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Linguaholic
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Learning Spanish by teaching English.


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I have lived in Central America for 2 years now and came here knowing only a handful of Spanish words.  Local children always seem to want to learn English, and will bring you just about any object and ask you how to say it in English.  On a couple of occasions, I have had the opportunity to have semi-formal classes with some of the kids.. and I found that my preparation for those classes was an excellent way to improve my vocabulary.  Not only do you have to learn how the word is written in Spanish beforehand, but during your actual class, you will get to hear the kids say the word many times in Spanish.

Has anyone else had any success at this? any advice you can offer?

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Never thought of this, but certainly seems to be a great way to improve your Spanish vocabulary.

I would suggest asking those kids to bring up more items that they would like to learn the English meaning, even if only portrayed in a magazine, as in example cars, furniture and so on.

This will surely contribute that you learn more Spanish words.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Interesting... that's like learning Spanish in reverse. Funny enough, even though this sounds new to me, it isn't really. I've met many people here in the States who didn't speak English well. And so something like this usually happens. I just never thought of it in the way you explained since it's just my part of an attempt to have a conversation. Cool!

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When I was teaching the local kids some Spanish I was able to learn some of the words that are used locally. It's totally different living in a poor village. The average education level is grade 6 so, their vocabulary isn't as advanced as it is, in the city, 15 km away. Also, we are picking up some words here and there from our neighbor; for example, yesterday, we learned that they don't call snakes serpientes,  like we had thought.

Another funny this is, we have to go get our electricity bill at one of the corner stores. We went and asked for the "cuenta por de electricidad" They had no idea what we were talking about. During a broken Spanish conversation we learned they call them "recibo de luz"

I think you can learn by teaching children because you have to learn, at least a bit of, what you're teaching, in case they have any questions. Also, student's seem to want to learn literal translations so you have to be prepared for that.

Heh, MyNameIsNotDenzel, I've lived in Mexico for 3 years and can't grasp conversational Spanish one bit. It's depressing how bad I am at it.

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