By Kristy Ojala
My brother once told me a great joke: "What do you call someone who knows three languages?"
"What do you call someone who knows two languages?"
Me: "Duh, bilingual. Where is this going?"
"What do you call someone who knows one language?"
Me: "Uhhh, unilingual?"
Ba dum bum.
In all jokes lie some grain of truth, and this one may be painful to hear. But there's no better time to make good on that New Year's resolution or long-standing-since-college vow to really, truly learn a new language. You'll appreciate it when you travel (and feel less helpless/stressed out) or meet someone and get to practice your new-found language skills.
For me, that desired fluency is Spanish. It's fast, furious, passionate. It's easy to pronounce and it doesn't require you to learn another alphabet. It's the No. 2 language in the United States and rapidly rising: Currently more than 35.5 million people over the age of 5 claim Spanish as their primary language.
I recently used the Pimsleur Spanish I audio lesson to prepare for a holiday trip to Spain. With Pimsleur you will learn your second language (or third, or fourth, if you're truly amazing) in the same way you learned your first language as a child, acquiring the vocabulary of the new language, along with the melody, rhythm, and intonation of Spanish as used in everyday conversation.
I made good on my language resolution two years ago: I've taken a weekly Spanish class since then, but with work, life, and general bad habits, I don't practice it as much as I should-meaning I freak out and cram right before my tests and my vacations. There is nothing like regular immersion and conversation to constantly improve your vocabulary and comprehension. With Pimsleur, you can download the files to your laptop, phone or iPod. I listened to the 30-minute lessons while I packed, during my commute, and on the plane.
You will learn how to write an email, ask for directions, and even common everyday expressions in Spanish. Most helpful to me was a section entitled "En La Farmacia" (At the Drugstore). I ended up getting a nasty head cold over the holidays and wanted to stop it dead in its tracks-only I didn't see any of the commercial American medications I typically use. From a homeopathic pharmacy to an everyday one, I was able to get something for my aches and dry nose, and saved New Year's in the process.
When you use the Pimsleur program to learn a new language you will receive:
-Grammar and vocabulary taught together in everyday conversation
-Interactive audio-only instruction that teaches spoken language organically
-The flexibility to learn anytime, anywhere
-30-minute lessons designed to optimize the amount of language you can learn in one sitting
You start by sounding out Spanish, learning to associate the new sound system to the English alphabet. Gradually you learn to look at the words and see them with "Spanish eyes." And, most important of all, you'll learn to read Spanish without an English accent. This is key; if you aren't using anything but an American accent, no one will understand you. Spanish is all about the accents on certain syllables, and why a "v" sounds like a "b."
Is Spanish for you? Say sí and download a free lesson now!
Related Links:Get Pimsleur Spanish
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