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I am moving soon to Barcelona.

My Spanish is limited to what I learned in High School in the 1960's.

I can sort of read it to get the gist of it, but that really only gives me the subject based upon recognizing some of the vocabulary words I recognize. Often times I get the whole context wrong.

I cannot understand or speak Spanish when spoken.

I am looking for recommendations on the best way to learn Spanish once I get there. Language Schools? Private Tutors? Exchange helping a native with English for help with Spanish?

If you went to Spain not knowing the language and now are fluent, what worked for you and how long did it take?
 

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I am moving soon to Barcelona.

My Spanish is limited to what I learned in High School in the 1960's.

I can sort of read it to get the gist of it, but that really only gives me the subject based upon recognizing some of the vocabulary words I recognize. Often times I get the whole context wrong.

I cannot understand or speak Spanish when spoken.

I am looking for recommendations on the best way to learn Spanish once I get there. Language Schools? Private Tutors? Exchange helping a native with English for help with Spanish?

If you went to Spain not knowing the language and now are fluent, what worked for you and how long did it take?

I think if you can still remember smth you studied in the 1960's and haven't used since you're doing pretty well!!

Look at this thread which, in turn, recommends other threads talking about learning Spanish

http://www.expatforum.com/expats/sp...living-spain/41470-dialectos-del-espa-ol.html
 

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I am moving soon to Barcelona.

My Spanish is limited to what I learned in High School in the 1960's.

I can sort of read it to get the gist of it, but that really only gives me the subject based upon recognizing some of the vocabulary words I recognize. Often times I get the whole context wrong.

I cannot understand or speak Spanish when spoken.

I am looking for recommendations on the best way to learn Spanish once I get there. Language Schools? Private Tutors? Exchange helping a native with English for help with Spanish?

If you went to Spain not knowing the language and now are fluent, what worked for you and how long did it take?
I've been here just over 6 years & knew nothing when I came over here.

I wouldn't say I'm fluent - there are still a few tenses (the subjunctive ones) that I'm struggling with - but I can chat happily & I even teach 'survival' Spanish!

Where I live it is perfectly possible to get by without any Spanish at all - if I was in a less touristy/international area I would be better - but I'm not sure you can ever be completely fluent learning as an adult.

What do you think PW? You've been here much longer than I have.

For the first year I took conversation-based lessons in a group with a language school - 4.5 hours a week + at least that of private study.

I stopped lessons for quite a while after that & just spent as much time as I could chatting to Spanish neighbours ( a sort of free Intercambio!) & studying alone. Eventually I again took some private lessons to help me sort the tenses out.

The real breakthrough for me was joining the parent's association at my kids' school & getting a job teaching English in an Academy. In both situations I was forced to speak Spanish all the time!

So for me, a combination of things. And I'm still studying, and probably always will be.

TBH I could have stopped after that first year & known enough to get by & chat to the neighbours well enough to be understood.

I'm sure watching Spanish TV & listening to Spanish music has also helped a huge amount.
 

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I've been here just over 6 years & knew nothing when I came over here.

I wouldn't say I'm fluent - there are still a few tenses (the subjunctive ones) that I'm struggling with - but I can chat happily & I even teach 'survival' Spanish!

Where I live it is perfectly possible to get by without any Spanish at all - if I was in a less touristy/international area I would be better - but I'm not sure you can ever be completely fluent learning as an adult.

What do you think PW? You've been here much longer than I have.

For the first year I took conversation-based lessons in a group with a language school - 4.5 hours a week + at least that of private study.

I stopped lessons for quite a while after that & just spent as much time as I could chatting to Spanish neighbours ( a sort of free Intercambio!) & studying alone. Eventually I again took some private lessons to help me sort the tenses out.

The real breakthrough for me was joining the parent's association at my kids' school & getting a job teaching English in an Academy. In both situations I was forced to speak Spanish all the time!

So for me, a combination of things. And I'm still studying, and probably always will be.

TBH I could have stopped after that first year & known enough to get by & chat to the neighbours well enough to be understood.

I'm sure watching Spanish TV & listening to Spanish music has also helped a huge amount.
What do I think about being completely fluent as an adult you mean??
Well, to start with I seem to find myself having less and less firm opinions as time goes by, and the answer to everything seems to have become “it depends” and that’s certainly true of language learning.
I would say it’s difficult to become bilingual as an adult, but I do know a few bilingual people and certainly some who have an excellent level in another language, and have no trouble communicating. I myself wouldn’t say I was bilingual in the strict sense of the word, but I had to start using this definition for work and I found that people did consider me bilingual even though I do make mistakes. I would call this fluent.
Going back to what you asked me, most of the people that I know who come in to that high level category have like yourself,

  • Really worked at it
  • Have a genuine interest in language (not necessarily scholars, but like a language, enjoy the challenge, like learning the shades of meaning in a vocabulary item, the ins and outs of grammar…)
  • Continue to learn. They know that you can never stop learning a language.
I also think that once you get to a high level you can get obsessed about being bilingual and I think it’s perhaps unnecessary to set yourself such an unobtainable goal, but this is where “it depends” comes in. Some people need to set themselves goals.


As for how to study, guess what, “it depends”! But some general rules are
  • Anything is better than nothing.
  • Keep at it
  • Revise, go over and do it again
  • :)
 

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What do I think about being completely fluent as an adult you mean??
Well, to start with I seem to find myself having less and less firm opinions as time goes by, and the answer to everything seems to have become “it depends” and that’s certainly true of language learning.
I would say it’s difficult to become bilingual as an adult, but I do know a few bilingual people and certainly some who have an excellent level in another language, and have no trouble communicating. I myself wouldn’t say I was bilingual in the strict sense of the word, but I had to start using this definition for work and I found that people did consider me bilingual even though I do make mistakes. I would call this fluent.
Going back to what you asked me, most of the people that I know who come in to that high level category have like yourself,

  • Really worked at it
  • Have a genuine interest in language (not necessarily scholars, but like a language, enjoy the challenge, like learning the shades of meaning in a vocabulary item, the ins and outs of grammar…)
  • Continue to learn. They know that you can never stop learning a language.
I also think that once you get to a high level you can get obsessed about being bilingual and I think it’s perhaps unnecessary to set yourself such an unobtainable goal, but this is where “it depends” comes in. Some people need to set themselves goals.


As for how to study, guess what, “it depends”! But some general rules are
  • Anything is better than nothing.
  • Keep at it
  • Revise, go over and do it again
  • :)
yes, that's what I meant PW

& I agree - it depends - both on what you mean by 'fluent' & 'bilingual'

I manage in most situations but would never claim to be 'fluent' or 'bilingual'- I might be asked how to say something in Spanish & have no idea - but the chances are it's something I wouldn't say often in English either!

I think it might be possible to become so as an adult if you were in a remote area & were forced to speak the foreign language all day every day - but then if you were picked up & put down in a city your vocab might be lacking for that situation...............

I was talking to friend the other day about this same thing - she has been here for something like 30 years & was married to a Spaniard - she says people say she's fluent but she says she knows she isn't - she thinks I'm more fluent than her because I often join in a conversation in Spanish more easily than she does. It's all about perception - I reckon she is more fluent than I am.


I think true bilingualism is an equal level in the two languages.

However I don't think that's really important - the important thing is to try to communicate, again & again & again
 

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I think true bilingualism is an equal level in the two languages.

However I don't think that's really important - the important thing is to try to communicate, again & again & again

I agree. I also think that to be truly bilingual you really need to have started young - not because of the way our brains work, but simply because it takes time to accumulate and evolve enough words, vocabulary, phrases, dialect etc and you need to build it all from scratch - with "kiddie speak", teenage stuff...... As adults we can get pretty close (well I cant, but... lol), but our "mother tongue" is always gonna win. I have friends here who's kids are what I consider totally bilingual. They arrived here when the were 5, 6 and are now in their teens and are proably better at Spanish than english. But everyday they are using both languages - english at home and spanish with their friends and at school and they are growing up with it. Learning new words and ways in both languages

Nonetheless, I try everyday, I try to chat to the checkout operators at Mercadona, to the petrol pump attendant, shop assistants, the man up the road (he's drunk most of the time, but he seems to understand me just fine lol??)

Jo xxx
 

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(he's drunk most of the time, but he seems to understand me just fine lol??)

Jo xxx
I think there is something very important here (and I'm not referring to why Jojo chats up drunks ;) ). Last night I was in the local with my wife Pilar. Jake the large black doggy sat waiting for a tit bit. Pilar said 'dame tu patita' and Jake obliged. Pilar was surprised. Is Jake bilingual, hungry, or within his field of interest a good communicater? [ I expect doggy will be along any minute with a graphic to represent the scene :D ]

What I guess I'm trying to say is communication is so much more than words and grammar. That is why I think when I assess my level of Spanish in my opinion my level is much worse than perceived by others, similar to Xabia's point I think.

The second observation is that people assume they are fluent in their first language. But people's use of their own language is sometimes very poor. Full of bad grammar and slang, and often of limited volcabulary.

I recently went to Newcastle (football with my beloved Watford). I stayed two days but when chatting to the locals I had real problems understanding them. My english or theirs I'm not sure. I find it easier with Sporting fans in Gijon :)

ps That was my first time in Geordie land and IMHO you couldn't meet nicer friendlier people. Luv em to bits even if they don't speak the Queen's English :)
 

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I agree, communication is far more than just talking. But even when the grammar is bad we tend to know whats being said if its in our native tongue (geordies aside lol!!). Its ingrained in us I suppose, and thats what I meant by gorwing up with a language. When I worked in the Geriatric unit in the UK, I used to see alot of very kind and attentive foreign nurses trying to communicate with some rather elderly and awkward patients - it was frustrating for both parties. The nurses who couldnt make themselves understood and the patients because their funny little expressions and mannerisms couldnt be conveyed

My husband, when he comes over is actually really frightened of our lack of Spanish. Many a time I'll suggest we need to do something and he'll say "how can we? we dont speak Spanish". But I force the issue and somehow, with my pathetic attempts at speaking and a few hand gestures we get there. But I always try, I always apologise for my bad Spanish and I always smile alot so that they know I'm being nice (!!???). I even forced a smile at the rather belligerent hospital receptionist who wouldnt book my son in for an appointment!!!!

Jo xxx
 

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I have a whole website dedicated to learning Spanish but in the immortal words of Woody Allen "90% of success is just turning up" Whatever works for you, works for you.

For my part, I would read ANYTHING (back of fag packets, bus timetables, funeral announcements ANYTHING) I devour anything on subjects I enjoy - football and politics and I would/will speak to anybody who will listen. Abuelos are always good - especially if you start with, "I guess you have seen a few changes over the past 20 years" (Don't say 80!!) Have the radio on in the car - even in the background.

It worked for me but for others that would be hell.

ENJOY!
 

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Hiya,

Personally I found the Michel Thomas CDs very useful... Hope this helps.


I am moving soon to Barcelona.

My Spanish is limited to what I learned in High School in the 1960's.

I can sort of read it to get the gist of it, but that really only gives me the subject based upon recognizing some of the vocabulary words I recognize. Often times I get the whole context wrong.

I cannot understand or speak Spanish when spoken.

I am looking for recommendations on the best way to learn Spanish once I get there. Language Schools? Private Tutors? Exchange helping a native with English for help with Spanish?

If you went to Spain not knowing the language and now are fluent, what worked for you and how long did it take?
 

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Personally, I hate them ..................
People focus on the nunbnuts' mistakes IMHO

BUT as it worked for Keidi it was a great idea for her. JUST what I was saying

Great to see you here Keidi.
 

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Personally, I hate them ..................
People focus on the nunbnuts' mistakes IMHO

BUT as it worked for Keidi it was a great idea for her. JUST what I was saying

Great to see you here Keidi.
I agree totally. Some friends of mine lent me them so I could listen to them and give them my opinion, which is only that, if they work for some people that's fine. But how can you hope to even get anywhere near the correct pronunciation when the "models" aren't even Spanish. I have worked with many English courses in centres where I have taught, but have never tried to work with one where the people speaking weren't native English speakers.
 

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I agree totally. Some friends of mine lent me them so I could listen to them and give them my opinion, which is only that, if they work for some people that's fine. But how can you hope to even get anywhere near the correct pronunciation when the "models" aren't even Spanish. I have worked with many English courses in centres where I have taught, but have never tried to work with one where the people speaking weren't native English speakers.
I listened to a sample of the micheal tomas stuff and it sounded awful - the guy sounds pompous as hell.
 

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Perhaps in my naievity I thought the BBC site (also free) was good, is this generally accepted?
It seems like there are a few. I've looked at "La vida Loca" and "Spanish Steps" and both look really good. Were those the ones you were thinking of?
 
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