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How long does it take to learn Spanish???

 
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caonimama



Joined: 08 Sep 2004
Posts: 6
Location: Beijing

PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2004 4:50 pm    Post subject: How long does it take to learn Spanish??? Reply with quote

I'm going to move down to Buenos Aires in a little while and having no knowledge of Spanish at all, I'm wondering how long it would take to learn in one of those 20 hours a week schools? Also is the Argentinian accent nice?--I've heard some Latin American accents sound terrible while Spanish spanish is supposed to be the nicest.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8928
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2004 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm working in Peru and am trying to have my students email in English to advanced English speakers or native speakers. I don't know if anyone has any students like this or if you yourself are interested. I was thinking that my students could email in English and you or your students could email in Spanish (if you want to practise your Spanish skills) or in English.
Anyways, if you are interested, PM me or email me.
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2 over lee



Joined: 07 Sep 2004
Posts: 1125
Location: www.specialbrewman.blogspot.com

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear 'cao ni ma ma', it sounds to me you may be giving up the, 'motherland', for BA. I myself am going to Buenos Aires in 2 days (with very limited Spanish) to look for work.

I don't know when your going to BA, but if you want to to share knowledge when you get there I'd be willing
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matttheboy



Joined: 01 Jul 2003
Posts: 854
Location: Valparaiso, Chile

PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2004 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depends how seriously you take it and whether you have any prior experience of romance languages (I speak French and this really came in handy for some vocab and concepts such as masculine and feminine agreement and verb endings.) It took me about 2 and a half months of 2 hour a day conversation lessons (i learned the grammar from a book, that's the easy part) to get to a point where i felt comfortable chatting to people and i made a real effort to not speak English all the time and to make Argentine friends.

Something that i would recommend (and which helped me enormously) is to buy a verb book and simply rote learn the verb endings for all the tenses and the most common irregular verbs. That way every time you learn a new verb you will know how to conjugate it and therefore use it. Once you learn this it's pretty much only vocab and practice you have to worry about. The grammar of Spanish verb tenses (ie when you use a particular tense) is roughly the same as in English with a few differences which you'll have to learn separately.

Argentine Spanish has its quirks (which i really like) but as you don't know any 'normal' Spanish you won't notice until you visit another country in South America. Argentinians don't speak too fast or swallow any letters so it's pretty easy to understand once you learn the pronunciation rules (some of which are quite distinct from the Spanish in most other countries). Que tengas mucha suerte, chau chau, Matt


Last edited by matttheboy on Thu Sep 30, 2004 4:36 pm; edited 2 times in total
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caonimama



Joined: 08 Sep 2004
Posts: 6
Location: Beijing

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Two over lee, it looks like you got me sussed out on my user name and, as you've probably guessed, I'm in China at the moment. Looks like I'm following in your footsteps although I'm a little behind you. I'm planning on coming out to BA in about 3 or 4 months--after I finish up my super intense Chinese course. How are you finding BA so far? Do you speak Chinese and, if so, has it come in handy? What's the work situation like there? If you are still around when I arrive we should definitely meet up for a beer!

Mike: Two and a half months of two hours a day? Damn, that's absolutely incredible. You've got one hell of a talent for languages or that French must really come in real handy. Je parle en francais et Chinois but I would hardly rate my knowledge of French as fluent. I'm totally astounded at how much you've learned. How much longer do you have to go before you could rate yourself fluent? What kind of monthly expenses do you rack up on average between lessons, rent, drinking, etc.? I'm not planning on working too much; rather I intend to be pretty focused on learning Spanish. How hard is it make Argentinian friends--who are actually fun and interesting to hang around with? (something that seems next to impossible to find in China).
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ls650



Joined: 10 May 2003
Posts: 3484
Location: British Columbia

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 1:50 pm    Post subject: Re: How long does it take to learn Spanish??? Reply with quote

Remember too that some folks are simply better at learning languages than others - just listen to your students!
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milosalex



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 11:24 am    Post subject: Argentina is wonderful! Me encantan los argentinos. Reply with quote

Of course it depends on many factors and it depends on your target competance.

I lived in Chile for 6 years and it took me about a year to get to a level where I could communicate (but not very well) in all situations. I had had some previous lessons in the UK but I did not attend Spanish classes in Chile. I'd say it took me about one more year to become fluent. So 2 years in total without classes.

The real key, in my experience, was that I always lived with Chilean (or other Spanish speakers) who did not speak English.

Comments about Argentina in general: It is the friendliest country I have ever visited. They are much much friendlier than Chileans for example. It should be very easy to make Argentinean friends. They are also in my experience a lot of fun. I am now planning on going to China but thinking about Argentina makes me want to go there instead. I love Argentina! Also the men (and women) are very good-looking which is a bonus.
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matttheboy



Joined: 01 Jul 2003
Posts: 854
Location: Valparaiso, Chile

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd agree with milosalex about timing. After 2-3 months of conversation classes i was able to talk to people and understand 70% of what was said back to me (as long as they didn't answer at a million miles an hour). At this point i started travelling and i made a real effort to speak to taxi drivers, shop keepers and locals working in hostels. It was appreciated by everyone and i was told more than once than it pisses people off when foreigners make no effort whatsoever to speak Spanish (there are 1000s of tourists like that).

I've now been here for a year and feel comfortable chatting away to almost anyone (i still make mistakes but am learning everyday). I don't break out into sweats anymore when i have to ask for directions or deal with the police for example! Another year and i think i'll confidently be able to call myself fluent.

As for Argentina, i'd agree again with milosalex. Argentinians are friendlier and more relaxed than Chileans (i'm currently living in Santiago with my Chilean girlfriend but will be back in Buenos Aires as soon as possible, mainly for my sanity as Santiago is a thoroughly unpleasant place to spend any amount of time). Also, Argentine Spanish is, in my opinion, nicer than Chilean (which is full of chileanisms, spoken quickly and fails to include half of the alphabet when spoken). In Argentina they speak with an Italian accent and intonation, which i really like.

Expenses in Buenos Aires are considerably higher than elsewhere in the country but still unbelievably cheap if you're living on foreign currency. Rent you'll probably pay 4-600 pesos a month and eating and drinking (if you go out to eat and drink a lot a lot) will set you back another, say, 5-600 pesos. You can live happily in BsAs (not including travel away from the city) for about US$400 and you'll be living a very European style of life-Buenos Aires is a long way from your stereotypical South American city (except for the 1000s of families living on the streets, don't just walk past them like they don't exist-they're a shock to Argentinians who regularly give them some money so as a foreigner taking advantage of their economic misery you should also give something back. Most travellers seem to develop a 'begging blindness' and refuse to give money to street kids feeling that giving away the equivalent of 50c a day will bankrupt them or make them a target or something, an attitude i don't really understand...)

Anyway, make an effort or don't bother coming and enjoy Buenos Aires when you get here, chau, Matt
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