San Felipe, Baja, Mexico

¿Quiere hablar español?

Spanish is one of ten languages that make up an Indo-European Superfamily of languages which include English, French, Portuguese, Russian, German, Italian and Romanian. So in effect, Spanish is distantly related to English. You'd think it would be easier to learn, right? Well, most unilingual people over the age of 30 have a tough time learning any language. Probably because the capacity to learn tends to atrophy as our world view solidifies.

El Libro Vaquero
El Libro Vaquero

There are various ways to approach the learning of Spanish. Full immersion, that is, locating yourself in a neighborhood where only Spanish is spoken, is not for the faint of heart. But it is the quickest way to learn the language. You literally have to swim or sink with this method.

Computer programs can help with pronunciation, but because of the kind of Spanish spoken in the Baja, they might do more harm than good when it comes to actually speaking. Local people tend to talk a more streamlined version of their language, disregarding most of the 14 verb tenses. It might be a torturous experience for them to stand there while you try to conjugate the Present Subjunctive of the verb retire.

One good way to learn Spanish is to buy 'revistas', or Mexican comic books, and read them with a good dictionary on hand. There are many of these books on the market, some racey and others quite pedestrian. You'll become acquainted with the local colloquialisms from them. El Libro Vaquero is a good one. The plus side of this method is that you soon improve your Spanish reading skills. The negative side is you don't get to hear the language if you are just reading and in a conversation, you may be able to formulate sentences based on what you've read, but a vocal reply from your partner will likely leave your face blank.

Mexican comic books have a burgeoning pantheon of superheroes, click here for a look. And if you'd like to learn a little about the history of Mexican Comic Books, click here.

Language School is always an option.

In San Felipe, Spanish classes are often made available. Look for the posters.

Learn Spanish OnlineLivemocha is the world's largest online language learning community. 6 million Livemocha members appreciate this simple, effective approach to language learning. The most natural way to learn a language is with help from real native speakers.

Another site that looks promising for learning Spanish online. HERE

Other ways involve palm-held Spanish phrase and dictionary computers, off-the-shelf Baja phrase books, renting local videos and comparing the subtitles with the audio, going to the movies in Mexicali, hiring Mexican domestics, watching the Tele-Novelas (Soap Operas) on TV, and the most extreme resource of all --getting arrested and thrown into a Mexican penitentiary. I don't recommend the last method.

Whatever approach you take, you'll find Spanish to be a very sonorous, melodic language. After all, it IS one of the Romance Languages. And of course things will seem easier once you can communicate in your adopted country's native tongue.