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 I want to improve my (conversational) Spanish language skills.  I'm not necessarily a beginner since I can understand it and speak it "enough to get by" although I struggle speaking it on a professional level.  Looking for something more than just the basics.  

Any recommendations?

Mark's picture

I highly recommend Rosetta stone software.

I am not sure if they have an advanced vision, but the system is fabulous.

Mark

eagerApprentice's picture

Spanishpod.com (http://spanishpod.com/) is great  - very practical, everyday (and some slang) Spanish that is fun and also useful.

 

Either way, I think you need to do 3 things:

 

1 - Pick a tool or two and stick with it (don't collect different company CDs, books, etc.)

2 - Meet regularly with native speakers and practice with them (1-3 times/week)

3 - Practice, practice, practice

 

The only language I really learned well is Chinese - it was painful, annoying, very difficult. Good luck! :-)

fredique's picture

I would  agree with eagerapprentice here. The real key to success is to do it regularly.

Fix 1-2 hours EVERY single day and practice a lot.

Having native-speakers around helps to polish your accent and fluency.

From tools that might help you I can suggest http://www.studyspanish.com/

Free and contains all you need till far advanced levels.

Good luck!

DesmondJ's picture

I'll tell you what I did to learn español:

- joined the Peace Corps (obviously not only to learn Spanish)

- worked in a small town where I was the only gringo (not in a pejorative sense)  (this also fulfilled my lifetime dream of being famous - I was known as Mike in the town and referred to as such in radio and newspaper interviews and articles, like Madonna o Paul, John, George and Ringo)

- spoke Spanish as often as possible and tried not read English books or watch tv.  This is a true challenge and is mentally  exhausting.  Imagine trying to tell the plumber that you have a leak but only in the morning when the neighbor also is showering. 

- married a local who didn't speak English and corrected me but not all the time (she now speaks English and our kids are bilingual)

- Years later, moved back to Latin America.

Now I speak decent Spanish.  But my English sucks.

Good luck!

 

 

stephenbooth_uk's picture

Hola!

Here in the UK a lot of language schools have a service for students (and often non-students) where by they link locals who want to improve their abilities ina langauge with foriegn students who are trying to learn English.  The idea is that in return for having the opportunity to brush up their skills in a language with a native speaker the local will help the foriegn student brush up on their English skills and understanding of UK culture.  Try your local colleges and language schools.  You may need to register as a student (but not sign up for an actual course) to access this, if you do this will probably also give you access to the library and other student services so you might get access to self stuidy materials that will help you further.

The language school near me also runs other services to help locals learn languages outside the formal course environment.  For example they co-operate with a local dance school to teach Latin American dancing with classes conducted in Latin American Spanish.

Another possible source might be your DVD collection.  A lot of DVDs will include dialogue in a number of different languages, check what's available in the films you like.  Similarly if you have any CDs containing songs in Spanish give them a go.  When I was studying Spanish I listened to "Laundry Service" by Shakira a lot as most of the songs are in Spanish.  I also watched a number of films in Spanish (both original production and dubbed English language films, as I recall 'Top Gun' is particularly funny in Spanish).  My Spanish teacher wondered why I was picking up the idiom and poetic forms better than most of the rest of the class.

One cautionary note, which you may already be aware of, when picking a native Spanish speaker to converse with check where they originate.  European Spanish has some significant differences from Latin American Spanish (mostly in pronunciatiion and forms of address).  If they are from Argentina there is a verb form they use (vos) which is not really used anywhere else.

 Stephen

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Skype: stephenbooth_uk  | DiSC: 6137

"Start with the customer and work backwards, not with the tools and work forwards" - James Womack