For anyone wanting to learn another language: I'm learning Spanish at the moment. I love learning new things so I'm loving it. But it's hard. I'm relatively old, so I have a brain that is perhaps a little more resistant; I can tell you that it feels like it's solid cement up there when I'm trying to speak the simple phrases we're learning. Nevertheless, I still believe that it's possible.
The books I'm using are:
Basic Spanish by Ana Jarvis, along with Basic Spanish for Medical Personnel. The reviews on Amazon aren't great but most of the bad reviews were remarking on the cost and let's face it, text books are expensive. I think the books are just fine for beginning.
To understand what is required to learn a new language (and to perhaps inspire any older students) there is a great little book out there called The Word Brain
. You can print the PDF or read it online. The author taught himself to speak Arabic at 50, so he is an inspiration to me. He tells you how to learn another language and how much work it will entail. He speaks English and many other languages beside Arabic. If (big if?) you have the discipline, you can teach yourself.
For Spanish, I've found some great online resources:
News in Slow Spanish
Unfortunately, the News in Slow Spanish and BBC Spanish teach the Spanish spoken in Spain, which is slightly different from the Spanish spoken over on this side of the pond. News in Slow Spanish has a Latin America link on every episode and there are also links to two audio books in slow (Latin American) Spanish, which sound great. You need a pretty good vocabulary to understand News in Slow Spanish; it's not for the rank beginner.
The BBC Spanish beginner's website has a fun interactive murder mystery.
I'm also going to use the text-to-speech (TTS) software from NextUp
called TextAloud to create audio drill sets (think audio flash cards) to build my vocabulary and teach my brain to recognize spoken Spanish. I'm pretty serious about learning Spanish. I'm dreaming about visiting some Spanish speaking locales... But I do hope this will make me more desirable as an employee.