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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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The biggest lesson I ever learned was to stop thinking in English and translating in my head. When my othet half gave me that advice it was impossible to comprehend it but with time it happened. Now, when I'm speaking Spanish i never think a single word in English and vica versa.

Dont let your classes or time online learning be your only time thinking spanish. If you have a partner try and talk in Spanish as much as possible. Start with the basics like the weekly shopping. Writr your list in Spanish even in a UK shop. Watch Spanish news as the pictures help you to understand the story and on news at national level they tend to speak pretty well (like BBC English). Immerse yourself daily into the language.

But, I agree with others, it takes time. When I met my Spanish husband I spoke very little and it took maybe 5 to 7 years of living a truly spanish life to become "fluent" and still I can't say I'm 100% several years later. But im good enough to do anything i want. I work in a national Spanish company dealing with Spanish colleagues and clients all day, i can do anything I need and read, speak and write probably 90% ok. Every day we all continue to learn and improve.

But keep at it, work hard and practice all you can!
 

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Books, apps and other online learning resources have their place, but the learning is passive. There is no substitute for face to face interaction if you want to improve conversational Spanish. Get an "intercambio" with someone learning English, and you can help each other. Just an hour or two a week, plus being able to resolve random queries over Whatsapp, will make a world of difference. I did this 15 years ago and over the years we have become best friends.
 

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Great topic, my own experience is learning from Duolingo for 12 months which was useful to learn and store many words but the two things which have helped me the most is taking beginners lessons from a Spanish lady in a small group and learning from the Paul Noble Learn Spanish CD’s.
The CD’s have been very worthwhile and beneficial for me and have accelerated my learning, I do practice Spanish every day and really enjoy it, I started taking lessons this April and am very happy with my progress considering at 59 years old I thought I was too old to learn a language.
 

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Hola.

My experience was a language course with cassette tapes which i transferred to CD; when 6 months later I moved to Spain, I thought i knew enough. Wrong! I signed up with a face to face, one on one with no place to hide and continued for 7 years!

It has paid me in Spades; I am not - nor ever will be truly fluent! But people compliment me frequently on my Spanish because they didn't bother!

Just keep at it in whatever way is comfortable to you; It makes life much better

Davexf
 

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The problem with Duolingo and Rosetta Stone is they don't teach grammar. Without that, you'll never really learn the language. Think about how you learned English.
You'll never really learn the language by just using any one particular resource. They all have their pros and cons, you need to choose the appropriate ones to improve the areas you feel you need to work on. After a while most people seem to "grow out of" Duolingo, as there's a limit to how much you can learn by just filling in blanks on short phrases, usually from multiple-choice options. But for the first year or two of language learning I think it's a good option, as most people at least feel like they are improving, without having to make huge sacrifices.
 
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