.com . Their translation service, also totally free, is a life-saver for someone having to make herself understood; particularly when it comes to a visit to the doctor.

So if you, or anyone you know, is keen on learning Spanish, go for it! Besides the Learn Spanish and the Translation section, there's a Reference section, Grammar, a Phrase Book, the Word of the Day that is emailed to subscribers, and I repeat it, it's free, easy to follow, interactive, and with oodles of people who are ready to help at any level in a Chat section, as well!

I love it and highly recommend it.

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5 comments:

Me and My Dog said...

Thanks for the link to the free Spanish lessons. That's one of my goals in the future and I'll try it out when I'm ready for lessons.
Barbara

Freely Living Life said...

We are teaching out little boys the Spanish language. It's so important to get them exposed to it at an early age. And Mom and Dad are enjoying learning right along with them. Thanks for the post! Enjoy your weekend! =)

Learn Podcast Spanish said...

Hi,

After reading your post, I think it is a fresh news for everyone. I am also interested in latest news about free Spanish lessons. It would be great if you can provide more details about it. Thanks you.

steve nosrat said...

Thanks for the free Spanish Lessons. It was nice to go through your blog and gather some information.

alen mcmilan said...

I read many of the blog for learn Spanish but your blog have contain some very nice and different lesson and I really impress on your work.
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