If Someone Asked Me How To Learn A New Language
If someone asked me what I would recommend as the essential preparation for expatriating to Mexico, it would be, Learn Spanish. You would think this is obvious, right?
I get many who write and ask what I recommend they do precisely in their language-learning quest. I first tell them to understand that unless they move to one of the uber-expensive resort towns or San Miguel de Allende, they will have to speak Spanish in the rest of the country. The rest of Mexico will not cater to the monolinguals no matter how big of a fit they pitch over it. I mention this because, shockingly, this is precisely what monolinguals do when they come to Mexican towns and find the locals are not bilingual. In their fit-pitching tirades, there is the usual, now get this, accusing the locals—to their faces—of speaking English only pretending not to. New Language
Here is what I would suggest you follow before moving to Mexico. It will cost you. It isn’t cheap. But, you will not be wasting your money like you would if you began taking classroom instruction before developing a high degree of Spanish-spoken fluency.
· The Learnables Languages – This picture-aural system follows the last 40 years of linguistic research in second language acquisition. You receive true immersion in the language.
· Pimsleur Spanish – This is the second stage of acquiring spoken fluency. First, you engage in INPUT with The Learnables; you begin your OUTPUT stage with The Pimsleur Spanish system. This is your first attempt at speaking the language. You will develop a lot of vocabulary and learn to speak the language.
· Learn Spanish Like Crazy – This course has the same style and approach as The Pimsleur products. They use the same methodology as Pimsleur. You will learn a tremendous amount of vocabulary and get massive exposure to how Spanish is spoken in Latin America. Pimsleur is excellent in giving you exposure to how Educated Spanish-speaking people converse. However, when you are on the streets of Latin America, you will hear a lot of differences between the Spanish you learned with Pimsleur and what you will learn with Learn Spanish Like Crazy. My suggestion is that you need both. The reality is that if you only learn what is spoken on the streets of Latin America and then try to interact with educated Latin Americans in a formal setting, you will come across as a rube. The reality is there is street Spanish, and there is formal Spanish. You have to know both and be able to switch back and forth.
· Immersion Plus Spanish – One of the most misunderstood parts of becoming fluent in any language is the necessity of training your ear in the target language. What I mean is if you cannot hear the euphony or music of the language, you will rarely, if ever, be able to understand what someone is speaking to you in the target language. I live in Mexico and can tell you though I went through massive Spanish preparation before coming to Mexico, I did not count on the speed at which the locals spoke Spanish. It is swift! This course, by its design, will help you with this problem. It addresses this common issue.
· Smart Spanish – This will help further train your ear in the music of the language. It is an excellent program that records live interviews with Spanish speakers from Colombians to Spaniards. It dissects the interviews for grammar and vocabulary and then speaks at different speeds so you can follow with or without a transcript.
An issue with many American second language learners is that because they are “visual learners,” they have to take notes, read books, see something written on a classroom chalkboard, or whatever. This is a myth. The listed courses stress listening first, speaking second, and reading third.
What someone is saying when they claim this is related to language acquisition is if they were born blind, they never would have been able to learn how to speak their native tongue. The mechanisms involved in second language acquisition are the same as when you learned your native language. If your claim to be a “visual learner,” relating to second language acquisition, was valid, then if you were born blind, you never would have been able to learn your native language—logical, no?
Before embarking upon your expatriation journey or even coming to study Spanish in Mexico, use what I have outlined above. You will save money in the long haul and not watch it float down the drain while sitting in a classroom lost and unable to know which end a Spanish verb is up.