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How I Learned To Speak Spanish

When it comes to learning Spanish, beginners can be confused with all the programs out there. I wish to give you a quick insight into my experience.

Why I Needed To Learn Latin American Spanish 

When I decided to learn the Latin American Spanish language, my needs were straight forward – I needed to learn the language quickly!
My employer had decided to start a new venture in the Caribbean and offered me the opportunity to be a part of it, one of the stipulations being that I learn the language as he needed his own “eyes and ears” present to protect his investment.

I had been meaning to start learning the language for several years to help me on my vacations to the region, but now I had to act.
I researched and tested out a few different courses and materials, among them Berlitz, Rosetta Stone, Living Language, but I was not particularly impressed and didn’t feel as though I would make it past ordering a coffee or beer.

A few years ago there was not the variety of language learning programs available as there are today. I would say that the number of quality programs has greatly increased over the years and there are also a lot more “language learning systems” that are absolute crap.

On this site, along with articles about the lifestyle and culture in Latin America I will try to outline and review a variety of the courses available.

Right now, I will tell you a little about the course that I selected and why I chose it, a course that I still recommend today.

Why I Decided On Pimsleur

I knew a Spanish instructor at a large university here in Canada, and she recommended one specific course to me – The Pimsleur Method.

It is important to mention here also that classroom instruction was not an option for me due to my parenting and work commitments.ir?t=xafin 20&l=am2&o=1&a=0743523571 Also, it was hard for me to find enough “quiet” time at home to study without being interrupted.

She told me that I only needed this course and also recommended that I buy a good dictionary (for the Pimsleur course, the dictionary is NOT required but if you click here you will see why it’s a good idea).Pimsleur Language ProgramsMtw4&bids=403405

What I liked was that I only needed the audio material – no books, no computer, just myself and my ears! This lack of other material did make me a little skeptical but I trusted the Spanish professor.

Mtw4&bids=258986Smartphone, MP3 player, CD player, and Computer Compatible.

You choose the best format for you – Download MP3, CD, Software for Mac, PC.

    • There are price points for every learner: in small chunks (starting in the $20 range) or as complete series (from $119 to $970).
    • You can get a free lesson if you want to check it out before buying.
    • Pimsleur is digested in easy 30-minute chunks.  As they say “30 minutes a day is all it takes to learn with Pimsleur!”  And remember, that downtime (commuting, jogging, cooking, etc.) now becomes a learning opportunity.
    • Pimsleur has a proven, outstanding track record spanning over 50 years!
    • Pimsleur is a conversational method. You will start speaking immediately! No long grammar drills, verb conjugation tables, etc. You start slowly with a few small phrases and expand from there and you learn at an amazingly fast pace.

A Fast Start – So Important

I purchased the course and started immediately. I had heard that there was a lot of repetition, and there is, lots of it, but the decades of building The Pimsleur Method have been spent perfecting the technique they use.
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The method is basically to build conversations by using frequently repeated words and phrases in such a way that they stay in your memory, These conversations are then gradually expanded at planned intervals to allow maximum memory retention.

That apparently is the science of it and it works.

What Happened To Me?

I can’t explain it very well but the bottom line is, the words and expressions stayed in my memory quite easily. You have no need to “rewind” as everything flows at a natural speed. However, I did occasionally repeat a lesson if I was not convinced that I had perfected it, but that happened maybe one time out of every ten lessons.

It is soon apparent that the aforementioned repetition forms a key part of the training. The instruction is clear and precise. My progress seemed to be rapid, continuous and, what proved to be crucial, gave me great motivation and encouragement to keep going.


Looking back, the results were quite astonishing as from my first trip to help plan my employer’s project in July, when I knew no Spanish, to my second trip in October that same year, I could carry on a basic conversation, exchanging pleasantries, arranging meetings, accommodations, travel plans, banking transactions, small talk at parties, etc.

If others talked at 100 mph, then i did get a bit lost, but a simple polite request to speak a little more slowly and a smile, did the trick.

Remember, I achieved this on my own – I was not surrounded by Spanish speakers, neither did I have “study partners” to work with.

I was only at the project site for 10 days every 2 months but within 3 or 4 trips, I felt very comfortable with the language. Yes, I would still ask my colleagues to speak a little slower at times, but that was not an issue for them. During my time back home I kept practicing but thanks to The Pimsleur Method, it was now a joy, not a chore.

Not A Gimmick – Simply Scientifically Proven

The Pimsleur Method was established over 50 years ago and it is without a doubt one of the best, easiest and fastest methods to learn Latin-American Spanish. I did it, you can too!

Get started right here…..


  • Angela

    Hello Xavant, this is very interesting information that you are providing for your readers. I have never heard of Pimsleur Method. It certainly is nice that you can learn from it with just the audio versions (and using a dictionary – essential in all cases) A listener could even learn while in the car. I always say, never stop learning.

    • admin

      Hi Angela: Thank you for your kind comment.

      Yes, I did most of my learning in my car – that is the beauty of the system. The dictionary was invaluable as I supplemented my learning by reading newspapers etc. on the internet.

  • Igor


    I like this and it is definitely interesting. I know there are methods that make learning more effective but I never looked for the info until now. May i ask, how fast did it go for you? What could I expect if I start the course.

    I guess there are other languages available, am I right? Anyway, thanks for the great tip and info!

    All the best!

    • admin

      Hi Igor: I did one 30 minute lesson every day (sometimes, I did two), and after only 2 or 3 weeks I had a very basic understanding. After 3 months, I could get around on my own in the Dominican Republic where, off the tourist path, very few people speak English and I felt comfortable at parties, etc.. I had to ask them to speak slowly but that was no problem. Within six months, I could hold conversations very comfortably and could translate for other people travelling with me.

      Yes, there are many languages available (I think 40 or 50).

      Thank you

  • Jeff

    I am very intrigued by this product. I have always wanted to learn spanish (living in So.Fla most of my life) and i have also tried a million different programs.

    Ill have to give it a shot next time I get a chance. Exactly how long did it take you to learn spanish from this program?

    • admin

      Hi Jeff;

      Thanks for your comment. To learn basic “tourist sentences”, it just took me a few days – that would be asking for directions, prices, numbers, names, etc..Just remember the “touristy” part is easy because you are asking the questions and driving the conversation.

      It took me about 2-3 months to feel comfortable with a general conversation, as long as they spoke a little slower than normal – that was never a problem for them. For example, I went to social functions where I was the only one that spoke English, and survived without feeling left out of everything. Just as in any part of the world, most of the conversations consisted of things such as asking people what work they do, family issues, sports, general news topics of the day. Being a visitor, I was usually being asked the questions so I always got lots of practice this way. You could do it quicker but remember I was living in the North West with no Spanish speakers around me to practice with and I only travelled to Latin America every 2-3 months. In South Florida, I don’t think that is a problem!

      Combining this course with the learning tips on my site, I considered myself to be fluent to the point of feeling comfortable conducting business in about 6 months.

  • Marta

    Hi there,

    I’m fluent in European Spanish, but it’s not so different. The two are much closer that the varieties of Portuguese. Anyway, regardless of the standard you chose, I think it’s one of the easiest languages to learn and it gives you access to one fourth of the world, so it;s definitely worth the effort. Listening is one of the most important skills to begin with, and it’s a great stuff to make use of the time you spend commuting.

    Keep studying guys! 🙂

    • admin

      Thank you Marta for your comment. Excuse me being a little late with my reply but I just returned from a 10 day stay in Cuba, gloriously without internet – it was great!

      I agree with you that Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn – the fact that it is generally “pronounced exactly as it is written” and that the pronunciation of vowels basically doesn’t change is a great help.

      Your point about having easier access to such a large portion of the world’s population was a major motivation for me to learn the language and that has proven to be one of the best things I have done in my life. I hope you get similarly rewarded.

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