learning spanish together?
June 15, 2012 6:46 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have experience using a Spanish-language audio course as a couple?

My husband and I are interested in building on our (very basic, mostly high school) Spanish. In a perfect world, we'd have time/money to travel and do this through immersion, but in the short term we were thinking about podcasts and/or an audio language program. Are any better/worse to do jointly? Would that even work? We both work insane hours, but could potentially make a half hour to an hour of time most days to work at this project. The program recommended thus far is Rosetta Stone.
posted by BundleOfHers to Education (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I liked the Pimsleur audio lessons (I did French, Italian and Spanish), though I did not do them at the same time as my ex-husband. He was not as adept at picking up languages and went through them much slower than I did. Something to consider if you have different learning styles/speeds.
posted by thrasher at 7:00 PM on June 15, 2012

Try Coffee Break Spanish, it ran as a podcast and now consists of 80 (wow!) lessons, broken up in 5-15 minute chunks. It's very conversational and cumulative in nature, you could each listen to a podcast a day, act it out in the evening, and the move on to the next one.

And as a Canadian, it was really fun learning how to speak Spanish from a Scotsman.
posted by furtive at 8:39 PM on June 15, 2012

You could consider LiveMocha's Spanish course. The same organisation could also team you both up with a private tutor online - or with people who will speak Spanish with you in return for you speaking Spanish with them.

I suspect that learning a language as a couple is not for everybody however: for it to work you both need to be available to study at the same time - you both need to be at about the same level, you both need to be willing to make the same amount of effort and you need to be able to learn harmoniously with each other.
posted by rongorongo at 2:28 AM on June 16, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks guys! Our plan is to try it together, and then study separately if it becomes onerous--(we did something similar when we were in grad school)
posted by BundleOfHers at 5:11 AM on June 16, 2012

Try Babbel for learning vocabulary. It's free, and they also have an iPhone app.

The producers of the above-mentioned Coffee Break Spanish also make Showtime Spanish which, though thoroughly cheesy, has been useful to me. It starts with a mix of mostly English and some Spanish, and with each installment increases the ratio of Spanish to English, and they explain grammar as well as some colloquialisms and real-world usage.

What my wife and I have started doing lately is reading to each other from books written at a young teen level, looking up the words we don't know, and then going back and re-reading what we've already read. We've found this to be extremely helpful, since rather than memorizing disconnected, disembodied vocabulary and grammar rules, our brains are connecting the language to an experience, a story, so it seems that we're actually learning the language rather than learning about the language.
posted by univac at 8:27 AM on June 16, 2012

Just to back up what univac said about reading aloud. One of my Spanish professors suggested that. However I didn't have a partner or even a roommate to read to so it felt silly reading aloud to myself.

Also here to plug Coffee Break Spanish and Showtime Spanish. I went to Mexico City with a friend with no prior experience learning Spanish, who was pretty religious about listening to the Coffee Break podcasts prior to our trip. We planned it long enough in advance that she was able to get through all 80 podcasts just listening during her workday commute. I was impressed by how much she'd picked up (probably similar to having gone through a beginner's class; she wasn't anywhere near fluent or even conversational -- nor was I-- but for a minimal effort and no expense, it was a great way to pick enough of the basics to get by). The thing with Coffee Break Spanish is that the host, Mark and his student (I think her name was Anna) are so endearing and funny that it's really not a chore to listen to them. Yes it can be cheesy, but they tend to play that up for the entertainment value. And yes there is something of a comic disconnect about learning Spanish from Scots, but rest assured Mark is great and has a real gift for languages. I believe that he is also the teacher on the Coffee Break French podcasts as well as the student in for the German version.
posted by kaybdc at 10:05 AM on June 16, 2012

Coffee break spanish is great! i use it a lot and it does help. I am trying to read books on e reader that will have a spanish dictionary word look up but no luck yet
posted by pakora1 at 3:02 PM on June 16, 2012

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