T Nation

Learning Spanish


Apparently its required for a liberal arts degree at my college to take 3 semesters of a foreign language. Or, I could test and place out of it. Unfortunately, I am already registered for the first semester. But instead of taking 2 more semesters, what is the easiest way I could teach myself spanish?


Throw away any foreign language textbook you own, get a Spanish speaking girlfriend, get a job in a Mexican restaurant, watch only Spanish TV, listen to Spanish music, read spanish books, and finally keep a journal of sorts in which you only write in Spanish. Applicable for all languages.

Oh, and never use a dictionary ever. And only think in Spanish.



Do italian instead (cos there's some great instructional podcasts on the internet.)

If you're set on spanish then there are some good ones for that too. I only do french and italian so i can't point you in the direction of spanish one.



Mind posting the french and italian links? I listen to RAI online on a semi-regular basis.


Ok, I can't do the Spanish spekaing girlfriend thing or the job in the Mexican restaurant. Spanish TV I can do, spanish music maybe, spanish books? I donno, journal I can do. 4 out of 6, would that work? How the heck would I learn the words if I don't have a dictionary? The girlfriend?


Are they free or relatively inexpensive?


if you have the luxury, a summer immersion program would allow you to pass the test most likely as long as you dont spend the whole time banging american exchange students.

i did 2 semesters in buenos aires, one of the best experiences of my life.

if you showed up with a little knowledge and made it your mission to immerse yourself and not be a tourist, you could do a ton in 6 weeks or whatevre the summer programs are.

The progress isnt as magical as they sell it to you, its actually hell on earth intensity, 24-7, keeping up, but when you are done you realize that you actually progressed at light speed.

seriously, i spent the first month writing down the words i understood in class instead of notes. banging exchange students is the easiest and worst thing for you to do. banging locals is the hardest and the best thing for you.

i am getting way ahead of myself.


My best friend and two ex girlfriends are spanish speaking. I learned from them. Now I speak fluent spanish. Get a hot latina, enjoy it, learn spanish, and she can teach you how to dance salsa. Win/win situation.

Mi amigo mejor y dos novias seran hispano. Aprendi de ellos. Tu necesitas una latina caliente, diviertate, aprende espanol y ella puede ensenarte a bailar la salsa. Tu y ella seran ganadores.


I just became interested in learning Spanish too. Somehow I spent most of my life in an area of California where Hispanics are the majority without learning any Spanish at all. All the billboards around where I live now are in Spanish. A guy I work with who owns houses in Mexico told me that there's good money to be made in Cancun for bilingual Americans. He says wealthy Americans go there on vacation and look for tour guides who are fluent in English, or luxury hotels looking for customer service reps. I spent a week in Cancun last summer and fell in love with the place. I really wouldn't mind living there. Also, any customer service job around here will pay more to bilingual employees.

I think hot latina women are the greatest thing on Earth. However, I think the reason why hearing them speak Spanish is such a turn-on is because I don't know what they're saying. I don't think it'd be nearly as exotic if I could actually understand them.


Maybe I didn't mention this before but I already have a girlfriend! All great suggestions, keep them coming.


Totally free.


You can search on itunes and sift through the results.

Best way to learn is to get to grips with some basics anf then go and live in that country. 2nd best is to surround your self with native speakers. 3rd is to learn with someone else.

Whichever way will work, it just depends on your motivation.

Btw, has anyone mentioned getting a Spanish girlfriend? :wink:



You'll learn the meaning of the words from syntax, i.e. all of the other circumstancial things going on when you hear the word. Actually, developing an understanding for the syntax in which a language is used is a million times more important than trying to rote memorize what some random spanish word means in english.

Do you think any native speaker of any given language has to think of what the word means to them in English before they can understand it. NO! Neither should you.

Here's a link to some free internet tv webcasts. You can listen to different spanish dialects from a bunch of different countries if you want to.



I have a few friends whose second (or third) language is English. Most of them came here with only a grasp of the language. They learned a lot from watching TV, especially slang and the stuff they don't teach at school.

Try the reverse. Get a few of your favorite movies. Watch them, know the lines in English. Then put on the Spanish dubbing or subtitles, and follow along as best you can. While doing this, make a vocabulary list of the words or phrases you don't know.