Categories Learning Spanish - Tips and Resources

Learning Spanish Grammar: Tim Gambrill’s website

If only all of us took notes like Tim Gambrill’s while we were studying Spanish… Tim G (who you may have come across in our forum) has been studying Spanish since 1998, and has taken his level all the way to the top. Luckily for the rest of us, Tim has put his incredibly detailed notes on the Internet, creating a fantastic Spanish grammar website that we really recommend checking out.

We asked Tim how he came to put this great resource on the web, and for a couple of tips for anyone keen to learn Spanish:

“Well I’d spent quite a while at the language school, making a whole bunch of hand-written notes along the way. By the time I’d finished 3 months there, plus the odd week or two later on, the notes were in a pretty sorry state, so I typed them up in MS-Word. A couple of friends had asked for copies, so I thought I’d put them up on the web… Then I realised that Word documents aren’t the most friendly of things if you’re just hunting for something on the web, so I created individual pages for each of the lessons.”

Tim’s tips

1. I often find myself either before a conversation thinking of the things I might say and then think of them in Spanish, or after a conversation going over parts of what was said and seeing how I would phrase them in Spanish. I have several Spanish and Hispanic friends, and also try to hear how *they* would say it (in their native accents). Similarly (and here I assume most people have some sort of inner dialogue – or monologue – going on in their head most of the time), I try to think through this inner dialogue in Spanish rather than English. Note that I try *not* to translate between the two, but to think in Spanish (this might be a problem if you don’t have sufficient vocabulary or knowledge of grammatical structures).

2. Precis can be a powerful tool for trying to hone your comprehension. Pick a fairly short newspaper article (in English or Spanish), read it through a couple of times, then try to produce a precis of it in the other language. This is not a literal translation exercise, but a way to check if you’ve been able to pick out the important parts and the flow of the article. Hopefully the precis would have a similar structure to the article ( the typical introduction – development – conclusion). You should try written and spoke precis. It’s surprising how much more difficult it can be to come up with a reasonable spoken version.

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