Reasons to Learn Spanish It might be a good time to learn Spanish. You may never have thought of learning another language before. Many people go their whole lives without knowing more than one language. Yet, others like the challenge. They find plenty of reasons to learn Spanish. If you travel to a Spanish-speaking country, it helps to know the language. When you learn Spanish before you go, you can be ready to take care of all your basic needs while staying at your destination. You will know how to ask for directions and understand the answers. You can be the first of your group to figure out the menu at a foreign restaurant and help the others to order. If you learn Spanish, your trip will be pleasurable instead of frustrating. This is because you can communicate well enough to handle situations as they come up. Another reason to learn Spanish is to be able to speak to others in this country. For example, a Spanish speaking person might be sitting next to you at a sporting event. If you don't know Spanish, you will be reduced to smiling and gesturing. However, if you've taken the time to learn Spanish, you can hold a polite conversation with the person. You might even make a friend. You can help out in emergencies in this country if you learn Spanish. Many times, there is a Spanish speaking person who is in need of assistance. If no one trying to come to their aid can speak their language, their troubles could get worse. Yet, if you learn Spanish, you can make yourself useful in situations like this by finding out what the person needs. All the major cities in the US have significant Latino populations. To fully reach their target customers, most businesses will do best if some of their employees learn Spanish. These employees can be clerks in stores, receptionists in office buildings, or anyone who deals with many people. This service will help both the business and the consumer. Businesses that deal via the internet, phone, and correspondence with companies or individuals in Spanish speaking countries often have to bridge a communication gap. Many times the employees, especially in small companies, just fumble through it without really knowing the language. These business dealings can go much better if employees will learn Spanish. It's fun to learn Spanish with your children. It gives them a new skill which they can use later in life. At the same time, you get to spend quality time with them doing something you can all enjoy. The kids will take to it quickly because language learning comes easiest to the young. This is a good reason to learn Spanish with your kids. If you enjoy the arts, you may have a good reason to learn Spanish. If you know how to read it, you can read all the works of the great Spanish speaking writers in the original language. You can watch foreign films from Spain or Latin America without relying on the subtitles. And, you can understand the words of Spanish songs. These are just a few of the reasons people have to learn Spanish. Some people's reasons are much more personal than this. No matter what your reason, you will find that you enjoy learning Spanish as much as you will enjoy being able to speak it. Learning Spanish: What to Look Forward To When trying to learn Spanish, it is good to first get the basics down. Some of the first things people start with when learning Spanish are the days of the week and the bathroom. However, there are many other basics parts of Spanish that a person trying to learn Spanish needs to know. The basic things you must begin with in order to learn Spanish are as follows: First you must learn how to ask, where the bathroom is. This is an important question, because if you ever travel to a Spanish speaking country, you may be surrounded by people who do not know how to speak your language. You may find it difficult to point and make gestures that demonstrate that you are looking for the bathroom. Therefore, if you do not know how to ask for what you want, you may find yourself in a flurry of ridiculous motions that do not get you anywhere. On the other hand, if you simply get down the word "lavabo" then, you will be on your way to getting rid your natural urge quickly and easily. Next you must learn to ask how to catch a cab or bus. As you learn Spanish, you may want to begin traveling to different Spanish- speaking parts of the world, and maybe even parts of your neighborhood. When doing so you should be careful because even in certain parts of your neighborhood or city, you may run into large groups of people who only speak Spanish. Therefore, it is essential that as you learn Spanish, you learn to ask where a cab or bus is. If you learn these questions, you certainly will not find yourself stranded in the middle of a neighborhood that you are not familiar with. Next, you must learn the days of the week. The days of the week are important to learn in any language, and as you learn Spanish, learning the days of the week will become a great asset to you. Finally, if your teacher asks you what day your next class is, you will be able to answer marvelously in Spanish. Then, you must learn small verbs. Why learn Spanish if you can't even build a sentence? Learning small verbs will make Spanish much easier for you in the beginning. The small verbs you should learn are "is" "are" "the," and "they." Learning these words will help you to put together a sentence like "Where is the bathroom?" or "Where is the bus?" Lastly, you must learn "yes" and "no." Sometimes, when people learn Spanish, they are not taught how to say "yes" and "no" for a long time because the Spanish-speaking teacher wants them to learn how to answer his or her questions with complete Spanish sentences. However, it is good to pick up these words as soon as your teacher begins to mention them because they will be the key to getting what you want and getting rid of what you don't. Why Some People Don't Want to Learn Spanish Learning Spanish can be fun and interesting. It can make you comfortable in situations where you would be lost without knowing the language. Yet, not everyone has the desire to learn Spanish. These people have several reasons for their reluctance. Some people feel that they are too old to learn Spanish. They realize that children learn language faster than anyone else. This makes them hesitant to even try. They think it's a lost cause, so why even try? Actually, people of all ages can learn Spanish. It is true that the young are better language learners. However, as has been said, "There's always someone better than you and someone worse." Just because you can't be the best, it doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Maybe you will learn Spanish better than most adults if you only try. People often decline to learn Spanish because they think that they won't be traveling to any Spanish speaking countries in their lifetimes. First of all, you never know what's around the corner. You could even win a trip to such a country. You never know what might take you there. Second, there are reasons to learn Spanish even if you never speak a word of it. You can enjoy Spanish literature and movies. You can take pride in knowing the words to songs that others can only stumble through. You can watch Spanish language news and learn Spanish politics and culture. It can be a fun pastime. For some, it seems like a monumental task to learn Spanish. They believe it will be one of the hardest things they ever do. They don't want to work so hard at something voluntarily. They feel that Spanish is a hard language to learn. This couldn't be further from the truth. Spanish is one of the easiest languages. In Spanish, if you know what a word sounds like, you almost always know how it's spelled. If you know how it's spelled, you can pronounce it easily. Some of the words of Spanish are in common use in the vocabulary of most Americans. Others are just slight variations. Of course, you will have to deal with gender of nouns, which is actually easy. Verb conjugations are harder, but still are easy to understand if taught properly. If you want to learn Spanish, you probably can. Money is a stumbling block for some people. They feel that to learn Spanish they must shell out a huge amount of money to schools and teachers. They know they aren't that well off, so they give up. Although there are expensive ways to learn Spanish, there are less expensive ways as well. Some community classes are very nearly free. If you like, you can check out books to learn Spanish from your local library. Some libraries even carry language learning CD's as well. If you're negative, you can always find a reason not to do something. However, if you're positive minded, you can learn Spanish without a lot of difficulty or expense. You only have to make up your mind that you want to do it. Where to Learn Spanish Once you decide to learn Spanish, your next step is to decide where you will study. Time and money will play a part in your decision. Before you decide, though, you should look at all the options of where to learn Spanish. The most obvious answer is: in school. However, there are all kinds of schools that teach all kinds of Spanish courses. The traditional High School Spanish course is still available for those who are enrolled as students in the schools. If you are beyond the age of secondary school, the school might still offer classes to learn Spanish in community education classes for you. The teachers can be the same ones that teach the High School courses, or they are sometimes retired professors. They can even be any people who have demonstrated fluency in both Spanish and English through any means. Many colleges have dropped their foreign language requirement as the emphasis is moving away from Liberal Arts. Even if your school has done this, you will still find a full course of language studies. These classes often include conversational classes. If you're going to college, there's no reason why you can't learn Spanish. Community colleges have popped up all over the nation, meeting the demand for low cost post-secondary education and community service. These small colleges give classes for those who want to learn Spanish. They are cheaper than a university, but they still have respectable programs. In some of the larger cities, there are schools that make a business of teaching paying customers who want to learn Spanish. Most of these schools focus on conversation before they get into grammar and other written work. Some of the schools are set up for the businessman or -woman to learn Spanish for work. Having a person locally who can tutor you is an effective way to learn Spanish. The tutor can tailor the teaching to meet your needs. If certain words are needed for your job, such as the names of tools for instance, the tutor can supply them. A tutor gives more personal attention than you will get anywhere else. A great place to learn Spanish is in a Spanish speaking country. This is called immersion learning. You surround yourself with Spanish speaking people. You put yourself in situations where you have to do business with people who only speak Spanish. This is a powerful way to learn Spanish quickly. If you are in a Spanish speaking country, you will learn Spanish even faster if you go to a school. You can go to a class that teaches Spanish to foreigners. These classes are taught by residents of the country or people who have emigrated from the US. Sometimes these classes are given in community centers and sometimes they are a private business. You can also learn Spanish from your own home. You can do this through distance learning. You can take correspondence courses, or you can take courses over the internet. Some of these courses even allow you to learn Spanish better by speaking it to others over the phone. All in all, it shouldn't be difficult to find a place to learn Spanish if you decide to do it. What you have to do is decide how much time, effort, and expense you are willing to give to it. Then, make it happen. Where to Find a Friend to Help You Learn Spanish One of the easiest ways to learn Spanish is to find someone else who speaks Spanish. This person can be someone who is a native Spanish speaker or it can be someone who is also learning Spanish. Speaking Spanish with a friend will really increase how much fun you have as you learn Spanish, and it will also make the process much easier. Most people know that it's a great idea to learn Spanish with a friend, but many people don't know where to find people to speak Spanish with. There are many resources that can be used to find people. They include internet and college resources. Word of mouth is good as well. If you are in college, you may want to check out the English as a Second Language program. There, you will be able to find many native Spanish speakers who are eager to improve their English skills by having conversations with you. You also can research different groups on campus and locate those that are about Spanish culture. These groups are sure to have some native Spanish speakers in them. Not only can people who speak Spanish be found at colleges, but they also can be found at high schools in your area. Many Spanish-speaking students attend high schools. If you go to one, you may be able to find a student who wouldn't mind helping you learn Spanish. Also, high schools might have foreign-exchange students. If you are not able to find any students that might be able to help you, Spanish teachers can be found in elementary, junior high, and high schools. They may be able to offer you suggestions on other resources you can use to locate a person that you can have conversations with as you learn Spanish. In some large cities, there are what are called international friendship associations. These associations encourage networking among different cultures. Contact these associations to get more information. You may also want to try your local church. Many of the members there may be able to speak Spanish. Another thing you can do is put an ad in the classified section of the newspaper. You can use the online classified section as well. Just be careful. If you put an ad online, you may attract all kinds of people who may have nothing to do with helping you learn Spanish. As a last resort, you may want to search for chat rooms that attract Spanish speakers. If you get to know someone well enough, they may not mind logging on with you every now and again to type some conversations in Spanish. With enough research and tenacity, you can easily find someone who will speak Spanish with you for hours at a time. You just can't give up on your search. Once you find that person you will find that you will learn Spanish quicker than if you strictly studied on your own. Conversing with another person will help to challenge your memory and use of the Spanish language in everyday situations. That's something you don't always get in a textbook. What to Look for in a Spanish-Speaking Partner There are many different ways to learn Spanish. One of the most popular and fun ways to learn Spanish is to use a friend who speaks both Spanish and English. A Spanish speaking friend can really help you to rapidly progress through the challenges you may face. There are many important qualities that need be looked for when seeking out a partner to help you learn Spanish. These are patience, skill, and availability. Without these qualities, your partner may not be the best. There are many reasons why these qualities are important. Patience is important because a patient Spanish-speaking partner will help you learn Spanish peacefully so to speak. A patient partner will not mind if you stumble over your words as you learn Spanish. If you take a little more time than normal to get the language down, a patient partner will let you have all of the time that you need to learn Spanish. They will not pressure you or make you feel bad when you are facing some difficulties. Another quality, skill is essential for your partner to have because without it, you may feel that you are not properly learning the language. Your Spanish speaking partner should be skilled in writing the language, speaking it formally, and speaking the language conversationally. As an added bonus, you may want to consider getting a partner who has teaching skills. Such a person may be more likely to have the qualities patience and skill, and such a person may already be practiced in using these skills with other people. You may also want to consider getting a partner who is practiced in counseling or maybe has some kind of experience in caring for other people. Such a person may make the experience of learning Spanish fun as well as nurturing. Lastly, a key attribute of the partner you find that will help you learn Spanish is availability. Availability starts with you. First you have to make yourself available to learn Spanish well. Making yourself available might require you to take time off from work or school. You may have to take a break from some of your hobbies to learn Spanish. Finally, when your schedule makes you available to learn Spanish well, you must choose a partner is who is either just as available as or more available than you are. They must be willing to make some of the same sacrifices you are making in order to help you learn Spanish. If you find someone who is open to making changes in their schedule for your benefit, you may have found yourself a good Spanish-speaking partner. However, before you decide to commit yourself to a relationship with a person who should help you learn Spanish; remember that you must look at the bigger picture. Neither of these qualities is more important than the other. Only all three of them will create the ideal partner. Before long you will really enjoy learning Spanish. How to Learn Spanish with a Tutor Some companies hire tutors for certain employees so they can learn Spanish for business dealings. You might also hire a tutor to get personal instruction. If you're lucky enough to be able to get a one-on-one tutor to learn Spanish with, you should be able to progress quickly. This is even truer if you know how to take full advantage of your tutor's knowledge. When you first sit down with your tutor, before you begin to learn Spanish, ask about his/her background. Ask questions about where they grew up, where they went to school, where they have worked, and especially, what language they spoke in all of these situations. Make sure the tutor you have selected has something to teach you. Think of it this way. You can learn something from anyone, but no one can teach you everything. Learn Spanish with someone who can come as close as possible. Once you get a feel for where your tutor's talents lie, you will be able to glean from their wisdom all they have to offer you. If the tutor has lived in a country that interests you, you will have a great resource to learn Spanish in that dialect. You can also learn about the culture of that country. If the tutor has worked in a field that is similar to yours, that is helpful. It means that they will know technical words that you deal with every day. It also gives you something in common to talk about as you learn Spanish. Show up on time to your tutoring sessions. If the tutoring takes place in your home, be there and ready for your lesson. Don't make the tutor wait for you to finish watching a television program before you will begin to learn Spanish, for example. Besides that, you should offer a soda or coffee, since all the talking can dry out the mouth. When you're working with a tutor to learn Spanish, one advantage you have is that you can ask all the questions you want. Use this knowledge to the maximum. When you're having your tutoring sessions, ask every question that pops into your mind. Don't let the questions end with the lessons, either. Keep jotting down your questions in between lessons so that they can be answered when you meet again. When you get the answers, write them down or record them. This kind of interaction makes you more involved and enthusiastic about your quest to learn Spanish. After you've learned the basics with your tutor, make a list of things you need or would like to learn. If you work in a field with a lot of technical jargon or specialized tools, you can make a list of these words you need to know. Your tutor will help you learn Spanish names for the items on your list. The right tutor can fulfill your need to learn Spanish with ease. Treat your tutor in a respectful way and you can expect to develop a strong working relationship. If you have a choice, opting to learn Spanish with a tutor is a wise move. Should We Learn Spanish Because the Hispanic Population is Growing? The numbers read that over 400 million Spanish speakers are in the world. Therefore, Spanish is the fourth most commonly spoken language right under English, Chinese and Hindustani. Additionally, now that Hispanic commerce is booming in North America, it is important for business competitors all over the world to find some way to keep up. Most people don't know that over 91% of fortune 500 companies and forbes international 800 companies cannot meet the needs of people who speak a foreign language because they do not have the ability to respond correctly to a foreign language. Since learning Spanish would increase the general ability to communicate with the large amount of immigrants that come into the country each year, some wonder if requiring Americans to learn Spanish would be the solution to keeping up with the increasing needs of the Hispanic culture. There are two different sides to this issue. Some believe that Americans should learn Spanish because if Americans learn Spanish, they would mostly help themselves in the long run. When people learn Spanish, they are able to have a more competitive resume when they move into the work force. Such an edge in the job market would then allow Spanish learners to demand higher pay than other job searchers who can only speak English. Furthermore, if fortune 500 companies are not able to satisfy the needs of Spanish speakers, the Americans who learn Spanish will become like precious jewels among these types of companies. Also, when people learn Spanish, they learn about another culture. Learning about other cultures decreases the likelihood of discrimination not only in relation to the Spanish culture, but other cultures in general. People will become more aware that other types of people exist, and that these people have needs and wants that may be different from their own. An increase in cultural awareness cannot help but be beneficial to the general mindset of Americans. On the other hand, many people believe that since the amount of Hispanic immigrants is so large, Hispanics often get very comfortable when they come to the U.S., and often they don't feel that they have to learn English. It is not rare for immigrants in the United States to either never learn English or remain in America for many years without even trying to learn the language. It seems that if Americans were required to learn Spanish whether by their jobs or schools, Hispanic immigrants would find even greater comfort and feel that they do not have to learn English. Americans that learn Spanish would continue to experience all of the benefits of the language. However, Hispanics would experience many negatives. A Hispanic living in the US who does not learn to speak English would experience a lack in the number of jobs they are eligible for. Therefore, such a person may experience high levels of unemployment or poverty and may only be able to obtain jobs that require manual labor. Other workers will be able to pick and choose where they would like to be employed. With the increase in Hispanic businesses many companies may push their employees to learn Spanish. However, it does not look like it will be a requirement any time in the near future. Learning Spanish: The Job World It's a very good idea to learn Spanish in today's world. When a person learns Spanish, they gain the ability to obtain a better cultural understanding. Learning Spanish also creates more job opportunities. Many people of different cultural origins are constantly migrating to the United States, and the increase of people of Spanish speaking origin has created a lot of diversity in the country. However, with an increase of Spanish speaking people comes an increase in the amount of people who do not know English. Therefore, it is essential that many people entering the work world learn to speak Spanish. When a person looking for a job knows two more languages, such as English and Spanish, he or she becomes more valuable to the job market. Only so many people can speak Spanish and English. Therefore, there is less competition. Also, a person who has learned to speak Spanish can make an employers life much easier. For instance, some industries thrive on attracting all members of the community to buy their products, including those who don't know English. For instance, an industry that needs to get all of the community buying its products is insurance. Everyone needs car insurance, health insurance, and life insurance. The only way to tell a person who only speaks Spanish about insurance is to speak Spanish. For this reason, many professionals who work in the insurance industry in the U.S are discovering that they need to learn Spanish themselves or employee someone who is willing to learn Spanish. Furthermore, often people who work generally in sales need to learn some way to increase and enhance their communication abilities. Sales is all about communicating with people. The best way to communicate is to make sure that everyone is able to understand one's message. For these reasons, many companies offer to pay for classes that might help one learn Spanish. These classes can be taken at night, and may be completed in about a year to two years. Once a person has learned Spanish, and is able to bring their ability to their place of employment, many opportunities may open up. For instance, learning Spanish creates job opportunities in the medical and customer service related fields. Also, management may offer travel opportunities to employees who have learned to speak Spanish, and a person who has learned Spanish may find themselves getting promoted to positions that require them to use their new Spanish speaking skill. Employees could become ambassadors or key speakers at meetings. To learn Spanish is to gain many opportunities in the world of work. In a nutshell, learning Spanish can be a way for a person to increase their income and likelihood of having constant opportunities for employment. With the right amount of tenacity and dedication, it can become easy to learn Spanish. It merely takes listening skills, attention to detail, patience, and diligence. These are all skills that can be transferred to the work environment and they can't help but make a successful employee. Spanish Basics: How to Describe a Person's Face It's easy to learn Spanish if you begin with the basics. Just get down the simple verbs, some foods, and perhaps a few descriptive terms. Usually people learn Spanish by beginning to say the alphabet and rehearsing greetings such as "hello" and "goodnight," but studying the facial features will allow you to have a bit of variety and spice as you learn Spanish. A very fun basic to begin with while in the process of learning Spanish is the descriptions of the face. The face is recognized as the front part of the head. It includes the lips, nose, eyes, cheeks, eyebrows, nose, hair, teeth, lips, and chin. The face functions as a tool of expression and identity, and people's faces are the body part that is most commonly used to distinguish them. Often caricatures will overemphasize certain parts of the face in order to make them instantly recognizable to the people who may be familiar with those memorable features. If you have a bit of trouble recalling names of others, you may want to become very familiar with the features of the face. The size of someone's eyes let a mother know instantly which one of your children you are talking about. It's good to be able to speak about someone's facial features in Spanish because if you meet someone in a Spanish-speaking country you may have to describe that person to another person who speaks Spanish. Also, describing people's facial features in Spanish will help you to learn Spanish in a fun a creative way. To begin with, if you meet someone who has a thin face, you would say "una cara delgada". Translated into English, this means "She has a thin face." If you meet someone who has a chubby face, you would say "una cara regordete." If you meet someone you would like to describe as having had a face lift you would say un lifting or un "estiramiento facial." If someone has wrinkles you would say "arugas." If someone's face is happy, you would say "una cara alegre." If someone has a big nose you would say "una nariz grande." If someone has sunken eyes you would say "ojos hundidos." In the event that you meet someone with shifty eyes you would say "ojos furtivos." Those are just some Spanish words that you can you use to describe people's faces as you continue to learn Spanish. Now, you will not be at a loss for words when you meet people on the street. See how fun it can be to learn Spanish? In order to avoid the typical method of beginning to learn Spanish such as getting down the alphabet and, "What's your name?" you may want to consider learning the physical anatomy in Spanish or learning how to say the different parts of a typical suburban neighborhood. When you deviate from the norm, it not only can be fun to learn Spanish, but it also can be very exciting. Should Spanish Be Required in Schools? Many school curriculums require students to take a language. The requirement is so popular that not only does it exist on the college level, but also the middle school and even the elementary school level. It is assumed that it would be useful to learn another language besides one's native tongue, but many times young students ask themselves if they should really be required to learn other languages. For instance, as a student begins to learn Spanish in elementary school, he or she may have a lot of fun with his or her teacher, doing colorful worksheets and playing nice games. They may win a couple of prizes for their great amount of participation in the class. However, these elementary students will only get a basic understanding of the language at most. Then, as that same student progresses, he may find himself choosing to learn Spanish again to fulfill his or her middle school language requirement. He or she may perhaps gain a more intermediate understanding of the language. They may find out that now they can put a few conversations together. As they continue to learn Spanish for a few more semesters, they may understand how to write a few paragraphs in the language. However, students at this level will only rise to the medium levels of grasping the language. They may get all A's in the class and attain some good compliments from the teacher, but there's a good chance that they will lack fluency in the language. A student reaching high school may choose to learn Spanish again in order to fulfill a language requirement there. Of course, this type of student will become more advanced in speaking Spanish. They will learn to say all kinds of things such as, "where is the bathroom?" They may learn the vocabulary for an entire wardrobe and the may get down the words that fit with everything they make for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When the teacher says "good morning" in class, happily they will be able to answer her back. Short verbs such "is" "are" and "where" will be effortless to them, but will they be fluent in the language? Probably not. These students usually do not gain fluency as they learn Spanish because the classes are just not that advanced and they do not last for a long enough time. Often, in high school, a Spanish class can last for a year, but the class might not be taught daily. Even if the class is taught daily, the lure to take some real time off from learning Spanish during the summer months is just too enticing. If the process of learning Spanish is stopped during the three month summer period, it could cause a student to forget the majority of what he or she learned during class time. Even in college, students normally will learn Spanish or another language only until they get the requirement filled. Then they stop all together, never becoming fluent even after investing all of that previous time in learning the language. Since most students do not become fluent in the language, later in life they find themselves being grateful for leaning Spanish only because they were in a Spanish restaurant one day and luckily they remembered how to read the menu. Therefore, it would seem that it is not that useful to learn Spanish or another language as a school requirement. If is useful, it may only be to those students who combine learning language in a formal classroom with outside learning as well. Outside learning might include practicing speaking Spanish with a friend or attending Spanish cultural events. By combing different methods of learning Spanish, students might stand a better chance of becoming fluent. Learn Spanish through Immersion Studies It isn't easy trying to learn Spanish without talking to people who actually speak the language on a regular basis. Spanish teachers whose first language is English may know their subject very well. Yet, they can't give you the understanding of the language you will get if you experience it firsthand. Immersion study means staying in a place, such as a Spanish speaking country, where people speak a language you are trying to learn. You put yourself in a position where you have to conduct all your business in that language. Your social life will revolve around speaking that language. It will be challenging to learn Spanish this way. However, the payoff is that, as you are forced to use it constantly, you learn Spanish much faster. You will have no choice but to learn Spanish if you are to understand what is going on around you. It is a great motivational tool. At the same time, you are in an atmosphere where you can pick up hundreds, if not thousands, of bits of information about the language every day. You learn Spanish in much the same way as a child will learn Spanish. You will imitate the way those around you speak. You will intuit the meanings of words and phrases by the way they are used. As you go through the days, you will gain knowledge of social language and customs. Learn Spanish this way and you will remember it for life. The best way to enhance this learning is to go to Spanish classes or to have a tutor. This way you can clarify any questions you have. You can also learn Spanish from the tutor by having him/her correct any misconceptions that you have about grammar and usage. You can make the arrangements to do immersion study on your own. Rent an apartment or home in a Spanish speaking neighborhood or country. Sign up for a class or with a tutor. Then, get out, interact with people, and let nature take its course. There are also companies that will make the arrangements for you to learn Spanish this way. They will set up those living arrangements. Instead of living on your own, you might opt for the company to send you to a host family to live with as you learn Spanish. This is total immersion in the language and culture of the country. You will be in a position where you are making polite dinner conversation over every meal. You will be included in invitations to social functions that you might otherwise have missed. You might learn Spanish during your time inside the home in an informal way that you would never have thought possible. Universities and colleges also offer immersion studies for students. It doesn't matter if you are a young student or someone going back to school. You can take a semester abroad to learn Spanish through one of their programs. Immersion studies have always had some of the best results for people who wanted to learn Spanish. Foreign exchange students have been doing it for years. Now, the option is available to anyone.
Learn Spanish Phrases for Your Trip Abroad It's nice when you get a chance to take a trip abroad. If you are going to a Spanish speaking country, it might be a little intimidating to get off the beaten path and explore. Just making yourself at home in hotels and restaurants can be quite a task if you're unprepared. That's why it's good to learn Spanish phrases to get you by. Of course, if you have time to take a full Spanish course, that's preferable. Learning to speak conversational Spanish will make your stay among the local people much more pleasant. You can communicate most ideas if you learn Spanish in this way. However, you may not have the time to learn Spanish thoroughly. You may have been invited on the trip unexpectedly. You may have won the trip and have to take it in a short amount of time. Or, perhaps you had plenty of notice, but had too busy of a schedule to fit in a full course to learn Spanish properly. It doesn't matter why you're in this position; the crux of the matter is that you need to learn Spanish enough to handle your basic needs. You will probably find English speaking people somewhere on your journey to speak with. However, there will be times when you must depend upon Spanish speaking people to answer important questions. You can find phrasebooks to help you find the words to ask for basic needs. They will tell you how to introduce yourself and say please and thank you. You will learn Spanish phrases for asking the time and weather. More importantly, these books will tell you how to ask where the restroom is. You will learn Spanish phrases like "Ayudame!" meaning "Help me!" Most of the books will also tell you how to ask where you can find a doctor or dentist. Phrasebooks can also be helpful with the hotel you're staying at. They can tell you how to ask for clean linens. You can learn Spanish phrases that make it easier to order room service. You will also know how to check into and out of your hotel. The books will tell you the basics of how to order food in a restaurant. They will tell you any number of words to use in different situations. A book like this should also contain valuable information like how to ask where the US embassy is. If you are concerned about your pronunciation, you can get the same type of phrase manuals on CD's. Just pop them into your CD player and repeat after the speaker. You can do this in your car, at your computer, or in your living room. Wherever you find comfortable will do. A book or CD like this can help you learn Spanish phrases. What it can't do is help you understand the answers. You will have to rely on a lot of pointing and gesturing. Also, never forget, if you think you might be able to understand the person, if they would speak slower, just say, "mas despacio." It works wonders. Is it Good for Small Children to Learn Spanish? Nowadays, Spanish is being taught in grades k-5. It also is being taught in junior high school, high school, and college. However, many people are undecided on whether it is actually beneficial for small children to learn Spanish since at such a young age, they may not retain much and will most likely not be able to speak the language on any advanced level. Children at this age may use the language for entertainment purposes. They may find the exercises fun and motivating. But are they really learning or is it a waste of time for small children to learn Spanish? There are a couple of different sides to this issue. It is good for small children to learn Spanish because it teaches them about diversity. While many schools have many races attending them, there are still other schools around that are not very diverse at all due to the neighborhoods where the schools are located. Therefore, when a small child has the opportunity to learn Spanish, he or she can be exposed to a culture and race of people other than his or her own. When a child learns about different cultures and races, he or she becomes more well- rounded and may become more likely not to have incidences in his or her life where he or she accidentally discriminates against someone of another race. Also, small children who learn Spanish will most likely learn about Spanish food. Learning about different kinds of food from different cultures is valuable because it makes it seem as if other food exists besides unhealthy fast food or even the fried snacks found in school lunches. Learning about Spanish food may prompt a child to want to learn how to cook this type of food. If as an adult, the grownup child cooks Spanish food, soon his or her own children may start cooking the same food, and another culture may be spread amongst a household. Learning Spanish will teach children more about the English language. Both Spanish and English have Latin roots. As a child learns Spanish on the basic level, he or she may be able to make connections between the Latin similarities in both Spanish and English. Such a connection may prove valuable later on as the child progresses to higher levels of learning and begins to grasp complex Spanish or English vocabulary. For instance, he or she may notice the similarities between Spanish the word "lavabo" and the English word "lavatory." In spite of all of the positive reasons to learn Spanish, there is also a case for not teaching Spanish to small children. These reasons can all be summed up into asking, "Is the child actually learning to speak a language or is he or she just learning cultural values that can be taught in a sociology class? Certainly at such a young age a child will not become fluent in the language. However, the jury is still out, and in any case, these kids are getting a head start on the many language requirements they will have to fulfill at the higher levels of learning. How to Learn Spanish Verbs There's a rumor going around that Spanish verbs are difficult and confusing. You might even be afraid to try to learn them. There's no need to worry, Spanish verbs can be learned with just a little attention. One thing people don't realize is that English verbs are, in many ways, similar to Spanish verbs. For instance, you will often hear the complaint that it's hard to learn Spanish verbs because you have to conjugate them. Conjugating verbs just means matching up the right verb form for each "person," like I, you, he, she, we, or they. What people don't seem to understand is that we conjugate English words as well. So, for instance, we say "I have," but we say "she has." When you learn Spanish, you will conjugate verbs in the same way. The only difference is that you have diverse forms for more of the "persons." When you learn Spanish verbs, you will learn a special form each for "I", "you", "we", "they", and another form for "he", "she", or "it." Another thing that makes it easy to learn Spanish verbs is that these verb forms are just based on mostly standard endings. Once you know the endings, you can apply them to the infinitives. Infinitives are the most basic forms of the verbs. All verbs in English have an infinitive form, but most people aren't aware of it. The English infinitive starts with the word "to," as in "to have." Spanish infinitives are single words, like "tener," meaning "to have" also. If you learn Spanish infinitives, you will have a good start when you learn Spanish verbs. As you learn Spanish, you will find that some of the words are different. Just as in English, there are irregular verbs. The English verb "to be" is conjugated "I am," "you are," "she is," "we are," and "they are." Since these forms are not the usual infinitive with an ending, they constitute an irregular verb. When you learn Spanish, you will learn verbs that follow similar patterns. Using the same example, for the Spanish verb "ser," the forms are "yo soy," "tu eres," "ella es," "nosotros estamos," and "ellos estan." These are also irregular verb forms. The final set of forms you will need to learn Spanish are the tenses. In English, the past tense for "jump" is "jumped". This is a regular past tense. An example of a verb with an irregular past tense is "go." Its past tense is "went." As you learn Spanish, you will find out how to make the endings for each tense: present, past, past perfect, and so on. You will also learn Spanish irregular endings for verbs in the different tenses. With all this knowledge under your belt, along with information on the other parts of speech, you should be able to carry on an intelligent conversation. Certainly, there is a lot to understand as you learn Spanish verbs. There are many words and verb forms to remember. However, if you remember that English has many of the same structures, you will find that it's not so confusing. How to Learn Spanish: The Greetings In your first attempt to learn Spanish, the first thing you will be taught about is greetings. What do you know if you don't know how to say "hello?" Learning the greetings will help you to learn Spanish in its simplest form because you don't have to worry about too many verb agreements or word orders. The greetings are taught in simple phrases. No extra words need to be looked up or added. As I said before, as you learn Spanish the first phrase you need to know is "hello." In order to say that in Spanish, you would say, "Hola." "Hola" can be used formally or casually to say hello to anyone you might run into. If you are trying to say hello on the phone, you might use "bueno" or "diga. " If you would like to say "goodbye" in Spanish, you would say, "Adios." If you would like to say, "How are you?" you would say, " Como estás?" To say, "Good afternoon." you would say, " Buenas tardes." To say, "Good morning" or "Good day," you would say, "Buenos dias." "Good night" in Spanish is buenos noches, and to ask what someone's name is, you would say, "Como te llamas?" Once you get these down, you will think it's a breeze to learn Spanish, but you are in for some more complex terms a bit later on down the road. Other basics that you can start mastering are numbers, the alphabet, telling time, asking directions, gender, color, body parts, and family. Learning these types of everyday terms will help you learn Spanish faster because you will able to practice these words everyday. People say hello and good night all of the time so you will feel comfortable practicing your Spanish often. Later on, you will be able to form more complex greetings such as, "Hello, how are you are you doing?" or "Hi, the weather is pleasant today, isn't it?" You can begin to get a little more advanced by asking "What's up?" or "What's new?" To say that in Spanish, you would say "Que hay?" If you want to say, "How's it going?" you would say, "Que pasa?" If you would like to say "nice to meet you" you would say "Mucho gusto." Those are just a few of the more intermediate level greetings that you will help you to learn Spanish while getting to know many different people. In Spain, it's often a common thing for people to kiss each other on both cheeks when they meet. However, men will usually shake hands. Even though people kiss each other often when they meet, they don't do it all of the time. For instance in the context of a business meeting, you would not catch people kissing each other on the cheeks. If you are in America, you may not want to try kissing anyone as you learn Spanish, even if it's another Spanish person. Most people of different cultures have gotten used to the American culture, and American's usually don't kiss when they first meet. However, should you visit Spain, you may want to try this. It will add to the fun as you learn Spanish. How to Learn Spanish by Getting the Most Out of Classes After you enroll in a Spanish class, you expect to learn Spanish right away. You might leave it up to the teacher to drill the words and conjugations into your head. You will get more out of it, though, if you do your part to get more out of the class. As soon as you enter the room for the first time, begin to get to know the other people. You might not think this is necessary to learn Spanish. After all, you didn't come to socialize, right? The truth is that knowing these people will make it easier to interact and communicate with them. Your learning experience will be much more pleasant. If the class goes in the traditional way, the teacher will start with a few basic Spanish words. To learn Spanish, begin thinking correctly about these first few words and you will set a precedent that will carry through all your language learning. To do this, look at the object and think the Spanish word. Don't think the English word and then translate it in your head. That's a bad habit to get into and it won't help you learn Spanish much either. If you start out learning correctly, the rest will go much smoother. Some things when you learn Spanish are just easier than English. Your teacher will soon get into going through the alphabet. Pay attention. The sounds of the Spanish alphabet go by very strict rules that rarely change. If you want to learn Spanish, it's easy to spell if you have mastered the alphabet rules. To learn Spanish, you must learn to conjugate verbs. Learn the standard conjugations once. As you learn new irregular verbs, write down their conjugations. Then, assume that every verb is a regular verb unless you know otherwise. Many classes these days, especially adult classes, are conversational classes. It is an advantage to learn Spanish this way because you are prepared for dealing directly with people when you finish. There are some ways to make your conversational class go better. Listen to the other speakers when it isn't your turn to talk. People often make the mistake of thinking so hard of what they want to say that they get lost to the conversation that is going on. If you listen, you will have to speak without premeditation, but this may help you to think faster in any situation as you learn Spanish. Remember, even though it's a conversational class, it doesn't mean that you can't take notes. You won't want to spend much time with them. Focus on the conversation to learn Spanish, but take the time to doodle words or phrases that you want to remember. You can write them down later, or better yet, speak them into a recorder. Merely being enrolled in a Spanish class doesn't guarantee that you will learn Spanish. You need to bring your whole self into the process and be ready for anything your teacher throws at you. If you are, you will no doubt learn some Spanish by the end of the class. How People Learn Spanish in Conversational Classes The traditional way to learn Spanish has been to start where a first grader would start. You learn the Spanish alphabet, learn simple Spanish words, and learn simple Spanish grammar. You advance in the same way throughout your studies. The trouble is, it seems that after a course like this, people may learn Spanish to a degree without ever learning how to hold up their end of a conversation. Speaking in an informal setting is very different from speaking in a formal class. For this reason, many people who give courses for people to learn Spanish have changed. They now give what are called "conversational Spanish classes." These classes, by their nature, must be taught by someone who is extremely fluent in conversational Spanish. Purists would have you dive right into a conversational setting, stumbling as you find your way. Generally, though, you will learn Spanish words that are necessary parts of a conversation first. These can be small words like "and, or, she, what," and so on. After you have that basis, you will usually be given a thin volume of conversational topics. These have about two short pages for each topic. Words related to that topic are given. Then, some questions are given as conversation starters. When you use topics like this, you use the book as a starting point to learn Spanish rather than as the point of the class. You might, for example, have a topic about going on a trip in a car. There will be words that denote different parts of the car, such as the trunk. Then there will be words about stops you make along the way, like gas station. You use the conversation starters to get you going. In this instance, a question might say, "How did you get your car ready for your last trip?" The students can all use the topic words, along with the small words they know, to answer the question and learn Spanish. Everyone will get a chance to answer the question eventually, but the conversation should be a lively interchange of ideas if the facilitator is any good at all. As you learn Spanish more, you will have even more to say about each topic. You can draw on words you have learned in other lessons. Once you have a few lessons under your belt, the facilitator might have you set aside the book for some lessons. During these times, you can talk about yourselves. You can get to know each other. As you learn Spanish, you will also find out what your classmates do and what they like. Of course the topic words will not give you all the words you need to carry on a normal conversation. They are just a starting point after all. This is where the facilitator comes in. You try to use Spanish words that you do know to describe what you mean. When you get your point across, the facilitator will supply the word. In conversational classes, the facilitator helps you out, but classmates also help each other. It's a group effort to begin and sustain a conversation. As you learn Spanish, you will find that it's less effort than pleasure. Business People Learn Spanish for Work People have various reasons to learn Spanish. Some just want the satisfaction of knowing another language. However, in the business world, it is becoming more and more advantageous to learn Spanish. If your business has bilingual employees, the Spanish speaking community won't hesitate to do business with you. You will be able to service their needs without making them feel out of place or unwanted. It will help you immensely if you have several employees who learn Spanish. Running a grocery store or a department store is much easier if you have employees who will learn Spanish. Questions come up as to price checks or damaged merchandise, to name a couple. It helps you to make your business friendly to the Spanish speaking community if you are ready with answers. If your business involves financial contracts, you can explain your services completely so that everyone involved understands what is being agreed to. You can help the person understand the contract and make sure it's what they want. To do work like this, your employees will need to learn Spanish in depth. Sales are a big area of business in any country. If you don't speak a person's language, you'll never know what they are looking for. You might try to sell them something that is out of their price range. Or, unluckily for you, you might sell them something lesser than what they came for. This is where having employees learn Spanish pays off. Many companies in the US do international business. They need to speak to their business associates on the phone, by email, or even through video conferencing. You will not want a receptionist handling such matters. For this reason, it's necessary to have people of importance to the company learn Spanish. Sometimes Spanish speaking people from businesses you work with will come directly to your office. If this happens, you need to have people who have taken the time to learn Spanish to greet them. They should be able to conduct business with the visiting associates. If you don't learn Spanish yourself, you can at least have employees who can translate for you. So, having established that it is important to your business for employees to learn Spanish, how can you make that learning available? One way is to hire a company tutor. This person can come into the office several times a week and work with selected employees to help them learn Spanish that relates to the office environment. This is an ideal set-up because it takes little time from the workday to learn Spanish, yet it ensures that employees will attend. It keeps the material geared to the specific needs of your company. It also guarantees as small a class size as you dictate. Having employees learn Spanish can be a great boon to your business. It is well worth the trouble and expense of making learning materials and teachers available. If you own a business, consider going bilingual and you won't be sorry you did. Books and Other Tools to Help You Learn Spanish If you want to learn Spanish without taking classes, you can make a lot of progress on your own. There are CD's and audio-books to aid you. There are plenty of books you can buy to help you learn Spanish more easily, as well. A nifty book to have as you learn Spanish is 1001 Most Useful Spanish Words (Beginners' Guide), by Seymour Resnick. This book lists words by categories such as food, time, and family. The words are also in a dictionary type listing alphabetically. The words are defined and used in a sentence. Popular phrases using the words are given. It is helpful to anyone trying to learn Spanish. Sticking with the numbers theme, there is another book you can get tremendous help from as you learn Spanish. It is called 2000+ Essential Spanish Verbs: Learn the Forms, Master the Tenses, and Speak Fluently, put out by Living Language. This book makes it so easy to learn Spanish verbs; you'll wonder why you ever thought it would be difficult. It covers conjugations, irregular forms, and teaches you to form tenses. It has answers to many tricky questions on verbs. If you're a busy sort, maybe you have free time in your car. Learn in Your Car Spanish Complete Language Course is a tool to help you learn Spanish, written by Henry N. Raymond and Oscar M. Ramirez. You just play the CD's in your car, or anywhere else you'd like to, and repeat after the speaker. The CD's progress from the easiest to the most advanced. You will learn enough about basic Spanish dialogue to begin to join in conversations with Spanish speaking people. If you're a stickler for details, you might be interested in a book called Spanish Grammar for Independent Learners, by Arie Vicente. This book covers everything you need to know about grammar. It has all the information neatly arranged for easy access. As you try to learn Spanish, you will come across sentences you just know you don't have right. This book has a system to troubleshoot your language and help you figure out what you mean to say. For a taste of Spanish literature, try First Spanish Reader: A Beginner's Dual Language Book, edited by Angel Flores. You will find stories old and new within its pages. You can learn Spanish almost effortlessly by reading these short stories and proverbs. The easiest ones are first, and more difficult verb tenses are used later on. The stories are interesting and make it fun to learn Spanish. The Language Heretic's Super Crash Course in Spanish Conversation and Culture: GET BY in Spanish in One to Three Weeks is a unique book by L. Adams. It cuts through all the technical aspects of language learning in short order. The focus of the book is simply to give you enough language skills to get you into conversations so that you can learn Spanish from there. It never claims to make you a scholar. With all the books and CD's on how to learn Spanish, you should be able to find books that will make your study easier. You can check them out at a library, but to get the most good out of them, you usually need to purchase them. However, that's not much to spend if you want to learn Spanish. Spanish Language Secrets You can learn Spanish to a certain degree and still have trouble with certain words and sentence constructions. It seems that you are saying them right, but you notice that Spanish speakers say them differently. If you learn Spanish language secrets, you will understand the subjects better. One thing to remember is that you don't always have to use the pronoun. If you say "yo," meaning "I," each time you could, you will sound strident. This is because using the pronoun is only necessary when you are emphasizing it. If you are constantly emphasizing it, you will sound foolish. Learn Spanish rules like this and you will sound more like a native speaker. You can learn Spanish word order in its basic form quite easily. It is usually like English except adjectives tend to go after the noun they describe. However, if you spend the time to learn Spanish word order by listening to Spanish speaking people, you will find differences. Meaning can have subtle variations when you change the word order. There is another secret people can come across when they learn Spanish. There are many Spanish words that look very nearly like English words that you know. Sometimes, they can be considered direct translations. However, some words only look similar. They actually mean something quite different. Pay attention to the exact translations of words, as you learn Spanish. Using some of these words incorrectly can cause you embarrassment, or can even insult someone. An interesting secret when you learn Spanish is that common phrases, or idioms, don't always translate word for word. If you try to translate an idiom word for word, you might get the meaning, or at least an approximation of it. However, there are many idioms that would seem to mean one thing that mean something else when translated as a whole. The only way to learn this is by experience, or to get a book of idioms. You must remember, though, that there are different idioms in different Spanish speaking countries. Learn Spanish from textbooks if you like, but when you are put into the culture, don't rely on them. This is another secret to know when you learn Spanish. Many people don't speak like the textbooks are written. That's ok; English speakers don't either, if you think about it. If you try to learn Spanish better in this informal way, you will likely make mistakes that the book has not prepared you for. Don't worry; you can pick up the language from the conversation if you're alert. Another secret is that pronunciation is important. The way you pronounce your "b's" and "v's" will mark you as a person who does or doesn't consider it necessary to learn Spanish well. If you don't roll your "r's" properly, you will sound like a toddler to the Spanish speaking person. All these little things can set you apart or help you fit in. Learn Spanish with all the nuances and you will not be looked at as an outsider. Taking a few steps to improve your Spanish will be worth it in the long run. Using the News Media to Learn Spanish Better For most people, news is a part of life. They listen to the evening news to get the upcoming weather or to find out what is going on in their area that day. They buy newspapers to get a handle on local politics. You can also use the news media to learn Spanish better. One way to get news to learn Spanish better is to subscribe to a Spanish language newspaper. You can get the information on how to do that through your local library. They will have the contact information for the newspapers, so that all you have to do is get in touch with them and place your order. Once you get the paper, you can try reading the articles. You might have problems at first, but continue on. Use a translation dictionary. Whenever possible, find out about the story through other sources as well. See if what you understand as you try to learn Spanish matches what you find out in your own language. Sometimes, the perspective is different, causing a discrepancy between the two stories. This only makes the reading more interesting. It helps you learn Spanish on a whole different level. If you have trouble obtaining a Spanish language newspaper, you can find articles from Spanish newspapers online. Search under "Spanish language newspaper" and you will find several choices of online newspapers from all over the Spanish speaking world. You can treat these in the same way you treat the newspapers that arrive in the mail. Translate them and work at understanding their meanings. Another way to learn Spanish through the news is to look up an English language newspaper. Print off a page. Next, if you have the option, request a translation into Spanish. Print this off and you can compare them to learn Spanish better. You will have a clear understanding of the story and of the way the words are used to tell it. Another form of news media you can use to learn Spanish is television news. In times past, few people in the US had access to Spanish television stations. Now, there is a variety of Spanish language stations to choose from. Besides that, there is news on virtually every one of them. To learn Spanish by watching the news, you have two choices. First, you can put yourself to the test by watching it in real time. This gives you practice in adjusting to the cadence of the spoken word. You will be surprised at how much you will get out of the broadcast if you listen closely. The second option is to record it and watch it a little at a time. You can learn Spanish in more depth this way by translating every word. It will take more time, but you will learn Spanish vocabulary that is up-to-date. You will also know about current events in Spanish speaking countries. Using the news media to learn Spanish better is a good choice for a busy person. It doesn't require a lot of time, even if you translate. Furthermore, you stay in the loop while you learn Spanish better than ever before. How You Can Learn Spanish Better Through the Arts Do you want to learn Spanish and enjoy yourself at the same time? There are many ways to do this. If you're a person who enjoys the arts, a good way to learn Spanish is to take pleasure in the arts of Spanish speaking countries. There is a great deal of very good literature that comes from Spanish cultures. You can go to the libraries in cities and even larger towns to find Spanish literature in its original language. Ask the librarian or do a search in the computerized catalog under Spanish language writers. If you take time to learn Spanish to a certain extent before you try this, you will have the best results. This is a practice that is mainly meant to improve already existing language skills. After you check out a book that seems interesting, begin to try reading it. You will come to words and phrases you don't understand. This is when it is good to have someone who will help you learn Spanish by answering your questions. If you don't have someone like that, you can sometimes get into a discussion group, whether in person or on-line. This is also a good way to learn Spanish culture because there are novelists and poets from virtually every Spanish speaking country. Another way to learn Spanish through the arts is by watching Spanish language movies. One way to learn which movies are good is to find out which have been nominated to win foreign language Academy Awards. There have been some very moving and sometimes funny movies that have been acknowledged. When you watch the movies, there are often subtitles. Don't take these words as an exact translation. They usually are just an approximation, and sometimes not even that. As you listen carefully to the words, you will find the subtitles hilarious at times in their inaccuracies. Watching a movie gives you context for language and makes it easier to learn Spanish. Even Spanish language television, although perhaps a lower form of art, can help you to learn Spanish as well. The nice thing about television is that there is a constant supply of programs. You can watch and learn Spanish every day. There are different types of programs. There are many Spanish soap operas. This might not be the type of program you would normally watch. However, you will find a lot of common usages that will help you learn Spanish. There are also dramas, game shows, and even sit-coms. People who aren't even trying to learn Spanish have been doing it for years through listening to Spanish language songs. The trick is to find a song that has lyrics clear enough to understand completely. Then, sit down with a recorder and tape the song. Once you have the song recorded, you can go through it a phrase at a time. Write down each phrase as you hear it. Then use the Spanish you know along with your Spanish-English dictionary to translate it. Pretty soon you will learn Spanish from the song enough to sing it as you work. If you learn Spanish better through the arts, you will have enhanced your language skills while gaining a deeper understanding of life. After all, that's what the arts are all about.
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