I've heard over and over again the idea that only kids learn languages well and quickly. That may be true, but one thing adults have the advantage of is that they already understand concepts versus children aren't just learning sounds and translations but entire concepts.
For example, children on average listen to their native language for 2 to 2 1/2 years before two word phrases are even spoken! That means they take way longer than the average adult before the ability to speak. Consider that an encouragement and enticement to start your language journey!
Another defeating idea is that one can be too old to learn a language, if you are a senior citizen. However, I believe that is also an ego based idea preventing someone from trying because taking on learning a language confronts beliefs of one's value and inherent intelligence.
First of all, you already have learned a language when you were a child. What makes you think you can't do it again? Secondly, age does not prohibit one from learning. Learning a second language within retirement age can actually stimulate your brain and help decrease memory and cognitive loss over time.
Third, when in retirement you have more time than ever to jump into a new skill. Why not take advantage of the space and time one has earned after a lifetime of working and little time to spare?
These are all great reasons to learn regardless of age. I have worked with retired persons and they have told me they felt surprised with their ability and the fun of learning. They reflected that it was challenging yet possible and enlightening to see what they could do at their ages.
That being said, I believe it's important to question our limiting beliefs any time we want to start something new, and ask ourselves why we don't think we can do it. Our egos are magnificent at coming up with excuses for things that would take us out of our comfort zones and I see it time and time again with language learning.
Don't forget that you can BE, DO, or HAVE anything you want in this world, regardless of your age or limiting beliefs. Begin today taking risks and questioning what really matters to you. Life is too short to not go out on a limb, after all that's where the best fruit is!
Just growing up in our culture I promise you, if you’ve never taken a class and think you don’t know a lick of Spanish, YOU’RE LYING. :) I’ll tell you why. COGNATES. There are TONS of words in Spanish that are exactly the same in ENGLISH! WOO HOO! Time to celebrate! Words like ANIMAL<SIMILAR< COLOR< are exactly the same words just pronounced in a Spanish way. Some words you just add an “O” to like: FANTASTICO<CARRO<EXACTO...These are all called cognates.
I was just speaking with a client who had her first lesson today through Skype. (Side note: I am taking new clients and many are currently learning online during quarantine!) We were talking about how the adjective always goes after the noun in Spanish like CASA BLANCA...which I helped her realize means WHITE HOUSE...and she went “Ohhhhh, I had never thought about what it meant before!” and suddenly she realized she knew more Spanish than she had thought!
This is especially joyous knowing that just starting out, you got this! The average American speaker will know around 100 words in Spanish before they have even taken a class. And especially compared to a native mandarin speaker learning Spanish(which does happen!) YOU have the advantage! Time to jump for joy and make this year the year you become bilingual!
I've had the privilege to help so many people before they went on a Spanish speaking journey.
I have traveled extensively and have a lot of experience in helping others prepare for big trips whether it's for 2 weeks or a year.
A recent client, Erin, took lessons for 1 month to get ready for her Buenos Aires trip for two weeks. She learned necessary phrases, travel vocabulary, and the basics of how to wing it!
Another client, Eosther, worked with me for over a year to prepare her conversational Spanish to live in Spain for an internship. She has benefited from the skills she learned from me and is now using Spanish everyday to converse with local Spaniards!
From basic levels to more advanced you can get ready for a big trip with Vamos Denver.
In Spanish a strange thing happens-and that is that no subject is necessary. WHY? Let’s think about this. For example: To Talk = Hablar. In English we say: I talk, you talk, he talks, she talks, we talk, they talk.
So basically the verb itself doesn’t hardly change; it can either be 'talk' or 'talks.' That’s it!
The only thing that tells you WHO is talking is the subject, I , you, we, they, she.
In Spanish each verb changes. Look closely: hablO, hablAS, hablA, hablAMOS, hablAN. Five different versions for five different subjects.
Because the verb itself changes, the subject is optional. Now THAT is a mind bender, when you’re starting to learn Spanish as an English speaker and are totally relient on WHO.
This means I can say either YO hablo.=I speak. OR just HABLO. =I speak(without the subject)
They mean the EXACT same thing!
But when do we use it? What's the difference? C’mon now there’s gotta be a difference!
Nope. Basically you can use either. However there are times when you want to confirm WHO. Like when someone says "habla ingles"…. Then someone else asks WHO?(QUIEN?) They can then confirm "ELLA". (She)
OR if everone in the room speaks only spanish but you want to clarify that SHE speaks English… you could say "ELLA habla ingles". Once you learn this trick, it’s quite fun. You can say a single word: subject-verb combo, and your sentence is complete! Thanks for reading this mini lesson, and have a great weekend!
Brittany is a bilingual Spanish teacher who has lived in Spain and Argentina. Through this blog, she hopes to relate her travels, insights, and Spanish speaking journey!