Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It's Summer: Learn Spanish!

Now that school is out, it might be a good time to brush off a New Year's resolution about learning another language.

Many people ask me how to get started learning Spanish. Even if you know practically nothing beyond hola, buenos días and how to count to ten, you can use those three simple things to build up a workable and immediately useful bank of phrases. You can learn the rest of the numbers in a very short time, along with days of the week and months. Armed only with that set of related linguistic data, you'll be able to give your phone number, understand schedules, prices, make appointments and more.

Knowing basic greetings is at least an icebreaker and lets the other person know that you are willing to step outside your comfort zone of language and culture -- bridging a divide that many people don't even try to cross.

But if you want to get serious about really learning Spanish and you're just beginning, I recommend Rosetta Stone. You can find my review here. But there comes a time when you'll actually need to go face-to-face with another person and begin meaningful exchanges. That's why I've developed my online program.

Even if you're already pretty good at Spanish -- let's say you're an intermediate-level speaker -- you will benefit from conversational practice with my online program. The average person does not know much about his or her native language -- and can't explain or model proper speech in ways that teach the language to non-natives, that's why I encourage you to take a look at my face-to-face program.

Then again, maybe you're just planning a vacation to Mexico -- my phrasebook will come in handy!

If you're wondering about studying in Mexico, I personally endorse The Language Immersion School in Veracruz, Mexico.

If you are a serious student of the language and want to get a taste of its classical literature, take a look -- and even listen to my recitations of Góngora's Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea and Pablo Neruda's Oda a la bella desnuda.

Whatever your plans for the summer, I encourage you to include Spanish in them!

Of course, I'm an advocate of learning Spanish simply because it is the majority language of the Western Hemisphere.