Memorize Chunks Of Spanish For Fluency

Studies have shown that one technique that nearly all successful language learners use is the memorization of chunks of language in the form of phrases, dialogs and texts. The idea is to choose appropriate samples of target language and basically commit them to memory.

To understand why this is an effective technique, you have to see whtat the peoblem is. Writing and speaking Spanish are two very different skills. Writing comes with a safety net. You can always revise your writing. Software will catch most spelling and major grammatical errors automatically. Dictionaries and grammar books can be consulted at leisure. You can mull over the text for some time before sending it off. And, of course--something that I highly recommend--you can have your writing checked by a native speaker or a professional editor.

Speaking does not have such a safety net. Unless you are reading a prepared speech, you are on your own. No spell check, no dictionaries or reference books, no mulling over what you are about to say. Speaking conversational Spanish fluently means finding the right words, putting them in the right order, making all the necessary grammatical adjustments and then articulating them in an intelligible manner. All of this in real-time.

This is why speaking a second language fluently is so difficult and we often end up saying, "I can understand Spanish, but I can't speak it". However, there are some very effective methods and techniques that can make this daunting task of speaking easier.

The idea behind the memorization technique is to overcome the tendency to think too much about grammar and spend time searching for words. Here it is important to emphasize that this memorization must be done in conjunction with some active study of the language.

Let's see how this works with Spanish. Here is a typical sample of spoken Spanish with both literal and idiomatic translations:

Se hace tarde. Tengo que marcharme. Nos vemos.
Itself makes late. I have that to leave myself. Us we see.
It's getting late. I have to leave. I'll be seeing you.

The idea here is to listen to and repeat that sample until you basically know it by heart. You also have to understand how it works. For example, you see three reflexive verbs, hacerse, marcharse and verse. There are also the idioms hacerse tarde and tener que.

Now that you've committed this sample chunk to memory, two things will happen. First, your comprehension of spoken Spanish will increase because you start hearing similar forms that you can decode quickly. You might hear things like:

Se hace noche. Me tengo que marchar.
Night is coming. I have to go.
Se hizo tarde. Tuvimos que marcharnos.
It got late. We had to leave.

The second thing that happens is that you now have a pattern in your head that you can use readily. During the next few days make point of using a variation of this sample a few times each day. With practice it should come out fluently. Then the pattern becomes part of your long-term memory. And this is the whole point. You now have another stepping-stone to fluency in Spanish.

. (First publishd by articles@ezine )