This post is about learning to speak a language using Spanish as an example.
I’m convinced that I did quite well learning German (my mother tongue) while I was not even attending school. I then completely screwed up with English as a foreign language and ended up as a I-can-do-grammar-but-cannot-understand-you guy after more than 10 years of education (to be honest, most others did not better as well).
So I decided to look for a better method when learning another languages – this time I started with Spanish. Eventually I decided to try the Pimsleur Method as my alternative way of learning – in combination of total immersion (see these 10 points to successful language learning). Mainly I liked the approach being a lot closer to how I learned my mother tongue – speaking and understanding comes first, grammar second. Eventually I found a great opportunity to combine my understanding of learning languages and a language school and took some time off to attend an intensive course at Habla Ya in Boquete, Panama.
Below are listed a few resources – some based on the Pimsleur Method, others are some great podcasts to improve understanding of Spanish in daily life.
Pimsleur foreign language program
Best for absolute beginners. The Pimsleur Method from the guy who invented it. Expect to learn a few new words every lesson. These words and phrases are nicely brought up again a few lessons later for reminder (http://www.pimsleur.com/Learn-Spanish).
Learning Spanish Like Crazy
Similar to the Pimsleur method, but a lot more natural speaking. Also it’s not so topic-oriented, but more grammar-oriented. I’d go for that as a nice addition for the Pimsleur, but it also works for total beginners when starting at the first level – definitely a good joice as well (http://www.learningspanishlikecrazy.com/).
Notes in Spanish
The guys from Notes in Spanish have some nice free audio podcasts. Lessons of around 10mins each. Available for beginners, intermediates and advanced speakers (http://www.notesinspanish.com/).
Podclub (from Migros Klubschule)
Nice bi-weekly podcasts from Migros Klubschule. Registration is required, but it’s then free to download all podcasts from Spanish and other languages (http://www.podclub.ch/).