Learning Spanish quickly and efficiently
Everyone knows that learning a language can take time, but if speed and efficiency are priority, than there are some shortcuts you should know about that will help you enhance your progress and achieve your fluency goals in a fraction of the time.
What you really need is a daily dose of vocabulary, grammar, some phrases and plenty of conversation and practice. If you live in a country where Spanish is spoken, great! You have the home-team advantage. If you don’t, never fear as you can always create an immersion environment in your own perimeter.
Spanish isn’t as hard as you might think
The good thing is, when it comes to Spanish for English speakers, the situation isn’t so bad. For one thing, both English and Spanish are from the Indo-European family. Secondly, the Spanish alphabet is relatively similar to the English one and thirdly, the two tongues have been in contact for a while so you’ll definitely run into some cognates.
Another huge plus is there are more than enough native Spanish speakers around the world for you to practice with. There is also an excess of written and spoken Spanish all over the web and YouTube. Keep in mind that there are two major variants of Spanish, Castilian from Spain and Spanish from Latin America. Decide which one you want to learn, gather a few basic resources to help you get started (notebook, dictionary, grammar guide) and you’ll be ready to go!
5 Tips for learning Spanish fast
Design a language learning plan Grammar and phrases are important things to master, as are schematic pockets of vocabulary (animal words, food terminology, science vocabulary) but language learning can be overwhelming when you consider the amount of things there are to learn. Build yourself a plan from the outset which includes a well balanced routine and keeps you in constant contact with the Spanish language. It doesn’t matter if you choose to do only one day of grammar, one day of flamenco lessons and two of cooking lessons a week. As long as you’re getting regular and consistent exposure to Spanish, learning new words, and plodding along at the underlying structure, you’ll be on your way to fluency in no time. Of course, the more ambitious your plan and the more hours you dedicate, the faster you’ll see results.
Build your own dictionary A traditional paper dictionary is full of words in a foreign language that you may never use. But thanks to online dictionaries and free tools like duolingo , you can create your own dictionary full of words you want to know. Start adding 5-10 new terms a day and create a catalogue of flashcards that you can practice and review. After all, who says you need to study office vocabulary when it’s so much more fun to learn the names of baby animals and tropical fruits and vegetables?!
Get creative with your flashcards Another trick for learning Spanish is to actually improve you brain’s ability to store Spanish words in short-term memory. You can do this by mixing up your practice games and quizzing yourself to remember new words out of thin air. The more you see a word and shortly after need to reproduce it, the more efficient your brain will get at holding the image of a new term in memory for longer and longer stretches. Aptitude may be something you’re born with but it’s also something you can
Tune in to Spanish television When you first start studying a language, you need to get better at hearing where one word starts and stops (also called parsing the speech). One of the best ways to do this is to watch Spanish television and films with subtitles. Be sure to set the subtitles to Spanish, not English. This is because it doesn’t matter if you understand what you hear and read. In the beginning, you’re training your brain to listen for words and match letters to their corresponding sounds. Having strong phonics in Spanish will make everything easier when it comes to looking up vocabulary and sounding things out.
Ensure motivation stays high Language learning can be hard in the early days and staying motivated is one of the strongest defenses you have against failure. It may be that you pick up a book on Spanish history or art, start an Almodovar film marathon or join a Spanish conversation club. If food motivates you, head out to a local restaurant for tapas and make small talk with the waiter, whatever makes you feel good and encourages you to keep up the hard work and learn more will do the trick. Remember, the strongest from of motivation comes from a desire to integrate with native speakers and immerse yourself in the target language.