panish doesn’t have to just be something that you learned in eighth grade and only kind of understood Picking up Spanish as an adult can be a bit daunting, but we’re here to give you some strategies for how you can make the process simple and as easy as it can be.
Find the Right Method
The two most famous ways to learn Spanish are through Duolingo and Rosetta Stone. Both of these are great ways to learn Spanish, but maybe you’ve already tried both of these and neither of them are exactly what you wanted.
Well we’ve got some good news for you if that’s the case, there are so, so, so many different apps that can help you learn Spanish. One of the most intriguing to us is Hellotalk.
Hellotalk is an app that connects you to other native Spanish speakers which, as we’ll get to later, is one of the most effective ways to learn Spanish. The app is also totally free so that’s definitely a plus.
The downside is that there isn’t really a great, concrete way to build from the ground up in a structured way like you do with Duolingo. Because of that, it might be a good idea to pair Hellotalk with another Spanish learning app.
Another great app to give a try is Memrise. Memrise is a similar app to Duolingo, but it has a few other fun add-ons.
Memrise has some videos that you can watch to help you learn and they also have some fun games that are an awesome way to keep you engaged when learning Spanish becomes a little bit monotonous.
If the reason that you’re looking to learn Spanish is that you’re going to be visiting a Spanish speaking country, then SpeakEasy Spanish might just be the perfect starting point on your way to Spanish fluency,
SpeakEasy focuses on the specific phrases that you’ll need to at least get by among native Spanish speakers. The main focus of this app is to get you to be comfortable with not only speaking Spanish, but also with hearing and understanding Spanish from native speakers.
SpeakEasy helps you with comprehension by providing recordings of native Spanish speakers from various parts of the world, so you can perfectly tailor your learning experience around exactly where you'll be visiting or staying.
I Downloaded an App I Like, What Now?
Once you’ve decided to learn Spanish and you download an app or pay for a program that you think works for you, the most important thing is consistency.
Starting to learn a language might just be the easiest part of the journey. At the beginning, you’ll learn a lot Spanish at a pretty fast pace which is really rewarding, but that pace of learning doesn’t tend to continue.
It’s easy to be consistent when you’re just starting off. As you move on and learn more and more Spanish, it may seem like it’s taking you a long time to understand a small lesson or principle.
That is completely normal but a lot of folks get to that point and get a bit frustrated because they’re not learning as much as they were in the beginning. This is the most common point that people give up when learning a new language.
If you can power through that little rough patch in your language learning process and can continue to be consistent, then you’re on the right track to becoming proficient in Spanish!
One way that you can help yourself stick to learning Spanish through the less exciting portions of the process is scheduling out time every day to practice. Lay out 10 to 30 minutes every day, depending on how busy that particular day is.
If you keep to your goal of practicing Spanish for 10-30 minutes a day, give yourself some kind of a reward at the end of the week. Maybe that’s ice cream, maybe it’s getting a massage, or maybe it’s just taking an extra break from doing normal daily work.
Whatever it is, make sure it’s worth all that hard work you’re putting in \to learning Spanish!
Find Ways to make it Fun
Learning a language can be a long journey -- not only to you have to get used to new grammatical structures you may not use in English, you've also got to absorb a lot of new vocabulary. So how can you make learning vocabulary and expanding your Spanish knowledge something you look forward to every day?
Our tip? Search out vocabulary that's interesting to you. Learn how to talk about your hobbies in Spanish, your favorite sports teams, television programs, music, anything that sparks your enthusiasm and makes you want to hold a full conversation about the topic.
Ready to add some spice? Consider studying up on some Spanish swear words as well -- we know you want to!
Pay Attention to Spanish Media
A real-world way to learn Spanish is to watch Spanish movies, TV shows, news, and reading media Spanish. We’re not necessarily saying to watch Spanish media in its original form as that can just lead to confusion if you’re just starting to learn.
Flip on any sort of Spanish media that you can find and turn on the English subtitles. At first you’ll probably only be able to understand what’s happening by looking exclusively at the subtitles, but eventually you’ll start hearing words and phrases that you’ve learned in your Spanish lessons.
That moment when you understand a whole phrase or sentence on a Spanish TV show that you are watching is an awesome one. As you progress in your lessons, you’ll pick up on more and more Spanish.
One of the “prizes” for doing that 10-30 minutes of Spanish learning in a week could be substituting one of your lesson slots with watching a film or TV show in Spanish.
Another great option for learning Spanish through movies and TV is to take a show or movie you’re already watching and seeing if there is a Spanish dubbed version available on the streaming platform you’re using or anywhere else on the internet.
If you can’t find the Spanish dubbed version of whatever it is you’re looking for, you change your “location” using a VPN which is a security software that you may already have on your laptop or computer. Most VPN’s have an option for you to change your server to one that’s in a Spanish speaking country.
Changing your VPN server can allow you to access more movies and TV shows dubbed in Spanish, and a wider range of Spanish movies.
We also highly recommend finding a way to watch some famous telenovelas. They are just *chef’s kiss* and it’s such a fun and engaging way to better understand conversational Spanish.
Who Are You Going to Speak Spanish to?
This one might just be the most effective supplement to your Spanish lessons. Find a person or group of people that are native Spanish speakers and would be willing to have a conversation with you in Spanish on a consistent basis.
Find a friend, a family member, or a friend’s family member who is a native Spanish speaker and spend some time with them where you all are only able to speak Spanish to one another.
The most extreme example of this is of course going to a Spanish speaking country and forcing yourself to only speak Spanish and not allowing yourself to rely on the English-speaking abilities of native Spanish speakers in Spanish speaking countries.
If travelling in that way is an option for you, obviously go for it, but not everyone is able to travel to a Spanish speaking country and completely immerse themselves in the learning of Spanish. So, picking out an hour or more to interact with one or more Spanish speaking people is an awesome way to quickly pick up on essential Spanish.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find a native Spanish speaker who invites you over for an authentic meal. Learning Spanish over a lunch or a dinner is a super effective and useful way to learn the language. Food is a very important part of every culture, and seeing, tasting, and learning what each food is called is a fast track to being conversationally proficient in Spanish.
Being able to finish those lessons on whatever app or program you choose to use is a great starting point, but there's no use in that if you can’t listen to and speak Spanish. It’s important to listen to people who have an accent while speaking Spanish so that you can also develop a Spanish accent when you speak.
Many people who are proficient in Spanish know every word that they could ever need to know, but their harsh American accent makes it difficult for native Spanish speakers to understand. So, not only does getting a Spanish speaking buddy help you solidify what you’ve learned so far, it will also help you become more understandable to other native Spanish speakers.
No matter the reason for you to start your journey toward Spanish fluency, we hope you found some tips in here useful. Good luck!
Image courtesy of howlermag.com.