I think to some degree method is probably going to vary somewhat depending on the person? One can intuit a great deal of meaning without ever learning, not just conjugation or a more formal vocabulary, but almost any words. I am ashamed to confess that I cheated through my high school Spanish courses as through all other courses at that point -- so I had enough to be 'foundational' but not more -- and then spent six months in Mexico, and could understand what people said to me quite well (I could understand sermons, conversations, made my way around Mexico City alone on public transportation etc); but it was all so very mysterious because I never learned even the words I apparently understood when others used them, which became obvious when I tried to read something, or to speak to others. I would vote for rigorous formal instruction under an autocratic teacher personally . I think it's the only method that would work for me. -----Added 12/8/2009 at 09:37:56 EST----- PS. Perhaps you should have this moved to the 'paedo answers' forum .