It’s always a great idea to learn Spanish, particularly as an American citizen.
About half of the country speaks Spanish as a second language or fluently, and that proportion is likely to increase in the next few years. When you learn Spanish, you can make new friends, do better in business, and add a useful skill to your resume.
That said, there are better and worse ways to learn Spanish, especially as a beginner. Let’s take a look at some helpful tips for learning Spanish so you can grasp this language sooner rather than later.
Learn Spanish Verbs First
For many new Spanish speakers, learning verbs is the toughest part of the challenge. Spanish verbs have both regular and irregular forms. Regular verbs use regular conjunctions and typically and in “er” as in comer, “ar” as in hablar, or “ir” as in vivir.
Irregular verbs are typically thought to be a little more challenging. They may come in forms such as ser or estar, haber, tener, poner, and so on. In any case, understanding verbs and how to identify them as regular or irregular will help you predict words and master Spanish spelling more easily, which will also help you get the rest of the language down in your mind.
Use Visualization Techniques
Visualization techniques are important and helpful for learning any language, not just Spanish. Because Spanish is a gendered language, and because almost every noun and many verbs have masculine and feminine versions, you’ll need to know which words are masculine and which are feminine.
What is the best way to do this? Use visualization tricks and techniques. Essentially, you should visualize words that you learn are feminine by associating them with some imaginary detail, like the color pink, the color gold, or anything else you can imagine. You should do the same thing for words that you learn are masculine.
Not only will this help you memorize words more effectively, but it will also help you get the gendered part of this language down more quickly. As a side tip, the majority of Spanish words that require your mouth to end in an “oh” shape are masculine. Meanwhile, most Spanish words that require your mouth to end with an “ah” shape are feminine.
Speak to Yourself
Think talking to yourself in front of the mirror doesn’t work? Think again. You won’t always have a partner to practice your Spanish speaking abilities with, which means you need to get comfortable speaking to yourself and talking in this language.
Speak to yourself with a few sentences in Spanish in the morning and evening at a bare minimum. More often, try to mutter your daily thoughts to yourself in Spanish to fit in some extra practice time. For instance, as you write down the things for your grocery list, say the name of each item on the list in Spanish.
Repeat Words and Definitions in Spanish
As you learn new words in Spanish, remember to repeat those words and definitions again and again. That’s the best way to tie sounds and definitions together in your mind and to maximize your memorization abilities.
For example, if you want to learn pendejo’s meaning, don’t just learn the definition and never use the word. Instead, try to use pendejo in a variety of example sentences. Note that we don’t recommend using pendejo in your everyday conversations with people unless you have permission beforehand; pendejo is a light insult that essentially means “stupid” or “idiot,” so be careful where you use this word as you practice!
Nevertheless, the general tip is the same. Use and repeat the words and definitions you learn so that you understand the context in which those terms are used.
Watch/Listen to Spanish Media
Perhaps most importantly, you need to immerse yourself in Spanish if you hope to learn it quickly. What better way is there to do this than to consume Spanish media, like TV shows, movies, and books?
As you hear Spanish words and hear how different people say those words, you’ll become more adept at grasping and understanding the Spanish language wherever you encounter it. To that end, try watching Spanish TV shows and movies on your time off, first with the subtitles and then with the subtitles off. See if you can follow the plot of the story without extra assistance!
For even more immersion benefits, try listening to Spanish audiobooks or podcasts. Simply put, the more you expose your ears and mind to Spanish speakers, the faster they will pick up the language during your lessons.
With these tips, you’ll learn Spanish much more efficiently and effectively than otherwise. Choose the right Spanish language program or guide, and have fun! Before you know it, you’ll be dreaming in this romance language.