What’s the simplest way to learn the Spanish language?
There are tons of ways to learn Spanish, and the reality is there isn’t a singular method that is better than the other. It’s about finding what works for you, what matches your goals and what you need to do to reach those goals. But no matter if you go down the DIY route like I did or opt for something a little more structured like a course, there are a couple of things you have to maintain throughout your Spanish learning journey. And those two things are immersion and consistency.
Simplest way to learn the Spanish language:
Spend an hour a day on grammar exercises from a textbook
Spanish in Three Months Book and CD (Hugo)I found a really simple grammar book and CD for beginners called “Hugo Spanish in 3 Months.” It’s full of short explanations and exercises. All the answers are in the back of the book, and it was an excellent source for picking up the basics: past, present and future tenses; prepositions; popular phrasal constructs and explanations related to plurals and gender.
Read, underline, look up new words and read again
Reading at home was, without a doubt, the single most useful activity I made time for in the early stages. I read anything I could get my hands on, but I loved reading novels by Paulo Coelho, translated from Portuguese to Spanish.
Watch movies and TV shows with subtitles
It might seem odd to watch in Spanish and read in Spanish at the same time, but it really does work wonders. Reading skills develop a lot faster than listening skills. By reading and listening at the same time, I was really able to improve my pronunciation.
It also helped me to speak like the locals. After a year in Venezuela, I moved to Argentina, where I lived for five years. Spanish in Venezuela is very different from Spanish in Argentina. Watching Argentine movies and looking for typical Argentine phrases helped me to fit in more and make friends.
Listen to the radio in Spanish:
Listening to the radio in Spanish is something you’ll find enjoyable after about two years of being fairly fluent. I found it impossible at first, but I recommend sticking with it. Understanding what someone says in a foreign language without seeing their lips can be tricky.
I managed to fit in a good hour and a half every day, listening to the radio on my phone when traveling to and from work in Buenos Aires.
Travel to Spanish-speaking countries:
Travel, travel and keep on travelling. I spent around seven years travelling to Spanish-speaking countries before I made the move to Venezuela and it gave me lots of confidence. I got better at sharing with locals and recognizing through context what they were trying to say to me. It was always a real buzz and kept me wanting to improve my language skills.
Spend time in Spanish-speaking environments
If you can’t travel abroad, travel to places in your hometown where Spanish-speaking people hang out. Before leaving London, I used to go to a lot of salsa clubs, and I remember having a really great time.
I’d also eat in Spanish restaurants, drink in Spanish cocktail bars and I even joined a Spanish conversation group at one point. It was a group organized by native Spanish speakers as a way of bridging the cultural gap between Londoners and foreigners who were living a long way from home.
Volunteer for a long-term project in a Spanish-speaking country
When I first visited Argentina I volunteered for The South American Explorers, an NGO dedicated to raising money for local charities and projects. I volunteered for about eight months and particularly enjoyed working to support Fundación Ph15, a volunteer photography organization for children in Villa 15 of Buenos Aires.
The time I spent with these children as a volunteer opened my eyes and ears to new expressions and natural vocabulary that I wouldn’t have had the chance to access otherwise.
Keep a Spanish blog:
The idea of keeping a Spanish blog is something I’ve only been considering for the past couple of months, but I think it’s something anyone can do, even as a Spanish-speaking beginner.
The idea is to create a free, basic blog (Blogger and WordPress both have great platforms for this) and begin by adding an editor’s note explaining that you’ve set up this blog to help you improve your Spanish writing skills and to document your progress.
Take some online Spanish courses:
A highly effective method for learning Spanish on your own is to take some online Spanish courses. Let’s face it; we pretty much travel with our laptops, tablets and phones at all times—which means that any online course will be at your disposal anytime, anywhere.
Learn conversational Spanish with a partner:
Many of us do really well partnering up to learn. A language partner will help challenge you and make your language learning journey less solitary and more social! I was fortunate enough on my language journey to be surrounded by wonderful native Spanish speakers, but if that’s not your reality, specifically seeking out a language partner is the next best route.
Languages require a great deal of memorization – vocabulary, grammar rules, phrases, idioms, etc. There are better and worse ways to get all this information into your head – and the best way is to become skilled at mnemonics.
When something is hard to remember, find a way to associate it with something that is easy to remember.
There’s an amazing new way to learn Korean! Want to see what everyone’s talking about!