Practicing Spanish

Learning a language is difficult, but I’m enjoying the process. I’m currently learning Spanish. However, Japanese is also on my wish list for the future.  Duolingo makes the process fun. It’s great at building your vocabulary of words and phrases, and learning tenses. It’s good at teaching you to read and write the language. Duolingo even does a decent job letting you practice pronouncing and hearing phrases. I do enjoy it – not just the website, but also the iPhone app. Duolingo does have it’s limits though. It can’t really help with conversation. To truly practice conversation, you need other people.

This brings me to my problem – What’s the best way to find people in your area that you can practice with on your conversation skills? You can’t just walk up to random people on the street, hoping they speak your desired foreign language. People always say immersion is the best way to learn. However, I’m not moving to a Spanish-speaking country anytime soon. I live in Seattle, and while Seattle is a liberal, progressive city, it’s not exactly flourishing in multiple languages – particularly Spanish. Sometimes there are language meetups. Seattle has one. How much can one learn from weekly meeting for an hour or so? I have no idea. I’m willing to look into it though.

Everyday conversation is essential, but I do have an additional interest. I’m a web developer that focuses on PHP and WordPress. Being a web developer, is like being in any other profession. There are words unique to that profession, but there is also a way of expressing oneself. If you’re a doctor, accountant, or a fitness trainer, you also have this. For example the word developer in Spanish is desarrollador. Say that 10 times fast!  I want to learn to speak like a Spanish software developer. I think it’d be great to be able to speak at a conference in Spanish. Bonus points if the crowd can understand me and they like my talk!  Blogs will be a big help to learn the words and ideas. I hope there are good conference videos in Spanish available online, but I have no idea where they are yet. They’ll be useful for helping me get used to listening to Spanish. However, I’ll still need to practice speaking. Maybe Skype calls with people would be helpful? If only I could find the people.

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