¿Entiendes lo que te estoy diciendo? If you didn’t understand, that’s okay. You’re in the company of 87% of Americans that don’t.
A second language is important personally and for your future. But learning a new language is difficult. Especially one that’s fundamentally different than the one you speak.
English and Spanish come from two different branches of languages. Believe it or not, you’re familiar with a language that is heavily Germanic. Now you’re transitioning to a language of love from the Romance branch.
Because it’s so tough learning a new language on a different branch, we’d love to help you out. Check out these tips for learning Spanish.
¡Vamos! (Let’s go)!
1. Immerse Yourself
A new language involves more than learning the present subjunctive and its conjugation. In fact, that’s kind of boring.
Do you think native-speakers were given a book of tenses for their first birthday? Were you given an English dictionary at an early age?
Of course not.
While it’s important to know the fundamentals, it’s important to absorb the language. Get a sense of what the languages sounds and looks like. You might not understand it all (or at all), but it’s helpful white noise.
This requires a lot of immersive activity.
Turn on those hysterical telenovelas while you do your chores. Listen to Spanish music at work. Switch your phone’s settings to Spanish.
Bask in the language to learn it.
2. Find a Buddy
There are three facets of a language: writing, reading, and speaking. A mastery of the language is a mastery of all three.
Speaking, arguably, is the most important of the bunch.
People don’t walk around with whiteboards for communication. A friendly greeting can’t be written.
To practice and learn Spanish quickly, you’ll need a speaking-buddy. A friend, a relative, or your neighbor is a worthy partner. Even if they only know colloquial Spanish, face-to-face exposure is paramount.
Talk to your buddy about anything. Even the mundane is practice.
3. Mind Your Tongue
Tenses comprise a language. And there are a lot of them.
Think about this: there’s a past, future, and present. A time reference alters the meaning of what you’re saying.
- He died.
- He’s dying.
- He will die.
Each tense marks the severity of the sentence. It’s sad that he died; it’s urgent, he’s dying, and he will inevitably die.
It might be primp and proper to speak about tenses, but they’re necessary. If you’re stumbling to find the right tense, it could result in many different reactions.
4. Si and Sí
You might be shy or embarrassed about speaking with accents. Don’t be.
Part of learning a language is to embrace it entirely. This involves you sounding like a native.
You might not roll your R’s the perfect number of times. You might not be able to pronounce some of the words right off the bat. But you will with practice.
Try the many different Spanish nuances in language by yourself. And don’t be afraid to do it with others. Natives won’t laugh at you — they’d be humbled you’re trying your best!
5. Don’t Just Read About Tips for Learning Spanish
One of the single best ways to learn Spanish is to dive into Spanish culture.
Spanish-speaking culture is so vivid and inviting. The language is rich and different in each corner of the world. If you read from a novel written by an Argentinian, it’ll sound different if it were Mexican.
If you can afford it, visit a country with Spanish as its tongue. Experiencing the language is more important than learning it.
¿Puedes decir “adiós?”
Learning Spanish is an enriching endeavor, personally and for your career.
There are some handy tips for learning Spanish that you shouldn’t ignore.
Immerse yourself in the language. Involve it in every aspect of your life, even if it’s in the background.
Find someone to speak the language with you. It’s important to practice how to speak and how to listen.
Tenses need to be learned; they can drastically alter a sentence.
When you’re practicing, do your best to practice with an accent.
Go and live the Spanish culture. Practicing is one thing, living the language is another.
Now that you’re a Spanish aficionado (that’s a borrowed word, FYI), keep on learning!