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Spanish Vocabulary Smack-Down

 

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Old March 07, 2011, 07:06 AM
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Spanish Vocabulary Smack-Down

I have learned Japanese and Chinese, and now I would like to move on and learn a language not so bat-crap crazy and different than English. I would like to learn Spanish. I am trying to assemble a game-plan for learning Spanish vocabulary, and you guys have more experience at this than I do:

Something I found very useful when learning Chinese and Japanese was learning the meaning and pronunciation of the kanji/hanzi, the characters that make up all words in Chinese and most of the words in Japanese. Thus, when I had to learn a new word, I figured out what the corresponding characters were and simply learned the "equation" that made up the word. For example: the word "dictionary" is made up of the characters "word" and "canon." If I needed to remember "dictionary," I recalled the equation "word canon," and with very little effort I had acquired the vocabulary word.

I seek to do something similar with the Spanish language: learning words by first learning the various etymologies. With Japanese I learned about 2,000 characters and pronunciations, and with Chinese I learned about 2,500 characters and pronunciations (There was some overlap, but the pronunciation had to be learned anew). If I learned about 2,000 basic Latin/Greek words, would this help out a great deal in learning a large volume of Spanish words? After Spanish I plan on learning other related languages (French, Italian, etc.). If this in fact seems viable, could someone please point me in the direction of a list or database of valuable Greek/Latin root words that would be useful in learning Spanish?

Thanks for your time
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  #2  
Old March 07, 2011, 08:25 AM
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With a superior English vocabulary and a good knowledge of words in Latin, you have a great step one in learning Spanish. If you are familiar with the sentence structure of romance languages (stucture of French, Spanish and Italian is similar), you will learn more rapidly. A lot of people start by learning the two verbs to be. Focus on the present tense, because nearly all simple communication can be done in that tense, and then go on to the other tenses. Listen to Spanish language ballads called boleros. Obtain the lyrics of the songs online and little by little you will get the meaning and learn the pronunciation and rhythm of the language.
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Old March 07, 2011, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poli View Post
Listen to Spanish language ballads called boleros. Obtain the lyrics of the songs online and little by little you will get the meaning and learn the pronunciation and rhythm of the language.
I'd done something similar with english and it was a wrong way because lyrics must follow the rules of a poem and not all the songwriters are poets and furthermore a lyric writer is abide by the music. So for this reason wasn't easy for me learn english correctly, but on the other hand I learned and sang songs knowing more or less the meaning.
Know I search for audio books and ebooks. Is a pretty sure method.

Corrections are welcome
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Old March 07, 2011, 10:40 AM
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Tambien mucho depende en la canción y el idioma. Inglés es un idioma que no rima mucho y por eso a veces torcimos el idioma para formar
rimas y para caber el ritmo de la canción. Sin embargo, existen muchas canciones que sirvien, pero hay que tener cuidad porque algunos no hacen sentido afuera del contexto de la canción. También no todas las canciones en español sirven bien pero muchos tienen letra muy natural..en particular las báladas románticas de los años cuarenta y cincuenta del siglo pasado. Por mi parte, me ayudaron, y gracias a ellas mi accento no es muy americano. Poca gente puede identificar de donde soy cuando hablo español aunque después de un rato, sepan que no es mi madre lengua.
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Old March 07, 2011, 02:42 PM
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But is there a particular list of Latin/Greek words that would help in doing this? Is there a dictionary that contains this information in English? What Latin/Greek words should I learn?
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Old March 07, 2011, 02:48 PM
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Just look in any Spanish dictionary. You will find versions of the two thousand words you commited to memory. The spelling is different but
I am sure you will see the etimology. Spanish is largely derived from Latin.
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Old March 07, 2011, 02:54 PM
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But what list should I use to figure out which 2,000 to learn?
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Old March 07, 2011, 03:10 PM
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Use the same 2,000 you learned in the other languages. I suppose they were words that you could use in everyday speech. You would use the same 2,000 words in Spanish, or in English, for that matter. Right?

Don't you already know hundreds, if not thousands, of Latin and Greek words from your studies of English? If so, you're armed with all you need to learn those same words in Spanish, I would think.

Spanish and English share thousands of words. Spanish is largely made up of Latin words, but it has borrowings from Arabic and Greek. English also has a number of these borrowings, so there will be a surprising amount of words you already know in Spanish.
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Old March 18, 2011, 11:57 PM
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You can get off to a good start by learning how to "convert" many English words into their Spanish counterparts, due to the fact many words in English derive from Latin. You can more or less systematically do this conversion without even knowing the words in Spanish. Sometimes you'll get it wrong, but more often than not you'll be right.

I don't have the full list, but I mean words like information => informacíon, pronunciation => pronunciación, acceptable => aceptable, possible => posible etc.

Many of the verbs are fairly easy to remember too since you can make an etymological link back to English: escribir = to write (I think of "to inscribe"), formar => to form, desear => to want/wish (desire), ver => to see (view... from Latin videre).

Your thinking patterns in Spanish can follow a fairly close line with English too, although there are strict rules to do with dangling prepositions (i.e. you can't ask "What's it used for?", you must ask "For what is it used?"), but you get used to thinking in that way, since it still makes sense in English.

Buy a book (I'm sure there are lots of suggestions on the forum) and work through it. By the time you finish you'll have enough knowledge to start helping yourself

You absolutely need a dictionary though. If you don't want to buy one, there's one online at dictionary.com that even gives you the pronunciation (although Spanish is about as clear as it gets when it comes to pronunciation):

http://spanish.dictionary.com/definition/palabra
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