La Frontera Español
The Spanish Frontier
Welcome to the sociable place to learn Spanish, La Frontera Español. We named this page "La Frontera" in honor of a Head Start program that Terry directed many years ago. They held a contest to name the school. I entered my own best choice "The Many People Place," and was disappointed when the name La Frontera--the Frontier--won. That preschool was a frontier where Hispanic children learned English along with their ABC's. In the same way, your journey to learn Spanish will take you to the farthermost limits of your knowledge--your own Spanish frontier. You need a pioneering spirit on this trip.
A large portion of our site gives you tools to learn any language; this page and the pages that link to it focus on Spanish. As we’ve researched topics that will appeal to our visitors, we discovered that Spanish is one of the most popular languages among web searchers. It is one of our favorites too.
Terry and Ann first started to learn Spanish in earnest in the early 70's by attending an eight week intensive Spanish school in Cuernavaca, Mexico. They continued their formal studies when they went to Cusco, Peru in 2009. They followed that up with a trip to Argentina to attend their Argentine daughter's wedding. Andrea is an exchange student who became close to our family when she lived with them during her high school years. My own journey to learn Spanish has been eclectic--very much a Walkabout Language Learning experience. The lessons that I've learned serve as embarkation points on your own Spanish language voyage. Come with me as I share my story.
Lesson 1: Learn Basic Spanish
My first lessons came from friends and associates met through my dad's head start program, La Frontera. Our journey starts in the Sanchez kitchen. Have a seat, it is a bright sunny morning. The kitchen is spotless--the whole house is spic and span in fact. Jenny has a pot of frijoles cooking. The soft smell of beans mingles with the sharp sent of Lysol.
Wait, let me back up a little--let me introduce Jenny & Uly Sanchez. You might have met some people similar to them in my dad's book Soda Springs. If we'd been Catholic, the Sanchez's would have been my God parents. They live in an immaculate house in a small town in Colorado. Jenny, a natural leader, organizes the local Hispanic community's civil rights battle. She's important to my story because her house is the place where I first started to learn Spanish. Sitting at her kitchen table as friends, neighbors and relatives stop by, I hear a song of Spanish and English interlaced into a beautiful melody. From her, I acquire my first basic Spanish lessons. Those years and associations trained my ear to the cadence of Spanish, the rolled "r", the Spanish accent.
Lesson 2: Utilize Free Resources
Do you know what learners of Spanish want most? They want it fast, free and easy. Come on people! You're killing me here. Fast? Think about how long it took you to learn your first language. I can't remember how long it took me to learn English, but I can tell you that it was almost a year before my first child started speaking English, and my second one ... sheesh, he was three before he started to talk in earnest. One to three years, that's how long it takes a child to learn his mother tongue; granted, there is a lot of other stuff going on during that year. You can speed the process along. We will give you some tips, but I'm not promising that you'll learn Spanish in 7 days.
Easy. Again, you're killin' me here! Learning a second language isn't easy. It is a lot of hard work. Your brain is gonna get tired. Your ears are gonna get weary. Your head will ache. And your psyche? It is going to get ripped to shreds. If someone tells you it is easy, they are probably selling you something. Even the linguistically gifted have to work at it--trust me I know. BUT ... but, it is totally worth it.
Free. Finally, you're giving me something to work with. Free. We can definitely do free and nearly free around here. You'll see as you read my story that most of my Spanish language learning was 100% free. My lessons in Jenny's kitchen. My chants of "Viva la huelga" (Long live the strike) on the front lines of the lettuce workers' strike. All free. Click here for one example of how we used the environment to create a free Spanish lesson.
Continue Leslie's Spanish Language Learning Journey
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