12 tips to learn Spanish, now we are back to School. If you are full of enthusiasm to sit down and learn español (Spanish) at one go—¡relájate!—stop and relax. Learning a language is not like crash dieting; it’s a gradual process that requires planning and concentration. Here is what you should know as you incorporate learning Spanish into your everyday life.
1. Avoid negative thinking—that you can never master a foreign language, or that it’s impossible for you to pronounce certain words correctly. Relax, and concentrate on what you do know and can do, and then keep adding on to that. If you can’t think of a particular word, choose another one to help you explain yourself. If you can’t understand what someone is saying to you, ask him to repeat.
2. The expressive potential of a sentence is often more than the sum of its parts. Don’t just concentrate on memorizing words—you also need to know how to put these words together to make meaningful statements. Learning whole phrases will help you make your point quicker.
3. Use new phrases as soon as you have learned them and as many times as possible. Don’t wait until you have everything down perfectly before you begin using Spanish in conversation. When it comes to languages, perfect fluency and pronunciation are myths. Your goal should be to get out there and start talking as soon as possible.
4. Get online. You’re just a click of a mouse away from finding free instruction, opportunities to practice, reference materials, and cultural information, as well as online Spanish courses.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of Spanish. Eat at Spanish and Latin American restaurants. Listen to music from Spanish-speaking countries: boleros, cumbias, flamenco, merengue, pasillos, pasodoble, salsas, sevillanas, el son, tango, rancheras, and rock. Go out to Latin dance clubs. Seek out movies in Spanish playing at international film festivals and rent Spanish films on video or DVD—most will offer subtitles or dubbed tracks in Spanish. Read bilingual books and magazines. Try watching Spanish television—at first, you won’t understand it, but it might be fun to guess what is happening.
6. Combine your hobbies and interests with the study of Spanish. If you love playing tennis, learn how to say everything you know about the game in Spanish. Religion, politics, work, and recreation all have their Spanish vocabulary.
7. Don’t panic. Take your time to learn new material, find somebody to answer your questions, look up words in the dictionary, and don’t allow yourself to be intimidated by anything. Make mistakes and learn from them. When you goof up, you can either look mortified or just laugh about it—the choice is up to you.
8. Focus your attention on all things Spanish that you find in your daily life. Put yourself in situations where you have no choice but to use your Spanish. Begin to think in Spanish.
9. When you are in the thick of things, listen for keywords. Try to identify the verb. Are there any pronouns you recognize? Does the word vaguely remind you of a word in English? Forget about trying to decode every single word—getting the main ideas first will help you fill in the details.
10. Listen for familiar intonation patterns and pay attention to the speaker’s gestures. When you speak, don’t be afraid to gesture as well. Nod your head and smile when you understand or agree. Twist your flat, horizontal palm back and forth for so-so.” Use your thumb and forefinger to indicate “a little bit.”
11. To ask someone to clarify or repeat something, use the following phrases:
Perdón. ¿Cómo? (Excuse me. What?).
¿Me lo repite más despacio, por favor? (Can you repeat it (what you said) for me more slowly, please?).
12. Remember to relax and smile. Your audience is having as much trouble understanding you as you are having to speak. They want you to succeed. Take a deep breath and have a sense of humor about your mistakes. A smile goes a long way.
And we are going to help you with all our activities: podcasts, videos, grammar, vocabulary, quizzes and much more; with a personal tutor that will answer all your questions. Please, contact us if you want more information about how to learn Spanish with Hablamos SLE.