A good program to refresh Spanish [second language]?

When I was in high school, I was more or less fluent in Spanish thanks to an obsession with Ricky Martin (ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE ME!!!), 2 years of Spanish class, and lots of practice. Over the years, I’m slowly forgotten quite a bit of Spanish-- I can understand absolutely fine nine times out of ten, but when it comes time for me to respond, I 100% forget how to conjugate anything beyond the most basic verbs.

I’ve tried Rosetta Stone. I don’t know if it’s the version I had or what, but that was completely not helpful. While I have no doubt that my vocabulary could use a bit of a boost, my real issue is grammar and verb conjugation, which RS really didn’t help at all with. To give an example of what I disliked about RS, it seemed that a good chunk of it was something like: they’d show you four pictures (a cat, a window, a doctor, and a bus), then ask you to click on the ventanilla. When it did come to sentences and dialog, there was no explanation of WHY something was written a certain way (grammatically), just that it was written that way. And this was in the second level Spanish program!

So, can anyone suggest a good program for me to look into? Or maybe has RS gotten better? I realize a Spanish text book and some flash cards may be my best bet, but I do travel a lot and it’d be nice to have a program I could play on during my downtime when out of town. I’ll pay some money if the program is worth it, but I’m always down to save a little money.

I’d skip the RS. It’s kind of fun but kind of worthless IMO unless you need to say that Maria is under the plane and Juan is on top of the picnic table.

Other basic language studies like Pimsleur, while excellent, are geared more for tourist.

I’d recommend a standard text book I’ve used the Barron’s Spanish Now! for my refreshers and liked it. Another option would be to see if there are any community ed classes in your neighborhood offering intermediate/advance Spanish.

Several years ago I started watching telenovelas in order to improve my spanish, and it helped quite a bit. The reasons I decided on telenovelas were because they had closed captioning, were easy to follow, and had nice-looking ladies. Shows, like news, that are broadcast live are not as good because if they have captioning, it’s done in real-time, so there’s a lag and many more typos.

When I first started, I would do a lot of jumping back to rehear/reread things, and I’d pause to look up words. It could take more than an hour to watch an hour-long show. It was fun, but it was also a bit of work. I learned a good bit, and got where I could watch the show in real time, but since it was all listening and no speaking, it was lacking in that area.

Get Cassel’s dictionary and read spanish langauge books, magazines, and newspapers. And don’t get too hung up on grammar, even native speakers screw it up, I’ve had Mexican friends start to consciously copy my textbook grammar instead of speaking naturally, if you want screwed up grammar check out the billboards here in Texas…

Excellent reasons, but you forgot the most important thing for learning ANY language, by any method: intrinsic interest. You really won’t learn a language until that becomes a component of your involvement with it.

Unfortunately, most telenovelas are insipid, dull and formulaic. To address that problem, I’d suggest trying to get Yo soy Betty, la fea (on DVD), probably the most popular television show ever, because of it’s worldwide audience. (*Ugly Betty *was just one of many remakes.) It started off as an “anti-novela,” but eventually succumbed to the demands of its audience, and had a more or less typical ending. (At one time, even the president of country was trying to influence the plot development.) Still, over all, it’s pretty good satire of the whole telenovela genre.

Since I’m also in the OP’s position, I’m bumping the thread to see if any other suggestions emerge.

I just recently found Duolingo.com. It’s online software run out of Carnegie-Mellon Univ. It’s free and there is no garbage/popups/etc.

I was looking for something to refresh my 3 semesters of college Spanish from way back when. I find this site very intelligently put together.

I would suggest a Spanish speaking SO. :smiley: That helped me dust off my high school Spanish and become reasonably fluent in a timely manner.

Otherwise I have found the programs like Rosetta Stone to be only marginally useful. They can be helpful for helping you to remember how to conjugate verbs in the various tenses but are generally too limited in vocabulary overall.

It is better to expose yourself to media to rebuild your Spanish skills. To become fluent you need to work on four skills: reading, writing, speaking, and oral comprehension of the second language.

Start with reading. Try an online Spanish language newspaper coupled with a dictionary program such as Babylon to look up unfamiliar words.

Writing may be easy if you have the reading down pretty well. There are always plenty of people looking to hone their English skills and you could exchange emails or texts in each other’s language. Find someone looking to learn your language on a site like iTalki.

You could try voice chatting on iTalki, but I find it easier to hone oral your Spanish speaking skills in face-to-face encounters. There is no good substitute for regular interaction with Spanish speakers for this.

For oral comprehension you can choose from a wide array of Spanish language tv or radio. Search for streaming stations over the internet and you can probably find a source with the same dialect you want to learn.

You could try the online program Duolingo, to help you practice and refresh what you know. I’m starting to use it now to help me with my French classes. I use it to reinforce what we discuss in class, and so far I like it.

Also, there is nothing wrong with enjoying Ricky Martin (in Spanish). Nothing at all. Nor in being appreciative of his looks.