Learning a new language


1st Team
May 27, 2022
I'm 48 years old and needless to say, I don't learn/retain as well as I did in my 20's. I've been wanting to learn Spanish since I got married last year because my wife's first language is Spanish. When we get around family, it's nearly impossible for me to keep up because they are constantly switching back and forth between English and Spanish and I get lost immediately. Rosetta Stone is awful, so I was wondering if any of y'all have any recommendations for what you consider to be the best language learning software that's easy for old fuddies like me.

4Q Basket Case

FB|BB Moderator
Nov 8, 2004
i've not tried to learn any languages, but i've heard a few folks talk highly about this program

Mrs. Basket Case and I use Michel Thomas for French, and it's good. You just have to understand the limitations.

His programs go for basic conversational competence. You won't get the masculine / feminine distinctions that a lot of non-English languages have, and he glides over some of the finer points of grammar and spelling. But you will learn the fundamentals.

If you want to be able to "get the ball over the net," (his phrase, not mine), they're great. That's what we've been aiming for, and his products deliver. However, if you want true grammatical expertise, they're still a good starting point, but won't get you all the way there.

We have found that, in France at least, the locals genuinely appreciate an attempt at their language, clumsy though it may be. Sure, there are some jerks who look down their noses, but not many. Most just say, "We can speak English."

We've found the stereotype of condescending French people to be way overblown, even in Paris. We did, however, find that they REALLY don't like two things that Americans are bad to do.

First, they don't like loud. And by their standards, Americans tend to be loud. It's true in general, and especially so when they (the Americans) are in a group and have been drinking.

They also don't like it when someone comes up to them and just starts yammering away in English, obviously expecting the native to accommodate the visitor in the visitor's language. Imagine if someone came up to you spouting mile-a-minute Spanish, then got visibly frustrated when you didn't respond the way a Spaniard would.

Knowing a few words and phrases, and recognizing that you're the visitor in their world, will go a long, long way toward smooth relations with the locals. They genuinely appreciate the effort, even when (and maybe even because) it's not perfect.

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