Posted by: sforshner | September 16, 2008

travel gear tuesday: hablo español…kind of

I pretty much sit in the car for over two hours, to and from work every day. But for the past week, I have not had to make the trek alone. Meet my newest travel companion…

I know Rosetta Stone is awesome, it changed your life, blah blah blah, but I couldn’t justify spending more money learning the language for a week long visit than I did on my ticket – I can’t stress enough how cheap it is to fly to Guatemala. 

So, the other day Mike and I went to our local library where I got a new card and borrowed the Pimsleur Spanish Language Program: Intermediate/Part A.

Every morning and evening I move through my thirty minute lessons which are comprised of three men and a woman. One man constantly telling me to listen to the woman or man (in Spanish) and another one laying out the scene, prompting me to answer and ask questions before and after the characters on the discs repeat them.

It has been going pretty well, aside from the fact that my own voice struggling to repeat what seems to be the simplest words – en metro – is getting really annoying. It has made me realize that despite all of the Spanish I studied over the years – half of my middle school education, all of high school and all of college – I can’t pronounce the simplest words. 

Have I been out of the game too long or was I not prompted to speak enough in class? 

It’s funny because for the most part I follow it pretty well, but too often, when it is my turn to speak, I freeze. I even get a little embarrassed as if there are people in my car with me. And, when I can answer a question before the character on the disc states it, I get so excited and I look around as if someone is going to pat me on the back. 

The scenarios are pretty standard – the one man says, you are in Ecuador and need to rent a car…you need to order a drink…you need to find the train (damn en metro!) and in each scenario you must repeat a conversation between the other man and woman. 

Sometimes though, it gets creepy. Like after the man gives perfectly good directions to the car rental place which is only down the street to the woman, yet still offers to take her, and instead of gracefully accepting her decline, he repeatedly asks her prying questions as if to trap her into saying yes so that he may steal her. 

Okay, I got carried away – I am sure those questions are added in for the sake of my learning how to ask questions, but seriously, lesson 4, are you trying to keep me from making the trip?

Anyway, I highly recommed learning a new language in this way because it is really convenient – especially if you have a long commute with large amounts of time to kill. 

¡Hasta luego!



  1. Awesome! I almost wish I had a long commute because my Japanese language learning is not going so swiftly. But I think learning the characters is the worst part.

    I kind of want to re-learn Spanish too since I haven’t taken it in years and it’s obviously a good language to know!

  2. ahh! I love it. I tried learning Italian this way, but i’m surprised i didn’t get in an accident- plus i got really into pronunciation to the point where it looked like i had tourettes syndrome

    goodluck! 🙂

  3. I’ve been trying to learn italian for…umm ever. I don’t think my brain wants to learn anything new.

  4. rosetta stone is overpriced! it’s all about the free language podcasts!!!

  5. I admire your dedication to learning a new language! Learning Spanish is on my “one of these days I’ll…” list, but right now I am way too busy watching Dawson’s Creek :). If I could find someone to watch the whole series with me, I definitely would do it!

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