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 Advanced Classes at Las Cantinas

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Peter
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PostSubject: Advanced Classes at Las Cantinas   Thu 03 Mar 2011, 10:27

Learning the language is not easy, it takes a lot of cold, hard memorization and drilling. English has a much simpler grammatical structure than Spanish and most other languages so native English-speakers have to deal with a lot of nuances that their native tongue does not contain, such as verb conjugations. No real way around that except to "cheat" the language, sound like a Neanderthal, but nevertheless be understood, somewhat. That might do for the beginner but is not the level of speaking we aspire to learn. We just have to slug it out with memorization and drilling.

Once a few basic words are learned, some names of things, some common verbs and their conjugations, and a bit of basic grammar is achieved we are on our way but still have a long road ahead. Where does one go to reach the next level? Good question. Any Spanish-speaker that knows some English will prefer to use that than labor through badly-butchered Spanish and the language schools are nearly useless, costly, and will revert to the formulaic method of teaching future and past-tenses with the related conditionals, subjunctives and other tenses just not common to English and will drill the irregular conjugations in those tenses pointing out any discrepancies you have and drill those before they will consider just getting you familiar with basic conversation. It is good to learn all they have to teach in that regard but you need to become conversational before needing to use irregular subjunctives in secondary clauses. Know what I mean?

I have found such a school of learning, in fact many of them, where one can practice basic communications skills without having to drill perfect and proper forms, where a student can just practice communication with another individual and where perfect grammar is not the objective but is to practice the language at one's current level and have a two-way discussion. Unfortunately this school and method is typically only suitable for single male students, though exceptions can be found for similar programs to suit others particularly if home-tutoring is a viable option. For this article I will speak of commercial institutions type self-administered programs.

Although the very basic beginner may achieve benefit from this type of program it is best suited for persons have studied and learned some basics. The idea is to create a relaxed or informal environment and a one-on-one situation with a non-English-speaking partner. Music playing in the background can also be helpful to achieve the informal setting where direct attention is not placed on the students performance and conversation can begin to flow naturally. Consumption of strong beverages for both parties is also recommended as is selecting a partner in this exercise with whom you can feel simpatico.

To review, what is necessary for this exercise is having a partner who is simpatico with you, and informal one-on-one setting, background music, and libations available. One type of establishment where these elements are typically available are the botaneros where you can purchase drinks, have appetizers brought to you typically included in the price of the drinks, and where waitresses are available to accompany you at your table and provide company for you. Although they are not strictly required to do so these waitresses are often VERY attentive and will be quite close and comfortable with you. It is not at all difficult to find such a suitable partner and you may change partners as desired throughout this exercise. The cost is very similar to that of the language schools but arrangements can often be made for private tutoring with a price negotiable. Often these private sessions can and perhaps should take the form of a social engagement or date.

Finding the suitable partner is the key. Once a candidate has been chosen it is customary to purchase them a refreshment, preferrably something strong and you should consider consumming similar. Though it may seem awkward in the intitial moments most find it is easy to relax and in short time find themselves talking about whatever pops up. You are likely to find some common interests in your initial moments and will find language to not be a barrier after awhile. If the initial moments are awkward then it is a good time to consume your beverage and start another, likewise for your partner. It is then that your session may start moving along very rapidly as you find ways to convey your thoughts on a variety of matters. The two partners in the exercise in short time have found many comonalities of feelings and emotions and begin relating stories about recent activities or about their past and often speak about activities they would wish to engage in in the near future.

If more than a half-hour has passed or more than three beverages consumed and nothing of interest has began to dominate your conversation it is advisable to find another partner. However, if things appear to be progressing well it is very likely your session may continue for hours. One should be mindful of the time. If things are progressing well, the conversation is flowing despite language barriers then you should be cautioned to not continue much past three hours as it can become costly. After that point the pair will often have reached a level of conversation where they are now whispering in each others' ears of their undying devotion toward each other and making domestic plans. There really is nothing wrong with that.

Often it is the goal of the waitress and the clientele to find such commonality, in which case you may have found a full-time interpreter to assist you during your stay in Mexico. This can be very good but extreme caution is advised in all circumstances where these matters are at stake. While it may be advisable to discontinue the session after a few hours and not engage in another of this type until after several days have elapsed this is a matter only the subject himself should be the judge of. Alcohol-induced fluency of language can be VERY effective. One would be well-advised to give serious thought afterwards to the effectiveness of this type of language-learning and what may stem from a single lesson of this nature. If deemed effective then it should be advised that another similar establishment with another partner be chosen and repeat a similar instructional program.

Only the individual involved should make the determination if this sort of learning should continue and at what frequency and if other partners should be sought. One should be cautioned also that this method of learning could prove to be TOO effective and could lead to the person becoming well-adapted and settled in his new home in Mexico. Things can happen very quickly. Just be aware and use your best judgement.



Last edited by Peter on Thu 03 Mar 2011, 17:36; edited 1 time in total
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Don Cuevas
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PostSubject: Re: Advanced Classes at Las Cantinas   Thu 03 Mar 2011, 16:26

I once spoke my most fluent Spanish when suddenly awakened from a deep sleep. Since I don't often go to cantinas, your road tested method won't work for me.

I get some further understanding of Spanish by watching the Spanish dubbed movies (almost unfailingly awful) aboard intercity buses. For beverages, I have to settle for BOING! or bottled water.
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