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Monday, December 5, 2011

NBTMV - To learn Spanish, start by listening and repeating

In an earlier video I described my method for learning Spanish: (1) Listen and Repeat, (2) Listen to Understand, and (3) Start Speaking. In this video, I elaborate on what I did for my “Listen and Repeat” step, where I simply listened to a native Spanish speaker and repeated as requested, without knowing any Spanish grammar or how to write in Spanish.
I followed the Pimsleur method for this, primarily because they provide the lessons on CDs and I could listen to the CDs and repeat loudly during my morning commute. Each lesson is 30 minutes long. The instructor gave directions in English asking me to listen and repeat in a conversational voice whatever was being asked of me -- repeat words, respond to question, all in Spanish, of course. And that’s the main point -- you repeat as closely as possible what a native Spanish speaker says. Here’s an example from the first CD where a man and a woman converse:
-- Perdon, señorita. ¿Entiende ingles?
-- No, señor. No entiendo ingles. Hablo español.
-- Hablo un poco español.
The lessons really make sure you get the pronunciation... for example, for “Per-don,” the instructor says “don” and “per”, with rolling “r” and then put together “per-don.” Similarly for “señor,” “español,” and “ingles.”
Pimsleur suggests that you do one lesson a day, but you can repeat that lesson. I did one lesson a day and, taking into account weekends and holidays etc., finished the 90 lessons of Pimsleur Spanish I, II, and III in 6 months. These lessons gave me a good start with Spanish pronunciation and basic vocabulary, but I still couldn’t converse in Spanish. I was afraid and often couldn’t understand the question. So I had to continue to “Listen and Understand” Spanish, learn vocabulary and grammar, and “Begin Speaking.”
Now I can speak some Spanish, but I still need to learn a lot more grammar. Nevertheless, by “listening and repeating” I was speaking right from the start and that kept me motivated.
If you are thinking about learning Spanish, you should definitely start with lessons where you “listen and repeat” what a native speaker says.
Here's some more information to help you...
You can find links to Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone Spanish lessons in my previous blog:

I even made a video in Spanish explaining my method for learning a new language, you can view on this blog post:

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