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Old 19-06-2009, 17:04   #16
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Try this course ...

Well, I speak passable Spanish, and ONLY passable, after taking courses every time I go to a Spanish-speaking country. (That's a lot of times.) I have to start almost at the beginning each time.

But I clicked on the ad at the top of this thread that says:

Start Speaking Spanish
Surprise Yourself W/ the Amount Of Spanish You Can Speak W/ 138 Words

And I was so impressed by what I saw there that I'm going to buy the digital version of that course (only $67).

It makes a lot of sense to me because it does NOT focus on grammar and every other course I've ever tried or seen does, and it just drives you crazy. That's not how native speakers learn a language. (Did you learn to speak YOUR language by focusing on grammar? Of course not.)

I have no connection to that course other than what I just said.

regards,
Mike
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Old 19-06-2009, 17:30   #17
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Dallas,

I'm a linguist and languages is a bit of a hobby for me, but really I must agree that Spanish would be very useful. Dutch would also be a plus (but you only need a little bit) and as mentioned before Portuguese.

Languages are definitely useful, but more than anything the cultural overture is appreciated and just being able to read signs and such makes exploring other cultures so much more interesting.

We used to have a joke between my colleagues in Europe: How can you spot the difference between an American and British tourist? The American is the one attempting to badly stumble over the local language and probably failing miserably. The Brit is the one yelling things at the waitress in English and cursing her for not having the decency to understand a proper language.

(obviously the above does not apply to all expats)
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Old 19-06-2009, 19:36   #18
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Originally Posted by holomoku View Post
What about the original questionb about how to learn?

Get a night job in a restaurant kitchen or a janitorial crew or something.

I learned more Spanish on jobsites than I ever retained from a book or software.

It is easier to learn with someone else if you dont get a night job, the biggest part of learning a second language is practicing it.
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Old 19-06-2009, 19:57   #19
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If you're learning Spanish, pick up a copy of 501 Spanish Verbs.

Memorize the conjugations of ser, estar, tener, and hacer. That will get you further than almost any coursebook.

Other than that, label everything around you: the window, door, doorknob, outboard, remote control, keyboard, etc. Seriously, that's the absolute best way to learn vocabulary in any language.
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Old 20-06-2009, 09:25   #20
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I am American but grew up in Latin America and have travelled a lot in Brazil. There is no question that learning some Spanish would be extremely helpful. It is also the case that the vocabulary you need for a boat wont be in any language course and most teachers wont know the words any more than US landlubbers know the words.

As for learning, any basic course will familiarize you with the sounds and basic vocab. Then there is really no substitute for some sort of immersion course - You can improve your knowledge with classroom or rosetta stone but you wont really achieve any fluency without some sort of immersion - That means going to a place where they speak the language WITHOUT ANYBODY WITH YOU WHO SPEAKS ENGLISH. Otherwise you arent immersing yourself. If that doesnt appeal then just take the courses you can and learn all you can. The people where you go will really appreciate it if you at least try to speak their language.

And as for Italian, learn that if your cruising plans include Italy. Otherwise it really wont get you very far in Argentina where they speak Spanish or in Brazil where they speak Portuguese. As for Brazil they live surrounded by neighbors who speak Spanish. The languages are close enough that they will understand much of what you say - but be warned YOU wont understand THEM. That is because all of the sounds that Spanish has also exist in Portuguese but not the other way around.
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Old 20-06-2009, 09:40   #21
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Spanish for Cruisers ~ by Kathy Parsons
Complete info on SPANISH FOR CRUISERS Second Edition - Features, Reviews, Sample Pages, Sales Info

Her website also offers some freebies to help you understand and communicate in Spanish (cheat sheets):
Download your SPANISH FOR CRUISERS Cheat Sheets

See alsoFRENCH FOR CRUISERS HOME PAGE - Book Features, Reviews, Sample Pages, Sales Info - (ISBN 0-9675905-1-5)
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Old 20-06-2009, 11:33   #22
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Another thought here. After a couple of cervesas my poor Spanish does improve.........i2f
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Old 20-06-2009, 15:02   #23
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Another thought here. After a couple of cervesas my poor Spanish does improve.........i2f
Try two or three glasses of "Caipirina", you may be able to speak fluently Portuguese (do Brazil)

(For a good recipe of Caipirinha, please PM me )

Joćo
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Old 20-06-2009, 16:47   #24
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LOL it's a well documented phenomenon in the field of 2nd language education that errors tend to decrease as alcohol increases

There actually is a scientific reason. When we speak we use a feedback mechanism where our brain is actually listening to every sound we make to double check itself. When you are speaking a non-native language this mechanism tends to get in the way. Add a little alcohol to dim the senses and the words flow much more freely.

Now if there were just some cure for that point at which the speech mechanism falls prey to the wonders of imbibing we'd be all set!
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Old 20-06-2009, 23:23   #25
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I spent a year working in Mexico, after I had been there for three months, I went to an immersion school in Venezuela, and after that returned to Mexico to continue my work, it was very helpful and after a total of six months I was quite conversant, and able to understand and be understood, by the local folks, when I was back aboard my vessel, my crew were all mexicans, so I had to speak spanish to communicate effectively, it works wonders, I would second the recommendation, of the immersion school in Oaxaca, Mexico, you learn to think in spanish instead of translating in your head and then speaking, a book that helped me before, I had any classes was "Madrigal's magic key to spanish" . I also found that since Italian, Portuguese are latin based, I could understand most Italian and I could communicate with a Portuguese engineer that I worked with at another time. And you can read and understand a lot of the different French words. Spanish is a good foundation starter second language, from there at least two more languages will be easily assimilated. I have heard that the Rosetta program is very good, they are however quite expensive, and think of the fun you'll miss by not going to an immersion class. You can have spanish only days on your boat!
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Old 21-06-2009, 07:35   #26
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my local library has rosetta stone cd's available - you might check yours to see if they have them
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Old 21-06-2009, 11:59   #27
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Howdy,
I speak fluent Spanish and passable French and Italian, also a bit of Portuguese. I've seen Rosetta Stone and, from what I've seen, it looks pretty crappy.
The best materials can often be the most boring, and it's the motivation to learn that will carry you through to your goal. If you're good at languages, you can get the basic give and take of simple conversation down in a few months. To master any language will take two or three years of intensive study.
If you're going to Latin America, Spanish is the language you'll need. Like sck5 said, Portuguese speakers will understand Spanish, but you won't understand them.
My advice is to get a good bilingual pocket dictionary such as Oxford or Harraps (not all versions of Harraps are good, however) and read some pages every day. Get a book like The Gimmick by Adrienne (very good street vocabulary here, although much might be more appropriate to Spanish spoken in Spain- it's still a good book for Latin America though), leave the radio on at night to news and talk radio in Spanish (shortwave radio or internet radio, if you have nothing in Spanish on local radio), and watch movies in English and Spanish with Spanish subtitles. Teacher Professional Development and Teacher Resources by Annenberg Media also has a video instructional program called "Destinos", which is very good, but try to find a workbook for the transcripts (there might be an online transcript for the series, but I don't know for sure).
The reason why I say to leave the radio on at night is that you actually will pick up vocabulary this way and get a feel for the cadence of the language even while you sleep.
Just remember though, that no matter how good your Spanish gets, you'll run into a situation where the accent and common vocabulary is so different that you won't know what is going on. My wife is from Spain and sometimes when we're watching a movie (last one we saw was from Uruguay), I ask her if she understood what they said, and she's as dumbfounded as I am.
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Old 21-06-2009, 14:54   #28
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As others have said, learning a language is not necessary, and you can muddle through with english... But then, it's not necessary to go cruising to travel, you can muddle through - and with a lot less effort - with planes and tour busses. Of course, your experiences will be so much more rewarding it you do put forth the effort. Spanish will definitely be the most useful to learn, and in my opinion, easier than anything else. If you know some spanish (and english) you will be able to read stuff if French, Italian, and Portugese - not easily or fluently, but enough to get the gist of what you are reading. Being able to understand those languages in their spoken form, well that will take a bit more work.
I also heartily second the recommendations to take an immersion course, preferably with a "home stay". The school arranges with local families nearby to provide accomodations for their students. I have done several of these and have always come away happy with what I have learned - and above all, they were a lot of fun! It would be helpful to learn some basics first though, check out CD's or tapes at the library, or maybe a beginning night course at a community college. I takes a while for your brain to get past the "Me llamo Paco. El libro esta sobre la mesa." stage, but then things will begin to click and progress will be much better in an immersion setting, and less overwhelming.
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Old 22-06-2009, 10:33   #29
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thanks to everyone for the responses. seems like many have said that it isn't a MUST but It'll be helpful. That being the case I'm going to get rosetta stone & start learning!!!
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Old 22-06-2009, 13:18   #30
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If you need nautical terms in spanish, I'll be more than happy to help.
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