Whenever you pick up a new language to learn, it is super exciting. And you want to start speaking fluently in a matter of days. However, months go by and even years and you’re probably still struggling with learning the language. The process can be a bit drawn out sometimes, considering that most traditional courses are designed around years of study.
But don’t lose hope just yet. Using the right study methods you can effectively learn Spanish all by yourself. Yes, it might take a while, because let’s face it, no one learns Spanish in a week. The key is to throw yourself deep into the learning process. Also with these few tips and tricks, you’ll be on the right path towards having fluid conversations in Spanish.
These tips helped me a great deal while I was learning Spanish by myself, and I’m sure it will help you too. Let’s get right to it!
Make Learning Fun
Any activity you have fun doing makes it quicker and easier to learn. The same goes for learning Spanish. Most often several people are enthusiastic when learning elementary aspects of the language. But then when it gets to learning the nitty-gritty, it can seem boring or frustrating and you lose focus.
So how do you keep up the momentum and make learning fun all through? You can by motivating yourself with Spanish themed activities. Try playing charades in Spanish, watch Spanish Cooking shows, listen to some Spanish music, etc. Doing fun stuff during your downtime can help motivate you to learn.
Change Your Phone Settings to Spanish
Most cell phones come with different language settings. From your phone’s settings, you can change it to Spanish. Since you are with your phone most of the day, setting it in Spanish will help you improve your learning quickly. Additionally, if your phone has a voice-enabled option, it is an excellent way to get extra speaking practice and learn some conversational skills. For example, if you have Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri on your phone, you can strike up some conversation with them by changing the language to Spanish.
Read, Look Up New Words, Write Down and Then Read Again
Reading up Spanish text is a habit you should build from the get-go. Look out for simple books, with short and easy-to-understand sentences. When reading a new chapter, look out for the words you’re not so conversant with and write them down. Writing down words can boost your Spanish language skill. Then go ahead to look up the meaning of the words you’ve written in a paperback or e-dictionary and read the chapter again. It helps you learn several new words and phrases. Also, it prepares you for stringing sentences together in Spanish.
Watch Movies and TV Shows with Subtitles
There are two techniques you can apply when watching a Spanish movie with subtitles. First, you start by watching Spanish movies using English subtitles. This works well for beginners. Once you’re advanced, you can begin to watch Spanish movies with Spanish subtitles. Combining your reading and listening skill here will greatly improve your pronunciations. I’m a sucker for Spanish telenovelas. So while learning Spanish, I always watched them using Spanish subtitles. That way, it helped me to speak more fluently like a native.
Listen to the Radio in Spanish
One thing about listening is that it has a way of sticking to your memory, more especially when you listen repeatedly. The radio is one tool you can listen to people speaking Spanish over and over. The variety of news, adverts, music, and conversations keeps learning in Spanish fresh and exciting. It might take some getting used to since you can hear the speaker but not see lip movement. However, sticking to it pays off in the long run.
You can listen to the radio while traveling, commuting to work or school, or doing some chores. Besides, listening to the radio to learn Spanish is a great way of making the journey or chores go faster.
Make Use of Language Apps to Help Build Your Spanish Vocabulary
Language apps are another useful trick to teaching yourself some Spanish quickly. These apps are filled with fun content, they are mobile-friendly and convenient. Whatever free time you get, you can navigate into your favorite app for some tiny bites of learning. Some language apps you can use to improve your skills are Duolingo, Hello Talk, Busuu, etc.
These language apps offer several features. For example, you can track the number of words you’ve learned in a day, week, month, or year. You can also create a playlist to shuffle content and use it even while you’re offline. They also use the Spaced Repetition System (SRS). The SRS allows those words you’ve learned to keep popping up in your lessons. That way, you remember the words easily as they stay in your mind. As your Spanish vocabulary expands, the SRS takes it in by throwing in different words for reinforcement.
Spend Time in Spanish-Speaking Environments
Hanging around Spanish-Speaking Environments can help to improve your learning. It helps you to pick up new words, learn pronunciations, and even practice conversation if you’re comfortable enough to. The best part about this is that you don’t have to travel all the way abroad. Visit places around you where Spanish natives hang out. Try out salsa clubs, Spanish restaurants, book clubs, markets, etc. In most of these communities, you find heavy influences of the culture and lingo which makes learning fun and authentic.
Don’t Fret Over Spanish Grammar
A mistake you find most beginner Spanish learners make is wanting to learn Spanish grammar perfectly. While it’s important to learn the basics, with knowledge of the elementary you can hold decent conversations in Spanish as a beginner. Not to undermine how essential grammar in Spanish is, but when you dwell too much on it, you risk worrying too much about grammar rules and lose the fun of learning.
Thus, you mustn’t know all the finer details of Spanish grammar to communicate well. It is fine if you sometimes make mistakes with the subjunctive and verbs like tu mange vs tu manges or ser vs estar. Your audience will still understand you just fine.
So there you have it! My top tips on how to learn Spanish effectively by yourself. Remember to always keep it fun, listen to radio shows, or watch movies in Spanish. Read up new words, write them down, and get their meanings, it helps you remember words and phrases faster.
Your phone is also a handy tool for learning. You can change your settings to Spanish and also download apps that make learning accessible, fun, and effective. In no time you will get to have more fluent conversations in Spanish and get compliments for your fluency.
This article was written by Ana Mayer, a project manager with 3+ years of experience. While projects can do without her participation (which means almost never), she likes to read and create expert academic materials for the essay writing service reviews. Such work gives her the opportunity to write articles for the best writing service websites.