Updated: 22/12/05; 22:44:03.
Really Learn Spanish

A series of podcasts aimed at helping you in your efforts to learn Spanish using unconventional techniques I developed during the seven years I spent in Spain teaching English and learning Spanish.

If you're using Windows you can stream the audio by clicking on the speaker icon next to the podcast you're interested in or download the mp3 by right-clicking and choosing "Save Link As". If you're using Mac OS or Linux you already know what you're doing. And now, of course, you can just use iTunes!

If you are interested in Johan van Rooyen's views on other matters, please visit http://azania.wordpress.com.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

3:45:12 PM    comment []

Thursday, December 8, 2005

12:22:23 AM    comment []

Monday, December 5, 2005

11:41:32 PM    comment []

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

For anyone who might miss my comment attached to the previous post, here's the text again:

"Thanks everyone for your kind support! I must apologise for having been so quiet for so long. Unfortunately I have been very busy with a number of things which could not wait and, even now, I have just completed 'phase one' of redecorating our kitchen. Over the next few weeks I hope to get it together so that another podcast emerges even though, at the moment, I have to fight a path through the rubble and building materials to even get to my Mac and I only have a very vague idea of where the mixer and the mic might be."
9:07:41 AM    comment []

Friday, July 1, 2005

Open up iTunes and click on "Podcasts" in the left-hand pane - it should be the first item after "Library". If you can't find the "Podcasts" item you almost certainly need to update your iTunes to the latest version.

Now you will either see the colourful podcast directory or a list of podcasts you have already subscribed to. In the latter case you need to click on "Podcast Directory" towards the bottom left of the right-hand pane. On the left of the right-hand pane you'll now find a search box above the words "Search All Podcasts". Using this box, type in "Really Learn Spanish" and hit [enter]/[return].

You'll now get two entries for "Really Learn Spanish" - one I believe is a mirror of sorts which does not appear to update and you'll want to avoid subscribing to it. The good one is the one that has "johan.vanrooyen@gmail.com" as the artist. Just click on the "Subscribe" button and you'll be taken to your subscriptions page or whatever it's called. The most recent podcast - currently no. 5 - will start downloading automatically. You can download the others by clicking on the "Get" button next to each individual podcast.

In order to have easy access to podcasts on your iPod you first need to update your software and then go Settings>Main Menu>Podcasts>On.

10:42:25 PM    comment []

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

7:46:36 AM    comment []

Saturday, April 30, 2005

"I've been watching a lot of Friends dubbed into Spanish, which is good because I already know who everyone is and what's going on because I've seen most of them before in English. They do speak very fast, and the deadpan delivery makes it hard to tell which bits are meant to be funny, but the canned laughter helps. I'm picking up lots and lots of little phrases and fragments, and I get excited when I understand a whole chunk at once. I think there are two skills involved in listening: the first is actually decoding a continuous stream of speech into its component words, and the second is knowing what those Spanish words mean. It's the first skill that really benefits from a lot of listening. What used to be high-speed noise seems to magically crystallise after a while into well-formed Spanish sentences. Even if you don't understand the sentences completely, you can get valuable context to help you guess the words you don't know.

And as he points out, you always get things in context. Certain phrases and constructions crop up absolutely all the time, and you just learn them as blocks or templates which you can use to build sentences. If you start off by learning grammar, and you know past participles are formed by taking the infinitive stem and adding '-ado' for -AR verbs and 'ido' for -ER/IR verbs, you might have trouble remembering whether it's 'he olvidado' or 'he olvidido' for 'I forgot'. You have to remember which kind of verb the infinitive is and work forwards from there, and you could still get it wrong. On the other hand, if you listen to a lot of Spanish, you've probably heard people say 'he olvidado' a million times, and you never once heard them say 'he olvidido', so you just know.

It's this 'just knowing' which gives you a big confidence boost. Words, phrases and sentences arrive in your brain fully-formed and correctly pronounced, without you having to laboriously construct them from grammatical rules and then double-check that all the adverbs agree and so on. Similarly with listening comprehension, after a while you start understanding things as blocks of meaning, not individual words. Translating word by word into English is much too slow when people are speaking at full speed - you need to hear the Spanish, understand what's being said without mentally working out an English translation, and immediately be ready to listen to the next bit.

It's a little bit Zen because you need to stop trying so hard to understand and just let the sounds come in. I could liken it to Magic Eye for the ears, because it's when you stop struggling and let your subconscious brain get on with it that it suddenly happens. At first in flashes, but then in bigger and bigger chunks until you can understand whole sections of dialogue. When you're not focusing on mentally translating into English, you've got time to absorb context and body language and facial expressions which all help convey what's being said."

1:00:35 PM    comment []

Monday, April 18, 2005

Having uploaded the last cast and having listened to it (in that order!) I now realise how appalling the editing is - my apologies. I will rerecord and re-edit it and upload it again at the same time as I upload the next podcast.

One of my other options was to fix it straight away which would have been the best but I have to go to work now and I anticipate a busy week ahead. The other option I discarded was to upload it next weekend, for example, but then people may think they've downloaded podcast no. six and might be disappointed or angry or whatever at discovering all they got was another version of no. five.

7:40:25 AM    comment []

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Third Anniversary of the 48 Hour Coup in Venezuela
Dinner Table Conversation
Which Books to Read (following on from Podcast 1)
Dave Slusher has a Good Idea and an Invitation



First Transcript:

Que hay una mano invisible: el mercado que todo lo arregla. Mentira, mentira, mil veces mentira. Claro que hay otros caminos y en Venezuela lo estamos demostrando.

He tenido que aguantar las más grandes presiones internacionales, pero no me importa nada. Si algún día me toca bajar al quinto infierno para defender el pueblo bolivariano de Venezuela pues me iré al quinto infierno para defenderlo...

Second Transcript:

Quiero hacer un llamado, y esto es quizás lo más importante que yo quiero decir hoy. ¿Hoy es domingo, ya?
Domingo, ¿qué fecha?
Catorce de abril. Yo, pues he estado incomunicado en las últimas horas y no tenía ninguna información, tenía una angustia muy grande. Y lo primero y más importante que digo a todos los venezolanos es que vuelvan a sus casas, que vuelva la calma.
Ustedes venezolanas, ustedes venezolanos que me adversan, pues advérsenme. Yo no puedo... trataré de que ... de hacerlos cambiar, ojalá. Pero ustedes no pueden adversar esta constitución. Porque esto es un libro para todos, es como el Popul Vuh, aquel libro de los Maya. El Popul Vuh, el libro de todos, el libro de la comunidad. Tienen que reconocer todo esto.
Y sobre todo algo. Oye, no se dejen envenenar. No permitan que los envenenen, ¡con tantas cosas y tantas mentiras!

11:57:09 PM    comment []

Monday, April 11, 2005

Apologies for the long delay. I have now started work on the next installment of Really Learn Spanish and it should go out by Monday the 18th. As the last podcast concentrated heavily on grammar, this time I'll talk about dinner table conversation and look at which books you might want to read in Spanish.

8:15:39 AM    comment []

Sunday, March 6, 2005

Direct and indirect object pronouns explained

Pronunciation tip for beginners
11:54:26 PM    comment []

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Hola amigos y amigas:

No podcast as I had hoped I'm afraid. I have been agonizing about bandwidth. As podcasting becomes more widely known my traffic has increased exponentially. I used to expect about 2.5GB of downloads during the week following a new episode of Really Learn Spanish and just a healthy trickle thereafter. For the past three weeks though I've been dropping about 1GB every two days and that's been without any new posts! I was using Streamload to host the mp3 files at a cost of $9.95 a month for unlimited storage but only 10GB worth of bandwidth.

I was at the point of making an announcement that I was going to cease podcasting until I've figured out how to use cheaper but much more technically demanding web hosting when I came across a reference by Dave Winer about Roger Strickland's Slapcast. This is an excellent service albeit still in beta. I now get 1GB of storage space for $4.95 (that should be good for about 200 podcasts) and, best of all, unlimited bandwidth.

So now this technical hurdle has been dealt with I'm hoping to do the fourth instalment during the course of this week and upload it by the end of next Monday, 7th March.

On the comments to this blog and via some direct emails there have been a number of suggestions for topics and in the next few episodes I will be dealing with:

Mastering the use of indirect and direct pronouns;
Reflexive verbs;
Conversation skills for "sitting round the dinner table"
(Eddis Jefferson)

How not to translate phrasal verbs into Spanish (Drew Domkus)

Usage of the different forms of the past tense in Spanish (Paul Wilson)

More on what novels to read in Spanish (Ian McCallum)

More on regional pronunciation (Erich Viedge; Andres Corral)

¡Hasta pronto!

11:30:31 PM    comment []

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A serious attempt will me made to get one done this weekend.

¡Muchas gracias por su paciencia!


10:11:54 PM    comment []

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

No explanation, probably just "routine server maintenance"...

9:13:14 AM    comment []

Currently there appears to be a problem with the server hosting the Really Learn Spanish mp3 files. Hopefully this will just be a temporary situation.

In the meantime a BitTorrent of the latest (third) installment is available here and the first three installments are available, as a 16MB package, from here.

Many thanks to Greg Schwartz for alerting me to the problem!

7:46:01 AM    comment []

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Making mistakes
Some serious grammar!
Differences in Spanish across the world
Dave Slusher is back...briefly

Related links:
The Real Academia Española has an excellent query answering service
Dave Slusher leads a discussion on reading in Spanish

12:55:36 AM    comment []

Friday, January 21, 2005

¡Aqui estamos de nuevo!

Finally managed to transfer my files from the rescued hard drive of the old PC onto the new Power Mac. Plenty of distractions on the way - the last Mac OS I used was 7.1 so there have been plenty of great new stuff to get acquainted with. For those interested, I made the mistake of copying the old radio.root file over on top of the new installation. Anyway, once I realized my mistake I had a new working installation of Radio Userland (with nothing apparently lost) up and running within five minutes.

Well given that I am back in business, I will try to do the third edition of RLS this weekend and up it by the end of Monday, London time.

¡Hasta entonces!

12:28:26 AM    comment []

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Amigos oyentes:
Dear listeners,

I'm afraid the third edition of Really Learn Spanish needs to be postponed a little bit more. Unfortunately I recently came down ill with a temperature of 38.9 at one stage. The third edition will be out in the next few days but I am reluctant to make a specific promise. I will be responding to the many kind people who have been commenting positively on this series. I have yet to receive any negative comments but please note I will reply to both positive and negative feedback as soon as I can.


Johan van Rooyen
11:05:33 PM    comment []

Thursday, December 2, 2004

...should be available by Monday the 6th. Apologies for the delay - future podcasts should follow fairly regularly on or before the end of every Monday (UK time).

12:18:09 AM    comment []

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Mucho; mas; demasiado
Spelling out words in Spanish
Pronunciation pitfall and -ado
My hands are tied

12:26:10 AM    comment []

Friday, November 19, 2004

Initial response has been very positive. Adam Curry featured the first podcast on his Daily Source Code of 16 November 2004 and again the next day. Nick Starr whose Mini Source Code gives us his own daily take on Adam's show (a great summary when you don't have time for the whole thing) also had good things to say. Jim Corbett wrote about it on Eirepreneur and has been very helpful with emailed suggestions and advice. Tyme made some detailed comments on her blog - she's got the right attitude and is going to be a good student. Drew, from The Dawn and Drew Show, is enthusiastic because he wants to revive his dormant Spanish. Both Dawn and Drew think Really Learn Spanish is awesome! Craig Patchett wrote me and pointed out that if you know Spanish pronunciation you'll have no trouble at all in pronouncing Hawaiian!
Nicole Simon finds the way Spanish differs from English fascinating.

8:59:16 PM    comment []

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Pronunciation, pronunciation, pronunciation...
Star pupil: Dave Slusher
Tips on vastly increasing your vocabulary
Beginners: When to use "Yo", when not

8:25:25 AM    comment []

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