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I personally really like the Duolingo ecosystem as I can consume it the way my schedule allows. The one thing I'd say is whatever you do, do NOT set unrealistic expectations for your progress. Just accept that it's going to be a lifelong learning process and let what YOU need drive the next things you learn.

And FWIW my SO is a college Spanish and ESL teacher here in the States, I can't be taught in the "normal" way by her since I'm too stubborn :p
 

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My advice to people who want to get started may seem mundane but (a) master the past, present and future conjugations of a handful of infinitives through good old memorization and (b) get out and start talking. My suggested infinitives are

estar-to be temporary
ser-to be permanent
tener-to have
venir-to come
comprar-to buy
ir-to go
hablar-to speak
andar-to walk
dar-to give
poder-to be able to
saber-to know
poner-to put

I am sure other people will suggest other verbs. However, once you feel comfortable in the simple conjugations of 10-15 infinitives, it is amazing how easy it is to converse. Then once you start conversing, it will be very positive feedback and it will spur you to learn more but you got to learn the verbs.
Hacer - to do/make
Cojer/tomar - to take

Yes, learning the verb conjugations and when to use each one are key to learning romance languages. Many English speakers don't realise it because the conjugations in English are so easy they don't really have to think about them too much. But if you can nail the most common verbs then you've made a good start. There are plenty of apps out there to help you learn them, and will test you. Also a lot of people are put off when they encounter so many irregular verbs to begin with, but really it only tends to be the most common verbs that are irregular. Once you've learnt the irregular verbs, then the less common verbs tend to follow the rules.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·

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An excellent learning app (android and apple) and website is spanishdict. They have ads on them but free otherwise.Or you can pay around £2.80 for a yrs worth of ad free access.Loads of training material and native speakers than pronounce the words for you at normal speed then broken down into the syllables.It has sections onTranslation, conjugation, vocabulary, grammar and word of the day.
 

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Be careful trying to break language down into discrete parts like verbs and just learning conjugations. Ever since Chomsky's concept of Universal Grammar appeared linguists have tended to favour are more biological view of language. One of the believed consequences is that you cant learn things in random orders ( they dont stick). In other words things acquire a natural order of progression
Learners sometimes report this as feeling they have moments when they feel sudden leaps have been made or things they are aware of trying to learn suddenly become obvious. Modern course books now try and follow this order of acquisition as opposed to the belief that you can just choose various parts as a whim
 

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To help me learn the conjugation and encorporate into my love of spreadsheets, I have written a spreadsheet with 649 verbs in a multitude of tenses. Below is a link to that spreadsheet in Google Sheets, I suggest, to speed it up, you copy it into MS Excel.
Essentially the first tab allows you type in up to 3 verbs, overtype the blue verbs in situ, and the conjugation is displayed in 5 tenses. You can easily adapt the sheet to include more tenses by adding more columns and adjusting the formulae as required.
The subsequent sheets are just a database of the verbs and their conjugations.
I hope you enjoy using it.

 

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the best way is to marry a native speaker; or probably even better is to marry one with children..

Reading; except the far east ( china, japan), russia or greece for the reading and understanding has never been a problem for me in any language. 15 years in France upgraded my school French enough to get a passport thru marriage but 4 years in Spain I understand Valencian & Spanish and can read both but for speaking I really have not put my mind to it yet - though I can speak basic but not for technical subjects - I use google translate alot..

Find a local club in your village, town that you like playing or doing - cards, bingo, church, dance and you will soon be immersed in the language and have to learn it or just be the english speaker by them self or couple in the corner.

For the older members; every town, village or city has a building with daily activities or just a place for old people to go and mingle and sign-up is just thru being on the padron. Take advantage of your tax euros...
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
To help me learn the conjugation and encorporate into my love of spreadsheets, I have written a spreadsheet with 649 verbs in a multitude of tenses. Below is a link to that spreadsheet in Google Sheets, I suggest, to speed it up, you copy it into MS Excel.
Essentially the first tab allows you type in up to 3 verbs, overtype the blue verbs in situ, and the conjugation is displayed in 5 tenses. You can easily adapt the sheet to include more tenses by adding more columns and adjusting the formulae as required.
The subsequent sheets are just a database of the verbs and their conjugations.
I hope you enjoy using it.

Thanks Steve....

I will have a good look at this over the weekend!
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
the best way is to marry a native speaker; or probably even better is to marry one with children..

Reading; except the far east ( china, japan), russia or greece for the reading and understanding has never been a problem for me in any language. 15 years in France upgraded my school French enough to get a passport thru marriage but 4 years in Spain I understand Valencian & Spanish and can read both but for speaking I really have not put my mind to it yet - though I can speak basic but not for technical subjects - I use google translate alot..

Find a local club in your village, town that you like playing or doing - cards, bingo, church, dance and you will soon be immersed in the language and have to learn it or just be the english speaker by them self or couple in the corner.

For the older members; every town, village or city has a building with daily activities or just a place for old people to go and mingle and sign-up is just thru being on the padron. Take advantage of your tax euros...
My wife of 28 years is from Belfast (hence the ability to be able to still retire to Spain ;)) and understanding some of her family is as difficult as any foreign language, even after all these years believe me!

We are hoping to get involved in the community, wherever we end up, be it volunteering or just doing something to keep active (Wife plays rugby for a national champion touch rugby team.. (Yes I know) and I dabble occasionally in the same myself), but either way, I'm just looking forward to the change!
 
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