Ask a Question

(Create a thread)
Go Back   Spanish language learning forums > Teaching & Learning > Teaching and Learning Techniques


How long to learn Spanish as an adult

 

Teaching methodology, learning techniques, linguistics-- any of the various aspect of learning or teaching a foreign language.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old July 11, 2012, 11:36 PM
El Gato El Gato is offline
Opal
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 27
Native Language: US English
El Gato is on a distinguished road
Question for those who learned as adults: How long did it take to get by in Spanish and what would you recommend I try to learn first? Phrases? Individual words? Grammar?

Last edited by Rusty; July 12, 2012 at 07:23 AM. Reason: moved question to its own thread
Reply With Quote
   
Get rid of these ads by registering for a free Tomísimo account.
  #2  
Old July 12, 2012, 09:32 AM
Awaken's Avatar
Awaken Awaken is offline
Pearl
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 302
Native Language: American English
Awaken is on a distinguished road
How much time do you have? Where are you going to learn? Not that I claim to know Spanish, but what helped me was Learning in my car and doing some stuff in a book at home. You'll have to find a way to make it fun too.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old July 12, 2012, 11:00 AM
wrholt's Avatar
wrholt wrholt is offline
Sapphire
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 1,303
Native Language: US English
wrholt is on a distinguished road
Based on estimates that I have seen from a variety of sources and my own (non-scientific) observations while working for an ESL program for several years, many people can achieve an intermediate to intermediate-advanced level in a second lanague with around 1000 hours of dedicated study and practice, although a few individuals may need less time while other many individuals may need significantly more time. The length of time may also be influenced by the particular combination of first and second languages: it can be faster and easier to learn a language that is closely related to one you already know, and slower and harder to learn a language that is very different.

As for where to start: one cannot learn grammar without learning some phrases and sentences, and one cannot learn phrases and sentences without learning individual words or expressions. However, learning long lists of individual words or expressions without also learning phrases and sentences or grammar is useless: one cannot communicate merely by translating words one-by-one from English to Spanish.

Many people start by learning a few basic phrases or a typical short conversation that one would have on meeting someone for the first time, and use those as a basis to learn a couple of grammar points and practice them while also learning the individual words or expressions. Then learn another set of phrases, dialog, or text that include new words and highlight a couple of different grammar points to practice. Repeat a few hundred times. Mix it up to practice listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Last edited by wrholt; July 12, 2012 at 11:02 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old July 12, 2012, 01:40 PM
Awaken's Avatar
Awaken Awaken is offline
Pearl
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 302
Native Language: American English
Awaken is on a distinguished road
wrholt,

1000 hours is probably a decent guess for English to Spanish I would say. From the Esperanto studies (probably a little biased, but useful nonetheless).

The Institute of Cybernetic Pedagogy at Paderborn (Germany) has compared the length of study time it takes natively French-speaking high-school students to obtain comparable 'standard' levels in Esperanto, English, German, and Italian.[30] The results were:
2000 hours studying German = 1500 hours studying English = 1000 hours studying Italian (or any other Romance language such as French) = 150 hours studying Esperanto.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old July 12, 2012, 07:34 PM
El Gato El Gato is offline
Opal
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 27
Native Language: US English
El Gato is on a distinguished road
For now I have to resort to self-teaching since classes are not an option at the moment.
I have been studying a mix or words, phrases and grammar. The phrases seem to help me get a partial grasp on the grammar and at the same time learn more words.

As for time I have plenty of time. I'm getting some books on Spanish phrases, important words and grammar and I have a couple Spanish/English dictionaries. Pronunciation doesn't seem to be a problem, the words I have checked out on pronunciation have far more often than not checked out as I have guessed before hand. It probably helps that I have heard Spanish spoken for much of my life even though I didn't understand it. Of course I'm sure I'll run into exceptions along the way.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old July 12, 2012, 09:47 PM
wrholt's Avatar
wrholt wrholt is offline
Sapphire
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 1,303
Native Language: US English
wrholt is on a distinguished road
It sounds you have a good basis for starting out. You'll want to find and incorporate other resources as you progress, of course. In your introduction post you mentioned that one of your reasons for studying Spanish is to widen your employment prospects: which do you think will be more important for you:

(a) being able to understand written Spanish, and to translate it for your colleagues who do not understand Spanish,

(b) being able to write business or professional documents in Spanish,

(c) being able to understand your customers who choose to speak to you in Spanish or who cannot speak English,

(d) being able to speak well at a normal conversational speed either one on one with your customors or publicly in front of a group.

(e) some combination of two or more of the previous four items.

Reading and listening are more passive skills; you have to know vocabulary and grammar well enough to recognize and understand what you see or hear. Of the two, listening can be more challenging, and the challenges are different depending on whether you are listening to a recording or interacting with one or more people. Your eventual goal with listening is to be able to understand ordinary conversations without having to ask other people to speak more slowly/carefully or to repeat themselves all the time.

Writing and speaking are more active skills, and as you get more advance you may find it useful to find someone who can give you feedback on your writing and on your speech. With writing you generally have more time to think through what you want to say, and you can take the time to edit it. With speaking your challenge is to practice enough that you don't have to stop every couple of words while you try to come up with the correct word for what you want to say.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old July 12, 2012, 10:51 PM
El Gato El Gato is offline
Opal
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 27
Native Language: US English
El Gato is on a distinguished road
I would say C for starters, later D and eventually A.

Most of my studying has been written, but I did find out there are Spanish language learning DVDs at the library and I have thought of checking a couple out.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old July 13, 2012, 07:48 AM
chileno's Avatar
chileno chileno is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Las Vegas, USA
Posts: 7,863
Native Language: Castellano
chileno is on a distinguished road
You can read my blog about my personal experience.

Last edited by AngelicaDeAlquezar; July 13, 2012 at 04:46 PM. Reason: Removed link that should be rather shared through private messages.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old August 05, 2012, 02:17 PM
Cavera's Avatar
Cavera Cavera is offline
Opal
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 16
Cavera is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by Awaken View Post
wrholt,

1000 hours is probably a decent guess for English to Spanish I would say. From the Esperanto studies (probably a little biased, but useful nonetheless).

The Institute of Cybernetic Pedagogy at Paderborn (Germany) has compared the length of study time it takes natively French-speaking high-school students to obtain comparable 'standard' levels in Esperanto, English, German, and Italian.[30] The results were:
2000 hours studying German = 1500 hours studying English = 1000 hours studying Italian (or any other Romance language such as French) = 150 hours studying Esperanto.

150 hours to learn esperanto? That is truly amazing.
After i get a better grip at spanish i´ll look into that
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old August 05, 2012, 08:17 PM
Glen Glen is offline
Emerald
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 710
Native Language: English
Glen is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by wrholt View Post
As for where to start: one cannot learn grammar without learning some phrases and sentences, and one cannot learn phrases and sentences without learning individual words or expressions. However, learning long lists of individual words or expressions without also learning phrases and sentences or grammar is useless: one cannot communicate merely by translating words one-by-one from English to Spanish.

Many people start by learning a few basic phrases or a typical short conversation that one would have on meeting someone for the first time, and use those as a basis to learn a couple of grammar points and practice them while also learning the individual words or expressions. Then learn another set of phrases, dialog, or text that include new words and highlight a couple of different grammar points to practice. Repeat a few hundred times. Mix it up to practice listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Excellent advice. I could not have said it better myself.
The only thing I might add is to try to strike a healthy balance in the exercise of all four components; they all work together of course, but adult learners sometimes place too much emphasis on the reading and writing. That can become an obstacle to listening and speaking if one first has to visualize how something would look in print before being able to process it mentally; but take heart, it's even more of a problem for those who study English, which is usually not written the way it sounds.
Good Luck!

Last edited by Glen; August 05, 2012 at 08:47 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmark this thread at:

 

Link to this thread
URL: 
HTML Link: 
BB Code: 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Site Rules

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What're some good young-adult fiction ("Literatura juvenil") books in Spanish? droe82 Practice & Homework 9 March 14, 2013 08:47 PM
[Italian] You missed the boat if you didn't learn Spanish if you're trying to learn Italian Villa Other Languages 58 September 09, 2010 05:39 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:48 PM.

Forum powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

X