Learning a language can be a challenging task, but if you choose to learn Spanish, your efforts won’t be wasted. With more than 500 million speakers worldwide, learning Spanish is a great choice for your job or simply for your personal interest. Check out these tricks for how to learn Spanish and you will be speaking Spanish fluently in no time.
Start With the Basics
1. Learn Your ABC’s
The first step to learning any language is to learn the alphabet and the pronunciation of the sounds. As you practice the letters, you’ll begin to master both saying and hearing the sounds of the language. Once you have the letters down, you’ll be able to phonetically sound out Spanish words, making learning and reading new words progressively easier.
2. Begin Learning Some Vocabulary
To begin building your repertoire of words, start learning the names of basic items. One great trick is to label household items with their Spanish name. Every time you use that item, you’ll be reminded of the word.
To expand your vocabulary, throughout your day, create a list of items and words you frequently use. Later, you can refer back to this list and look up the Spanish words for them. A great way to retain this learning is to write the definition of the word and an example sentence in notebook. This will not only help you to memorize the words, but it will also create a record of the words you’ve learned and provide a study resource for you to review your Spanish vocabulary every week.
Along with mastering basic vocabulary, you should also begin to learn basic conversational phrases like “What is your name?” “Nice to meet you,” and “Where are you from?” These phrases will help you practice turning your vocabulary into sentences. Choose additional phrases based on the things you do every day so that they are easy to integrate and practice in your daily life.
3. Learn to Count!
Counting is an essential skill in any language, and learning your numbers provides you with an immediate usable vocabulary. Learning the Spanish words for numbers is fairly simple as many of the numbers are similar to English words. After learning the numbers, use them every chance you get. Say the time or the price of gas in Spanish. The more you use the words, the faster they will become ingrained in your memory.
4. Master the Grammar
One of the hardest parts of learning a language is learning its sentence structure and grammar. As a native speaker of a language, you developed your knowledge of grammar as you grew, leaving you with an internal knowledge for “what sounds right.” However, when you’re learning a language, you don’t have that luxury; instead, you must learn these rules and practice them deliberately until they become second nature.
Part of learning the grammar is learning how Spanish verbs change to match the subject and tense of the sentence. This can be a confusing concept to learn on your own, so it may be a good idea to use a basic Spanish program to help you learn these aspects of the language. Check out courses like Spanish for Beginners or Learning Spanish with Ana to ensure you’re using the correct grammar right from the beginning of your learning journey.
Immerse Yourself In the Language
1. Find a Native Speaker
Once you have mastered the basics, you need to begin having conversations in Spanish. Conversations will teach you what you need to know next, they will allow you to practice your pronunciation, and they will help you understand and hear Spanish grammar. Find a native speaker to practice with on a regular basis and hold conversations with them that are entirely in Spanish. Don’t worry about sounding funny or forgetting words, as you struggle and immerse yourself in the language you’ll learn rapidly. If you feel comfortable, you should ask the native speaker to correct your pronunciation and sentence structure. Better that they catch your mistakes now than for you to sound silly later.
If you don’t know someone who is a native Spanish speaker or you feel too shy to strike up a conversation with someone, there are tutors available online who can help you practice your skills.
Check out Spanish for White Belt Beginners for a crash course in Spanish!
2. Find Spanish Media
The more you can hear Spanish used, the faster you will become fluent in it. To increase your exposure to Spanish, start reading Spanish books and articles, listening to Spanish music, and watching Spanish TV.
Children’s books are a great place for beginners to start. The vocabulary will be limited and the sentence structure will be simple, while the pictures can help your comprehension. Children’s books are also short which will allow you to master them quickly and give you the motivation to keep going. From there you can move on to newspapers and magazines which will provide more complex sentences as well as more native lingo. Avoid books until you are more competent as they can be difficult and tedious to get through when you are just beginning.
Listening to videos in Spanish can also be a great way to immerse yourself in the language. If you want to expand your vocabulary at the same time, look for instructional videos for learning Spanish. These will help you learn the correct pronunciation while teaching you new Spanish words and grammar. If learning from videos really works for you, you may consider finding a series of video lessons like Spanish 1-4: Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced course. These can greatly increase your rate of learning by giving you over 300 videos that systematically teach you Spanish.
If you aren’t a soap opera watcher, now is a good time to start. Spanish soap operas are a good way to hear more of the language as well as learn the basic hand gestures and expressions. Soap operas will make them dramatic and easy to catch. Listening to Spanish music can also help you learn the pronunciation of the language, and as songs are easy to memorize, they will keep the words circulating in your head all day long.
3. Appreciate the Culture
Learning a language can never be completely separate from learning about the culture. Every culture shapes the way language is developed and used, so learning about the history and culture of Spanish speaking nations can give you a deeper understanding of the language. To learn about the culture, consider visiting a Spanish-speaking nation. Being immersed in the culture and engaging in conversations with the locals will help you get first-hand experience, which is better than anything that can be learned in books.
However, if a visit isn’t in your price range, try taking a course on Spanish culture or history.
Stick Through It
Learning a language is a journey, and while these tips can make it easier, it will still take time and effort to make it happen. However, the work is worth the ability to communicate in over 44 countries and with over 500 million people in their native language. Find an accountability partner, join a class, or write down your goals and stay true to them. Before you know it, you’ll have mastered Spanish and you’ll be wondering what language you should learn next.