7 Things to Help You Learn Spanish Quicker.
So you are interested in learning Spanish, but you want to make sure you get off on the right foot. First things first, congratulations on taking the first step along the journey to learning Spanish by signing up to join this newsletter. You can expect to receive awesome language learning content, such as
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So to kick things off, let's take a look at 7 things you can do to help you on your journey to mastering Spanish.
Set Clear Goals:
When you are starting to learn a language, one of the most important things you can do is understand what you want to be able to do with the language. Think of this as putting a destination on our journey to learning Spanish. We can't go anywhere if we don't have an end goal in mind. Whether you want to be able to chat with the shopkeeper while abroad, be able to read books in Spanish, dive into films in Spanish, write poetry or get a Master's degree in Spanish, we need to make sure our goals are clear. With my Survival Spanish courses, we focus on the goal of being able to have basic one-on-one conversations and handling the most common situations. Specifically for expats, we focus on covering situations that crop up in daily situations, like going shopping or visiting a hotel. For nurses, we focus on situations like understanding symptoms or giving discharge instructions.
Focus on High Frequency Phrases
Even if you really love architecture or interior design, there is no way to get there without learning the basics. This is step one of my Survival Language Learning process, and involves memorizing high frequency and high variety of use words, that can be used in many contexts. These are things like basic greetings, yes / no, "I want," "I need," or "Do you have..." These phrases will crop up in a variety of situations, and knowing them will allow you to handle basic interactions much easier.
Interact with the Language Every Day
Notice I do not say study every day. Instead, take advantage of the idea of "passive learning" to get daily exposure to the language, without overwhelming yourself by studying 7 days a week. Instead, pick 2 - 3 days where you will "actively learn," studying grammar and the mechanics of how Spanish works. Then use the rest of the days to "passively learn," by engaging with audio or visual material that is on your level. If you just started, maybe you read a kid's story with lots of pictures, or maybe more advanced you can read Isabel Allende. Same thing with listening to music or watching videos, being around the language and listening to it, even if you don't understand hardly anything, is still helping you learn the language.
Understand the Basic Sentence Structure
We have to understand the basics in order to progress. It is like building a pyramid, in that the bigger our base (the more we understand the basics), the higher we can go (the better we will learn Spanish). For example, the basic sentence structure in both English and Spanish is Subject Verb. Object For example, I see Tom (yo veo a Tomas). However, with the object pronouns (me, you, us, him, her, them), Spanish becomes Subject Object Verb [Yo (I) lo (him) veo (see)}. By knowing this from the beginning, it will help us better be able to link things to English, helping us learn quicker.
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Take Advantage of Technology
Whether this is using flashcards, a learning app, or ChatGPT, don't be scared to use technology when learning a language. Flashcard apps are great, using Spaced Repetition in order ot help you more effectively learn vocabulary. Learning apps can be a great way to practice and review, with a more gamified aspect than your normal learning. And ChatGPT is a new favorite tool of mine (don't worry, I will teach you how to use it), which I have used to have grammar points explained, to have practice sentences written and short stories to practice reading. The key is learning the right prompts for asking questions vs getting practice (don't be impatient, we will get to it!)
Use Music to Hear Sounds
Building on point 3 above, we need to be able to use real life materials to engage in passive learning. One that you can use from the very beginning is listening to music in the target language. The goal here is not to understand what is being said, or even follow the main idea. Instead, we want to try to listen to every word, and train our brain to start distinguishing where one word ends and another starts, get a feel for the rhythm, and get to hear any hard to say sounds. The purpose is ear training, not comprehension. So don't worry about understanding right now!
Whether you are 8 or 80, when we start learning a new language, we all go back to being 2 years old. I remember very well this point in various languages, where I have very few words and can only speak in the simplest of sentences. Even then, go out and try to practice as much as you can. Remember, we are 2, so what we want to be worried about is getting our needs met. If I can get out "me milk" and someone gives me a glass of milk, well I get to chalk that up as a win, even if it is not perfect. Perfection will come with time! In the meantime, embrace speaking like a 2 year old or like Tarzan. You will have a lot more fun & learn a lot quicker if you do!
Like I said, I want to teach you how to learn a language. Teach a man to fish. So let me know, have you done these things when studying a language before? Did any help you specifically? Be sure to click reply and let me know your answers. I look forward to hearing from you soon!
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