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Spanish 101A Online

Spanish 101A

Spanish 101B

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How to Tackle the Workbook and Laboratory work in conjunction with the text readings:
Students recommend that the absolutely BEST way to understand and retain the material is to follow this study procedure:

1) Read a grammar section that covers one grammar point (or a vocabulary section) from the assigned textbook pages -not necessarily the entire reading assignment at once.

2) Go back to the Horario (Calendar) and click on the topic links for the day. This will take you to a more detailed explanation of the grammar topic with more examples. Then click on the practice games in the Practice Zone.

3) When you feel you have the hang of it, log into and select the Workbook activities and complete those exercises which are specific to ONLY that grammar point (or vocabulary section).

4) If you did well on the Workbook exercises, then select the laboratory exercises that correspond to the same grammar point (or vocabulary section), and again. You may want to review the Grammar Notes and try more of the Practice activities and then try the homework again.

5) Keep your text with you as you listen to exercises. The grammar covered in the activities is based on the grammar point in the textbook.

6) NOW, you can read the next grammar point, and so on until you have finished the assigned readings and homework.

  • Building your vocabulary: Language is a physical skill so a good way to tackle vocabulary is to utilize your phenomenal body memory. Don't try to cram language into your head like knowledge-based courses (like History or Literature.) Language is like dance or baseball - it needs to become a physical reflex. 
    • Label your belongings, household and office items. Post-it notes are great and temporary.  When you look in the mirror everyday and see "espejo" taped to it, it is a daily reinforcement of the word espejo.
    • Draw a poster with clothing and place it near your closet.  As you get dressed you can remind yourself that you are putting on your pantalones and your zapatos.
    • Explain aloud what you are eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  These are kinesthetic learning prompts which offer you an efficient alternative method of learning a second language. 
  • In regard to study techniques, create a notebook of handy phrases.  Use note cards or papers as flashcards. Have someone "test" you with your notes to see how much you have learned (our tutor is a great person for this!)
  • It is important that you read aloud.  While listening to the audio material is critical to accustom your ear to the sounds and rhythm of Spanish, it is equally important that you practice saying the words yourself.  Your body remembers what it does and language is an action, not a concept.
  • A common concern among beginning students is that Spanish speakers "talk too fast."  There are two reasons that Spanish speakers appear to speak rapidly.
    • One is that students are actively "trying" to understand the speaker.  In making this effort, students tend to focus on every word.  We really don't do this in our own language because we are familiar with our language's structure and phrases.  We listen only for pertinent information.  Learn to listen for key words or phrases that will tell you what the speaker is talking about rather than trying to determine exactly what individual words the speaker is saying.
    • The other factor that makes Spanish sound faster is the way words are pronounced.  In English we have many words that end in consonant sounds.  This results in a crisp indication of where one word ends and the next word begins.  In Spanish, most words end in vowels which blend easily into the next word.  This "linking" of sounds is called "liaison" and is responsible for 'mi hijo' (mee EE-ho) sounding like `mijo' (MEE-ho).  We do this a little in English: rather than saying "I am going to", we often say "I'm gonna".  In the South you hear "y'all" rather than "you all".  With practice, you will become accustomed to the sounds and rhythms of Spanish.