Spanish is one of ten languages that make
up an Indo-European Superfamily of languages which include
English, French, Portuguese, Russian, German, Italian
and Romanian. So in effect, Spanish is distantly related
to English. You'd think it would be easier to learn, right?
Well, most unilingual people over the age of 30 have a
tough time learning any language. Probably because the
capacity to learn tends to atrophy as our world view solidifies.
El Libro Vaquero
There are various ways to approach the learning
of Spanish. Full immersion, that is, locating yourself
in a neighborhood where only Spanish is spoken, is not
for the faint of heart. But it is the quickest way to
learn the language. You literally have to swim or sink
with this method.
Computer programs can help with pronunciation,
but because of the kind of Spanish spoken in the Baja,
they might do more harm than good when it comes to actually
speaking. Local people tend to talk a more streamlined
version of their language, disregarding most of the 14
verb tenses. It might be a torturous experience for them
to stand there while you try to conjugate the Present
Subjunctive of the verb retire.
One good way to learn Spanish is to buy
'revistas', or Mexican comic books, and read them
with a good dictionary on hand. There are many of these
books on the market, some racey and others quite pedestrian.
You'll become acquainted with the local colloquialisms
from them. El Libro Vaquero is a good one. The
plus side of this method is that you soon improve your
Spanish reading skills. The negative side is you don't
get to hear the language if you are just reading and in
a conversation, you may be able to formulate sentences
based on what you've read, but a vocal reply from your
partner will likely leave your face blank.
Mexican comic books have a burgeoning pantheon
of superheroes, click
here for a look. And if you'd like to learn a little
about the history of Mexican Comic Books, click
Language School is always an option.
In San Felipe, Spanish classes are often
made available. Look for the posters.
is the world's largest online language learning community.
6 million Livemocha members appreciate this simple, effective
approach to language learning. The most natural way to
learn a language is with help from real native speakers.
Another site that looks promising for learning
Other ways involve palm-held Spanish phrase
and dictionary computers, off-the-shelf Baja phrase books,
renting local videos and comparing the subtitles with
the audio, going to the movies in Mexicali, hiring Mexican
domestics, watching the Tele-Novelas (Soap Operas)
on TV, and the most extreme resource of all --getting
arrested and thrown into a Mexican penitentiary. I don't
recommend the last method.
Whatever approach you take, you'll find
Spanish to be a very sonorous, melodic language. After
all, it IS one of the Romance Languages. And of
course things will seem easier once you can communicate
in your adopted country's native tongue.