Spanish is the most studied language other than English in the United States, with about six million students. And, so obviously, you’ll find a ton of Spanish learning tips on the internet!
Spanish has always been a go-to language for English speakers to learn due to its practicality and wide reach. Well, it’s also one of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers. It is easy to drown in the huge heap of information and advice, but what we decided to bring to you in this blog are just 7 actionable, easy to apply, and effective Spanish learning tips straight from the Spanish tutors.
Learning a new language can be daunting at the beginning, but with the right guidance and support, you can master any language in no time. From mastering the pronunciation to using idioms and slang like a native speaker to having a rich vocabulary – you can do it all in your Spanish learning journey with these 7 tips straight from the Spanish tutors:
1. Engage in active practice and truly immerse yourself in Spanish
Spanish learning is easier than you assume! Learn about the Spanish culture, consume content in Spanish, look out for movies in Spanish, and use subtitles if required. Love the song Despacito? Listen to it and try to decipher the lyrics the next time you dance to its beats. A lot of these songs might have Spanish catchphrases, idioms, proverbs, and slang.
Use this as a great opportunity to look up the exact meaning of these and to imbibe it in your usage. Familiarity with slang, idioms, etc. is in fact almost a key to being fluent in functional Spanish. Reading short stories, newspaper articles, online magazines in Spanish can look like too much effort in the beginning but it will all add up to your overall fluency in the language later.
Bonus tip: try to follow DIY Spanish tutorials for art, listen to gadget reviews in Spanish, etc. to immerse yourself into the language rather than just learn it superficially!
2. Connect with native Spanish speakers (language exchanges)
Websites like My Language Exchange are a great way to connect with native Spanish speakers. You can even explore penpals for exchanging language and culture to fully immerse yourself in natural learning and appreciation of the Spanish language. You can also explore several text chat forums designed specifically for language learners (LiveMocha.com is one such website).
Apart from all the online avenues, there is no dearth of opportunities of connecting with Hispanics in the US. Next time when you find a Spanish speaker, make that effort to try having a conversation in Spanish without switching back and forth to English. This way, over time, you will be able to pick up pronunciation and nuances of language use effortlessly.
3. Expand and use Spanish vocabulary in everyday life (yes, force-fit it!)
Like with any other language, a good vocabulary in Spanish can be very empowering. Spanish teachers recommend using a flashcard app with spaced repetitions. To make Spanish learning easy and effective we recommend a flashcard app called Anki which promises a scientific markup that ensures you remember what you read. If you’re more of a physical reading person, then you can create Spanish word lists on sticky notes, fridge magnets (whiteboards), etc. with Spanish words of the day written all over. Use an English to Spanish dictionary to look up words while reading news, magazines, stories, etc.
And of course, don’t forget to USE Spanish words in your day-to-day life. While at a supermarket, for example, try to recall Spanish words for all the everyday items you encounter. Next time when you see a packet of chips recall in your head that it is called papas fritas in Spanish. Putting the language to real use is the one sure shot way to make the Spanish learning process easy and fast – always!
4. Work with a professional Spanish tutor
Spanish learning journey can be arduous when you’re alone in it. Study groups are also hard to maintain given the lack of discipline and routine. A Spanish tutor can not only help you achieve fluency in spoken and written Spanish but can also:
- Motivate you to continue your Spanish learning journey when you’re most likely to give up
- Be your confidant(e) and acknowledge and address your concerns with learning
- Help you overcome specific weaknesses like vocabulary, grammar, literary devices, etc. in a systematic way
- Develop a regular assessment strategy to help you see your progress and identify the key blockers in your Spanish learning curve
- Instill a sense of routine and give timely feedback
Interested in exploring a professional Spanish tutor who can be your true, devoted partner in your Spanish learning journey? Look no further, just log on to Talentnook.com and connect with hundreds of Spanish tutors in your neighborhood. You can request online or offline sessions, join learning pods moderated by tutors and assess profiles based on your budget and qualifications of the Spanish tutors.
5. Practise listening skills with Spanish podcasts
There are many benefits of listening to podcasts in Spanish. Podcasts can help you learn many new words and the nuances of speech while letting you learn at your own pace. Try squeezing in a good 15-30 mins of listening to a Spanish podcast every day. There are many great options out there and we recommend the following for a starting point:
- Audiria (fun, comprehensive, and well updated)
- News in Slow Spanish (a fun feature is a call-in talk show!)
- Doorway to Mexico (a fun language learning podcast for intermediate and advanced Spanish students.)
6. Have a routine that works for you
One of the most important hurdles in a typical Spanish learning journey is loss of motivation. And this usually stems from an over-ambitious routine set up at the beginning that is eventually difficult to keep up with. To avoid being burnt out soon, create a routine for learning Spanish that is comfortable for you to accommodate and doesn’t make Spanish learning a chore.
For example, setting 15 mins aside each day for learning Spanish is better than setting aside an hour every day right in the beginning. As your interest in the language will grow, you will automatically make more room for it. As a thumb rule, don’t overstress the duration or strictness of the routine for the first 30-45 days.
7. Participate in Spanish competitions for English speakers
Lastly, all Spanish tutors equivocally state that putting your knowledge to test and being thrilled by your own performance is a great way to keep up with your learning journey. And, the Spanish learning journey is going to be all about being disciplined and motivated in the long run. Participating in contests for English speakers – whether online or at your school or in the city club, can do wonders. Imagine winning a contest and taking home a prize – won’t you come back for more the next time? That’s exactly why participating in Spanish contests can keep you organically motivated to stay in your Spanish learning journey.
Loved these tips? Read our blog for many more such articles to help you take your learning journey to a higher orbit, effortlessly and all while having lots of fun! At Talentnook, we only aim to bring together learners and enablers of learning. Visit today to connect with hundreds of tutors in your neighborhood offering lessons in almost all disciplines you can think of – from algebra and basic math to creative writing and French and Spanish to art & playing piano!
Happy Spanish learning!