I spent 5 months in South America trying to learn Spanish, and now that I'm back in the States, I never use it. People are reluctant to practice with me in my day-to-day life. How do you continue your language learning once you're back home? What apps or sites do you use?
My favorite apps to use are Duolingo and Memrise. I try to do at least a few minutes a day with both as the consistency really seems to help me. You can find a language partner or teacher using italki.com.
Beyond those I look for podcasts, movies, music, and books in the language I'm learning. I find podcasts very helpful for getting exposure to the language even if I don't understand everything.
I also take the step of changing other websites to the target language. For example, currently I have my language setting in Facebook set to Italian :)
Everyone seems to have already suggested some pretty great ideas, but I thought I'd share what I do anyway!
On top of listening to audio tapes and so on, I try and use a combination of ways of keeping my languages up. I read one short article a week and I try set myself a target of learning a basic number of words per week (so I'm keeping up my languages and learning a bit at the same time). I usually do 15-20 words and I try and make sentences with them as well - sometimes I'll record myself saying the sentences as well so I can listen back. I also talk to myself A LOT and that seems to help as well!
Good luck with it!
I love the App Duolingo that is available online and on iOS for Apple iPhones & iPads. I also purchased multiple Pimsleur courses that I loaded onto their iPhone app and play in my car while commuting. I have done all the stages of Spanish, a quick 10 day Portuguese course and will be picking up Italian soon as prep for a trip.
Rosetta Stone has an on-line community you can contact to practice your chosen language.
One thing that i uses that is very helpfull is to see movies for ex. in your case in spanish and put the subtitles also in spanish so you can hear and read at the same time. this will improve yous language skill a lot!
also there are many chats in internet where you can find people talking in spanish.
I wish to relay to you the experience of a friend. She came back from Italy, in love with the country and the culture. To be sure to realy be imprengnated herself in the language back in Montreal, she whent in the Little Italy district, to the open air market. She spotted an italien fruit stand, with italian speaking personel. She asked to spend the day with them with the condition they would speek only in italian. She did this a few times.
Why not try something similar in your city. Find a store or restaurent of authentic spanish speaking origins, or what ever language you need to perfect.Try for an hour if not a day. Go when it is not too busy. People are usuly eager to give a hand, espacily when you honnestly show intrest in there culture.
You could go to meetup.com and try finding or even creating a Spanish language group for people in your vicinity.
First, I want to thank Amy for a brilliant question. This is something I struggle with and I will put to use some the creative answers already posted. I have a simple idea that I haven't done yet because it would severely interfere with my procrastination, but it would address one of my biggest hurdles.
I shouldn't be such a beginner anymore, but I find when I try to converse in Spanish, the words I'm searching for don't come rapidly enough to keep up my end. It is too easy to allow the other person to switch to English. Part of my problem is I know a lot of Spanish words, but a lot of them, I don't use the English counterpart. They are not the words I am searching for. I need the words I would normally use. I haven't tried this yet, but I thought if I retrieved some old writings, emails, whatever, something I wrote in my own words, I could translate these until I became proficient with words and expressions I naturally use, instead of searching for a way to say something with palabras that don't normally flow through mi cabeza.
I learned quickly by watching movies and tv shows I already know. Lets say you have a favorite movie, which you can petty much speak yourself in your mother language. Now watch it in spanish and try to understand and see what it means. Once you get a vocabulary it will get easier. Movies also help you to phrase your sentences and words right. Another tip: If you stumble accross a word you dont know what it means, look it up imediateyl in a dictionary and remember it.
There is a great site to leanr languages: http://livemocha.com/
Hi, Amy: It is wonderful the scenery of Machu Picchu moutain behind you.
I am tour guide and spanish teacher, it means fi you want we could chat by skype ( andrescalcy007) to practice the spanish. I am interested to visit USA for visiting some friends there, California, Washington, Colorado, etc.
Just greetings from Peru.
Great tips from everyone below! I can especially relate to Ben Lee's advice to read kids' books. It's a wonderful way to stay engaged with a language. Kids' TV shows or cartoons could also be fun.
Another way (as suggested by Jacey) would be to find a group to practice your shared (language) skills. Something I've personally found through (traveler) meetups (meetup.com is great for finding others with similar hobbies and interests) is that I've made some new friends who also share the language I hope to practice more. They taught me and kept me connected to the culture and language, and in exchange, I helped them with English :)
In addition to the Livemocha.com website already suggested, I'd like to suggest http://www.italki.com/. It's another great site for learning languages.
'Hope this helps!
The only way is finding a specific language community and try to hang out within it as much as possible. Watching movies in Spanish also helped me a lot.
Some very good responses below: Books, movies, magazines, newspapers. Also, you might research your area for some groups that get together to speak/practice language skills at coffee shops (or similar). I found that to be helpful.
Hi Amy! What I do to keep practicing is reading books, listening to music, and wathing movies or tv shows in that langague, I always try to but the subtitle in the same language that is spoken.
When I left Montreal I used to read kids books/comics in French just to keep up a solid vocab and so that at least I was still practising to a degree almost everyday. I used kids books as I was never the best at French, but I figured if I had a conversational level, like kids, it would be alright!
Surely you can get foreign language kids books around the world?
Alternatively, you could try going on an immersive travel experience every year to brush up and be surrounded by it all again - http://www.everthoughtoftrying.com/language ;)
I took French throughout school but after I finished school I stopped using it and knew I had to work to keep it. Now, luckily, I work with a lot of Francophones so I can have casual conversations every now and again to practice but I always found the best way to keep thinking in the language and keep my understanding strong is to read French magazines, websites, books, etc. and to watch French movies. It's surprising how much it helps!