Last updateFri, 21 Sep 2018 10am

Learning to speak Spanish in four minutes

If you’re anything like me, you’re feeling guilty about speaking Spanglish in such a way that it sounds like it might be deep-state code for a coup.

What makes this all worse is that every language program promises you’ll be speaking Spanish in a matter of weeks or days or on the bus to PV.

So I decided to add my version of this express to bilingualism:

1. Studies of Spanish Word Frequency tell us that the 1,000 most frequent words in Spanish account for 87.8 percent of all spoken Spanish. This means you only need to learn around 1,000 words to understand everything you will hear in Spanish, including why Mexican addresses line up like Sudoku puzzles. So, learn vocabulary. Not words you’re only going to use if you become a fracking engineer or a neurologist. No, grow a vocabulary in Spanish with words you find most useful. Good words like bueno (good). You can say bueno to just about anything or anybody. And whatever the conversation, you will have become a cheery part of it. These efforts, however pithy, will be helpful in allowing you to listen more closely. Now, pith is an example of a word you don’t need ... in any language. It’s a useless word.

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