Learn basic Spanish

So many people tell me that they want to learn Spanish but that they don’t have time, or they’re too old, or there’s just too much to learn… everyone has an excuse. The trick is to start small – begin with the basics and then go from there. Here are some lessons (with sound files) to get you started.
Spanish alphabet
Spanish greetings
Spanish numbers

If you’re ready to get more serious, then my checklist of lessons is for you: Learn Spanish

Read all the French magazines you can handle

Last week I subscribed to the Éco-forfait WWF illimité, a new option from French publisher Relay that allows you to download as many of their 400 French magazines as you can read, plus donates a euro a month of your 18-euro subscription to the World Wildlife Fund. I downloaded over 20 magazines on news, culture, food, wine… it’s fantastic. For info, see the bottom-left corner of the Relay site.

Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis

This movie has broken all French box office records, and with good reason – it’s hilarious, fun, and heart-warming. If you get a chance to see it, don’t miss. I can’t imagine having to watch it with subtitles though, as an important part of the story and dialogue has to do with the French dialect spoken in the north of France.

I read that Will Smith (among others) wants to do a remake. The French article said it would be Bienvenue chez les Blacks, so I’m guessing the English title would be something like Welcome to Harlem. Of course, these are very early days, but it sounds great – I can’t wait to see it!

Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert

This book was published in 2006, but I only just got around to reading it, and the only reason I bought it in the first place was that I noticed it on a friend’s bookshelf and liked the cover. I’m amazed that I never heard anyone talking about it, and no one ever recommended it to me, because it’s fantastic. It’s the true story of a woman who spends a year finding herself by eating (and learning Italian) in Italy, praying in India, and loving in Indonesia. It’s funny, it’s touching, it’s inspiring – it’s just a fantastic book. Don’t miss out like I almost did – read Eat, Pray, Love.

My Spanish Learning

From one of my faithful blog readers: I would like you to share with us how you started learning Spanish (I have read your Spanish vs French page), how much time it took you to master the language, why you chose Spanish and not Italian, etc.

I’d been studying French in high school for two years and loved it, so I decided it would be fun to learn another language. The only languages offered at my school were French and Spanish, so that made that decision easy. As for how long it took me to master it, quite frankly I haven’t. I studied Spanish for two years in high school and maybe 2 in college, and I did some Spanish translation/interpretation classes at MIIS. My level is about intermediate – I know a lot of grammar, and can often correct my husband* but when I speak my tongue gets very tied and usually wants French to come out instead. I can understand a lot more than I can say.

*He speaks Spanish fluently thanks to having worked and lived with Mexicans for more than 10 years, but he never really studied it, so does not ever know why he says anything a particular way.

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