Q: I am a Restaurant Manager that needs to learn practical Mexican Spanish any Ideas?
A: Some thoughts: 1. Don't get discouraged during your first year. Realize this is a long-term adventure. 2. Might start with some of the very reasonably priced grammar books (even including Spanish for Dummies, also Spanish Now by Barrons) - most can be found in paperback under $20, certainly under $30 at your local bookstore. 3. Work on your pronunciation. Pronounce things at your work that are written in Spanish and have your employees critique your pronunciation. Go to the Learning Spanish website and practice your sounds there. Make tapes of yourself reading whatever. Notice the pronunciation link here: http://www.studyspanish.com/index.htm In fact, working your way through just the free stuff at this web site will take you a long way in learning some basic Spanish concepts. 4. Go through want-ads of whatever local paper you have, or find one on the net. Ask your employees for stuff in the want-ads that you can't find in a dictionary - graduate from want-ads to the regular ads in the paper - this will get you started on some vocabulary building. 5. Read and translate an article a day from a Spanish newspaper into English (after a couple of months) - after the first year, try translating from an English paper to Spanish. 6. Work on Vocabulary building: Words only Phrase building Sentence and thought building Putting Sentences and thoughts together. A first step in the above could be to step up your reading from want-ads: 6.5 Verb Conjugations You will have to learn those Conjugations as you go. You should be pretty comfortable understanding conjugations you read after about the first year - in probably the second year you will be working on "unconsciously" selecting conjugations as you talk without thinking about it - this will take awhile. 7. Start with some children's school books, fairy tales, etc, in both English and Spanish. Readily available right now, but probably at junior high level, are the Harry Potter books in both English and Spanish. 8. Review the various tape programs and plan some purchases here. I've used about all of them and they all have pluses and minuses in comparison to each other. 9. Don't get discouraged in your first year (Did I say that already?) if you forget stuff that you think you should have remembered - it just needs to get a little "deeper" into your "deeper" memory - it'll get there eventually - give it 30 minutes a day over a year. 10. Read posts of this newsgroup as you find the time. 11. Read things of interest to you - search for Spanish stuff on the web on Restaurant Management, commercial food, recipes, or whatever strikes your fancy - use one of the translation services to help understand the page - but you'll still need a dictionary - those services don't quite get some words right. 12. I consider indispensable references are: A good dictionary. I use Larousse, 120,000 words, list price $11.95 501 Spanish Verbs, Kendris - lists at $13.95 I also like various kinds of phrase books, like: Guide to Spanish Idioms, Pierson, List $6.95 750 Verbs & Their Uses, Zamir & others, List $18.95 Mastering Spanish Vocabulary, Navarro & Ramil, List 9.95 Spanish for Reading, Franco & Sandberg, List $14.95 Also, try various of the Spanish GED Guidebooks. I have one put out by Contemporary Books, lists $12.95 Remember that 30 minutes a day will probably help you remember things better as opposed to week-end marathons - but we all do the week-end marathons because we want to learn it all and we're busy during the week
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