Learning Spanish is Not 1 or 0

Learning Spanish is Not 1 or 0
A baby says its first word, saying Mama or Papa and the whole family celebrates. Then quickly adds many words to the child repertoire of words.

I truly wish adults were smarter than babies.

Panajachel Guatemala
Lago Atitlan - Lake Atitlan
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Andy of HoboTraveler.com ---

A baby does not try to learn a language, does not sign up for a language school, does not need smacked in the head.
- Stop speaking baby talk. -
(I want to smack adults, Stop speaking English)

A baby tries to copy Mom and Dad, Sister and Brothers and everyone corrects the baby. There is not a problem, the baby just mimics the sounds until it learns to pronounce words.
- Adults will not mimic and prove the baby is smarter. -
(They do not want to look stupid, and prove themselves stupid.)

I do not learn language fast, however, I do speak Spanish, French and English rather well, in fact very good.

I find learning a language easier now, I more or less act like a baby, I repeat the word to the person using the word I need to learn, the person corrects me until I can repeat Mama, or Papa correctly. When, I see the person again, I try to repeat the word for their approval.

In the end I try to tell people who want to learn Spanish, and I say,
“Stop speaking English.”

Stop speaking baby talk, English is of no value, it sounds like Baby talk to the Spanish speaking people, they think you sound stupid.

When I am in the USA and a Mexican person speaks Spanish, I tell them.
“Speak English.”

On the other hand, I do tell the owners of hotels here in Guatemala that want English clients, hey.
“Speak English.”

When I hear conversations in both Spanish and English I play a game, I ask myself,
“Who is the student?”

The one that demands to use their own language is the teacher, the one who learns a new word is the student.

Simple to learn a language, stop talking the old language, use the one everyone else is talking than try to think.
“Hmm. I only know five words, I am more stupid than a one year old child.”

People ask me how my Spanish is, and I say,
“I have lived over five years in a Spanish speaking countries, I am a five year old.”

My 60 year old friend Chris ask me,
“Which country should I go to study Spanish?”

I wanted to say El Salvador or Colombia, and they go to a small village with nobody in the village that speaks English.

Learning a language is not fun, it is a lot of work.

In the end, I think he needs to find him a nice Guapa Senorita that does not speak a word of English and refuses to speak word of English under an condition… maybe he will become a student. I hope he realizes one day this is excellent advice...

Spanish is not an on or off, not a 1 or 0, it is maybe you want to learn Spanish, or maybe you do not, it is always a maybe, it only is a 1 when you have nobody who speak English around you.

Learning Spanish is Not 1 or 0


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This is very true. This year two of my friends and collegues speak german fluently. They are both reluctant to teach me 'officially' but i am constantly asking them 'what does this word mean' 'how do I pronounce this' and they are constantly helping me. Sometimes I just try new phrases, and they will correct my pronunciation even when I don't ask.

My German vocabulary has doubled or tripled in a few months. My next task is to go live in Germany.

How true. A while back I thought I wanted to learn Spanish and took what I thought was a short cut. I paid a tutor to teach me. This did not work. Granted, I was a poor study, had little time to work on it, but I doubt it would have been much better if I HAD studied. It was so bad, he was the one to recomend I stop wasting my money on classes. In the end, what stuck was the basic rules and some of the time we just sat *conversing*. None of the formal training stuck.

BUT, by the end of the first week of a three week trip in Mexico, my Spanish improved to the point that I could easily function. I have never gotten to the point of being able to converse, but I could get by.

A good example of necesity working was this: I was with a freind on a Motorcycle trip in Newfoundland, Canada. We came upon a biker that only spoke French. He was very excited to tell us about his trip. I spent 60 minutes *talking* with him. I learned a lot about his trip and him, and he did the same about me, yet he used no English words and I knew only a few French words. We got by with gestures, drawing in the sand and such. My freind, who is less than open minded, was shocked that I got anything out of the exchange.

I have found that this works well with young children and older (over 20's) people. The worst are teenagers. But then, I have trouble comunicating with english speaking teenagers.

One day I will spend enough time in one country to learn a second language. Until that time, I will speak Charades.

Bob L

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