Studying for Spanish Quiz 1

Spanish is turning out to be one of the tougher classes I've taken at USC. At this point I would rank it second behind the histology course (500 level biology) I decided to take several semesters back. The good news is that I got through histology and I think I can get through Spanish, but it's going to take a lot of hard work.

One of the things I would like to do is blog about and in Spanish to help me better understand the language. If you speak español I would love your feedback on anything I put up on the site. For this post, I will be going through some of the material that will be on the quiz tomorrow. Hopefully this can be a reference point for others as well as give me an opportunity to better understand and learn the material.

La ropa habla - The clothes speak

Me visto para el trabajo - I dress for work

Me gusta llevar ropa profesional - I like to wear professional clothing

Me gusta usar camisas azules - I like to wear blue shirts

de cuadros - is a pattern that uses a lot of perpendicular lines

con lunares - is a dotted pattern

de rayas - is a pattern that uses a slanted lines with alternating colores

estampado - is a pattern with many different shapes

Los Astros llevar jerseys blancos, pantalones blancos y gorras de béisbol naranjas - The Astros wear white jerseys, white pants and orange baseball caps.

In Spanish the color of something goes after the object. While we say white pants in Spanish it's pantalones blancos.

Los numeros ordinales - The ordinal numbers

Primero - first

Segundo - second

Tercero - third

Los adjectivos demostrativos - The demonstrative adjectives

Este/esta - this

Estos/estas - these

Ese/esa - that

Esos/esas - those

The first word there is the masculine version and the second word is the feminine version. In Spanish words can have the same meaning but depending on the word and gender it can be spelled slightly different. As a general rule (a) is considered feminine, (o) and (e) are masculine.

Palabras difícil - Difficult words

For some reason I'm struggling a little bit to remember words such as encantar or to love and parecer or to seem/appear. Quedar is also another tricking one but it means to stay or remain or even to fit. If it's to fit then words like bien (well) or mal (poorly) will follow it. Both parecer (to seem) and quedar (to fit) can have the subject placed in front of them instead of at the end of a sentence.

That's about all I've got for now. I'll try to update on how the quiz went and hopefully I'll have something more constructive next time.

Learning a new Language, Spanish

Monday I took my Spanish placement exam. I am down to the last two semesters of my college career and I needed to take three Spanish courses to graduate. I've been putting off Spanish classes because they're one of the classes that are almost always offered in the evenings and being a part time student that's invaluable.


Anyways, I probably should have done this sooner, but I didn't. A few years ago I decided that i would try to place out of some Spanish but buying Rosetta Stone and studying my butt off over the summer. This past Winter I bought the Rosetta Stone for half price and spent this entire Summer studying 30 minutes to two hours a night four to five days a week.

I supplemented that with a free language learning website called Duolingo. The setup is pretty good and I got the hang of it really quickly. I typically used my lunch breaks to work through the site, but also used the site pretty extensively on my final day of studying. One of the great things is that once you've learned about 50% of the language you can work on real world examples, by helping the site translate them. You can do the translating yourself or review translations from other people and either up vote, down vote or edit a translation. It's a really good resource, especially for the price.

Two other resources I utilized in my studying was Spanish baseball broadcasts and Twitter. Spanish baseball broadcasts are good, because they use a lot of baseball terms I was able to understand and use as points of reference. Twitter also makes for a good reference point, as it gave me a gauge on how much I was learning.

Placement Exam

Of the three courses I needed to graduate, I was able to place out of two of them. I took German in high school, so I was starting from scratch with Spanish. The exam was certainly over my head, but I had learned enough that I was able to pick my way through the exam. There were more questions using excerpts from books and articles than there were questions about what does this word mean. From my understanding the exam apparently got harder as you answered more questions correctly.

If I had to do my studying all over again I would focus more on doing translations using real world examples from Duolingo. I thought Rosetta Stone did a good job of building a base with it's program and Duolingo did a good job of filling in the gaps. However, I think you could get by with just Duolingo. 

Rosetta Stone does have an online resource to further help your learning. Unfortunately, it's only available for free for a month or two. After that it requires a subscription. I waited too long to try the online resources, so I can't really comment on how effective they are.

Final Thoughts

One thing I wish I had done was watch some movies in Spanish to see how effective that would have been on helping me learn the language. But I've really enjoyed my time studying a new language. It's very satisfying and something I would recommend everyone do. I plan to continue learning Spanish. I just won't be doing it as hot and heavy.

If anyone has a suggestions for resources or want to share their experience learning a new language I would love to read them in the comment section below.