Going to Peru in 7 weeks


I'm currently taking the Spanish course and learn as much as I can before my trip. I can probably do at least 10 lessons a day. How should I spend my time ? Doing all the skills to level 1 or focus on the most important one ? I feel like I need more than level one to actually remember something from a lesson.

Is it possible to reach something semi-functionnal in this short of a time or do I need to take more lessons or just try something else than Duolingo.


September 1, 2019


Peru! How exciting. I hiked the Inca Trail from near Sacsayhuaman to Machu Picchu about 20 years ago. Good times.

All you need to do is get a handful of coca leaves and a ball of chol and put it in your mouth and chew it like Big-League chew. They'll show you how to do it, and it's perfectly legal there. You'll be speaking Spanish like a pro in no time.


September 1, 2019

Oof. Sound's like I'm gonna die doing that

September 1, 2019

haha. It's the hike that's more likely to kill you.

Anyway, Peru is grand. I've only seen a small portion of the country (one week in Lima, four days in Cuzco, four days on the trail, and some random excursions around the interior), but I think you'll have a wonderful time. The overwhelming majority of Peruvians I've met are friendly. Some even fed me and gave me water when I was hungry and stupid enough to wander into the mountains without food or drink and got lost.

As for the question about learning Spanish in 7 weeks, probably not to a level of proficiency where you'll be hired to host a prime-time talk show on national television, but you should be to the point of making basic requests if you work at it every day between now and then. Don't let duolingo be your only resource. Watch some blogs. Listen to some talking heads on the news. My advice is to avoid movies at this point. That may be controversial, as others will tell you to do that, but movies are wicked hard to understand in foreign languages. You're better off with talking heads on the news. It may be boring and depressing, but they enunciate clearly and are generally well educated. You can develop the slang once you get there. There are also numerous weblogs on Youtube for beginning and intermediate Spanish.

Most importantly: don't let anyone tell you that Spanish Spanish is so very different than Andean Spanish or Mexican Spanish or Rioplatense Spanish. They are not so different. Any Spanish is Spanish and any exposure to any variety of that language is helpful to you at this point, so long as you're not wasting your time watching action-packed movies where every sentence is slang and every character swallows his words and speaks with a mouthful of food or cigarette.

Have fun.

September 2, 2019

Hi there! I learn Spanish by doing Duolingo and by doing something called I think you should try it!

September 1, 2019

I also took a course on Udemy! it's a small one but I hope it help

September 1, 2019

It might be better to get a phrase book and try to learn phrases you are likely to encounter.

September 1, 2019

I tried to use Memrise too because I red that it's better for vocabulary but I can't use it without paying unfortunately

September 1, 2019

I live in Perú, it is one of my favorite countries. What helps me the most is doing each "circle" to level 2, then I go back and complete 3 as a refresher. Then I go back and do 4and 5, usually while I watch TV or listen to news in my target language so it's more "subliminal learning".

Have an amazing trip! Here we call it Castellano, not Español. I have also lived in México (that's our spanish accent and slang) but also España, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay, y Chile....and Perú has a nice, even accent and pronunciation so it's great for new speakers. Youtube, CNÑ, other online sites are great. If you live in America watch Univision, Telemundo, etc for local news en español plus you hear native speaker vocabulary not textbook stuff. Netflix has a lot of options but many are filmed in Madrid and it is a distinct way of speaking. People here are friendly and most will patiently help you communicate.

September 1, 2019

Thank you for the advice! I was actually trying to get everything to level 2 because the first level is really easy. Haven't done anything above level 3 but it look hard to do while doing something else. I'll try to watch some show with subtitle. I head that case de papel is really good on netflix so I'll give it a try when I'm a bit more advanced!

September 1, 2019

Perú is a beautiful country. My wife and I went there for half of our honeymoon (the other half was Argentina).

The people are great, the food is of excellent quality, yet inexpensive. There are ruins and culture everywhere.

In looking for language books, I have come across publisher DK, which have a series of English to target language visual dictionaries. I know they have a Spanish version and is divided into sections, so they probably have hotel/restaurant setting. This will not teach you to speak, but is great for gaining vocabulary. They also have phrasebooks. If I recall correctly, the series is called "Learn (language) in 15 minutes" and I understand they are travel-focused. Lastly, I recently saw "Travel to (insert country name)". Chances are they have one on Perú. I have not checked these books out, so I am not sure how much you can get out of them languagewise.

As stated by other posters, try and find a radio station from the city you are visiting so you can fine tune your ear to the language. Radio Garden is my go to resource for this.

Using all of these resources combined with Duo should make you fairly confortable.

Last but not least, I recall a few words from my trip. These are "regionalismos", meaning they are unique to Perú:

Garúa - a very light rainfall, as it seldom rains in Lima.

Chifa - a Chinese food restaurant. I met several Peruvians of Chinese ancestry (on of them a tour guide). He explained 'chifa' comes from "(to) eat rice"

Soroche - The name for height sickness.

September 2, 2019

Without creating a big wall of text, a few short answers:
If you FEEL you need to repeat something, just do it.
If you aren't interested in a topic right now, you might leave it alone at level 1
It's not a lot of time, I'm afraid you can't get very far - but you should follow your global plan "learn as much as you can" :)
There's a lot of additional material around, I have no idea where to start... (again because of that little time)

Regards Dirk

September 1, 2019

I already gave a longer answer in this thread:

"Challenge: Learn Spanish in 40 days from scratch":

I would try to stick to "Memrise Decks" (user-created courses, or the web portal for their official 1-7 course series), 50languages, RoughGuides phrasebook, LonelyPlanet and something similar like this.

If you have a real budget available, you can also try Brent's commercial learning website

The web demo is free.
You will learn phrases / sentences there and you have to repeat those.

September 2, 2019
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