What types of sentences are easiest for beginners to understand, presuming that the beginner has already learned the relevant meaning of all of the words contained in the sentence? Presume also that we are talking about sentences that contain no idiomatic phrases, for example phrasal verbs.
I'm a native English speaker learning Spanish. I'm exposed to Spanish on a daily basis and when I hear a word a few times I will ask for its meaning. I find that this method allows me to learn words in an effortless manner. I'm now at the stage where I wish to understand sentences. Recently I heard the sentence "Yo no lo creo". Immediately I realised that I understood all of the words in the sentence, and tried to establish its meaning: Yo->I, no->not, lo->it, creo->think. "I not it think". Ah, it means "I don't think so". It took me a number of seconds to arrive at this meaning. And each time I hear the sentence I'm forced to repeat the steps once again - frustrating! Therefore, I get the feeling that this is not a good sentence for beginners even if it contains common simple words and even if those words carry their literal meanings. This is because the sentence is so abstract and because I am not thinking in Spanish since I am converting each word to English before I can establish the meaning of the sentence.
Anyway, I have a large list of sentences contains only those words that I have learned so far. A friend of mine who speaks Spanish has offered to record these sentences for me so that I can practice with them. Here is an example of some of these sentences:
- está todo bien: is everything okay
- yo no lo creo: i don't think so
- eso eres tú: that thou art
- cómo era ella: what was she like
- lo tienes todo: do you have everything
- está ella en casa: is she at home
- me siento bien gracias: i'm feeling fine thanks
- sé que lo puedes hacer mejor: i know you can make it better
- dónde estaba eso: where was that
- cómo te va: how are you doing
- tú lo eres todo para mí: you are everything to me
- puedo ir con él: may i go with him
- parece ser una buena casa: it seems to be a good house
- fuera de aquí: get out of here
- por qué está aquí: why is he here
- es mi mejor amigo: he's my best friend
- quiere hablar con usted: he wants to talk to you
- es el mismo hombre: is that the same guy
- voy a casa de mi amigo: i am going to my friend's house
- soy el hombre de la casa: i'm the man of the house
I'd like to start listening to the "best sentences for beginners" from my large list. But how do I determine the best sentences? I'm sure that word order compared to English, sentence length, concrete versus abstract and idioms are all factors. I'd imagine a sentence like "my house is big" is good since it is very visual and therefore it will help me to connect words to pictures in my memory rather than to their English meanings.