450 million people speak Spanish as their first language. It is understandable why it is in such a high demand as a second language to learn. So, if Spanish is your language of choice to master, here are a few tips that will help you succeed.
Making time for your study.
The most obvious tip is to look at your schedule and blank out the days and time where you could study. It is preferable if you could dedicate even 15 to 20 minutes daily to do a language task. If you feel utterly motivated don’t make it more than one hour if not, your initial enthusiasm will fade out soon when you feel constraint to more, especially if you are a self-taught learner.
Have a realistic time-frame
You should be aware of how long it takes to learn Spanish to a decent level.
You will need around 480 hours study to obtain a level B2-C1 of the Council of Europe for Foreign Languages classification (CEFR), which is an intermediate level.
This will translate in approximately one-year study or even more if you study less than one hour a day. Therefore, you should find ways to keep constantly motivated so that you don’t fall off the language learning wagon.
Set achievable goals
You should have a firm reason why you want to study Spanish. Set clear goals and set deadlines also. Be as precise as possible. Write down these goals and stick them somewhere visible as a reminder of your intentions. You can also create accountability by communicating your goals to friends or family members or even making them public on Social Media.it will be then less likely for you to backtrack.
It is also recommended to remind yourself – as often as possible – of the big picture – the outcome you are pursuing-. This will help you carry on especially when the initial enthusiasm weans out after months of study.
It might be useful if you download your goals and tasks in an electronic planner or online calendar as well, so that you receive notifications and reminders of the work to be done.
Do not rush the process
You need to establish a solid foundation and understand the basics of the language so that you can build upon a solid ground.
Get used to the new language, its alphabet, the words’ genre, the grammar, and try to memorise a few colloquial sentences that will help you feel that you are progressing. Every day build on it to grow your knowledge base. This will help you somewhere down the line to initiate and maintain conversations in Spanish.
Create an immersion-like environment.
As there are many restrictions to travelling lately, it won’t be always possible to travel to Spanish-speaking countries. So, you should try and bring the Spanish language into your home.
Listen to the news and music in Spanish. There is a myriad of internet radios in various languages. Watch Spanish and Latin-American films on Netflix. They are very interesting, and they will help you familiarise yourself with the diverse accents and slang popular in each country.
Read online newspaper articles in Spanish. It might not be easy at the beginning but reading in context will be useful especially if you are aware of current affairs in your own language.
It is easy to find online tutors. Their price range varies. They will help you progress a bit faster as they will be able to correct you and explain difficult grammar points that you are unable to grasp.
Listen to podcasts in Spanish
Podcasts are becoming more popular. They are entertaining, informative, and you can listen to them wherever: on your daily run, whilst cooking or simply relaxing. At the same time there is an increase in language learning podcasts.
Once again, it’s a great way to train your ears in picking up new words and recognising the ones you already know.
Avoid shiny object syndrome
There is so many free materials out there, that at times it constitutes more of a hindrance as it is difficult to filter the good and useful from the bad and time-wasting ones. Be careful because in this sea of learning materials you might lose your focus.
Remember to keep your learning structured so much so at the beginner’s level. It will be more beneficial to stick to a Spanish book or an online course for example, from beginning to end than constantly running after the next shiny object that the internet has on offer. Structure and consistency will guarantee your success.
Revision, revision, revision
Yes, it is important to go forward, but you should dedicate some time during the week to go back to previous lessons to review the concepts that you already know. It is the best way to consolidate your knowledge, long term.
Perfection is stagnation
Find Spanish learning groups on Facebook and enquire about a conversation partner. Put yourself out there from the very beginning. Practice what you know. Don’t wait for when you master 3000 words to start expressing yourself in the language.
Having a perfect grammar knowledge is not necessary to put your point across.
Even native speakers hesitate when they speak, make mistakes and struggle at times to find the correct words. So, don’t worry for your errors, focus on the message.
Remember to have fun
Learning a new language should always be a fun activity to do. Spanish is one language with a lot of variations for each country in the world where it is spoken. Learning Spanish is being acquainted with diverse cultures from Spain to Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and all the other countries in Latin America.
Learning a new language should always be fun because it is a journey of discovery opening the door to hundreds of opportunities. Give yourself a chance.
What other tips for learning Spanish can you give? Comment below.