For those of you who have taught yourselves a language

  • Get FREE 5 Gifts with Orders $59+

For those of you who have taught yourselves a language

surreptitious surreptitious
How did you go about it? Were you lucky enough to have a native speaker (or several) with whom to converse? I'm currently teaching myself a fourth language, Spanish, and this is the first one that I'm doing on my own. Luckily, having a strong background in French is really helpful. I'm using an online program and find it really helpful, but it's not really doing much for my pronunciation, you know?

Any tips that you can share about learning on your own would be fantastic! I'm watching Spanish movies when I have the time, because I don't know any native Spanish speakers with whom to converse. I think that maybe once I get a bit better, I'll find someone to actually speak with, but for now, it's not really viable. So, what do you think? Could I be making this easier for myself?
05/25/2013
  • Buy 3 Items for $70
  • Buy 3 Items for $50
  • Buy 3 Items for $30
  • Save 20% on Luxury Toys
  • Add Some Buzz To Your Favourite Toy & Save 60% On Kit
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
All promotions
Woman China Woman China
My brother in law taught himself Spanish by using something called "The Rosetta Stone". Might be helpful. I picked up all my Spanish while in Mexico for two months.

For me, learning Chinese was bloody hard. For me, I learnt it from anyone who would teach me what I wanted to know. My old tailor, shop clerks/assistants, the taxi drivers... but then I learnt about the dialects which just ticks me off. No one speaks the official or standard Chinese they all speak their dialect. So here I am, one of the only standard Chinese speakers in a migrant city where everyone speaks a different dialect... try this one on for dialects... some sound Klingon, some sound like Pirate talk, some sound like twittering birds and some sound almost like Spanish/french with all those rolling r's.

You'd make it a whole lot easier on yourself to immerse yourself into a place where people just don't speak any language you know, only speaking Spanish for about a month (personally, I'd suggest six months to a year). You'd be able to tune your ears to the tones and phrases, pick up the common slangs and distinct idioms that make the language unique. Many times phrase books and dictionaries give you an old fashioned or formal translations where you would be better knowing the common and every day language.
05/25/2013
eri86 eri86
I hear good things about Rosseta Stone. It's supposed to be a more natural learning process.

And watch a lot of Spanish shows. You'd be surprised what you start picking up.
05/26/2013
SaucyxGirl SaucyxGirl
Listen to a lot of Spanish music also. When I was learning German I listened to a lot German bands and watched TV shows to help me with pronunciation. Also look around and see if you can find a native speaker who may be willing to help.
05/26/2013
surreptitious surreptitious
I'm currently using a service called Duolingo to learn, which (aside from being free), offers access to feedback from native speakers (or simply those who are more advanced) and is based on the web, so it updates daily. I have not used Rosetta Stone, nor found a study comparing the two services (at least, one that wasn't done by Duolingo - of course, it's twenty hours quicker to learn a language with their services according to them, but is seems like that might be a liiiiittle biased), but the service itself is quite effective for me.

As much as I would like to travel to a Spanish speaking place and immerse myself in the language, I simply can't afford to do so. I may be able to find Spanish speakers online who want to do a language swap, but the place where I currently live is one of the least culturally diverse places that I've ever been. What's funny is that I'm currently tutoring an Arabic speaker in English, so were I to be tutored in Spanish at the same time, that would be rather cyclic.

I should definitely start listening to Spanish music again (and see if I can find any soap operas - according to the media, there are a lot of ridiculous Spanish language soap operas, and everyone knows that the media never lies). That was actually where I learned my first bits of Spanish back when I was thirteen or fourteen! I can't believe that I didn't think of it.

When I was learning German, luckily I /was/ able to immerse myself in the language, because I lived in Berlin for three months. It's definitely my favorite way to learn, but unless I come into a chunk of money that I can live off of for a couple of months and move to Cuba, I can't see myself making that happen any time soon. I know that they offer Spanish at one of the high schools, so maybe if I talk to the teacher, they would be able to point me towards someone who wants to practice their Spanish.
05/26/2013
lovekink lovekink
I've been trying to learn Italian by using the Rosetta Stone. I've found that the format is not helpful for me. Everything is done in Italian and I've found that it is completely confusing. I learned Spanish by using english to spanish and had little problems. I also tried to take a class at a local community college. The problem with that was that the others in the class (italian 1) were far more advanced and the teacher skipped a lot of the things I needed. Sometimes I put on the spanish channel just as a quick refresher b/c I have no one to practice with.
05/26/2013
SourAppleMartini SourAppleMartini
Have you heard of Michael Thomas? There are some great reviews on his programs, there was even a documentary filmed about him.
05/26/2013
PeaceToTheMiddleEast PeaceToTheMiddleEast
I am half Puerto Rican. I learned Spanish from school and from being around a lot of my friend who are Puerto Rican as well. I also watch Telenovela's which are Spanish Soap Operas. I learned a lot thru Spanish music though.
05/26/2013
surreptitious surreptitious
If you're having trouble with Rosetta, lovekink, you should give Duolingo a try! I mean, it's totally free, so it can't hurt. They have Italian on there, though I have no experience with it and thus can't say whether it's any good at all.

@SoupAppleMartini - I've never heard of Michael Thomas, but I'll put a bit of research into him and see what I learn.

Ah, maybe I'll have to ask you for some Soap Opera recommendations, JustLikeHeaven! I didn't know that you were half Puerto Rican. I have some German heritage, which is what inspired me to learn German, but I'm not even close to half. I'm a bit of a European mutt.
05/26/2013
tami tami
Quote:
Originally posted by surreptitious
How did you go about it? Were you lucky enough to have a native speaker (or several) with whom to converse? I'm currently teaching myself a fourth language, Spanish, and this is the first one that I'm doing on my own. Luckily, having a strong ...
I was working in a factory and a lot of the people that worked there were Mexican and I taught myself how to understand Spanish because I wanted to know what they were saying about me and I haven't used it for so long I have no clue what they say now.
05/26/2013
surreptitious surreptitious
Quote:
Originally posted by tami
I was working in a factory and a lot of the people that worked there were Mexican and I taught myself how to understand Spanish because I wanted to know what they were saying about me and I haven't used it for so long I have no clue what they say ...
Ideally, I'd love to meet a small Spanish-speaking community who'd take me under their wing, but where I live now, there's almost no cultural diversity, which makes it quite difficult. When I last worked at a factory, all I got were rednecks!
05/30/2013
Total posts: 11
Unique posters: 8