7 Helpful Tips for Learning Spanish
Researchers have determined that you’re much more likely to obtain fluency if you begin learning a second language by the age of 10. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to learn as an adult!
In fact, practicing a second language can improve a variety of cognitive abilities, including memory and creativity. It’s even thought to delay or prevent the onset of dementia.
If you’re interested in picking up a second language, but aren’t sure where to start, these tips for learning Spanish can help you on your way.
Now then, let’s get started!
Consistency is Key
The number one, absolutely essential tip to keep in mind when learning a new language is to stay consistent. It’s critical that you carve time out of every day, even if you can only manage a few minutes, to practice your new skill.
Unless your job or another commitment requires you to make learning Spanish a full-time pursuit, it’s unrealistic to expect yourself to study for hours on end. Go slow, start with short bursts at first, and if you have time, work up to longer stretches of study. But if you’re serious about learning Spanish, or establishing any habit for that matter, it must be a daily activity.
Read Spanish Books
Think back to when you were learning your native language. Reading books and having books read to you were likely a large part of that process. If you already read before bed, switch to Spanish books!
This habit is even better if you can listen to a book on tape as you follow along in your own book, as it will help with pronunciation, as well as comprehension.
Enjoy Spanish Media
Who doesn’t love a good Netflix binge on a Saturday evening? Well, consider swapping shows and movies in your native language for those in Spanish! Watch a movie that you love, just turn on the Spanish subtitles.
If you feel that’s too easy, adjust both the audio and the subtitles to the Spanish setting. And if movies aren’t your thing, try listening to songs in Spanish. Who knows, your new favorite song might be out there waiting for you!
Hire a Tutor or Find a Class
Learning on your own is possible but finding a tutor or a class is a great way to elevate your experience. For example, you can read a new language on your own, and with the help of dictionaries and the internet, know that you’re reading correctly.
With writing, however, it’s much more beneficial if you have someone fluent to read your work. That way, they can correct any mistakes you may be making, so you don’t develop bad habits.
The classroom setting isn’t for everyone. But even if you keep it more casual and meet up with a tutor at a cafe once a week to practice, learning from a person already fluent in Spanish is an invaluable tool.
Find a Pen pal
A pen pal is a fantastic option if traditional learning environments aren’t for you. You will still be learning from a native speaker but in a very informal manner. The best part is, if your pen pal is working on their English, you can help and learn from each other!
Pen pal doesn’t necessarily mean the traditional letter exchange, either. It can be a Skype friend, someone you chat with on the phone, or even just exchange emails with. Every little bit helps.
Use Learning Apps
With today’s modern technology, it’s never been easier to learn a second language. You can join a chat room for students of Spanish, you can talk to someone physically in Spain with the click of a button. And you can improve your language skills with learning apps.
There is a myriad of apps available that are fantastic for practicing a new language. Apps for grammar, apps for vocabulary, flashcard apps, the possibilities are virtually endless.
Immersion, If You Can
Even if you’re an expert deal finder, traveling is expensive. And moving to Spain or Mexico for a year to really dive into the Spanish language is most likely out of the question for you. But, if at all possible, there’s truly nothing better than total immersion when trying to learn a new language.
If you are able to travel, comparing Spanish and Mexican Spanish is important when deciding where to go, as there is a difference. These differences are mainly in pronunciation, but if you’re learning Spanish because many of your coworkers are Mexican, for example, Mexican Spanish is the way to go.
Use These Tips for Learning Spanish to Start Your Second Language Journey
Well, there you have it! By using these tips for learning Spanish, you’ll be well on your way to fluency before you know it. With a little bit of effort and dedication, you can become bilingual as an adult.
Remember, consistency is the most important factor when learning Spanish. Don’t feel like you have to practice for hours, but to be successful, be sure to fit Spanish study into your daily routine.
Take advantage of every learning opportunity available to you! And do what you enjoy, it will make the process that much easier.
Don’t love the idea of sitting in a classroom? Find a buddy who’s fluent in Spanish to help you along. And if reading isn’t your thing, try Spanish movies, shows, or music.