19 June 2012

Quiero hablar Espanol contigo!

My Spanish studies have gone like this:

Two years in high school - Spanish 1 & 2, Freshman and Sophomore years,
so 1994 and 1995.
Two semesters in college - Spanish 2 and Conversational Review, 2008 and 2010.
Personal time spent reviewing old text books and worksheets, 2012.

Street art, Chacabuco in San Telmo, Aug 2011

This has made me the kind of second language student who can read and translate better than I can speak; who's conjugation is better than her grammar; and who's enthusiasm for practicing Spanish with native Spanish speakers is disproportionate to her ability to make a ton of sense.

I recently discovered DuoLingo. Still in it's beta phase, this online language tutorial site makes learning Spanish (or English, French, or German) really fun. Users create a profile and earn points as they complete lessons. Each lesson builds on the previous one, using reading, writing, and listening translation tests to teach vocabulary, grammar, and conversational skills. The social networking component of the site allows users to follow each other's progress, race for lesson completion times, and connect to other social media sites to invite others to the community.

And so far so good! I've been able to review the Spanish I haven't used in years, and am already learning new concepts. Though I believe that immersion is the best way to learn a language, it's exciting to think I'll be able to get by when we arrive in Argentina. So if I start practicing my Spanish around you, I'm not being a pretentious weirdo! I'm just working hard on this thing!

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