It’s been commonly said that learning Spanish is one of the most difficult tasks a student encounter when learning a new second language. Besides, it is the third most spoken language in the world so it makes the issue a total challenge specially to anglo-speakers.
Hard lists of verbal exceptions, heterogeneous endings for each tense and conjugation, multiple structures for conveying the same idea with slight connotations only perceived by natives… In the end, a thick concrete wall almost impossible to overcome.
Well, I have some advice for you.
I teach both English and Spanish so I am really aware of the problems that students of both languages may find during their training. I said training because this is how you have to see it. By training what you are learning you will succeed and get visible results bit by bit and sooner than you think. You need to keep track of the new concepts acquired out of the classroom environment.
That interlingua limbo in which a student of a second language is immerse is the best lab to test your skills and to settle your knowledge acquired. Hence again, as I have said formerly in other posts, culture input is keystone for your success.
Here goes an example:
If we translate only using a dictionary the following sentence:
TO GO ON A DIET
This is what we get:
*Ir en una dieta
Which should be: PONERSE A DIETA
If we do so the other way round, we get:
*To put on a diet.
None of these translations are accurate and may cause laugh in both native speakers of both languages.
Reflecting on these matters is crucial for you to learn appropriately the target language. Reading and commenting on these issues with your teacher can become much more effective than drilling on grammar and structures out of context.
Context is culture and culture is where a language relies on. Simple as this. Read our literature, eat our food, watch our tv programs, hang out with native speakers if you can and do not hesitate to ask when you think you didn’t get a joke. Be polite and open your mind to new scopes because that will feed your learning more than an intensive grammar course.
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