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Audience: Anyone who wishes to learn Spanish, though adult and teenage to the d in day, but instead of the tongue touching the roof of the. Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can The day Spanish Challenge: How to Learn Spanish in a Month with 7. For portable and affordable Spanish language learning, download an e-book! Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. How much Spanish could you really learn in 7 days?.
Always keep a book, dictionary and translation app handy, because you never know when some free time will open up that you can devote to studying. Phone apps are becoming a very popular tool for language learners. FluentU takes real-world videos, like music videos, commercials, news and inspiring talks, and turns them into Spanish learning experiences.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. FluentU has a wide variety of videos—topics like soccer, TV shows, business, movies and even magical realism, as you can see here:. FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Fill your phone up with Spanish reading material, like e-books and audio in the form of podcasts and audiobooks. So this one may get a little obnoxious, to you and to everyone who lives and works around you, but nobody ever said this month was going to be easy. And, hey, people might actually find this endearing and educational. Go to the store, grab the biggest set of sticky notes you can find and label everything you own with its Spanish translation.
This may be difficult depending on where you live, but entirely replacing English with Spanish in your everyday life—and consequently in your brain —can greatly escalate the process. If you need to call a company to ask for information, press the button that they indicate to proceed in Spanish.
If you go shopping for food, read the Spanish-language labels only and shop as much as you can at a Hispanic grocery store or in the Hispanic aisle at the supermarket. If you can afford to make it happen, spending these 30 days of learning in a Spanish-speaking country can be extremely helpful.
Seeing it every day on street signs, advertisements, restaurants and more can really help cement it into your brain. Luckily, Spanish is the language spoken in the highest number of countries around the world, so you have quite a few to pick from.
Just imagine, lounging on the beach, drinking margaritas and chatting with locals—educationally of course. So there we have it: You could be listening to reggaeton, dancing salsa, chatting with friends, going out on a MeetUp adventure, shopping for food, listening to a podcast on technology or reading a great novel. After a few days, this will turn into your recreation time and your lifestyle, not just your Spanish study routine. FluentU takes real-world videos like music videos, commercials, news, and inspiring talks and turns them into Spanish learning experiences.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos. Experience Spanish immersion online! FluentU brings Spanish to life with real-world videos. Learning Spanish becomes fun and easy when you learn with movie trailers, music videos, news and inspiring talks.
FluentU is a participant in the site Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to site.
The aim in this time is to become conversationally fluent - to speak confidently and enjoy using Spanish in any daily situation, not to speak perfectly. You can learn Spanish in more or less time, and will vary depending on the amount of work you put in. I've divided the year into four stages, which represent phases I reliably go through when learning a new language. My guidelines assume you have one hour per day to dedicate to study. But as you'll see, there's scope for doing much more by utilising " dead time ".
This is all about the best way to learn Spanish on your own, which means you won't be following a programme of study laid out by a teacher or school. What this doesn't mean is learning in isolation.
In order to learn to speak Spanish, you need to practise speaking with others , and this makes up an important part of the process I describe here. I've learnt 8 foreign languages myself, and I work regularly with some of the world's most accomplished polyglots.
However, every learner is different. What you'll find here is best described as a "picture of the stages of learning a language". From all my work with language learners, there seems to be one killer way to set yourself up for success: Keep it simple! With tonnes of Spanish websites, apps and courses out there, it can be tempting to jump from one to the next. It's usually more effective to calmly work your way through one book, or stick with one study method, than to try different things out of curiosity.
The focus you'll get from this keeps self-doubt away, and helps you learn more deeply. This article is quite long! Why not download it as a PDF now so you can read it later? Click below to get your free copy Spend the first few weeks with an introductory Spanish audio course.
Ideal for your commute. Two separate minute sessions are ideal, as this helps memorisation. Recommended Resources choose one: This bit's easy - just follow the course as recommended. These courses all give you a good introduction to Spanish and get you speaking right away. If you get bogged down in textbooks too quickly, you might never take the time to sit back and listen to the sounds of Spanish.
Take a couple of weeks to savour the language, and learn some useful spoken phrases you can start using immediately. The big problem with audio courses is that they don't cover much ground. Although they're great to get started, don't spend more than weeks on this stage, as there are much faster ways to learn. After easing yourself in with a short audio course, you now have a challenge Simply work through a textbook from cover to cover.
However, if everything you learn just lives in your head, it remains passive knowledge. If you want to speak Spanish, you need to activate that knowledge. If you don't have anyone to practise Spanish with, click here to find out how to find one. There will be hundreds of grammar exercises to follow, but it's not these activities that help you build a strong foundation in Spanish.
A strong foundation comes from spending your time with the language in context, and learning what you need to make sense of it.
Specifically, this means: Spend your time studying the dialogues from the textbook. We're trying to keep things simple. If you try and complete every exercise in the book, you'll slow down so much that you'll probably never finish it.
So we're stripping away all the unnecessary stuff and focusing on the most valuable part of the textbook- the dialogues. You can always go back and study the grammar later, but it's by covering all the dialogues across various topics that you'll get the most complete picture of how Spanish works.
This is known as a top-down approach. For techniques for studying a dialogue effectively, see this post.
For a long time, I believed that the way to learn a language fast was to learn more. Eventually, I learnt that the way to learn a language fast is to revise more. Beyond your daily habit of studying your textbook, the single biggest thing you can do to improve your learning is to add a revision session at the end of the day.
Without the revision, there is a 24 hour gap between study sessions. With the revision, you have an opportunity for your brain to absorb what you're learning. Now, I know you're looking for the best way to learn Spanish on your own.
This means you'll need help, and you can't do it all by yourself. You'll need a speaking partner. This approach gives you a convenient way to get started:. Make sure your speaking partner has a copy of the textbook, and ask them to help you practise what you've learnt.
When learning Spanish as a beginner, it's far better to gain a limited understanding of many areas than a deep understanding of a few. This is because lots can be learnt intuitively, without the need for dedicated study, so it's better to cover a lot an increase the chances of that happening. These days, textbooks can be overlooked, in favour of smartphone apps and the internet.
Although there are some great resources online, the internet has been disastrous in one important aspect: The major advantage of a textbook, in my opinion, is that it makes the job of focusing so much easier. Shut down the internet , turn off your phone, and just concentrate on the pages in the book.
Everything you need is there. The biggest danger in terms of textbook study is that you get bogged down in grammar exercises. Although they can be useful, you don't need to understand grammar perfectly yet. You'll learn the most by covering the dialogues , as you'll get to see how the language works and actually learn a lot of grammar intuitively, thereby saving yourself time. You will need a variety of material depending on interest.
Try to find reading material that comes with audio:. After 3 months of study, you should have a good foundation in Spanish to a pre-intermediate level A2. In months you aim to take that foundation and put it into practice, so you learn to speak with some confidence. At this stage, you may find yourself hitting a plateau , where you seem to stop improving.
In reality, progress seems slower because you begin to realise just how much you don't know, and you have a desire to speak with more accuracy.
The route to developing confidence in Spanish is this: Spend as much time using Spanish to do things that interest you, and do this using all four skills - speaking, listening, reading, writing.
People who fail to break through this plateau usually do so because they spend too much time studying the language, and not using it for real purposes e.
The activities in this phase are designed to make sure you spend as much time as possible engaging with the language. You may feel you lack structure without a textbook or course, but have faith in the process of surrounding yourself with real Spanish - it will ultimately pay off, as things slowly start to make sense and you learn to control the language.
In the previous phase, you worked with native speaker tutors to help you practise language from your textbook. Now, it's time to get more authentic speaking practice. The trouble is, speaking with native speakers can be scary. So, you're not going to throw yourself in at the deep end. Rather, you're going to continue working with tutors or conversation partners who you're familiar with, and attending Meetups where everyone is there to practise Spanish i. For me, speaking Spanish "fluently" isn't about being native-like.
It's about being able to enjoy interesting conversations with native speakers.
There's a big difference! In your daily life, you tend to discuss similar topics every day with your colleagues and friends. Spanish should be no different:. In these conversations, your aim should not be to get everything correct. You are practising expressing yourself. I find it helpful to think about the point I'd like to make in English, and then try to say that in Spanish.
This helps to ensure I'm being a good conversation partner , and not just trotting out formulaic Spanish I've learnt. This way, you learn relevant Spanish rather than trying to learn every noun, verb and adjective under the sun. By reading and listening at the same time to identical material , you can form links in your mind between the words and the sounds. You can also use the text to understand the audio which might otherwise be too fast.
Reading teaches you so much. That's why I wrote my books of Spanish short stories for beginners. Many perceived difficulties with Spanish grammar can be solved simply by reading a lot. When you see the grammar being used in a real context, it intuitively starts to make sense. I believe this is much better way to learn grammar than trying to study it in an isolated way in a textbook.
Treat reading as your main Spanish study each day. You can do it in one long session 45 mins , or do it on your commute 2x20 mins. For an effective reading strategy, click here. If you're reading Spanish and having regular conversations, you'll be learning a lot of new vocabulary naturally.
But rather than leave it to chance, you can use digital flashcards to help commit the most useful vocabulary to memory. The trick here is to be selective about which vocabulary you try to learn. You can't learn everything, so try to notice the words and phrases you come across in your other activities that seem to be highly useful. Use your flashcard app as a place to store this vocabulary, and use the "Spaced Repetition System" to help you commit it to memory.
Some people find it hard to get excited about using flashcards, but it's very powerful and you can commit a lot of vocabulary to memory within a short time. The most effective way to learn Spanish vocabulary with flashcards is to do multiple, short sessions a day.
The recommended minutes per day is best broken down into 3 or 4 short 5-minute sessions study. You can easily fit these into coffee breaks or waiting for the train. You might be unsure you're studying in the right way, without the structure provided by a regular class. But it needs to be focused. It's vital to choose reading material that's at a suitable level for you, or else you'll struggle.
The biggest "hack" in this process is the strategic learning of vocabulary with flashcards. Most people shoot themselves in the foot here by trying to learn too much. Flashcards can quickly become overwhelming if you cram them with vocabulary you don't really need. Be always thinking: What will really help me speak better?
You will still find speaking hard at this stage, and that's OK. Your attitude is important here. If you focus on everything you can't say, you'll become negative and want to retreat to your books. Instead, focus on the process of simply speaking week after week, and the benefits that come from that.
Replacing your daily activities with Spanish will take a bit of preparation, but it's easy to find everything you need online:. After 6 months of studying and - critically - using Spanish, you will be in a good place. In the previous 3 months you were looking for reading material that is simplified for beginners, and speaking opportunities that are designed for learners.
However, now you need to dive into real Spanish. Real Spanish is where you'll learn how the language is really used, and have the chance to speak with real people - not sugar-coated to make it easy for you. The way to make this meaningful, and not get overwhelmed, is to continue basing your studying around your own interests:. Naturally, this is not easy - especially at first. But by rising to the challenge, and keeping it up for 6 months, you'll reach the end of the 12 months with a significant amount of ability in Spanish.
The star of the Netflix blockbuster Narcos used these principles to learn Spanish in only a few months. Read how in this post! Spanish is what you might call a "front-loaded" language. In other words, much of the difficulty comes at the beginning. Once you can speak Spanish to a decent level, you won't find any big surprises unlike many Asian languages, for example.
The reason is that most people believe the best way to learn Spanish on your own is to master grammar from the beginning.
Luckily, you'll find that you've already learnt a lot of that so-called "tricky" grammar simply by being exposed to it over the last 6 months - so it will prove to be much easier to master.
For the same reason, it makes sense to study grammar systematically at this stage, and you can do this by working through a good grammar exercise book. Simply focus on the areas of grammar you find tricky. At the same time as you work on your grammar, you need to start making Spanish the default language for your daily activities. You should literally try to do everything you need to do in Spanish, whether that's reading the newspaper or going out for the evening.
This isn't particularly complex to do , but it does take commitment. The best way to approach this is to start small. Introduce one new Spanish activity every week. Ideally, your speaking practice will come from a Spanish-based social life. However, if this isn't practical perhaps due to where you live , you should arrange regular speaking sessions on Skype.