Before we learn to read and write, we learn to speak. When you know what sounds right, then everything else is easy. Using the conversational approach to Spanish language learning is the quickest and easiest approach because it’s the same way we learn language as children. Dr. Pumseleur’s approach focuses on the following.
- Graduated Recall at Intervals – Reminded of words and phrases at intervals designed to improve retention.
- Anticipation – In conversation we anticipate answers as we hear questions.
- Natural Learning – We naturally learn language through hearing, which is emphasized by the conversational approach.
Even if you plan to study language in the classroom or in Costa Rica, using an audio CD program to learn conversation before you travel can greatly improve your experience.
Learning Spanish from the beginning is also important to avoid falling into the trap of learning words incorrectly and then repeating the mistakes in the long-term. Even expats who have lived abroad for many years fall into this trap because the native speakers who surround them are reluctant to criticize.
Having personally studied Spanish in high school and college and then lived in Costa Rica for many years, I can confirm that the academic approach to grammar and language learning is not the easiest road to follow. Being able to read and write in Spanish is also a less important skill then being able to communicate well with people in person. This is because when you travel abroad you are at the mercy of those who may or may not speak English. However, when you speak the language you develop rapport and win over native speakers.
More importantly, with the conversational approach you can learn to communicate effectively in just a few months. Unlike software, with an audio book you are not chained to your computer. Just set aside 30 days to listen to the program. You can study Spanish while driving, jogging, on your lunch break or while cleaning. Also, having a good conversational base is a great foundation for when you do later decide to study written language.