With anestimated 559 million Spanish speakers worldwide, it’s easy to see why you would want to learn how to speak Spanish. So, how should you get started? Here’s a quick look at how to learn Spanish.
Before we go any further, it is important to know that there are numerous websites on the internet, as well as apps and programs you can order, such as Rosetta Stone, that promise to help you learn to speak Spanish the “fun and fast way”. These options are useful as study aids.
However, if your goal is to truly master and retain the language for the long-term, the best way to do this is by starting at the very beginning, just like you did English, and realizing that it will take time and effort.
Start by learning the correct Spanish pronunciation of letters
While the Spanish and English alphabets are identical, there is a huge difference in how each letter is pronounced. To get started learning Spanish, take the time to learn how to pronounce each letter of the alphabet correctly.
This will make it much easier to learn how to pronounce complete words, phrases, and sentences later on. The Spanish Dictionary has aneasy to use guide online that demonstrate the correct pronunciations.
Consider one-on-one tutoring, preferably with a native speaker
While this can be expensive, it is also the most effective way to really learn a language. Native speakers are ideal because they understand the hidden rules of the language and meanings of certain words. Tutoring works best because you have a person right there who can improve your pronunciations, correct mistakes, and assist you in learning intricate grammar rules.
Take a Spanish class or join a group
If you don’t want to spend a ton of money on a private teacher, consider taking a class. You may be able to find one at your local community college or library. You might even be able to find a group on Meetup.com of people like yourself who are learning to speak Spanish.
While a group may not offer Spanish lessons, there are groups where people meet to practice and hone their Spanish speaking skills, which will prove to be beneficial. After all, to really learn Spanish, you need to speak it as much as possible.
Purchase Spanish speaking software
For beginners, software programs are a great way to learn how to pronounce words, as well as learn the correct Spanish terms for different words and even pick up on various phrases. However, they will not teach you how to read or write the language.
Incorporate Spanish into your daily life
The more you are around (or hear) something, the more familiar you become with it. Here are several ways to integrate Spanish into your daily routine, which will make learning and understanding it come much easier.
- Listen to Spanish. From listening in the car to watching Spanish movies and telenovelas (soap operas), listening to Spanish, even if it is just in the background, is crucial for getting used to the language. Over time, you’ll realize that are picking things up and understanding thing you didn’t know you knew.
- Label things. When you are trying to remember the words for different items that are common in your everyday life, stick a label on them. This way every time you encounter an item, such as refrigerator (refrigerador), you ‘ll also encounter the Spanish word for it.
- Create flash cards. This is an easy way to test your knowledge. Don’t just use words, use phrases and see what you know.
- Check out Spanish children’s books. Children’s books are designed for people who are learning the language. This doesn’t mean they are limited to children. They can be just as beneficial for adults who are learning the language.
- Make Spanish speaking friends. Ask them to speak to you in their native tongue. This enables you to get used to hearing Spanish and responding to it.
- Change appliances and other items to Spanish settings. This is a simple way to pick up every day and technical language.
Finally, it’s important to understand that to truly learn and retain Spanish, you will have to work on it every day. You can’t master a new language by working on it for a few minutes here and then a couple hours a week later. Set a schedule and stick to it.