Whether you are visiting Spain itself, or one of the many other regions where Spanish is the first language, such as South America, or even if you just want to learn a new language, it can be a struggle. It is worth persevering with though, a second (or even third!) language is not just useful when travelling, it boosts your brain health and can help with focus too.
If you are struggling to get anywhere with your language learning, here are some tips to help speed things up.
Find Someone to Learn with
Whether it is a tutor or just a friend, learning with a partner can have a dramatic effect on the speed you learn things. There are a couple of reasons for this, first, it is much easier to be motivated when there are others, rather than alone. If you are facing the struggle alone, it is easy to get disheartened, and that in turn slows down progress even further. With two people, you can bounce off each other and keep a positive outlook together.
In addition to helping you stay more focused and motivated for the task, there is another reason that having someone with you is beneficial. The best way to learn a language is to use it. Speaking to each other, then, offers one of the best ways to speed up your language learning. If you spend even 30 minutes a day together just talking Spanish, it is surprising how quickly you pick things up.
Start Talking to Yourself
If you don’t have a partner, or you find yourself unable to work with your partner for any reason, then talk to yourself in Spanish. It may sound a bit weird, and it can make some of us feel a little self-conscious, but using language really is key to mastering it.
Think about anything you want to do, and then say it out loud to yourself in Spanish. For instance, if you are going to cook a meal, try describing what you are doing in Spanish as you go along. It’s a great way to introduce new vocabulary, and because it is things you actually do in your life, it is vocabulary relevant to how you will want to communicate once you have mastered Spanish.
Learn to Listen
To speak Spanish, you must understand Spanish. Learning the written word has its place, but there is no substitute for hearing how those words sound, how they are phrased together. Learning Spanish, or any language, becomes much easier if you can recognize the words as they are spoken.
There are ways to do this, obviously a professional online language course would give you endless Spanish content to listen to, but there are things you can do yourself. Spanish language movies can be an option, but may be a struggle, depending on how far you have progressed already. For shorter, easier to digest examples of spoken Spanish, try some YouTube videos. Content creators produce videos in every language imaginable. In fact, with a variety of native accents, can often be a way to broaden your listening skills. By listening to naturally spoken Spanish, you can quickly gain a better understanding of the language itself, and how to speak it.
Get out There and Start Speaking Spanish
We keep coming back to the point that using language is the best way to learn it. If you are visiting Spain or other area where Spanish is spoken, this is the point to let go of your inhibitions, step out of your comfort zone and start speaking Spanish!
Remember, no matter how much theory or written Spanish you master, ultimately, it is only when you can communicate verbally that you really do speak Spanish. The first time you try your language skills on native speakers can be scary, but this is one situation where you just have to go for it and see what happens.
You may get things wrong and it may take a couple of goes to get someone to understand, but that doesn’t matter. Most people are patient, the recognise what you are trying to do, and will even offer advice. Ask a shop assistant for something, just to get you started and build some confidence. Ask for directions, anything you need to do, always try to speak in Spanish. The more you use Spanish, the more people respond positively, the more encouragement it brings.
Finally, while there are several practical tips here, this final one is about the process itself. Have fun with language, you will learn faster and take more in. If each thing you do becomes a chore, then you will never stay motivated enough to finally learn Spanish. You are much more likely to give up, and certainly won’t make the progress that you hoped for even if you keep going.
By making your Spanish learning fun, you engage with the information much more effectively, while it also makes you want to do more. Bringing fun into the process is not that hard either. Take your favourite song, translate the lyrics and then sing it in Spanish. If you are musically minded, maybe even write your own Spanish song.
You can do the same with movie quotes, pick your favourites and say them in Spanish. Challenge your partner to fit specific words into a conversation, the options are endless. The key is, avoid the same repetitive approach to everything you do, mix it up and enjoy learning Spanish.
There are many things you can do to speed up your language learning, not just for Spanish but for any language. At the heart of it though, is using the language. The more you speak and listen to Spanish, the better you will become at speaking and understanding it. Have fun, dive in and start using Spanish today, you will be surprised at just how fast you can become a Spanish speaker yourself.