Learning Spanish?

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M1k3

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I've picked up quite a bit of Spanish over the years, but, I'm still not fluent. Outside of taking a Spanish class, what have you used to become fluent? Free options preferred, but, willing to hear other options. Thanks.
 

bkultra

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Drops, but it places a heavy emphasis on building vocabulary through nouns, which means you won’t get much in the way of grammar, usage, and conjugations. You won’t be quizzed on speaking or pronunciation, either. And though you can purchase unlimited time for as little as $48 per year, five-minute blocks mean that you learn at a relatively slow pace. That’s great if that’s all the time you have to spare, anyway—not so great if you’re actively trying to cram before a trip.
 

M1k3

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I'm not on any deadline. Just want to learn to speak it fluently. I'll check out Drops.
 

bkultra

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Free to use, but only does 5 minutes a day that way. Like I said less than $50 to get unlimited time if you end up liking it
 

Caleb Cox

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Duolingo is nice, I'm using it for Japanese. The free version limits how much you can use it, so I just coughed up for a year of it.
 

CoteRotie

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I second Duolingo, but if you live somewhere where you can buy Spanish language newspapers and magazines it's worth getting some and trying to work out what they are saying. Also look for a guide that has common expressions- Just using a dictionary can get you in trouble. For example "tal vez" means maybe, but a dictionary word for word will tell you it means "such time". "De modo que" means "so that" but a word for work translation will get you "from mode that". Knowing the expressions will save you a lot of frustration. Google translate can be a big help too when you get stuck.
 

M1k3

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Thanks for the suggestions! I have some basics. I definitely have Spanish language papers and magazines available. I live in Los Angeles.
 

McMan

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Duolingo is pretty good. The problem isn’t the learning—that’s easy—it’s the retention, which takes practice and getting an ear for things. So, add some tv to duolingo. News is good practice and doesn’t have much slang. Reading news helps too.

FWIW, I learned the most Spanish working in kitchens. Not kitchen Spanish either—the guys were Salvadoran and had crazy stories every week about fighting Guatamalans, so I needed decent Spanish to not miss out on details. Good guys. One guy gave me his belt buckle when I left that job—that was a big deal!
 

M1k3

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Duolingo is pretty good. The problem isn’t the learning—that’s easy—it’s the retention, which takes practice and getting an ear for things. So, add some tv to duolingo. News is good practice and doesn’t have much slang. Reading news helps too.

FWIW, I learned the most Spanish working in kitchens. Not kitchen Spanish either—the guys were Salvadoran and had crazy stories every week about fighting Guatamalans, so I needed decent Spanish to not miss out on details. Good guys. One guy gave me his belt buckle when I left that job—that was a big deal!
I work in a kitchen also. This is basically the reason I want to learn.
 

McMan

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I work in a kitchen also. This is basically the reason I want to learn.
It’s been years since I worked in a kitchen. That was the height of my Spanish. Now it’s terrible. I should follow my own advice [emoji846]
 

K813zra

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Immerse yourself in the language. On top of what has already been suggested try to find yourself a conversation partner. Maybe someone who needs to improve their English so you can do an exchange over a coffee or a few beers. This is something I did in Spain every week. (I often opted for the pub rather than the cafe because a few beers loosened me up as I am quite shy to speak in person...) Seriously, I find this helps a lot. Though it was easy there as nearly every cafe or pub had these conversation exchanges a few times a week.

If you have Spanish markets, shops, cafes, bars etc--utilize them. Speak to everyone, even if you know you are making mistakes.

At least that is how it was/is for me.

Anyway, good luck and have fun! I think making it fun helps, a lot.
 

kayman67

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Listen as much as you can. TV, movies, audio books maybe. Try reading and writing everyday 1-2 pages. More if you have the time.
 

Paraffin

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Immersion is what works if you're really shooting for fluency. I had Spanish classes in high school but it didn't stick. Then I got some jobs working for two or three months at a time in Central and South America by myself, embedded in the local culture. No other speakers of English around. It didn't take long before I was gaining fluency, and after a few years of jobs like that I was fluent. That's how they do it in Peace Corps -- they embed you with a local family for a few months who speak no English.

I know that isn't possible for everyone, but the idea is important. Forget books and online lessons. Get yourself into some situation with a native Spanish speaker, and never speak English with that person. That's the only road I know to true fluency in any language. Native speakers will almost always be willing to help you, because you're treating the language with respect and immersion.
 

M1k3

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I have a few co-workers that are native Spanish speakers to conversate with. I also live in L.A. so TV/Newspapers/People who speak Spanish are not in short supply.
 

Travis petosa

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I became pretty fluent in the years I worked in LOs Angeles. I tried the duolingo, but I found the best way was to ask if one of my cooks would teach me one word a day in Spanish and teach me the proper usage, and I would teach him one word in English a day and the proper usage. Before I knew it I was pretty damn fluent in Spanish.
 

alterwisser

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Thanks for the suggestions! I have some basics. I definitely have Spanish language papers and magazines available. I live in Los Angeles.
Then the best thing to do is mingle with spanish speakers .... and you should have TONS to choose from.

the best way to be FLUENT is to talk and listen. You won’t get that from books.
 

M1k3

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Then the best thing to do is mingle with spanish speakers .... and you should have TONS to choose from.

the best way to be FLUENT is to talk and listen. You won’t get that from books.
I have some down already. Just want a little vocabulary to work with.
 
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