I studied Spanish to A Level standard (many moons ago!) and
every year I plan to brush up my skills, as it is such a shame to lose
the ability to speak a language. I have decided now is the time to ‘refresh’ myself and I thought I would run through my experience with you.
Firstly, I have tried several ‘teach yourself’ language packs, which I have detailed below:
Linguaphone – Beginner to intermediate course
The course follows Linda who works for a company called SnakTrak as she learns the language. I have to say, I personally found the story a little boring and really struggled to get myself to listen to the course to get the full benefit. However, it is very well written and goes through all of the basics.
Michael Gruneburg: Instant Recall Spanish Vocabulary
The system says you will learn and remember
Spanish faster than you ever imagined possible. I do agree with that statement, in so far as learning basic vocabulary goes. The word association is great for helping you remember, for example, table is mesa and you remember this by imagining a ‘messy table’. The only downside however, is there is only around 200 words.
Uses the theory that music helps you remember the
language. The theory is fully explained on the Earworms website.
There are three audio book volumes to the language programme. I downloaded the first volume this morning from the iTunes store (£7.95) directly onto my phone. I am listening to it now whilst I am writing this blog post and I love it! Alternatively, languages can be purchased from the Earworms website.
Don’t forget to learn the verbs and grammar…
Learning a language by listening to CDs/downloads, is
usually only great for vocabulary and phrases. I am also trying to brush up on
the dreaded, but essential verbs and grammar, as this is usually the most difficult part to learn. Here are a few books that I have found helpful.
Firstly, a verb table and grammar book:
A good basic dictionary:
One good all-in-one basic book I have found is Spanish for Dummies, as it covers verbs, grammar and all of the basics of the language.
Other ways to learn a language at home:
I have found that the BBC have a great range of FREE information and language courses online. You can actually sign up to the 12 week Mi Vida Loca and print off your certificate at the end!
If you aren’t ready, or don’t have the money to sign up for a course yet, then many language schools offer reading groups and social activities to get you engaged with fellow enthusiasts for a smaller fee. For example, Instituto Cervantes have centres in Manchester, Leeds and
London. I have signed up to receive information from Manchester and they regularly email about reading groups, events and course start dates, etc:
Have any of you got any great tips for learning languages? I would love to hear your experiences.