Posts Tagged ‘fluency’

Studying Spanish in Argentina? 7 Don’ts of Learning Spanish

Friday, July 7, 2017 7:40

Categories - Spanish, Uncategorized - 0 Comments

Before you study Spanish in Argentina, you may be practicing at home gearing up for your trip abroad in a Spanish speaking country.

You’ve been trying to learn Spanish. You memorize a few new phrases and then give up. You wonder, “why isn’t is sticking?”

Sound familiar? Most students tackling a Spanish feel this way at some point.

Without the guidance of professional teachers, studying Spanish can have lots of starts and stops. Here are 7 things not to do while learning the lingo in a foreign tongue.

IMG 6640 300x169 Studying Spanish in Argentina? 7 Don’ts of Learning Spanish

What Not To Do While Studying Spanish

1. Don’t skip out on setting goals

Setting goals isn’t just for the gym. Goal-setting is a great tool when it comes to studying Spanish. Do you want to become conversational with other Spanish speakers? Do you want to pass the DELE exam? Want to become fluent in the language? Fluency means different things to different people, so it’s important to narrow down the reason why you are studying Spanish so as to not get overwhelmed. Once you have narrowed down your goals, you’ll be extra focused when hitting the books.

DO: Write down macro and micro goals for your language learning and celebrate every time you reach one of them. An example of micro goals before arriving in Argentina for Spanish classes could be: (1) Memorize the alphabet, (2) Practice the Argentine slang and lunfardo—che! Dónde está el bondi?, (3) Know how to introduce myself in Spanish.

2. Don’t ignore phonetics

Want to sound like a native? You have to think about things like word stress, sentence intonation, rhythm, and more. Plus, each dialect has its own accent. But getting the hang of phonetics is especially important if you plan on traveling to a country to learn the native language of the people there. Speaking with the right accent can make you a more confident speaker and it makes it easier for a local to understand you.

DO: Identify the phonetic rules in your target language that give you the most trouble. For example, native English speakers learning Spanish typically have the most trouble with the letter “r.”  You can find the pronunciation of any word on Forvo. For studying Spanish in Argentina, try watching Argentine films such as The Motorcycle Diaries, Los Secretos de Sus Ojos, and Relatos Salvajes.

3. Don’t focus on irrelevant vocabulary

Many at-home programs toss around a mixture of vocabulary, verbs, and phrases that may have nothing to do with your life or your plans abroad. So be sure to focus on words that are specific to you. Not only will you quickly reach a conversational level that is relevant to your life but the vocab will also become easier to remember.

DO: Start studying a language by writing about yourself (hobbies, travel plans, family, etc) and build your language knowledge from there, choosing complementary words.

4. Don’t miss out on language immersion

Growth is inevitable when you fully immerse yourself in a new country, a new culture and Spanish. The deep mental involvement challenges the brain in unique ways while building confidence in the language and lending various learning opportunities and practice with native speakers.

DO: Check out Expanish Spanish School’s Spanish courses in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the complete immersion package. With classes available for all levels taught by native Spanish speakers and free activities every week for students, it’s a fun way to surround yourself with Spanish and quickly reach your language goals.

 

While You Study Spanish in Argentina…

5. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

You may have the written accuracy of a language prodigy but speaking in real-time with natives is where growth happens. So get ready for some mistakes. If you have ever confused the Spanish word for “embarrassed” and said estoy embarazada (meaning “I’m pregnant”) instead of the correct phrase tengo verguenza, the conversational mishap would leave you….well, embarrassed. I bet you anything you’ll never forget the correct phrase again. And you know what? That’s great! Most Spanish speakers will laugh it off and help you learn to maneuver correctly in their language.

DO: Approach each conversation as a learning opportunity and not as a test.

6. Don’t speak English

Did you fly to another country to speak in your native language? Or did you come to learn? I think you came to learn. Don’t fall into the English trap while conversing with friends or asking for directions in tourist areas. And when you have some downtime after a long day of sightseeing? Don’t succumb to your favorite homeland TV show. Take that opportunity to dive headfirst into the culture. For example, if you are living with a homestay family, have a look at primetime television shows in Argentina. Or read the local newspaper. Or listen to the national radio. You get the idea.

DO: Tell any locals you meet that you are practicing your Spanish skills. Not only should they be more inclined to have back-and-forth with you, it may dwindle their urge for them to practice English with you. This is your time to shine. Indulge yourself.

7. Don’t lose faith

Don’t get down on yourself when you haven’t gone from complete beginner to fluent in a few months. Studying Spanish takes calculated steps, dedication and lots of help from trusted teachers, classmates and Spanish-learning friends. Embracing every milestone, every newfound word, every successful lesson makes keeping the faith a little bit easier.

DO: Return to step 1 of this list if you need to re-adjust your goals.

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The DELE Exam

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 8:24

Categories - Spanish - 1 Comment

The DELE Exam

Many people who have taken or are taking Spanish have heard of the DELE exam, but they don’t know what it is, whether they should take it, and why it matters.

Well, first off, what is the DELE?

The DELE is the official, internationally recognized degree of fluency in Spanish. This test is made and issued by the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sport of Spain. There are three levels of this test depending on your Spanish ability; the basic level (usage of common daily phrases and basic descriptions), the intermediate level (rudimentary level of communication in everyday situations), and the superior level (advanced knowledge and communication in hard topics with a basic understanding of culture). This test is administered at various dates throughout the year and can be administered anywhere that is accredited by the Cervantes Institute.

Why take the DELE?

Great, another standardized test, right? Well, there are actually many reasons to take the DELE exam. As mentioned above, it is an internationally recognized degree. This means that across the world, companies and people will recognize that you have some level of fluency in Spanish, which can be important in future jobs. By passing this test, you have an internationally recognized certificate for your resume that can help you enter into the Spanish speaking job market or even get into universities that require a high level of the Spanish language. Finally, this test is just a one time thing. Since it never needs to be renewed, you only have to worry about it once. That means after the stress of taking it is over, you have an internationally recognized degree of fluency for life!

How does Expanish help prepare for the DELE?

As you may or may not know, Expanish has a DELE preparation course. This course focuses on helping students pass the DELE, with courses specifically designed for each level. If students plan on taking the Beginner Level DELE exam, then they will need about 8 weeks of classes before starting the A1 level course. These classes aim to help develop the four basic skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking, which are all present on the DELE exam. Expanish uses a wide variety of materials since this test aims at testing students in all forms of Spanish, from Spain to any other Spanish speaking country. This course specifically coaches students for the exam, focusing on each area of evaluation. At the end of this course, students will be given a practice exam. With the practice exam, they will be able to test their knowledge and get a feel for the real exam.

How long is this course?

Again, if you’re taking the Beginner level, it is recommended that you take 3 weeks of Spanish classes beforehand. Once the DELE preparation is started, it is 10 hours per week of individual classes. While you can take it for only one week, it is recommended to take 3 weeks worth of classes. Remember to look up when the exam for your level is being administered and plan your courses accordingly!

If you’re taking Spanish, or thinking of working or studying in the Spanish speaking world, then the DELE exam is extremely important. Because this is an internationally recognized certificate, it is a very important degree to add to your resume. Not to mention, it is valid for life! So if you’re thinking about taking this exam, make sure you get the preparation necessary to the best you possibly can!

 

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