That's a question one hears a lot in Mexico, as well one should, this being mostly a Spanish speaking country. You already know how I feel about making a serious attempt to learn the language. Without it, one misses a lot, not the least of which is the opportunity for real communication and friendship with the nationals.
That said, I am a lazy learner. Often, I fall back on phrases I learned years ago instead of refining them into something beyond second-grade Spanish. I go through spurts where I'll take a class or study like crazy, after which I seem satisfied with jabbering at whatever level I've reached. I do certainly have wonderful lengthy conversations with the locals throughout the country...but I can't help but wonder what I actually say sometimes.
Now, our old friend Travis is a horse of a different color. He has a tutor. He studies daily, and I mean for hours. He has a conversation partner. He finds books and websites and actually uses them.
A while back, he passed along a discovery to me, which I am now inspired to pass on to you. It's a language learning website. But it's more than that. It's an idea whose time has come. And it's fun, too.
The introduction to this concept/website is in the following video. It's 16 minutes long, more or less. You've got time.
In it, you will meet Luis von Ahn, a most marvelous man who is changing the way the web works. Even if you care nothing about learning a language, I encourage you to watch this and revel in the imagination and technical skill being put to work to make the web...and the world...more accessible to all.
When this TED talk was filmed, one of the things of which he speaks--the language site--was not yet available to the public. It is now. It's called Duolingo.com. It's not just another language learning site: it has a value far beyond the individual.
I finally started playing with it recently. I'm hooked. I've passed it on to others here in San Pancho who are also hooked. This hooked is a good thing, I'm convinced.
I hope you'll watch the Ted talk even if you don't care about learning Spanish or any other language. You may be inspired to go to Duolingo...or you may be inspired to something greater. Mr. von Ahn is that kind of guy.
I'm adding the links again at the bottom of this post so they're real easy to click on. In case you're lazy, like me.