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Learning the language in your host country.

Learning the language in your host country.

Old May 11th 2021, 2:59 pm
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Default Learning the language in your host country.

Speaking the language in a country that you are resident in is very desirable.However so many find it extremely hard.Conversation is possible even if the words are pretty well fractured or as my Spanish granddaughter pompously says,out of earshot of her Mother,"British people NEVER speak Spanish properly".Even for conversation you will have had to listen carefully to native speakers & know what they are talking about.Like the UK there are regional accents & many rude words just as we have in the English language Written language is so much harder. .I was surprised to hear Mr.G.Hunt saying some months ago that one of the aims of the Govn.was to start a literacy programme for those lacking the ability to communicate in English,something that had not been done before.How out of touch our politicians are ! I was a volunteer tutor for the "Adult Literacy" programme that was ongoing in the 1970´s in the UK because the Govn. of the day realised just how many people had reached adulthood without recognising any written word.Obviously we had training during which I found just how many reasons there can be for this situation which annoy´s me a bit when I hear folks declare it is simply down to laziness,& others who put it down to"old age",both can be correct but that is not the whole picture.Although I had an entirely different business then,I had previously qualified as a remedial masseur as I was interested in helping those with mobility problems .My pupil was on a one to one basis with a brain damaged man.Other tutors were engaged in assisting allsorts from people who had missed out in absence from school slow learners who were left behind & then ignored,dyslexics a problem we didn´t even investigate until much later & of course the down right lazy to give you some idea.The greatest capacity we have for taking in knowledge is at the age of 12/14 years of age,I was taught although of course we do continue to add to our knowledge& as I have found too,getting older does slow your ability as does stress perhaps after a sudden trauma. For me I was lucky while resident in Spain in having fluent Spanish speakers as family members yet I think I was better in speaking French simply because I prefer that language.Therefore spare a thought for those among you who are trying to grapple with Spanish.As a nation we have nothing to be proud of regarding integration in other languages.A close relative in England,a teacher of German,French & Spanish in a private school when changing to a British State school,had to re-train in Mathematics to apply for a head teacher post as language skills were not not required.
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Old May 13th 2021, 8:50 am
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Default Re: Learning the language in your host country.

Both my wife and I have tried to learn and speak Spanish whilst we have been residents here. Neither of us wish to be "Fluent" but we have reached a reasonable level in which we can have a conversation with our friends. So far we have met very few Spanish, at our " language Exchange meetings" ( sadly on hold during covid) who can speak " fluent" English, but why should that be an issue? The main problems we have conversing with Spanish people that we meet, is that, contrary to what "Michelle Thomas" says, the Spanish do not want to wait until you have formulated the correct order and endings for verbs, as we can see them almost jumping up and down with impatience., Also as a lot of them have not tried to learn any language other than their own, and as such do not realise that if we ( especially me!) do not understand a phrase or word, simply rephrasing or substituting with a different expression often works. I also recall one instance, when an over worked clerk at the local hospital, was saying to a persistant and repetetive person, "Cucheme! Cucheme!". It was some time later that I realised he telling the person to "listen to him" ( Escucheme!).. Andalucia it seems, poses another difficulty to understanding Spanish. Finally It winds me up when I visit my daughter in Barcelona, and after spending time learning Spanish, I get mutterings about not being able to speak Catalan!.
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Old May 13th 2021, 9:16 am
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Default Re: Learning the language in your host country.

Originally Posted by teuchterpete View Post
Both my wife and I have tried to learn and speak Spanish whilst we have been residents here. Neither of us wish to be "Fluent" but we have reached a reasonable level in which we can have a conversation with our friends. So far we have met very few Spanish, at our " language Exchange meetings" ( sadly on hold during covid) who can speak " fluent" English, but why should that be an issue? The main problems we have conversing with Spanish people that we meet, is that, contrary to what "Michelle Thomas" says, the Spanish do not want to wait until you have formulated the correct order and endings for verbs, as we can see them almost jumping up and down with impatience., Also as a lot of them have not tried to learn any language other than their own, and as such do not realise that if we ( especially me!) do not understand a phrase or word, simply rephrasing or substituting with a different expression often works. I also recall one instance, when an over worked clerk at the local hospital, was saying to a persistant and repetetive person, "Cucheme! Cucheme!". It was some time later that I realised he telling the person to "listen to him" ( Escucheme!).. Andalucia it seems, poses another difficulty to understanding Spanish. Finally It winds me up when I visit my daughter in Barcelona, and after spending time learning Spanish, I get mutterings about not being able to speak Catalan!.
Pete
Using the language in a real setting is different from a more controlled classroom setting where focus might be on accuracy or reinforcement. Fluency, as in speed of delivery is much more important than accuracy. The Spanish are probably not so much impatient as feeling the need to help you formulate your utterances. It sounds like you are at the stage where you lack automacy in retrieving language which is a perfectly normal stage to be at when starting out. Practice is the key as you start to find yourself quickly using familiar language patterns and structures. It takes time but will happen if you have opportunities. Intercambios tend to be dominated by more native English speakers than Spanish so they can be quite frustrating but there again everything helps. I found that psychologically breaking away from English cultural practices helped alot in the beginning. So avoid English speaking areas if possible and frequent more Spanish ones. That definitely helps get you in the zone
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Old May 13th 2021, 10:10 am
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Default Re: Learning the language in your host country.

I find it difficult to learn Spanish to a level of reasonable conversation. I can have a few words and very brief simple conversations with my neighbours. I never learned another language not even the normal French that was taught at Secondary School, at my School it was only those in the top stream that got to do French, I was in the second stream, obviously deemed too dim lol. I did lessons but found that the class had such a range that either some that spoke reasonable Spanish who to me should have been in a different class took over with lengthy conversations that were beyond most of the class or constant newcomers coming for a few weeks which meant going back to very basics all the time. I did mention both points a few times. Obviously any class can become disjointed given we all progress at a different pace. Also when practising spanish with neighbours many that take the time and want to help you insist on correcting you to speak as they think is correct in Andalucía where S's don't exist. Its difficult but I think important to try and learn rather than as some do just speak English in a very loud and silly stilted way assuming that the Spanish will eventually understand you.
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Old May 13th 2021, 1:18 pm
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Default Re: Learning the language in your host country.

At least you are giving it a go, Bob22 as so many others.In a lighter vein, Although English by birth,I have mostly Scottish family members & a few months ago relocated back to southern Scotland.Now,I thought,at least I would not have to grapple with a foreign language.More fool me.In my home county of Hampshire,we call people"my lover" & "hen" & "pal" can be heard frequently in Scotland when speaking to a complete stranger.But don´t be misled,"sex" is the number after five here.
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Old May 13th 2021, 2:27 pm
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Default Re: Learning the language in your host country.

First time poster, long time lurker, I have tried to learn Spanish a few times via audio cassettes in the car, CD’s, books and never advanced, it isn’t easy to self teach in my opinion. During lockdown last year I decided to start to learn Spanish via the Duolingo app which is free, it is a good resource but will never get you fluent, you do pick up lots of words which you do remember and will come in useful later, I recently started taking Spanish lessons for beginners via zoom with a local lady who originates from Barcelona, it isn’t going to be easy and no quick fix but it is structured learning, at 59 years old I don’t absorb things as I did previously but I am enjoying learning, what I have noticed though, holiday Spanish is different to learning everyday Spanish, in holiday Spanish you can ask for things but not really understand the reply 😊

What resources have others used to learn?
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Old May 13th 2021, 4:11 pm
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Default Re: Learning the language in your host country.

My wife uses "Duelingo" to help her with her Spanish, alas she is constantly complaining about it, as they use " Latin American" Spanish, indeed she wrote to them about this and they replied stating that "Castellano" Spanish is only a dialect and not correct.
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Old May 13th 2021, 4:19 pm
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Default Re: Learning the language in your host country.

Originally Posted by teuchterpete View Post
My wife uses "Duelingo" to help her with her Spanish, alas she is constantly complaining about it, as they use " Latin American" Spanish, indeed she wrote to them about this and they replied stating that "Castellano" Spanish is only a dialect and not correct.
Pete
It is true that Duolingo does use Latin American Spanish. I dont think you will get far with it as it focuses in a very controlled way on vocab and structures. It tends to give the impression that language learning is level by level learning which is now recognised as not cognitively what happens. Having said that it is free and helps to get started so why not?
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Old May 13th 2021, 4:59 pm
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Default Re: Learning the language in your host country.

Originally Posted by Lefty2021 View Post
First time poster, long time lurker, I have tried to learn Spanish a few times via audio cassettes in the car, CD’s, books and never advanced, it isn’t easy to self teach in my opinion. During lockdown last year I decided to start to learn Spanish via the Duolingo app which is free, it is a good resource but will never get you fluent, you do pick up lots of words which you do remember and will come in useful later, I recently started taking Spanish lessons for beginners via zoom with a local lady who originates from Barcelona, it isn’t going to be easy and no quick fix but it is structured learning, at 59 years old I don’t absorb things as I did previously but I am enjoying learning, what I have noticed though, holiday Spanish is different to learning everyday Spanish, in holiday Spanish you can ask for things but not really understand the reply 😊

What resources have others used to learn?
Rather than learning via cassettes/CD's etc, could you enrol in a Spanish for beginners class locally?. You never know what contacts you make. I enrolled for advanced Spanish for 2 years several years ago & it did me good.
If language apps are free, then beware. They're often written for young learners with sharp & quick memories!
I sympathise with your age at learning a new language. I'm now 74, memory not what it was. Persevered with Basque for a few years, as we live here; have given up!
Radio can be a great help, eg internet radio.
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Old May 13th 2021, 5:23 pm
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Default Re: Learning the language in your host country.

Originally Posted by Retired in Euskadi View Post
Rather than learning via cassettes/CD's etc, could you enrol in a Spanish for beginners class locally?. You never know what contacts you make. I enrolled for advanced Spanish for 2 years several years ago & it did me good.
If language apps are free, then beware. They're often written for young learners with sharp & quick memories!
I sympathise with your age at learning a new language. I'm now 74, memory not what it was. Persevered with Basque for a few years, as we live here; have given up!
Radio can be a great help, eg internet radio.
I am taking lessons now, they were face to face prior to Covid 19 but only available via zoom now, not the same as being in a class room environment but it is all that is available at the moment.
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Old May 13th 2021, 8:11 pm
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Default Re: Learning the language in your host country.

Duolingo is a very good resource for practicing a little bit each day, which I think is fundamental to improving language skills. Yes it is South American Spanish but it's better than nothing. Unfortunately there are no silver bullets for becoming fluent. You need to use various resources, and I think Duolingo is one of the best. The main bit missing from Duolingo is conversational Spanish. The best app I've found for that is iTalki, which is basically an app for connecting students with native teachers so they can set up zoom/skype lessons. The advantage of iTalki is it makes it easy to schedule a class with a teacher, and it handles the payment side of things. Another excellent resource is your telly. Try to watch programmes/films in Spanish with the subtitles on. Maybe try watching a favourite film or series in Spanish on Netflix? Maybe watch it a few times? Generally I don't recommend group classes. Unless you have a small group and a very good teacher, they tend to be inefficient and tiresome.

Finally I think it's important to control your expectations. It took me about 5 years living and working in Spain before I felt comfortably fluent. And I had the advantage of a Spanish wife, working in a Spanish office and basically having full immersion every day. For someone who is retired and living in an English speaking household, becoming fluent is extremely difficult. So I think it's best to relax and try to enjoy the learning process, with the understanding that you'll probably never be as fluent as you'd like. I think people give up on languages because they try to look for shortcuts, or think they can squeeze their language learning into a few intensive months. It doesn't work like that, and they usually end up exhausted and frustrated. That's why I like Duolingo, if you use it correctly you can just plod along doing 10 minutes a day for years if you like.
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Old May 13th 2021, 9:08 pm
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Default Re: Learning the language in your host country.

I agree re duolingo and I found it very useful for learning and retaining words and simple phrases. They then changed it to the hearts system whereby you run out of hearts and that's it for that day. That for me became tiresome when you hit a point where you made minor errors. It was better before this hearts system.
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Old May 13th 2021, 9:50 pm
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Default Re: Learning the language in your host country.

Originally Posted by bobd22 View Post
I agree re duolingo and I found it very useful for learning and retaining words and simple phrases. They then changed it to the hearts system whereby you run out of hearts and that's it for that day. That for me became tiresome when you hit a point where you made minor errors. It was better before this hearts system.
You can get infinite hearts if you pay a monthly subscription. My 11 year old son is learning French with Duolingo and I ended up paying because he was getting frustrated by running out of hearts for making trivial mistakes. However I did French (from Spanish) with Duolingo a few years ago and I didn't have a problem with the hearts. In fact they helped me ration it each day as I felt I was cramming too much in order to finish higher up the leagues.
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Old May 13th 2021, 11:10 pm
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Default Re: Learning the language in your host country.

Yes you are right one can pay for indefinite hearts.
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Old May 15th 2021, 6:10 pm
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Default Re: Learning the language in your host country.

I've started learning with Duolingo at the start of the first lock down and didn't know it is South American Spanish it is always so difficult with the different accents. I want to relocate to Spain but don't know where yet so I'll learn the basic and take private lessons when I'm there so I think I'll learn the accent of the town/area I'll live in. There is also a good website lingua.com is for beginners listening to short and easy stories.

I'm originally from Germany but have been living in the UK for over 10 years. It was really difficult the first time not understanding a lot English because you're concentrating all time but fortunately the people here have been all very very friendly and did speak slowly so that has helped

May I ask for your opinion do you think learning with Duolingo is useful when relocating to Spain or should I look for another app???

Thank you in advance
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