If you are thinking about studying the Spanish language or have just started out, you should find that 10 tips that follow are specifically aimed at helping you! It would be great for you if you are able to use all of them but if not, select that you feel you can benefit from and put them to work.
1. Prepare Yourself Mentally:
A lot of people think that they’ll be able to just grab the first Spanish course off a shelf and within a couple of weeks will be able to have a full blown conversation in Spanish…nothing could be further from the truth!
Studying Spanish is difficult and anyone who tells you the opposite, is either lying or, a qualified linguist, which does make them kind of an expert in their field I guess! Being prepared mentally for the challenge that lays ahead will always be a key ingredient in your success.
Never set yourself unreachable targets, such as being able to fluently speak Spanish within six weeks!
There is nothing that is more likely to make you give up your quest than consistently failing to achieve your goals so you should always be realistic about how you set them.
2. Physical Preparation:
There are hundreds of different Spanish courses available and many of them are expensive, but when it comes to learning Spanish, cost does not always mean you are purchasing quality.
Don’t be deceived by well known brand names and course materials that are oozing quality, sure they look and feel good, hell, they may even smell nice, but what really matters is how good is the information contained within the course, or to be more precise, the methods of teaching.
Find courses that offer trial periods initially, go online and find forums or chat-rooms to see what others are using and make a choice based on what feels good for you… never the cost. The ideal course for you is not always the one that costs the most, Rocket Spanish is a classic example of this, budget priced course with quality course material!
3. Choosing the RIGHT Spanish Course:
If you have carried out some background work on many courses and have a few potentials written down… you now need to shorten this list by eliminating all those that are not aimed at teaching you conversational Spanish as a priority.
That isn’t to say that learning grammar isn’t important, but too many people get weighed down trying to master the rules that apply to Spanish grammar that they lose focus and start to wonder why they wanted to study Spanish in the first place.
You will enjoy learning Spanish much more and have greater success if you can string a few sentences together after a week rather than being able to successfully memorize the indefinite article, subject pronouns and everything else you may have memorized in your first week studying grammar Get the picture?
Once you are confidently speaking Spanish, grammar will become much easier to digest as it will only need you to tweak what you should know already.
4. Post Notes on EVERYTHING!
Sounds funny I know, but buy yourself some post-its and stick them on all the items in your home with the word in Spanish relating to the item written on them. (with the exception of your spouse, children or pets, although tortoises are ok!).
You will be amazed at how quickly you can pick up the vocabulary for everyday objects…’Everyday’ is the important word here. I am never surprised any longer by the vocabulary that Spanish courses ask beginners to learn…for example, how many people are intending to use the words bullfighting and donkey in everyday conversation!
5. Tune in to Spanish TV and Radio:
Watching Spanish speaking TV or listening to Spanish radio stations will help you get used to how spoken Spanish sounds as well as keeping you up-to-date with subjects that Spanish speaking people could be chatting about.
Of the two, TV is probably the better choice as it is far easier to understand what has been said if you have the accompanying pictures to assist.
If you are busy around the house there is always a certain method to help you learn that I like to call, ‘subliminal Spanish’. Just switch on the TV or radio, tune into a Spanish speaking network, pump up the volume, and then get on with whatever you were doing. There is no need to pay any attention to what is being said.
Over a period of time you will unconsciously start to pick out specific words and phrases without even concentrating as well as becoming used to hearing how Spanish is spoken.
It is a good idea to begin listening to, or watching news type programs first as the pronunciation is usually a lot clearer and understandable. Unfortunately, sport is not a good choice as the commentators do tend to get quite excited and therefore speak very quickly…too quickly, but it is engrossing to listen to!
6. Make Your Own Flashcards:
I would suggest that you make some flashcards to help you learn vocabulary, rather than buying them. I suggest this for three reasons:
- Why spend unnecessarily when it’s simple and cheaper to make them yourself!
- You are able to create cards using words that are most useful to you
- The process of actually making them will help you remember them, in fact many of the cards you make could well be redundant before you even use them!
7. Become Involved in your Local Spanish Community:
For those of you that live close to, or within, a Spanish speaking neighborhood, try to mix as much as possible into their social activities, use the local Spanish speaking supermarkets or 24/7, join in with your Spanish speaking neighbors whenever possible.
Not only will this benefit your studies but you will receive a lot of help and encouragement as well as making many new Spanish speaking friends.
8. Use Online Resources:
If you don’t have a Spanish neighborhood close to you, or you cannot receive Spanish TV or radio networks, then the next best thing is to utilize the internet. There are many resources such as chat-rooms, open forums, podcasts and PCTV networks that are all easily accessible online and can all be used to practice your Spanish…so get surfing and use them!
9. Use a Spanish Verb Trainer:
Learning Spanish verbs is probably the most difficult part of learning Spanish and also one of the most important. Using a verb trainer that will help you do this more efficiently is a wise move. If there is one area that is often overlooked by many students it is the correct use of verbs. Verbs are important as they make sense of your sentences and in Spanish they are doubly important as they also indicate who is performing the action.
The best way to learn a verb quickly and effectively is to use a verb conjugator or a verb conjugation training program such as the Verbarrator. A good verb training program will allow you to select the verb you want to learn and in whichever tense you choose and then provide the drills to train you. The aim is to make learning Spanish easier and a verb conjugation trainer will help to do that especially where irregular Spanish verbs are concerned.
10. Total Immersion:
If money and time are not a problem for you, then the best way to learn Spanish is to invest in a total immersion course located in a Spanish speaking country.
Not only will you learn the local language but you will also be immersed into the culture and customs of your hosts as well as the local way of life. Immersion courses are not as expensive as they once were but, are still beyond the reach of many.
However, irrespective of price, they are, without doubt, the quickest and most enjoyable way to learn Spanish…if you can afford to go on an immersion course…do so, you will never regret it.