As stated in a previous post, I just finished reading How to Learn Any Language Quickly, Easily, Inexpensively, Enjoyably and On Your Own by Barry Farber.
I guess I am smart since a number of the suggestions he makes for learning any language are ones that I’d already worked out for myself.
- Take full advantage of opportunities – If you meet someone at a party, or a cab driver, or wherever you run into someone in your target language – take advantage of the opportunity. Ask them any questions you may have or ask them for a few phrases.
- Read something real in your target language. A newspaper or magazine….textbooks have made up dialog that isn’t like the real world. One edition of a local paper can last you quite a while as you go through it with your highlighter paragraph by paragraph. Highlight words you don’t know, transfer them to flash cards, look up the definitions and write those on the reverse.
Study flash cards in spare minutes.
- Listen to audio books on your commute, or walks, or wherever you can. Always respond where you’re supposed to. Look at your flash cards in spare seconds anywhere.
Do make-believe conversations about things you will expect to need to discuss.
- Use mnemonics to help you remember words. (That is using a vivid visual associate to help you remember words)
- Use mnemonics also to help remember gender of words. EL CABALLO is horse. So, think about a macho horse, or a bunch of horses with men riding them or something.
- Talk – that is to anyone you can. Cab drivers, store clerks, etc. might not mind too much. Friends? Anyone? When we lived in Seattle there was a guy who would walk around Green Lake with you (for pay) and talk Spanish. He wore a sign on his back!
- Write – Again, make a friend who will be happy to read a couple of sentence or correspond with you to help you with your Spanish. Also, write out all words you don’t know on flash cards, and look them up!
- Just do it!