Hey guys - I'm off to Central/South America for anything up to a year.
Just curious - has anyone gone with only a basic understanding of Spanish (i.e. yes, no and one beer please) and come back fluent or nearly fluent in Spanish? Or would the different dialects around the continent mean that would be very difficult?
I've travelled around for 6 months, and came back with pretty good conversational knowledge, and a fine porteno accent
I wouldn't exactly be able to hold great speeches or converse in literary salons
considering I didn't know more than 10-15 Spanish words when I came,
and didn't have a clue on how to connect them in a sentence,
It turned out great - I'm now pretty much fluent in another language.
If you have at least some inclinations towards language-learning
and an interest to meet and talk to people from different countries, who don't speak much english
you'll definitely learn it in a year
and accents vary from country to country, true,
(it was a shock for me coming to Argentina after couple of months spent in Bolivia - I didn't understand a word for 2-3 days)
but you quickly adapt
[ Edit: Edited on Feb 11, 2007, at 10:32 AM by attaque46 ]
Dialectal differences between countries/regions are marginal, and reside mostly in pronunciation. I wouldn't say I'd be fluent after my 6 months, but the improval is definitely notable.
I arrived in Peru with NO spanish and 7 months later I was holding my own in lots of conversations - heaps of mistakes of course! and plenty of funny embarrassing moments, but I couldnt believe how easily it came.
It really is just so easy when you are immersed in it every day.
I had a Chilean boyf for 3 months who couldnt really speak English so that really propelled the learning experience.
The dialects are different but nothing that you cant get your head around after a few days. The Peruvian and Bolivian Spanish is much slower and mixed with touches of their native languages.
Chilean Spanish is very fast-flowing and has lots of unique phrases and idioms. Argentinian Spanish is different again, a little slower than the CHilean and has hints of Italian in the inflection.
But its nothing you cant manage quickly.