Monthly Archives: July, 2015

My Resources for Learning Spanish…in the U.S.

Hello all,

I know I have been gone for a while! Well…let’s get to it!

I was really hoping to travel to Panama City, Panama for a week this summer to take part of a language immersion program. I have a friend/co worker who has family there, so the possibility of going with her would have been great! Unfortunately the logistics did not work out the way I wanted them to; so in regards to that, I have been trying to find other ways to continue practicing the Spanish language.

As the title of this blog suggests, I have been using and looking for resources to practice my Spanish since I can not have the idealistic ability to travel to a Spanish speaking country at the moment. Some resources that I have used and some that I currently use as an intermediate Spanish speaker are listed *below:

BOOKS:
1)The Everything Spanish Grammar Book: All the rules you need to master español by Julie Gutin
–I bought this book after my trip to Madrid and I still use this as a reference.

2)Barron’s Foreign Language Guides: 501 Spanish Verbs 7th Ed. by Christopher Kendris & Theodore Kendris
–I bought this book because I remember people in my college Spanish courses had one. I use it every now and then to look up how a word is conjugated. It comes with a CD that I have not used. I sometimes wish it had examples of English equivalents (when applicable), so I can get a better grasp of the “hows” and “whys” of Spanish verb conjugations.

3)Barron’s Spanish for Reading: A self instructional course by Fabiola Franco and Karl Sandberg
–I have not read this in its entirety, but I have gotten some good nuggets (i,e. vocabulary) from it. I am not that disciplined to read a book to learn a language; I prefer to talk!

4)Langenscheidt Diccionario Básico Inglés
–A dictionary I bought en una librería cuando yo estaba en Madrid. I have an English version too…I had accidentally left it in the States!

COMPUTER SOFTWARE/APPS: 
Rosetta Stone Levels 1-5
–So I actually bought this five years ago right after I got back from Madrid for…over $700!! YES! Crazy! Unfortunately I only completed levels 1-2. It is a program that just shows you pictures, and words/phrases that go with the pictures. From what I can remember, you have opportunities to speak, to practice pronunciation, and then at the end listen to a story that uses all the vocabulary you learned within the lesson. I am not sure what upgrades/revisions it has received since I bought it, but there are too many FREE programs out there now with the same concept that spending that type of money on a computer based language program is not truly necessary. If I could do it all over again…I would have booked a flight to Panama City!

Dualingo
–I was recently introduced to Dualingo this past Spring. It kind of reminds me of Rosetta Stone…but it is absolutely FREE! It can help you with vocabulary and basic grammar, but like my experience with Rosetta Stone, my fleeting interest in sitting down at a computer or tablet combined with a crazy schedule, really impact my ability to use the program with consistency. 😦

HUMANS: – At the end of the day, learning a language is learned best…with another human being!
Meetup.com
–I have been a part of various Spanish language meet up groups in various cities that I have lived. The people have always been friendly with native speakers always willing to help me get through a conversation! My only thing is…since there are SO many people in these groups on different speaking levels, it is sometimes easy to fade in the background and not talk as much because…everyone that can talk in Spanish is talking. The bright side is you get to build your listening comprehension! Especially when there are several accents in the room 🙂 I still attend a meetup group, but I tend to be shy and self conscious when I speak…so I’m really looking for a more structured setting like…the next resource!

Community College Classes
–This resource, I can not speak of just yet…but I do plan on taking a course this fall at a local community college to work on speaking,writing and reading! I will let you all know how that goes!

italki.com
–Have you heard of it? This is news to me as of this month. It is an online community that connects you to professional teachers, tutors and other language learning enthusiasts from all over the world! For the professional teachers and informal tutors, you have to pay, but the online forum where you can connect to do language exchange is FREE. I recently signed up as a paid member because with the goals I have…I need a professional! I have my first session tomorrow so I will update when I am able!

So are there any books, software/apps or human interaction resources that you use? Please let me know!

JG

* The opinions I expressed in this post are completely my own. I bought all books/software with my own money and am not being compensated for anything mentioned in this post. 

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