What are the best ways to learn Spanish?
Basically, languages are damn hard, and you don’t have the sponge-brain of a child anymore, so you’ll do yourself a massive favour if you kick-start your Spanish learning at home and rock up with at least a basic understanding and some survival phrases in the language. That base level will be so much easier to build on than starting from a blank page.
Few Best Ways to Learn Spanish:
1.Get childish on YouTube
You can’t just rely on reading and writing, listening is really important, too. At the beginning of learning Spanish as an adult, you will have no chance of being able to pick up full-speed adult conversations, so I highly recommend using kids’ shows instead. Before you say it, Dora the Explorer speaks faster than some adults, and her stories are actually quite grammatically advanced. A much slower, easier show to watch is Pocoyó. Since it’s aimed at very young kids, it has simple but interesting stories to make sense of, and basic vocab and grammar structure. I don’t expect you’ll be able to understand much straight away, so use subtitles (in English, or Spanish if you’re feeling up to it!). Also, the elephant is really cute.
2.Get into a Spanish-learning podcast for adults:
Podcasts are something you can have on in the background while you do other stuff, therefore there’s really very little excuse for not having the time to study Spanish at home with these! There are two key podcasts for Spanish learning for adults that I recommend: the first is Notes in Spanish, a podcast run by Ben, an English man and his Spanish wife, Marina, who lives in Spain. Ben’s Spanish can be a little useless at times in the beginner episodes, but that’s sort of the beauty of it. Marina is there to correct him where necessary.
3.Learn a song:
Singing will improve your pronunciation and understanding (since lyrics tend to be written in a lot more poetic way than regular speech). You’ll find that words and phrases stick more easily in your head once you’ve learnt them in a song, too.
4.Follow Instagram meme accounts & Reddit subs
To this day – even though I can read 500-page books like Sapiens in Spanish with ease – what I find the most difficult to comprehend quickly are internet memes. Things are worded differently for comic effect and poetic license, and they include slang from all over Latin America, Spain and the Hispanic communities in the USA. It can be a minefield, but once you have stared long enough for the joke to click, it’s really bloody satisfying, plus the funnies will keep you engaged.
5.Binge on Spanish Netflix
This one is a way of learning Spanish for adults who are heading towards a more advanced level, but is a very useful resource nonetheless. Over the last couple of years, Netflix has hugely expanded their international offering, and you can now find titles from almost every Spanish-speaking country in the world. Start watching with English subtitles, then once you can hear which words are relating to which meanings switch to Spanish subtitles, then when you’re feeling really confident, none at all. Netflix has also recently brought out a cool new feature that allows you to slow down playback (bottom right of the play bar).
6.Talk to yourself (or your pet!)
Learning Spanish at home is no good at all if you’re not doing anything to reinforce it outside of your study sessions. It’s one thing reading and writing in another language, but using what you’ve taught yourself to form your own sentences is a big part of learning a language. So to do this talk to yourself. Or talk to a pet. Or talk to your refrigerator for all I care, just talk.
Every time you learn a new word that you just can’t seem to commit to memory, or a verb that doesn’t conjugate in the same way as all the others, write yourself a flashcard. These can either be pinned up on your wall where you’ll see them a lot throughout the day, or used as a quiz pack to test yourself.
Build your confidence! I feel like I lost a huge amount of time lamenting my poor Spanish skills in Latin America and being too scared to practice with real people when actually I had a far better understanding than most backpackers even from day one. I just needed to be confident enough to dive right in and not worry about getting stuff wrong.
There’s an amazing new way to learn Spanish! Want to see what everyone’s talking about!