Mar 21, 2008, 10:13 PM
Post #17 of 18
Before starting my Spanish-learning quest, I had zero background in any language whatsoever and no exposure to other cultures or even other races other than white people, having grown up in the Midwest in a small town.
Re: [NEWER] Anyone tried Rosetta Stone to learn spanish???
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I studied Spanish on my own using a book called "Margarita Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish." Bright yellow, 450 pages. A fantastic book. I read every lesson out loud and studied 15 minutes per day. I never bought any computer CD's or Rosetta Stone or anything else, just the Magic Key book.
Then, each day I spent time with Hispanics conversing, and I always had my book glued to my hip, along with a notepad in which I jotted down new words I was hearing, and a pocket Spanish-English dictionary.
I also attended what you would call "church services," but we call "meetings," three times per week in Spanish and forced myself to participate by giving personal expressions in Spanish. Understandably, at first all I could do was perhaps read a short text in Spanish without knowing what it really meant (but I knew the gist by comparing it with the same text in English). Over time, the quality of my participation improved, meaning that instead of just reading the text (and far more quickly with a better accent), I could now explain what it meant to me personally.
I also listened to the music constantly in my car. I would print out the lyrics and practice them at home, singing along with the CD's. That's how I learned to roll my r's. Didn't think I could ever do that!
All that probably sounds like a lot of work, and it was...but believe me, it paid off. In less than six months I had finished the 450-page book and learned all the grammar rules within. Hispanic people started telling me to stop carrying it around with me, and to leave my dictionary at home, too. I could speak Spanish and hold my own in a conversation without any hesitation or need for repetition, and I understood almost everything I heard the first time.
After exactly one year of this kind of learning, I traveled to Mexico on my own and stayed with a family who spoke no English for two weeks to prove to myself just how much I had actually learned. I did very well and was proud of myself. It also showed me how much I still had to learn after one year of practice.
As you continue to listen to the music, converse, and read in Spanish, your understanding will grow deeper and richer and you will truly enjoy the benefits of being bilingual. I just got back from spending a week in Mexico, and I kept feeling the most tremendous sense of relief that I could communicate well in what will likely become my new home very soon. Learning a new language is a journey you will never forget, and one that has many rewards, as I have seen time and time again for the past five years.
P.S. By the way, along with the language, I learned to dance. If you have someone who will teach you, embrace the opportunity -- it's so much fun! We American folks don't know what we're missing until we can do cumbia, salsa and merengue with the best of them.
(This post was edited by sanchezfrank on Mar 21, 2008, 10:16 PM)