What's the best method for me to learn to speak Spanish?

I am wanting to now learn Spanish,not to be cool and be bilingual but because of my job. I am one of the few white,English-speaking people who work at this particular fast food resteraunt where I am employed. Most of the others speak only Spanish and very little English, save for what’s on the menu. I know VERY little Spanis,so it’s very difficult to communicate with the other employees. I am limited to what little Spanish I do know,some gestures and English.
Please,Dopers,I’m begging for help here.


      • Move to Spain?

Have you thought of asking them to teach you?

I did this in Japan. I taught the couple who owned the restaurant in my hotel English and they taught me Japanese - enough to get by for 2 weeks and be a very polite gaijin.

There are also classes offered through junior colleges/universities/community centres and the such that teach conversational Spanish. These classes focus on conversation rather than the more nitty gritty parts of language.

If nowt else, perhaps I could give you a hand here and there.

Hace mucho tiempo y he olvidado mucho, pero recuerdo bastante para charlar… :slight_smile:
it has been quite some time and i’ve forgotten a lot but i remember enough to chat

I wish I had time for classes but with a full and hectic retail schedule I just don’t think I could fit them in. I’ve been thinking about going to the library to see if they have Spanish-language teaching CDs for my car or possibly buying some from the used book store.
I’m just afraid that if I do that, I won’t be able to understand my coworkers anyway because of the rapid-fire way they speak spanish.
Like your sentance wouldn’t be

It would be

Or maybe I just start watching TELEMUNDO.shrugs


The Spanish channels are good, expecially commercials. You can see the products and know sort of what they are trying to say and pick up vocab that way.

Language tapes are brilliant for people who don’t have the time to take classes. You just pop them in the car or your walkman and away you go.

Once you get the vocabulary and pronunciation down comes the speed. You will learn which words can be shoved together to make one huge sounding word as you did with my sentence above.

At 16 I created a language program called FLIC (Foreign Language Introduction Classes) to help 10-12 year olds get ahead by learning Spanish (much needed in our town). Their end of the year exam was to put on a play for the entire school in Spanish. They loved it.

If they can do it, so can you.

Mucha suerte (good luck)

Gracias, Senor Washte.


The way I learned fluent Spanish was through software. Particularly, Learn to Speak Spanish by The Learning Company. I had already taken two years of Spanish in High School, so I had the basics down, but after high school, I never really spoke it again.

The software kind of reintroduced everything for me, and after about a month of using it (combined with watching Spanish TV, and asking my Spanish speaking friends to speak to me in Spanish), I considered myself pretty fluent.

The fastest way to learn any language is total immersion. No other method is as fast.

De nada - sin problema amiga mia
you’re welcome, no problem my friend

Senora Washte

Even better: Be born in Spain.

Is marrying a Mexican (or someone else who speaks Spanish) out of the question for you? :slight_smile:

I’ve observed that such tactics don’t necessarily work. I’ve met a lot of expatriates who have lived abroad for years and never picked up the local language. (This is particularly common when one speaks such an international language as English.)

Dave Barry said (in Dave Barry Does Japan) that “the best way to learn Japanese is to be born in Japan, of Japanese parents, and to grow up there.” He couldn’t see any other way to learn the language.

Well, it won’t necessarily work on its own, but in conjunction with language lessons it’s probably a lot more effective than the language lessons alone would be, anyway.

Any time you’re familiar with a language, you speak it quickly. In addition, you use contractions and shortcuts that are not precisely formally correct, but everyone understands.

As an English speaker, I know what “What’s up?” means. And I know that if someone asks me, “Whassup?” or even “'Sup?” I know it’s a shortened form of “What’s up?”

“Como tu ta?” confused me at first hearing. I was waiting for the “Como tu estas?” of my high-school Spanish days. Same thing…

Immersion is the best way to learn.

Judging by your location Traditional Spanish lessons will help some but you’re in TexMex country. Como se dice en Espanol?. (How do you say this Spanish?) Is a good start. Get an Spanish-English Dictionary and LEARN THE VOWEL SOUNDS. Your first progress will have words popping out of the chatter. Then whole phrases. You’ll really be starting to get fluent when you discover THEY’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT YOU WHEN SPEAKING SPANISH. As one of my vatos explained. "We have more interesting things to discuss.

Keep in mind when learning Spanish that it’s another language with different constructs – it’s not a matter of substituting Spanish words for English words.

A friend’s wife told me recently that when she had gone to the Canary Islands, she’d ask how do you say “how much?” The answer she got was “como mucho,” which when spoken is a “literally” correct translation, but not something you want to say when you’re trying to buy puppies. :slight_smile: