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  • Learning Spanish

    Well here I am trying to learn Spanish again.

    I'm surrounding myself with it as much as possible. Anyone else have any tips or tricks? I know there will be no "quickfixes" but I'm open to help.

    I've got both conversational and LE Spanish tapes in the POV, and two different manuals for LE Spanish.

    I have a hard enough time learning to speak it, but the order of the words throws me off, as well as the "tense" of verbs.

    A good shortcut I've learned with victims and witnesses is "Escriba, por favor" as the written answer (on birth dates, names, addresses, SSNs, etc, is the same usually) and "Mas despacio, por favor" ("speak slower, please.")

    My BIGGEST trouble is UNDERSTANDING it, even when I can speak it. Also, in tense situations I go blank, even if I know something in Spanish, it just wont come to me. A year or so ago, I couldn't even think of "Arriba sus manos" (Raise your hands) when I needed it, although it was one of the very first Spanish phrases I'd learned.


    [ 04-07-2002: Message edited by: SGT Dave ]
    People have more fun than anybody.

  • #2
    Well, you already know more spanish than me!!!
    I have the reverse problem, understand pretty well, but speak for crap. Grandpa is Puerto Rican, and speaks nothing but Espanol to me for the past year or two. Sheesh
    You are on the right track, too, by surrounding yourself with it as much as possible. IF you have a radio latino station up there, play it. If you can understand SONG lyrics, you're getting good. (Just think of how hard it is to understand the ones in ENGLISH )

    Main thing is, and I am also guilty here, is to stick with it. It'll come in time.
    Hope this helps.
    American by Birth, Aggie By Choice, TEXAN by the grace of God...

    "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, what matters is the size of the fight in the dog."


    • #3
      About 12 years ago, I started working a security assignment at a restaurant/lounge, which is where all the local Hispanics hung out, mostly Mexicans.
      I figured I'd better learn some Spanish, so I laid hands to Safariland's "Spanish For The Peace Officer." That thing is so dog eared, from being used so much.

      I still do not speak fluent Spanish, but can speak and understand enough to either get out of trouble, or get in trouble!

      I enlisted the aid of those who are fluent in both languages, and asked them how so many different words were pronounced, which helped a great deal.

      One night, I had to tell a young man "Alto o disparo", which means stop or I'll shoot. I then took a loaded pistol off of him.

      Learing Spanish is a good thing for liability reasons. Some years back, the police here had to shoot a Hispanic guy who was armed, and would not comply with their orders. His family tried to sue, saying he did not speak English, and didn't understand their orders. That was BS; one of the officers on the scene spoke fluent Spanish, and was giving commands in Spanish. The case went over like a lead balloon in court. But being able to give commands in both languages can close that liability gap in other situations.

      Incidentally, I can't forget the first Spanish phrase I ever learned. "Bahe soos pantalones." That means "Drop your pants!"
      Never make a drummer mad- we beat things for a living!


      • #4
        Spanish is all you have in your area???

        Up here it's: Mostly Portugese, THEN Spanish (and they have a hard time understanding each other), after that there's a variety lot of different languages. Whenever there's turmoil somewhere in the world CT will usually add that language to the drivers license test even though it's stated by State Statute one must have a "working knowledge" of the English language.
        When I transfered out of DMV years back, they had the test in 13 diffrent languages including 2 dialects of Chinese and they had just brought in Bosnian and a couple of others.

        The thing I find amazing is that when you have a vehicle stop or other incident with a "non-English" speaking person they have no clue to what you're talking about until you take out the cuffs and say "you're under arrest.." A miracle occurs and you hear English.

        One of the guys that works for DMV (and he is very large) pulled over 2 tractor trailers that were out of Quebec, the drivers exited their rigs and said to each other in French "Look at the size of this fat f**k", and decided to play language games. DMV guy plays along and this went on for almost a half an hour. Well, when the fat f**k DMV guy began speaking fluent French to them they were quite surprised to say the least. They were each given their bundle of citations and sent on their way.

        I worked with a couple of guys of Hispanic heritage that spoke Spanish (they would also not wear name badges) who would not speak it unless absolutely needed because, they said, the B/G's like to play the no habla game. It's real interesting when the B/G's begin commenting, I hope they don't look in there, or mentioning firearms, etc.
        " Life's disappointments are harder to take when you don't know any swear words." - Calvin


        • #5
          I spent enough years on the border that I should speak at least "Border Mexican!" But the truth is, I just have no linguist talent at all. Heaven knows I tried. I enrolled three times in "Conversational Spanish" at the local CC. Each time, about three to six weeks into the class, the department arbitrarily changed my schedule, meaning I had to drop the class.

          It was hard enough just learning the words, but when it came to conjugating the verbs, I never got past that stage. I could speak enough command phrases to keep myself alive but no way could I make any sense out of a
          6P1 (retired)


          • #6
            Sgt Dave,

            Strongly suggest you find a spanish speaking store clerk (quick-stop things) and have an agreement with that person. You and that person will speak only Spanish when you are in that store.

            The secret to that arrangement is that your going to learn to ask for objects (where is the bread?) or directions (down that aisle, then left) often. And plus, the exchange will be simple and repeated.

            Most people will use not more than 600-700 words when speaking English, an additional 100 if they are discussing aspects of their specific profession. The same holds true for Mexican citizens.

            The phrases "What is this?" and "Is that correct?" are excellent to use as a basis for conversational Spanish when your talking to the Spanish speaking store clerk, with whom you have an agreement.

            This is a system I used in Germany, it worked well enough that by the end of the first year, I was speaking good German and could hold my own in a German Police station. And Gasthuase .

            One point to stress is that the clerk must be reminded (you too) that you will not be served unless the language is right. Ir's really kind of fun, too.

            Jim Burnes


            • #7
              Sgt Dave,

              Try this website also. It's excellent to keep on hand in your computer and in some cases, you can have a non-English speaker just read your words, as it translates into theirs. It's that fast.


              PS: Keep this away from Mike, he would suspect it's anti-American and would try to shoot it.

              Jim Burnes

              [ 04-07-2002: Message edited by: Jim Burnes ]


              • #8
                I can help LOL....

                mi casa or tu casa or you can replace casa with cama.

                (my house or your house, or my bed or your bed) hee hee....

                Donde esta el bano? Where is the bathroom..

                Seriously, I used to be almost fluent, I can still read and understand pretty well but my speaking ability sucks...

                Quieres practicar aqui? Tengo amigos que hablan espanol.
                Have you ever noticed? Anybody going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Fast 1:
                  Donde esta el bano? Where is the bathroom..
                  Oh yes, this IS a great one. Except for when you need it IN A HURRY and can't understand their reply!
                  6P1 (retired)


                  • #10
                    Some basic Spanish phrases:
                    -Donde vives? Where do you live?
                    -A donde va? -Where are you going?
                    -Tiene un licensia de manejar? -Do you have a driver's license?
                    -Di me su licensia. -Give me your license.
                    -Cual es su fecha de nacimiento? -What is your date of birth?
                    -Cuantos anos tiene? -How old are you?
                    -Ponga sus manos en su cabeza. -Put your hands on your head.
                    -No se mueva. -Don't move.
                    -Alto o disparo. -Stop or I shoot.
                    -Manos arriba! -Hands up!
                    -Venga aqui. -Come here.
                    -Pase alli. -Go over there.
                    -Ahora. -Now.
                    -Que? -What?
                    -Despacio. -Slowly.
                    -Manos en la pared. -Hands on the wall.

                    and -
                    -Dos cervezas mas, por favor.
                    Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                    I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq


                    • #11
                      Try sign-language. It is just as hard a spanish nad i have a hard time sometimes due to the fact that since the Galludet College has stated its new language is ASL and i have spoken to my daughter in Signed English for going on 15 years. Now she is throwing in these totally confusing words and i have to consatntly make her repeat which earns me the nick name tard. I did catch that word and asked why she called me that and she said all the kids who can't speak ASL are considered retards and for short its tard. I could not believe even the handicapped children call each other retards. So now i have to learn a whole new version of sign-language.

                      And here i was thinking it cool that i was learning spanish. The bright side of this is if i can learn ASL I can learn spanish fairly easy. Its basically set up the same. Context clues and leave out all the a,ands, the's and so forth And say all the sentences backwords. Yep, i can do this.
                      "To each his own"


                      • #12
                        SGT DAVE!!!, I know this isn't the ultimate, but its a great way to learn some of the basics. I can speak muy pequna espanol, MUY MUY pequna... still cant type the little symbols "~" . I found this link to be quite benificial. I've learned a lot, as well as a few swear words in latino chat rooms.. lol good luck, maybe we can quiz each other....
                        Oh... Oh... I know you di-int!


                        • #13
                          Well I can not speak spanish but I can read it pretty good and understand it that way. That also lets me understand potugese , french, some german and danish, I was playing a game that was all in polish yesterday, and I know some ASL I understand Korean and I am working on english so I guess as far as langos go I am doing pretty good.

                          Are you a Veteran? If so join AMVETS the only organization that accepts all vets no matter when or where they served. Contact me for more info.


                          • #14
                            I think Manos Arriba, or "hands up" is better. Also I have seen it written "Escribalo". I am going to take a college intro class. The night class I took from a community college was a joke. I have a good tape and book series by Barrons written for law enforcement, social services and emergency workers. I have not discplines myself enough to work with it every day.

                            Since I have been trying to learn Spanish, German keeps popping into my head and confusing me!!!
                            Man hath no greater love than this, then to lay down his life for his friend.
                            "The strength of the wolf is in the pack and the strength of the pack is in the wolf."- Kipling


                            • #15
                              Since Sparky hasn't beaten me to it........

                              Try getting into the class at RCTA in MS. They have a one week Spanish program that is the best I've ever seen. In just 4 hours, I watched them take 40 cops and teach them command of a bunch of very job relevant phrases.

                              They teach simplified, job specific stuff. No "donde esta el bano", they teach cop Spanish.

                              Best part is, the course is tuition free and you stay on Meridian NAS and eat there for free. All it costs you is getting there.

                              Here is their website: www.rcta.org


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