All posts, Language

Spanish Steps – learning the language

Spanish notes on whiteboardAn important part of our year in Spain (perhaps longer) is learning to speak the language.

One of us has the advantage of being a natural linguist who can speak decent French – so ‘gets’ Spanish more. The other, on the other hand got 9% in his Latin school exam and in French failed a comprehension paper by translating a story set in hospital as someone digging out of prison with a spoon. So there’s a long way to go.

We can read every language book, watch every YouTube video and even try to understand Spanish radio or TV. But nothing, of course, beats speaking Spanish.

We’ve already had a few lessons here in London. They’ve ended and we now rely on those books and videos – and an iPhone app. Here are our favourites:

Notes from Spain – run by Ben Curtis and Marina Diez, their podcasts are gentle, fun and inspiring

Señor Jordan’s Spanish videos – high-quality visual learning

Professor Jason – clear and enjoyable videos, well-indexed (also his YouTube channel)

SpanishDict – comprehensive dictionary and decent translation tool

Collins Spanish dictionary and verbs iPhone app – expensive but worth every penny

We also recommend the Pasos books – in particular Book 1, Beginner’s course book.

Our catWe’ve also stuck bits of paper on things to remind us of their Spanish equivalent and used flash cards to help remember vocabulary and grammar rules. Here’s an example:

Fill in the blank with the correct form of the verb Poder: ‘Roberto no ______ jugar el fútbol cuando era pequeño.

Answer: podia. Podia is the third person singular of the verb poder in the imperfect tense. This tense is used to describe ongoing events in the past. ‘Roberto couldn’t play football when he was little.’

Without using the language here in the UK, things are easily forgotten however.

Over time, we’ll post interesting language things we’ve learnt.

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  1. Pingback: These three books | con jamón - June 28, 2013

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