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charley

Oct 13, 2004, 8:15 AM

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learning Spanish

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Buenas Dias,
(which makes up about 20% of all the spanish is know). May i ask the group's opinion on the best way for me to begin learning and understanding the Spanish language in Mexico. a school? Home study? Gracias (there goes another 20%)
charley



Marlene


Oct 13, 2004, 9:03 AM

Post #2 of 23 (8946 views)

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Re: [charley] learning Spanish

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There are a few language schools in Mazatlán where you can arrange classes at your level - either private or group. It will depend on your comfort level and learning style. As long as you study and practise (easier said than done) you will retain it better. Start listening to basic tapes now.


ncferret

Oct 13, 2004, 9:40 AM

Post #3 of 23 (8942 views)

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Re: [charley] learning Spanish

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One of the local universities is offering a 12 week (60 hr) course in beginning Spanish.

They have 7 students and need another 3 to start the class. For more information please contact ducksoup72058@yahoo.com.

The cost is only $75.


Esteban

Oct 13, 2004, 9:46 AM

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Re: [charley] learning Spanish

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With dictionary in hand, make friends with your Mexican neighbors. I've learned more Spanish around the kitchen table with Mexican families than any class I ever attended. This is not to say classes are not worthy. You have to do both.


Marlene


Oct 13, 2004, 11:19 AM

Post #5 of 23 (8926 views)

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Re: [Esteban] learning Spanish

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Many of the formal classes dwell on the technical aspect of the language to the point where the students succumb to boredom or give up because it becomes overwhelming. (Part of this is learning style.)

The "kitchen table" method described by Esteban exposes the learner to another world of the language. Mexicans have a great sense of humor, and conversation is filled with lots of plays on words. It's is a good way to begin enjoying this aspect of life in Mexico.


charley

Oct 13, 2004, 11:29 AM

Post #6 of 23 (8924 views)

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Re: [Marlene] learning Spanish

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All good advice.......thank you for taking the time to point me in the right direction. looking forward to learning spanish!
charley


raferguson


Oct 13, 2004, 6:07 PM

Post #7 of 23 (8913 views)

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Re: [charley] learning Spanish

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I have never had the luxury of a month or more in Mexico studying
Spanish, but I have learned to speak it pretty well. I can carry
on telephone conversations no problem, etc. I know that some
people who have done the immersion thing don't learn that much,
although it can be effective.

I used a wide range of techniques to improve my Spanish, including
travel in Mexico, listening to the radio, watching television,
reading magazines and newspapers, taking evening classes, and
having a tutor. The most effective way to learn, in my experience,
is also the most expensive; hire a tutor for an hour a week.
I usually have paid $15 or $20 per hour for a college student
from a spanish-speaking country. I find one by calling the
Spanish department of the local university, as they keep a list
of students who want to make extra money tutoring. You will
usually be mentally exhausted at the end of the hour, but
you will have learned. You can't hide in the back row when
you are the only student, you will have to speak, and your
tutor will clean up your worst pronunciations and gramatical
errors in short order.

I suggest starting with a night class or two, and then hiring
a tutor. You will learn. It may take a few years to
learn enough to speak well, but you will be speaking enough to
get by in less than a year. It's practice, practice, practice,
unless you are gifted in languages, which I am not. I started
learning Spanish at age 30. I also learned French, starting when I was
almost 50, using the same techniques, although my French is not
that great, fewer opportunities to practice.

Richard Ferguson


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


alex .

Oct 14, 2004, 7:54 AM

Post #8 of 23 (8892 views)

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Re: [Marlene] too many tenses make me tense

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The objection that I have to book-learned Spanish is that the present tense is invariably taught first. Once you have the command of the present tense, the preterite is then taught. The difference in the word endings, which appear to be just swapped around , gets one all confused. Yet in real life conversation, the preterite dominates: I saw, he went, they did, etc. So you try to engage in conversation at a basic level and end up falling back on all infinitives, which gets you understood but sure sounds dumb. Also, first year Spanish taught formally will plunge you into subjunctive, who-knows-whative tenses that you will probably never use for speaking, only for reading.
Alex


esperanza

Oct 14, 2004, 11:28 AM

Post #9 of 23 (8882 views)

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Re: [alex .] too many tenses make me tense

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Spanish was considered to be the 'easy' foreign language when I was in high school--the gut course, if you will. Instead of opting for the 'easy' course, I took Latin for four years, then French, then Italian. Later in life I learned Spanish; it's the language other than English that I actually claim to use fluently.

It's simple to understand the basic pronunciations of Spanish and many words are cognates of familiar English words, but the shallow end of learning drops off quickly into the depths--and the deep end is not only deep but very wide. It's easy to feel that terror of no solid ground underfoot. Alex's characterization of the various tenses and the difficulty in remembering verb endings is not far off the mark. It's hard to remember, when we're learning Spanish as a second or third language, that we have just as many tenses in English. We use them without thinking which verb tense might be correct, because we are native speakers of that language.

I do take exception with his idea that we rarely use the subjunctive in Spanish. The subjunctive is used frequently in every conversation, just as we use it in English. We scarcely know that we're using it in English, but we are. When we say, "I wish I were in Mexico City today," that 'were' is the subjunctive.

The same sort of subjunctive usage is constant in Spanish.

For example, suppose I am talking with my neighbor about her sister, who is expecting a baby. I ask after the sister's health:

<<¿Y cómo se siente tu hermana? Ya mero está para dar a luz, ¿verdad?>>

<<Sí, solo le faltan unos cuantos días. Ojalá que nazca pronto el bebé.>>

That sneaky little 'nazca' is the present subjunctive of 'nacer', to be born. We use it because it follows an expression of hope--ojalá ("Would to God..." or "I hope that...").

It's not easy to learn Spanish; it takes hard work and dedication. But it's enormously worth it if we hope to understand the people and culture.









http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









alex .

Oct 14, 2004, 2:40 PM

Post #10 of 23 (8876 views)

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point noted, its OK

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I never knew what the subjunctive is, it was the first complicated sounding tense that came to mind. Its actually worse than that : my English is more gooder than my geography !
Alex


Marlene


Oct 15, 2004, 7:36 AM

Post #11 of 23 (8856 views)

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Re: [alex .] point noted, its OK

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Good point. Not only are languages not so easy to learn, but are also complicated to teach. Very shortly after getting my TESOL certificate and teaching some English, I gained a whole new healthy respect for language teachers. It is far from easy, and simply speaking the language doesn't cut it.


Georgia


Oct 20, 2004, 10:15 AM

Post #12 of 23 (8748 views)

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Re: [charley] Tips for beginners who will live in Mexico

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Fortunately for beginning learners, Mexicans are extremely generous, gracious and good natured about attempts to speak their language. A quick short cut for beginners who are intimidated by the 17 tenses in Spanish: don't use them at first. I say this, because it will likely confuse things. When I used to teach a quickie survival course for adults who had to go to Spanish speaking countries on short notice, this was the technique:

post-its all over the house with the names of things and actions done with them.
(Example: cocina, cocinar; comedor, comer; lavabo: lavarse la cara, las manos; cepillarse los dientes, etc. etc.) Start thinking the spanish as you do these actions.

At first forget about verb forms - please note, I say AT FIRST. Instead talk this way:

Yo comer ayer en un restaurante.
I to eat yesterday in a restaurant.

Not at all pretty, but you will communicate effectively at first.

So, the deal is this: learn subject pronouns (yo, tu, Ud., el, ella, nosotros, Uds.), infinitives of verbs (ir, ver, comer, estar, ser, hacer, etc. etc.), and adverbs telling when the action occurred.
yesterday: ayer
last night: anoche
tomorrow: manana
next week: la semana que viene
todos los dias: every day

It's a starting, non- classic approach to language learning that gets you jumping right in from the get go without stumbling over grammar. That should come later after you've learned to sort out what people are saying to you and vice versa. It helps you build a practical vocabulary very quickly. You will be understood. You will not choke over grammar quandaries.

Just don't let the learning stop there.


Judy in Ags


Oct 22, 2004, 5:33 AM

Post #13 of 23 (8713 views)

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Re: [alex .] too many tenses make me tense

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Subjunctive only for reading? I hope not! This tense is used a great deal in Spanish. What's frustrating to us who are learning Spanish after Portuguese is that Spanish has no future subjunctive. Another thing is the lack of precise terms (such as people not knowing a precise word for blueberries). Mexican Spanish seems to lump what English and Portuguese have precise words for into one category--such as "pine" and "palm".


Don Moore


Oct 22, 2004, 10:08 AM

Post #14 of 23 (8698 views)

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Re: [charley] learning Spanish

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Charley,

All these comments have some validity, depending on how thoroughly you want to learn Spanish, which depends upon how hard you are willing to work at it. Three months or so of full time quality instruction in a small class setting (fewer than 10 students) using a modern method of teaching will prepare you. if you are highly motivated and do your homework as if your future depended upon it, to go on and become an adept, if not fluent, speaker of the language. I have learned three foreign languages and have taught English as a second language. Learning a language is hard or easy depending upon the quality of instruction and the motivation (as evidenced by a lot of hard work) of the student. You can learn Spanish in the U.S. just as well or better than in Mexico, by the way, again depending on quality and method of instruction and your own hard work.

Good luck,
Don Moore


quevedo

Oct 24, 2004, 7:42 AM

Post #15 of 23 (8658 views)

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Re: [Judy in Ags] Los que tal dijeren...

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... falsedad afirmaren.

Por supuesto que contamos con un muy saludable futuro de subjuntivo en español, lo mismo que mora azul describe muy bien a la fruta en cuestión.

Saludos dominicales,

Quevedo


alex .

Oct 25, 2004, 7:41 AM

Post #16 of 23 (8638 views)

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Re: [Judy in Ags] I don't know anything about it

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and I have proven it. I don't know what subjunctive tense is. I didn't look it up before I posted.

With a couple clics of the mouse I could have come up with a list of other tenses:

Conditional perfect indicative
Future perfect indicative
Imperative
Past perfect indicative
Past perfect of subjunctive
Present perfect indicative
Present progressive
Present perfect of subjunctive
Preterit perfect indicative

I don't know what any of these are either, but I can guarantee that the average Juan does't use them all in casual conversation. Sorry for the error,

I know that someone will go thru the listed tenses one by one and show an example of a common phrase using each, go ahead, I'll learn something.

Alex


(This post was edited by alex . on Oct 25, 2004, 7:53 AM)


esperanza

Oct 25, 2004, 10:10 AM

Post #17 of 23 (8621 views)

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Re: [alex .] I don't know anything about it

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Alex, I have had this same discussion with another friend--a face-to-face friend--and the truth is, I believe the average Juan does indeed use all these tenses. He may not know that he's using the imperative, or the present perfect of the subjunctive, or the name of a compound tense--but he uses them all the same. I hear it every single day.

You also use many complex tenses in English without knowing that you are using them. Most folks don't 'get' grammar; we just learn to talk in our native languages and forget about the names of grammatical construction the minute we're out of the classroom. Compound tenses and the subjunctive are commonly used, every single day, in both English and Spanish.

Here's the imperative: ¡Dime! (Tell me!)

And another one: No te vayas. (Don't leave.)

And one more: Pónmelo en la mesa, por favor. (Put it on the table for me, please.)

Here's an example of the present progressive: Estoy lavándome las manos. (I am washing my hands.) I bet you've said something similar a zillion times.

Here's another way of using the same tense: Voy acostumbrándome al clima. (I'm getting used to the climate.)

Now for the present perfect subjunctive: Espero que no lo hayan perdido. (I hope they haven't lost it.)

And another: Dudo que haga diez años que él vive aqui. (I doubt that he has been living here for ten years.)



Quevedo, que opinas tú? Digo yo que aunque Fulano no sepa, Fulano sí sabe...si me explico bien.

Esperanza




http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









quevedo

Oct 25, 2004, 12:13 PM

Post #18 of 23 (8614 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Estoy de acuerdo

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Juan no le pondrá el nombre correcto a los tiempos, pero los usa y habla con ellos.

Un saludo cordial,

Quevedo


quevedo

Oct 25, 2004, 12:30 PM

Post #19 of 23 (8610 views)

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Re: [alex .] Ejemplos

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El diccionario en línea de la Real Academia Española provee conjugaciones de los verbos. Esta es una herramienta muy poderosa para estudiar los tiempos.

Para usarla, hay que ir a http://www.rae.es y accesar el enlace que dice "Diccionario de la lengua española". Ya en esa página, arriba, aparece el cajoncito buscador del diccionario [Escriba la palabra que desea consultar:(*)]. Si se escribe en el cajón de búsqueda un verbo, viajar, por ejemplo, el diccionario contesta lo siguiente:

viajar. 1. intr. Trasladarse de un lugar a otro, generalmente distante, por cualquier medio de locomoción. 2. intr. Dicho de un vehículo: Desplazarse siguiendo una ruta o trayectoria. Los cohetes viajan a gran velocidad. 3. intr. Dicho de una mercancía: Ser transportada. 4. tr. p. us. Dicho de un viajante: Efectuar su ruta para vender o promocionar sus mercancías. Antes me dedicaba a viajar alpargatas.

Real Academia Española © Todos los derechos reservados


A la izquierda del nombre del verbo aparece un cuadrito azul . Si accesamos ese cuadrito, el diccionario nos muestra las conjugaciones del verbo en cuestión. Los invito a probarlo: el cuadrito que aparece aquí atrás cuenta con el enlace activo a las conjugaciones del verbo viajar.

Maravilloso, ¿no? El sistema funciona con todos los verbos registrados en el diccionario.

¡Que se diviertan!

Un saludo conjugado,

Quevedo

(This post was edited by quevedo on Oct 25, 2004, 12:35 PM)


thfarrell


Oct 26, 2004, 9:40 AM

Post #20 of 23 (8584 views)

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Re: tense/mood

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Hi...

Well, I was sure days ago that someone would bring this up. It's been crying out for attention.

But the silence has been deafening.

There is, for example, only ONE present tense. It comes in several moods: Indicative, Subjunctive, Imperative and possibly more.

Maybe it's like the way quarks come in flavors?

Tom
---
"Beauty is in the i of the Beholder"
(Julia Mandelbrot)


Georgia


Oct 26, 2004, 3:36 PM

Post #21 of 23 (8560 views)

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Re: [thfarrell] tense/mood

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True in English, but in Spanish I don't ever recall hearing them referred to this way.


thfarrell


Oct 26, 2004, 7:58 PM

Post #22 of 23 (8544 views)

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Re: [Georgia] tense/mood

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Hi...

There's a bit of explication and some examples at:

http://spanish.about.com/library/beginning/aa-beg-verbs-subjunctive.htm

and at:

http://spanish.about.com/library/weekly/aa100499.htm

Now if only using the subjunctive were as easy as talking about it... :-)

tom
---
"Beauty is in the i of the Beholder"
(Julia Mandelbrot)


Georgia


Oct 26, 2004, 8:19 PM

Post #23 of 23 (8540 views)

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Re: [thfarrell] tense/mood

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Ah, but it is easy conceptually.
Rule: When you have a verb (done by person #1) of (ROWED) request, order, wishing, emotion, doubt or denial followed by another verb (done by person #2), the second verb is in the subjunctive mood.

Example:

Maria pide que quedes aqui.
El policia manda que le muestres la licencia.
Espero que termine pronto.
Me alegro de que mis hijos me visiten.
Dudamos que tengas tiempo.
Ojala llegue temprano.

Whenever the action being expressed is dependent on something else, or hasn't actually happened, but might. Expressions such as "con tal que" indicate this action that is not realized.

Hablare con Maria con tal que me llame.



 
 
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