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Learning Spanish

Printed From: History Community ~ All Empires
Category: Scholarly Pursuits
Forum Name: Linguistics
Forum Description: Discuss linguistics: the study of languages
Moderators: gcle2003, King John
URL: http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=27144
Printed Date: 24-Jun-2019 at 20:16
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.10 - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Learning Spanish
Posted By: King John
Subject: Learning Spanish
Date Posted: 03-May-2009 at 22:44
Now that I have finished my Master's Degree I will have lots of spare time, I am also trying to get a job in the southwestern United States, so I thought it would be a good idea to try to learn Spanish.  My questions is this, do any of you know of a good book from which I can teach myself?  I know we have a few Spanish speaking members, would you guys be interested in helping those of us who want to learn, learn your language?  Maybe we can do something similar to the learning a Scandinavian Language thread, where we go through a book together, helping each other, and getting help from our Spanish speaking members.  You're help is greatly appreciated.



Replies:
Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 04-May-2009 at 01:27
I know some groups where Spanish speakers help English speakers to learn Spanish. I used to participate actively in there. Perhaps they still remember me there.
 
These are the links.
 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/English_Spanish_Language_Interchange - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/English_Spanish_Language_Interchange
 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/spanish_english_interchange - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/spanish_english_interchange
 
Just present yourselve there. I am sure you'll learn a lot with those guys.
 
Another resource it may interest you is the official dictionary of Spanish, compiled by the Royal Spanish Academy of the language (RAE)
 
http://www.rae.es/rae.html - http://www.rae.es/rae.html
 
If you want more direct help, I may give a hand. I am interested in the Groenland'S Sagas, so we may interchange knowledge on that
 
Good luck with Spanish.
 
Saludos,
 
Omar Vega
 
 
 


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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: hugoestr
Date Posted: 04-May-2009 at 05:09
Sure, whenever you want to talk in Spanish, just let me know, and we can do so. As for a book, you may want to ask Mixcoatl. He recently learned Spanish, and he did it very quickly, which is what I imagine will happen with you as well Do you Latin? Many features of Spanish are very similar to it, although a lot more simplified.

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To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.




Posted By: King John
Date Posted: 04-May-2009 at 05:35
I do indeed know Latin.


Posted By: Knights
Date Posted: 04-May-2009 at 11:58
I'm learning Spanish too, at the moment. I'm actually learning it from a book I picked up at Heathrow Airport, called 'Easy Spanish'. It's quite childish, but does a fairly comprehensive job. My mother speaks Spanish so I use her in conjunction with the book. I'm always up for a bit of spanish conversation, whether it be online or not, to help improve my conversational-skills Smile

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Posted By: Mixcoatl
Date Posted: 04-May-2009 at 14:58
Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

Sure, whenever you want to talk in Spanish, just let me know, and we can do so. As for a book, you may want to ask Mixcoatl. He recently learned Spanish, and he did it very quickly, which is what I imagine will happen with you as well Do you Latin? Many features of Spanish are very similar to it, although a lot more simplified.

I only used very little books and the ones I used were Dutch.

In any case I think you can learn a foreign language by taking classes or using books only to a certain extent; if you know the basics of vocabulary and grammar the best way is to go to a country where they speak the language and learn it naturally. I have learnt more Spanish in 2.5 weeks in Spain then I learnt French in 4 years at school. So I'd suggest you follow a course or teach yourself Spanish a bit where you live now, and then the rest will go automatically in the Southwest.

Finding a girlfriend who speaks the language also helps.


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"Some argue that atheism partly stems from a failure to fairly and judiciously consider the facts"
"Atheists deny the existence of Satan, while simultaneously doing his work."

- Conservapedia


Posted By: King John
Date Posted: 04-May-2009 at 18:09
Thank you for the advice, guys.  Luckily for me I have a girlfriend and a brother who speak Spanish, so practicing once I get a grasp of the grammar and vocabulary shouldn't be that difficult.


Posted By: hugoestr
Date Posted: 05-May-2009 at 00:51
Hey, if you know Latin, Spanish will be a breeze. Especially if you have a girlfriend that speaks it and is willing to speak to you only in Spanish. Then the learning will be very fast :)

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To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.




Posted By: whalebreath
Date Posted: 05-May-2009 at 05:38
The hardest part is listening to others and then hearing your own voice in another language.

Don't worry too much about grammar, at first anyway.



Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 05-May-2009 at 05:59
Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

Hey, if you know Latin, Spanish will be a breeze. Especially if you have a girlfriend that speaks it and is willing to speak to you only in Spanish. Then the learning will be very fast :)
 
That's true. Spanish, in same way, it is just a variation of Latin. However, if he tries to learn "Chilean" LOLLOL... just let me know. That's another thing.


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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: King John
Date Posted: 05-May-2009 at 08:42
Grammar is how I learn to construct.  Vocabulary comes with time, grammar takes the effort.


Posted By: Knights
Date Posted: 05-May-2009 at 08:54
I agree with King John - I am having to learn the grammatical framework of the language before vastly extending my vocabulary.

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Posted By: Constantine XI
Date Posted: 05-May-2009 at 09:23
Originally posted by King John King John wrote:

Grammar is how I learn to construct.  Vocabulary comes with time, grammar takes the effort.


This is very true.

In general, Spanish has a very logical and standardised grammar that is not subject to the great number of exceptions that exist in English (though there are a handful of exceptions in conjugation for each tense).

I only began to find Spanish very challenging when I encountered the subjunctive clause, but you can ignore that part of Spanish for the time being as it is more of an advanced thing and is not essential for everyday interactions.


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It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.



Posted By: hugoestr
Date Posted: 05-May-2009 at 21:13
Originally posted by King John King John wrote:

Grammar is how I learn to construct.  Vocabulary comes with time, grammar takes the effort.


Then you are practically there. Spanish grammar is a simplified, free form of Latin.

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To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.




Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 06-May-2009 at 01:40
The hardest part of Spanish, for people who doesn't speak romance languages, it is the very strange fact that in this language objects have sex... Figuring it out the sex of objects is some of the more subrealistic things we could ever encounter, I guess.
 
Another thing that is complicated is the fact we have two verbs TO BE in Spanish (SER and ESTAR). What really amazes me in this case is how come most languages only have one!


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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: King John
Date Posted: 06-May-2009 at 05:44
Pinguin, is the gender of a noun natural?  Are the two verbs "to be" used in different instances or are they interchangeable?  I know some of the Germanic languages have multiple verbs "to go" the difference is one is used for walking and the other for going by means other than ones feet.


Posted By: Constantine XI
Date Posted: 06-May-2009 at 06:21
Estar refers to a temporary state, Ser refers to a permanent state. For example, Estoy delgado - I am thin (but it is hinted that this is a temporary thing, perhaps due to being ill or not eating well). Soy delgado (I am thin, and it is just how I always am).
 
I do like this feature of Spanish, it gives the language an extra layer of subtlety and meaning.


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It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.



Posted By: hugoestr
Date Posted: 06-May-2009 at 12:40
What do you mean by saying that a gender of a noun is natural? Most of them map to the genders of their root word in Latin. There is no neutral gender, so those just become masculine. There are practically no cases, except for the possessive and personal pronouns. Most of the nouns in Spanish seem to have taken the ablative case as the nominative, thus ending in -o for masculine and -a for feminine nouns.

The conjugations of verbs are basically the same as they are in Latin, with minor changes (such as dropping the final sound), except for the future case, which is different. The subjective, however, is pretty close to its Latin form. And the subjunctive in Spanish does get use a lot.

Because of the way the language evolved, many words that started with a /f/ in Latin, such as facere, appear in Spanish as hacer. At some point the /h/ sound was pronounced, but today it silent.

As for the syntax, a good rule of thumb is to follow the English word order, and in most cases you will be fine. Keep in mind, though, that the word order can be very fluid, so you may run into weirdly created sentences, especially in literature or political discourse. Unfortunately, you won't have the noun cases to help you on parsing it, but normally the context will aid a bit.

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To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.




Posted By: King John
Date Posted: 06-May-2009 at 14:12
Natural would be a noun that is the same gender as its referent; for instance in German there is the noun Madchen which means girl but is grammatically neuter; in this case Madchen is not a noun with natural gender.


Posted By: Mixcoatl
Date Posted: 06-May-2009 at 15:08
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

The hardest part of Spanish, for people who doesn't speak romance languages, it is the very strange fact that in this language objects have sex... Figuring it out the sex of objects is some of the more subrealistic things we could ever encounter, I guess.
Languages with grammatical gender are not that rare. In fact most major European languages use grammatical gender, English seems to be the only exception.


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"Some argue that atheism partly stems from a failure to fairly and judiciously consider the facts"
"Atheists deny the existence of Satan, while simultaneously doing his work."

- Conservapedia


Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 06-May-2009 at 15:18
Whenever I used to see RMS Queen Elizabeth going down Southampton Water I realised how beautiful she looked. It's rare in standard English though common enough in some dialects. 
 
I don't think in any I-E language there is any real connection between the grammatical gender of a noun and actual sex: it's mostly a question of morphology.


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Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.


Posted By: Kaysaar
Date Posted: 11-May-2009 at 02:55
Originally posted by King John King John wrote:

Pinguin, is the gender of a noun natural?  Are the two verbs "to be" used in different instances or are they interchangeable?  I know some of the Germanic languages have multiple verbs "to go" the difference is one is used for walking and the other for going by means other than ones feet.


Like Constantine said, ser and estar are not at all interchangeable. Ser is for more permanent things, and general physical or personality based descriptions. We also use ser when talking about time (es la una de la mañana, son las dos de la tarde).

Estar is for temporary states and changes. Estar is also used for locations (Aquí estamos - we are here). Additionally, when you want to use the continuous/progressive verb tenses (I am walking/I was walking etc.), you'll use estar too.

That's a 30-second exposé of Ser y Estar. If you like this you'll love 'por' y 'para'

There are two really great ways to work on listening comprehension in any language:

First, you can watch Spanish language movies with the subtitles on in Spanish. This will help you create both visual and auditory connections in a language, which is very important. You will also learn the speaking rhythms of Spanish, which can be very different from English. You'll also learn some all important slang.

The other thing that I did in Spanish classes, as well as something I use as a teacher in my ESL classes, is to take a song, and work with the printed out lyrics. Once you have those, you can look at the vocab you may or may not know, and then sing along! You'll feel silly, but it will help you work on your pronunciation too. For Spanish music, I really like Estopa, El Canto del Loco, Juanes, Maldita Nerea etc.


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¡Vamos Barça!


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 11-May-2009 at 03:03
Ser and Estar are very different, indeed.
 
Soy loco (I am crazy), means I am fooling around or making jokes.
Estoy loco means I am mad.
 
Soy enfermo (I am sick) means I have an invalidating illness, specially mental illness
Estoy enfermo means I have a health problem, either temporary or not like flu or cancer!
 
Soy rico (I am rick) means I have a lot of money. Estoy rico it has a sexual connotation.
 
Soy inteligente (I am intelligent) it is used to describe mental skills. Estoy inteligente doesn't make much sense.
 
In general, Ser it is used for a permanent condition, while Estar it is used for a transitory condition, but not always. For instance, "esta perdido" (It is lost) it very well be a permanent condition. "es (un) perdido", on the other hand, means a person lost its moral.
 
 


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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: Kaysaar
Date Posted: 11-May-2009 at 03:11
From an English point of view, there are actually five Spanish verbs that translate into 'to be' (ser, estar, haber, hacer, and tener). Other tricky parts are understanding when to use the subjunctive, learning to use gustar, as well as differentiating between the imperfecto and pretérito(indefinido).

The other funny thing about estar is that you say 'él está muerto' (he's dead) which I always thought was peculiar because last time I checked, death is fairly permanent.


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¡Vamos Barça!


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 11-May-2009 at 03:58
You said "esta muerto" because it used to be alived, specialy when the dead happened relatively recently. "Esta" in that case shows a change of state.
the verbs "haber" y "tener" both matches "to have". Hacer is simply "to do".
 
It is curious you notice those verbs. I had forgotten we have two verbs "to have" as well.
Hovewer, the verb tener means "to own" and it is only used in those cases where "to have" is associated with property. On the other hand "Haber" is always used in past tense with a past participle. For instance "he hecho" means "I have done".
 


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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: Constantine XI
Date Posted: 11-May-2009 at 04:41
Also with ser and estar when describing location. Estoy refers to where you are now e.g. estoy aqui, and soy refers to origin e.g. soy de mexico.

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It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.



Posted By: King John
Date Posted: 11-May-2009 at 05:11
Thank you for your responses.


Posted By: Kaysaar
Date Posted: 11-May-2009 at 11:32
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

the verbs "haber" y "tener" both matches "to have". Hacer is simply "to do".


Those are the simplest and most common translations of those verbs - but they all translate into a form of 'to be' in English as well.

Tengo hambre - I am hungry (literally I have hunger, but we don't say that in English)
Hace sol - it is sunny (it does sun - again, just something we don't say)
No hay quien haga- there is not anyone who does that. (no have anyone who does that - just not said)

And that's true about estar muerto - but it's a little counterintuitive when first learning the differences between the two.


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¡Vamos Barça!


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 12-May-2009 at 05:01

"I am hungry" not only translate into "Tengo hambre" (I have hunger), but more directly into "Estoy hambriento", which is exactly "I am hungry".

"Hace sol" it is never used and sounds funny, instead "hay sol" (there is sun) is used. also we use "Esta soleado" (It is sunny)
 
haga in (no hay quien lo haga) it is a conjugation of the verb hacer (to make; to do) instead of haber (to have).
 
 


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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: Chilbudios
Date Posted: 12-May-2009 at 08:27
Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

Most of the nouns in Spanish seem to have taken the ablative case as the nominative, thus ending in -o for masculine and -a for feminine nouns.
Actually in Spanish like in other Romance languages it is the accusative case which was preserved. In Vulgar Latin the case endings were lost, thus most nouns ended in vowels. The -o endings come from former -u-s


Posted By: Kaysaar
Date Posted: 12-May-2009 at 13:13
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

"I am hungry" not only translate into "Tengo hambre" (I have hunger), but more directly into "Estoy hambriento", which is exactly "I am hungry".

Which would you consider as more common in regular conversation?

Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

"Hace sol" it is never used and sounds funny, instead "hay sol" (there is sun) is used. also we use "Esta soleado" (It is sunny)

 


I think that's kind of funny because 'hace sol' is how they teach it to us in the USA. Is this distinct to Chile or is this consistant throughout all of Central and South America?

Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:


haga in (no hay quien lo haga) it is a conjugation of the verb hacer (to make; to do) instead of haber (to have).
 


I'm absolutely aware that haga  = hacer (present subjunctive), but unless I'm mistaken, hay is considered an auxiliary verb derived from haber (no hay que lo haga ---> no había quien lo hiciera/hiciese).

One of the things to remember is that even though many of these phrases can be re-translate into Spanish using ser/estar, when they are initially translated into English, from Spanish, we have to use 'to be' because of the way English works. That was my point above.


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¡Vamos Barça!


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 12-May-2009 at 14:09
(1) Tengo hambre es lo más común
 
(2) Hace sol is probably a Mexicanism. It doesn't make much sense, if you think a bit about it.
 
(3) The best translation for hay is "there is". So, it is a form of the verb to be. The verb haber is only used in past participle. Yo he hecho, el ha sido, etc. (I have done, he has been, etc)


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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: Mixcoatl
Date Posted: 12-May-2009 at 17:47
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

(2) Hace sol is probably a Mexicanism. It doesn't make much sense, if you think a bit about it.

Then what about hace calor, hace frío, etc.?
 
Quote (3) The best translation for hay is "there is". So, it is a form of the verb to be. The verb haber is only used in past participle. Yo he hecho, el ha sido, etc. (I have done, he has been, etc)

That's exactly his point, hay translates as a form of to be, yet it is not a form of estar or ser. IIRC it was originally a form of haber (think of the subjuntivo of haber, haya).


-------------
"Some argue that atheism partly stems from a failure to fairly and judiciously consider the facts"
"Atheists deny the existence of Satan, while simultaneously doing his work."

- Conservapedia


Posted By: Cryptic
Date Posted: 12-May-2009 at 20:16
Originally posted by Kaysaar Kaysaar wrote:


The other funny thing about estar is that you say 'él está muerto' (he's dead) which I always thought was peculiar because last time I checked, death is fairly permanent.
You need to understand the religious culture from which Spanish developed. The use of estar (temporary state) when discussing death is probably based on Christian theology.  
 
Good luck with Spanish. One good thing about Spanish is that unlike mind bending French, how you read Spanish is how you say Spanish and vis versa. There are only a few exceptions.


Posted By: Kaysaar
Date Posted: 12-May-2009 at 20:26
Originally posted by Mixcoatl Mixcoatl wrote:


That's exactly his point, hay translates as a form of to be, yet it is not a form of estar or ser. IIRC it was originally a form of haber (think of the subjuntivo of haber, haya).


From La Real Academia Española:

http://buscon.rae.es/draeI/SrvltGUIVerbos?origen=RAE&IDVERBO=6903 - http://buscon.rae.es/draeI/SrvltGUIVerbos?origen=RAE&IDVERBO=6903

If you look under presente del indicativo, there is hay, derived from haber.

EDIT - Cryptic - good call on the Catholic perspective - I hadn't considered that.


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¡Vamos Barça!


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 12-May-2009 at 21:04
Formally, "hay" it is a special case of the verb haber, indeed, but only in third person, and lacks subject Confused...
 
Part of the explanation, follows. The full explanation is found here: http://culturitalia.uibk.ac.at/hispanoteca/Foro-preguntas/ARCHIVO-Foro/Haber-hay-hab%C3%ADa.htm - http://culturitalia.uibk.ac.at/hispanoteca/Foro-preguntas/ARCHIVO-Foro/Haber-hay-hab%C3%ADa.htm

En cuanto al haber como verbo impersonal, en este uso el verbo haber solo tiene una persona y es la tercera de singular en cada tiempo, el presente tiene la forma especial hay.

El sustantivo que acompaña a la tercera persona del verbo haber con sentido impersonal no es su sujeto, sino su complemento directo. Lo que se puede comprobar sustituyendo este sustantivo por el correspondiente pronombre personal:

No hay cerveza. > No la hay.

No hay dinero. > No lo hay.

No hay perspectivas. > No las hay.

No hay ninguna oportunidad. > No la hay.

No hay esperanzas. > No las hay.

Si el sustantivo que acompaña a la forma impersonal de haber fuera su sujeto, sería sustituible por el pronombre personal en nominativo: el, ella, ellos, ellas.



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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: Kaysaar
Date Posted: 12-May-2009 at 23:19
I like that article - good stuff Pinguin! I've enjoyed debating grammar with you thus far - it's fun!

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¡Vamos Barça!


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 12-May-2009 at 23:35
It is weird. I have spoken Spanish since four and I never figured it out that "hay" derivated from "haber".... It doesn't make sense to me. I better keep studying Mapudungun :)

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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)


Posted By: Kaysaar
Date Posted: 13-May-2009 at 00:51
The same type of thing happened to me when I started to teach English - I noticed patterns and rules I never knew existed.

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¡Vamos Barça!


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 13-May-2009 at 02:07
Perhaps the best approach is to learn languages based on translation of "patterns" of whole frases, rather than trying to understand the mechanics of verbs, and teoretical stuff.
 
For instance, people should know equivalences like these:
 
It is hot=hace calor
Where do you go?=¿Dónde vas?
How do you do?=¿Cómo estás?
How much is it?=¿Cúanto vale?
What have you been working on?=¿En qué has estado trabajando?
What did you do?=¿Qué hiciste?
 
Etc.
 
With a collection of about five hundred of those pre-build frases, memorized and practised, people start to speak a foreign language very naturally. The problem is that nobody teaches languages that way. The analyrical approach of teaching verbs, adjectives, nouns and all the part of the speach, and detailed grammar rules, makes things more complex than necessary. That's what I think, anyways.
 


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"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)



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