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How to Refresh My Rusty Spanish

by Flora Richards-Gustafson

If you’ve let your Spanish get rusty, refresh your language skills with the same techniques that you used to learn it. The best way to pick up Spanish again depends on the individual. After you find the learning methods that work well for you, practice the language consistently to avoid losing any of your Spanish-speaking skills.

Speak With Others

Speak as much Spanish as possible. Partner with a native Spanish speaker who is willing to help you practice your Spanish-speaking skills. Community Latino cultural centers often offer such opportunities. Another good way to refresh your Spanish is to travel to a country where Spanish is the primary language so that you can have an immersion experience. Such countries include Costa Rica, Mexico and Spain. Another option is to join a university's Spanish club that's open to the public. In this type of club, participants regularly gather and talk to each other and native speakers only in Spanish. A Michigan State University study shares that this type social engagement helps individuals improve their Spanish-speaking skills. As you brush up on your Spanish, don’t be afraid to make mistakes and sound silly.

Spanish-Language Media

Immerse yourself in Spanish by watching Spanish-language television shows and movies. Gustavo Arellano of the national column "Ask a Mexican!" suggests watching the latest news on Univisión to learn about events occurring around the world. Watch your favorite movie in Spanish by changing the language option on a DVD to reinforce your grammar and vocabulary skills. The "Languages" section of the BBC.co.uk site features a list of online Spanish-language news, TV and radio sources, as well as videos in Spanish. A December 2012 "Telegraph" article also recommends listening to podcasts and music in Spanish. Edufone.com and SpanishtheEZWay.com offer free Spanish lessons in podcast form.

Read in Spanish

Brush up on your Spanish by reading. Subscribe to a magazine of interest that’s in Spanish, or visit websites in Spanish. For example, if you like crafts, type “manualidades,” which means "crafts," in a search engine’s text box to see a list of crafting sites. The type of reading material that you should choose depends on your skill level. If you're a beginner, read comic books or children's books in Spanish. If you're more advanced, read the Spanish counterpart of your favorite book. Many popular authors, like Stephen King or Stephenie Meyer, have books translated into Spanish. You can also read books by Spanish-speaking authors, like Pablo Neruda or Isabel Allende. Many libraries offer a selection of books for children and adults in Spanish that you can check out, so you can practice your reading and comprehension skills at the level that suits you best.

Take Spanish Classes

Sign up for an immersion Spanish class at the skill level that you think is best for you. Look for a class that's taught mostly in Spanish and reviews grammar, vocabulary and the use of accent marks. Intermediate and advanced classes should review the differences in words and phrases throughout the countries in Latin America. In such a class, you'd learn, for example, that the word "chino" means a person from China in Costa Rica, an orange in Puerto Rico and curly hair in Mexico. When you feel more confident in your abilities, sign up for advanced immersion courses, like cooking or literature classes. A July 2010 “Forbes” article shares that taking classes in Spanish, not necessarily Spanish classes, helps you challenge yourself so that you can have a better understanding of the language and Latino culture. If you're unable to take Spanish classes in classroom setting, you can view online video lessons created by Spanish teachers on sites like TheSpanishBlog.com or SenorJordan.com.

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