Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world. Many students in colleges and universities are selecting Spanish as their language of choice when making the decision on which of the main languages to learn. Latin American countries are fast becoming an economic power, thus learning the Spanish language for the business sector is important. Having even a basic understanding of Spanish can earn you a local or international career in a variety of fields.
Learning to speak Spanish is considered to be easier than many other languages by some students. What helps to make Spanish easier to learn is that there is a gender language difference between the masculine and feminine. Words that end in ‘a’ are feminine (she-‘ella’) and words ending in ‘o’ are masculine (male – ‘macho’).
The ways that you can develop your Spanish language skills are wide and varied. Often it is purely down to personal choice and what may suit a particular individual. Amongst some of the more popular ways to learn are the following techniques:
- Practice with someone who speaks fluently – The best method to learn Spanish is to practice with as many Spanish speaking people as you can. Living in a global society, you are bound to know of a Spanish community near where you live, work, or play. Neighbourhoods generally have a Spanish or Mexican store or restaurant with employees or owners who would enjoy teaching others how to speak their romantic language. To remain interested and to further peak your interest, begin with simple greetings, such as ‘Hello, how are you’ – ‘Hola cómo estás’, then grow from there. You will soon be learning Spanish fast and you’ll become accustomed to speaking Spanish in a functional manner due to the familiar environment.
- Movies/TV – Subtitled movies and TV programmes, that can be recorded and replayed at a later time, are a great way to practice whole conversational speeches at your convenience. By watching Spanish programming, it gives you a great resource to improve your pronunciation, vocabulary and listening comprehension skills. With the aid of modern technology, subtitled programmes can be picked up via Internet TV. Alternatively you can program your TV planner to include Spanish language subtitles.
Spanish is easier when you have a wide choice of programming to choose from. Include all manner of programmes such as comedy programmes, late night Spanish shows, daily news, reality shows, game shows, and dramas. This will give you a better understanding of tone and pronunciation. Spanish movies are generally always subtitled in English for English speaking countries too. Just make sure that you don’t get so caught up in the storyline that you forget that these are tools are to help you learn Spanish!
- Music – When you pair learning Spanish with a hobby, or with something that interests you, such as music, you learn and retain phrases faster. Music is fun and exciting, which is probably why people can learn foreign lyrics faster and easier, even if they don’t know the English translation. Many Spanish artists include translations within the CD inlay cover, or you can acquire a Spanish/English lyrical song book, which is great for learning new words and phrases. Even though you might be an adult, there are a number of children’s song and reading books that identify the days of the week, months, numbers, and many other every-day, commonly used phrases that could help you when you are just starting out.
- Full Immersion – Of course the ideal way to learn Spanish is to see and feel the language in its own native environment. Learning Spanish in a native country is easier because it allows you to become familiar with associated physical movements, facial expressions, and correct voice inflections. Other immersion techniques are the language teaching software, videos and tapes that expose people to Spanish in a structured atmosphere which stimulates the subconscious mind. Learning techniques like this can help you learn Spanish in a car, especially on daily commuting trips or on a long drive. There was an ad recently on TV, showing two men taking a long car trip and the CD they used was to learn Spanish. When they nearly reached their destination, having stopped for fuel, they were speaking to each other fluently in Spanish. It might not be as quick as that for you, but there is little doubt that with a plenty of effort and perseverance, language CD’s can be a brilliant tool.
- Online language subscription services and online educational classes – Online Spanish schools and services professionally guide people through personalised lessons with either email feedback or via Skype. Many of these services and classes, with accelerated studies, can help people learn Spanish in a month. Hours of interactive exercises will keep you engaged and involved with experts in the Spanish language. Other online advantages include popular social video websites which offer quality lessons for all levels of the Spanish language.
- Spanish Apps – Modern technology has given us a wealth of Spanish translator ‘apps’ that can be downloaded to our iPhones, Android devices, tablets, and smartphones. They are usually free, downloadable translator apps that automatically recognise Spanish when it is spoken. They then immediately translate the words into English or another specified language. These translator apps are like having your own personal translator on your mobile device. This technology is based on speech and voice recognition; maybe this could be the teaching tool that will soon have you conversing fluently yourself.
To learn Spanish conversation or any foreign language, it takes commitment and practice. It must remain fun, not stressful, or you will give up easily. Don’t become discouraged because there will be times when learning Spanish seems to click, yet there will be other times when you seem to be going backwards. This is normal during the language learning progress so don’t get disheartened. Persevere, and once you find the best way to learn Spanish quickly, you will soon be rewarded with the enjoyment that speaking a second language can bring.