Many people that move abroad are retired and don’t need to work.
This works out well when it comes to language learning because they have more time on their hands than people that need to work and take care of their children.
We are hearing from more and more families planning to move abroad. It can be a little more difficult to learn the language when you have lots of responsibilities.
Don’t fool yourself (like we did) thinking that you will have sooo much more time to learn the language once you relocate.
It’s true that you will need to work less because the cost of living is lower, but you will probably want to fill that extra time by doing things with your family. After all that’s probably part of the reason you are moving.
So start now, whether you’ve moved or not.
Language learning is a family activity, but the path of least resistance is pretty attractive, especially when you are adjusting to life in a new country. Your family will want time to give their brains a rest, so look for ways to learn that don’t seem so much like work.
We have had a bit of a struggle finding sufficient time to learn Spanish. It seems something always comes up which throws off our schedule. There is always something to do: clean the house, help Drew with her schooling, shop, cook, work, volunteer, family time…
How We Learn Despite Being Busy
We pick up a lot on the fly because most of our friends are Ecuadorian and only speak Spanish, so we are always learning through conversation. Our friends correct our mistakes and help us to understand what new words mean.
I also try to set aside a little time every day to study verb conjugation. This part of the language has seemed overwhelming to me and I’m constantly making mistakes, but I’m beginning to see improvement. I have recently started studying one type of verb at a time, for example regular “er” verbs. I write the verb out in the past - Preterito, present - Presente de indicativo and the future - futuro tenses. I also add the Perfecto de indicativo which is another past tense, because it’s easy and used a lot.
There are so many different verb tenses that trying to study and remember them all at once is too much for me. Choosing 4 tenses to work on has made it a little easier and once I master (here’s hoping) them I’ll work on some more.
This seems to be helping me grasp the conjugation better because I can see the pattern in what I’m learning. I pay special attention to the Yo (me/I) and Nosotros (us/our) conjugation because that makes up a large part of what I need to say when making conversation. The book 501 Spanish Verbs is what I’m using, it’s a really good book. I do wish there were more examples showing how to use the conjugated verbs in sentences, but I guess I would not be able to lug the book around if that was the case.
Here are some of the other books and courses we used to learn Spanish.
Mobile Tools For Easy Spanish
- Pimsleurs (via Audible) has really helped because I can listen to it on my iPod while I’m doing house work. I really like the way Pimsleurs teaches Spanish. It is presented in conversation style and the repetition is good. As the program goes along they bring up past words and phrases making them easier to retain.
- SpanishDict.com is an excellent free resource. They send out a free newsletter, so every day I learn a new Spanish word. They give the word, the definition and some examples of how it would be used in conversation. I usually write the word and examples down in a note book. This helps me remember them better and work on writing the language at the same time. The videos are exceptional – and free as well.
Learning Through Osmosis… Kind Of
It also helps to watch movies, listen to the radio and read in Spanish. It will help a lot if you can incorporate Spanish into the things you regularly do. Even if you just pick up a word here and there each time, you will be capturing the sounds of the words and the flow of the language. Kind of like absorbing the language through osmosis
If you can watch a sitcom or movie in English and then again in Spanish, it’s even better. The same goes for reading, if you can download books in both languages and flip back and forth (from English to Spanish) as you read through the paragraphs, you will grasp the language much faster.
Which Language Was That In?
Drew and I went to a movie a couple of weeks ago and when it was over we both said that during it we kind of forgot which language it was in. It was in Spanish but we didn’t notice because we understood it so well. That felt good! The same thing happens to us when we remember conversations that flowed especially well.
How about you? How do you find ways to learn the language?