— Spanish —

Destinos & Lengua Española

Raquel explica la trama.



Monday, January 19th, 2015

DESTINOS: Master your fate — ¡en español!

I learned French by means of the video series French in Action, and since I found such success with that method, I was ecstatic to find that there was another series made by the same company a couple years later (circa 1990) called Destinos. Main character Raquel, a lawyer, travels around the enormous and culturally diverse Spanish speaking world to help solve a mystery for a family. It has a slight touch of Spanish language soap opera, which is fantastic (soap operas are currently helping me learn Russian). The series is graded, started at completely elementary level, and advancing through a full first year or so of college level Spanish. It is lots of fun, engaging, and for me was the key to learning the language.

If you've heard the tale that knowing one Romance language makes studying another fairly easy, and that knowing two makes learning the third even simpler, I come to report those rumors as positively true. I was fluent in Italian, Latin, and French when I started Destinos, and in a profoundly fulfilling way it felt like coming to know another estranged sibling of a grand family. If you aspire to being a polyglot, I can tell you it is an endless joy to connect with other people in words that were once very recently quite alien. The linkages between these different yet similar European languages and their mutual social effects can only truly be appreciated by those who get into the spoken and written languages that occupy the continent. I love English, and learning other languages always makes me appreciate my native tongue more as I embrace the new idiom, but living a life in translation abroad will surely leave you lost in translation.


I learned Latin by means of an amazing book called LINGVA LATINA, and I have dreamed of finding something remotely approaching that text's magnificence for years. Other than its Greek counterpart, none seems to exist, but the book Lengua Española by Svetoslava Staykova, a Bulgarian living in Spain, is a very deliberate attempt to copy Ørberg's method for Latin. I have a text from 2006 when it was still in only limited release, a sort of beta version I suppose, so the book had a lot of typos. I communicated with her by email to help her out with some of them since she had only sold it to a select few at the time. Even my beta version copy was nevertheless very helpful to me when I was a beginner, especially since it operates bythe method I loved and trusted from LINGVA LATINA. You can order a copy of the book here.

Destinos is probably the more helpful of the two, but you will need to become literate somehow. The amount of Spanish learning material out there is terrific, so once you watch Destinos I recommend augementing it with any other activity — reading, writing, conversing — whatever appeals to you.




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