- How to Learn Spanish for Beginners: Some Tips to Get Started
- Learn Spanish Online
- Is the Best Way to Learn Spanish With a Book?
- How to Learn Spanish with Spanish Movies
- What Apps Can You Use to Progress in Spanish on your Smartphone or Tablet?
- How Can You Teach Yourself Spanish?
- How to Teach Spanish to a Child with Dyslexia
By deciding to learn Spanish as a second language, you are setting out on a path to being able to communicate with around 440 million Spanish speakers. When you travel abroad to one of the 20 countries where Spanish is spoken, you'll be able to hold a conversation with the locals which will really impress them.
Learning a language always involves coming to terms with the verbs and the grammar, as well as developing your vocabulary sufficiently to use a variety of words and phrases to express what you want to say.
Being the world's second most spoken language by number of native speakers, Spanish has obvious appeal. What's more, the language and culture is rich and diverse, and English even uses Spanish words without us really knowing it!
Speaking Spanish will open many doors, but how should you go about studying it? You obviously have the traditional language courses and private classes with a tutor, but are there any other ways to learn the language of Cervantes?
Here at Superprof we have put together this handy guide about some of the different options available for people who want to learn Spanish.
How to Learn Spanish for Beginners: Some Tips to Get Started
Learning a foreign language can be a really big deal for some people. But when it comes to learning Spanish, there is no need to panic or worry! There are many similarities between English and Spanish that facilitate the language learning experience:
- They both use the same alphabet
- Vocabulary similarities (words, sentence, expression),
- Conjugation and tenses difficulties
- The pronunciation on certain sounds,
Couple this with the vast amount of tips for beginners learning Spanish that you can find online, and you are pretty much set to begin your adventure which could take you as far as Spain, Mexico, Argentina, or even Colombia.
You could start by taking some private classes from home. It's certainly one of the most effective methods to progress. Unlike immersion through linguistic stays which teach, above all, the fluency and oral expression and comprehension, a Spanish lesson will teach you the grammar, the rules of phonetics and the pronunciation, the syntax and the writing of the words: the real Spanish basics!
As a beginner, some great advice would be to get your head around counting in numbers, followed by asking questions and verb conjugation. By doing so, you will be able to have a very basic conversation in Spanish which will give you some early confidence that should be a great help as you kick on further into your Spanish learning.
As you probably remember from your French and German classes at school, starting to learn a new language usually involves introducing yours, giving your age, and saying where you are from and where you live.
Therefore, by starting with numbers, verb conjugation, and questions you will have the necessary tools to be able to tackle these first steps.
If you or your child is dyslexic there is still a way to learn Spanish. Read our article Dyslexic and the Spanish Language to learn more.
Learn Spanish Online
Learning Spanish Online is an option which is constantly increasing in popularity. Most people start by searching for things like "Free Spanish Online", "Online Course", and "Online Spanish Course", without really knowing what they are looking for, or what are sites that can actually help them.
You will find some website that charge for their content, but you might have to dig a little bit further to find ones that offer free Spanish resources, so you should therefore check out the following:
- Spanish Easy,
- Voc Box,
You can also use the internet to find videos on websites such as YouTube that offer free Spanish content. Such videos often tackle different topics, so you can search for the subjects that you find difficult and see what comes up!
Thanks to all these free methods, there will be no stopping you as you start to learn Spanish easily and quickly.
Spanish grammar, exercises to speak Spanish and perfect your oral expression will be within easy reach. Spanish vocabulary is offered on many different websites and available for you to learn by heart.
Online Spanish learning could be a good start before undertaking an immersion trip in the Spanish-speaking world, where you can perfect your Spanish grammar and accent.
Be sure to use an English-Spanish online dictionary if you are ever in any doubt, too. By looking up a word on a website such as Word Reference and writing it down you are far more likely to remember it than if you don't write it down.
Is the Best Way to Learn Spanish With a Book?
The written word has been the spine of academia for millennia. So why not pick up a book to help you learn Spanish? After all it is a tried and trusted method which has lasted the test of time.
You could use a textbook for beginners, or if you are of an intermediate or more advanced level, then you could read some Spanish literature. Either way. reading in a foreign language can often help you to progress quickly.
Here are some of the best books for learning Spanish:
- Spanish for Dummies,
- The Assimil Method,
- Learn Spanish by speaking,
- Learn Spanish, El nuevo companero de Cuarto, to study Spanish while having fun,
- 300 Spanish and Hispanic jokes,
- Hispanic literature: "Gabriel, el relato de un naufrago", "La hermana de San Sulpicio", "Cuentos fantasticos de America", "Cuentos de Eva Luna".
- Audio books on Librivox.org, Ivoox.com and Albalearning.com.
How to Learn Spanish with Spanish Movies
There is not a nice feeling thinking that you are forcing yourself to learn a language, when in reality you aren't enjoying the learning process. The best way to tackle this is by making language learning fun. And what better way could there be apart from watching a movie?
Besides, who doesn't love to sit down and watch a great film with some popcorn and a drink? Luckily for Spanish learners across the world, Spanish speaking films boast some classics amongst their ranks.
Therefore, watching movies in Spanish to study Spanish won't only teach you the Spanish language, you will also get an insight into different Hispanic cultures from around the world.
Depending on your level, you can watch the films with English subtitles, Spanish subtitles, or without subtitles. It might sound self defeating to watch a film with English subtitles, but you brain will be making connections between what you hear and the translation given on screen, so it won't be a wasted exercise. Here are some of our favourite movies in Spanish to get you started:
- Pan's Labyrinth,
- Speak with her,
- Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown,
- Our dear neighbors,
- Cell 211,
- The Secret in their Eyes,
- Open your eyes.
Hispanic cinema has some household names across the world in its midst. Geniuses such as Gael Garcia Bernal, Rodrigo de la Cerna, Antonio Banderas, Carmen Maura, Ricardo Darin, and Penelope Cruz all have Hispanic roots, as do directors such as Pedro Almodovar, Del Toro, Amenabar, and Alex de la Iglesia.
What Apps Can You Use to Progress in Spanish on your Smartphone or Tablet?
Returning to the digital world, there are loads of apps to learn Spanish that you can download onto your smartphone or tablet.
If a language study trip to Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, or Barcelona is unfeasible, then you can always look to cheaper and more convenient ways of learning Spanish that won't require you to completely uproot your whole life.
That's why we want to direct you to different applications to study Spanish!
Apps have the advantage of motivating, enthralling and captivating their audience. Whether for adults or young ones, the learning of the Spanish language is should be made fun wherever possible as this will allow for quicker progress to be made.
But what are the applications that you should download onto your smartphone or tablet to help you learn Spanish? Here are some ideas:
- Duolingo was voted Best App Learning 2013 by Apple. There are many fun exercises to work grammar, vocabulary, conjugation and oral/written expression, as well as tasks relating to Spanish verbs. And what's more, you can learn Spanish free of charge as there is no cost for downloading this app.
- Babbel is an app that you have to pay for, and it is slightly more serious and academic than Duolingo. Spanish lessons are available on all your different devices: smartphone, tablet or desktop computer. You can work on grammar, verb conjugation, vocabulary and Spanish pronunciation!
How Can You Teach Yourself Spanish?
The Spanish language is not generally considered to be that hard for native English speakers to learn. In fact, the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) suggests that Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn for an English speaker, because it places the language into its category grouping, suggesting that it takes around 600 hours of Spanish classes to reach general proficiency in the language.
This therefore raises the question as to whether you can teach yourself Spanish or not?
It's possible, but some steps must be respected! First you need to correctly judge you starting level... This is essential to know where to start learning Spanish.
It is then important to get good books adapted to you as a Spanish learner, or find a correspondent with whom you can practice your conversational skills regularly.
Continue using other Spanish resources, such as websites specialising in free or paid Spanish classes, YouTube videos, e-books or applications.
Once this step is over, you will finally be ready to travel and try out total immersion!
Several countries are waiting for you, especially in Latin America.
How to Teach Spanish to a Child with Dyslexia
Beyond personal factors such as motivation, concentration problems or budget, other obstacles can also hinder you when learning of a foreign language.
For example, how can you go about teaching Castilian to a dyslexic student?
Note that there are 3 types of dyslexia: phonological, surface and mixed. For the first, the child struggles to associate a sound with letters or words. The second is the difficulty in remembering the spelling of words. The third relates to both of the previously mentioned together.
Without a shadow of a doubt it is possible for a dyslexic child to learn Spanish. It is simply a question of adapting the method to suit each individual child. We can adapt the teaching method by:
- breaking down reading exercises,
- using a multi-sensory method,
- working on memory exercises,
- adapting the means to each exercise: additions of written supports, exaggeration of the intonations, vocabulary cards ...
- promoting concentration and structure,
- highlighting the students' efforts.
Don't despair. Language learning can take some time and effort. To learn to speak Spanish isn't the hardest, but that doesn't mean you won't have to put a bit of effort into it. However it's worth it at the end of the day!
Spanish phrases will spring out and you will soon have good conversational Spanish. Then, go and travel in one the many Spanish speaking countries around the world, and become fluent whilst discovering some of the most beautiful places on the planet! Doesn't seem all that bad, does it?
So contact a Spanish teacher, get back to those Spanish words, contact your native speaker friend and you'll become fluent in no time!