Learning to speak Spanish is one of the best decisions you can make. Knowing how to speak Spanish will allow you to communicate with an estimated 450 million native speakers around the world. On a professional level, it's definitely an asset making you more employable within a wide range of different global companies and organisations throughout the world. Spanish is one of the official languages for the World Health Organisation, The European Union and Interpol.
The international business environment values professionals who are multilingual and it's a known fact that language skills are great for business. In a globalised world where businesses rely's on all four corners of the globe to thrive, language learning is growing ever more critical as part of your professional development.
The Spanish is spoken in 20 different independent countries around the world. So it's importance and appeal are enormous in a professional context. Even if your pronunciation isn't perfect, to gain a competitive advantage; knowing just a few key Spanish words or phrases at a conversational level can set you apart from the crowd.
There are things that you may need to know to help you become fluent in Spanish quickly. But knowing how long it will take is not easy to answer. There are a multitude of factors that affect how long an individual takes to learn a new language. This article will look at a few points to consider to help you learn Spanish quicker.
How Long Will it Take To Be Fluent in Spanish?
As previously mentioned, there is no exact period of time to learn how to speak and become fluent in Spanish.
How long it takes to learn the language will depend on many factors such as your ability to learn languages, the amount of time that you want or have to dedicate to the process, but also how intensely you want to learn the Spanish language and your own personal motivations and commitment.
However, we can discuss the difficulty of learning Spanish for an English speaker.
The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) guide on learning, put each new language into a group based on perceived level of difficulty. According to the FSI Spanish is a Group 1 language which is comparably easier to learn, alongside languages such as:
The languages in category 1, which include Spanish are the closest languages to English. So there will be some overlap when it comes to vocabulary, verbs and grammar.
However, this does not mean that learning Spanish so easy. Spanish verb conjugation and grammar are still significantly difficult to English and therefore, can present some problems and challenges for any beginner.
But according to FSI estimates, learning Spanish can take somewhere between 575-600 hours of instruction, or 23-24 weeks, to reach general proficiency. Although you can learn Spanish quicker, or slower than this average range. These estimates merely provide a broad baseline to give you an idea of how long it can take more or less.
Attitude and Motivation are Extremely Important In Becoming Fluent in Spanish
Spanish speaking for any new learner does not happen overnight. It will require a lot of hard work and dedication. Your attitude and motivation is of the utmost importance in how fast you progress in the Spanish language. There are many ways to learn Spanish online, or you can sign up for a Spanish course or Spanish classes, or even buy the most expensive Spanish books available, but without a good attitude and motivation, all of that will be in vain.
First of all, with a good attitude and motivation, you will be much more focused on speaking Spanish, and persevere in learning the language even when you may encounter more difficult or complex concepts.
More importantly, learning Spanish with a positive attitude, makes the process more enjoyable and facilitates learning the language quicker and easier. It's good to point that an important part of determining how long it will take you to learn this second language, will depend on these critical factors: your attitude and motivation. As with learning anything new, if you enjoy it you will dedicate more time to it, and be motivated to constantly strive and improve your level and fluency.
Along with having a good attitude and being motivated, setting realistic but challenging goals for yourself can help you progress and achieve success in learning Spanish. Let's have a look at goal setting!!
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What are your Goals?
Knowing what you want to achieve in learning Spanish is what will keep you motivated. If you are learning Spanish with the goal of becoming bilingual so you can live and work abroad, then keeping this goal as your primary objective will help keep you motivated when challenges come. For others learning conversational Spanish for a once in a life time trip to Chile, or Costa Rica is ample enough motivation to study some Spanish.
Therefore, defining your goals from the start, will help you to stay motivated and direct your efforts instead of aimlessly learning different aspects of Spanish, it also helps to see how you progress with concerted effort.
Learn Spanish more effectively and more quickly, as you keep to your objectives. You will spend more productive time on your lessons rather than aspects that may not be as useful to you depending on what you need to do with your Spanish, for travel or work. You can concentrate on written, grammar, or just conversational.
There are many reasons to learn Spanish, whether it be for personal, professional, or cultural interest or just out of curiosity. The reasons and motivations may differ for each person, so the goals may also be different for each individual in a language class.
Still it is important to keep your goals clear, then the motivation to achieve them will keep you on track, and will allow you to learn the language at a quicker pace.
Do Know Any Other Languages?
Naturally, if you can speak other languages, it will help you in learning Spanish. like French for example. There are similarities between French and Spanish, therefore if you are already fluent or learnt French, you will pick up certain aspects of the Spanish language a lot quicker, since some grammar function the same in both languages. This can apply to:
- Sentence structure
Languages whose roots are similar to those of Spanish are more likely to be of help to you. Therefore, for all English speakers, both Spanish and English share Latin roots so it's easier to learn Spanish rather than say Russian, or Mandarin. You may even actually know some Spanish words before you even start your Spanish courses.
The evolution of European languages, means that many words have crossed over between different languages. So Spanish speakers can more easily benefit when it comes to learning English, and English speakers can also more easily benefit when it comes to learning Spanish.
In comparison, it's a difficult and time consuming tasks when learning Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, or Russian, because of having to first come to terms, with their alphabet and the different way of writing. Luckily this is not the case with Spanish, which facilitates the whole learning process for English speakers. .
Learn Spanish Fast: With Immersion
There are 20 different Spanish speaking countries around the world and there are only 3 other languages that are spoken in more countries than Spanish; English, French, and Arabic.
Since the use of Spanish is widespread, including countries such as Mexico, Argentina, Peru and Columbia in South America, and of course Spain, so you will not be short of places to go to for an immersive experience.
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The best way to study Spanish is to immerse yourself in the language. By immersing yourself with the sights and sounds of Spanish and its culture, you will learn how to speak Spanish like a local native speaker, picking up a the authentic local phrases and expressions that you won't learn in your Spanish class at home.
Every experience in daily life is a Spanish lesson; whether you're going to the supermarket, meeting friends for a drink in the evening or a morning coffee, even just getting around the city or country will be rich learning experience, where you choose to go. You can readily pick up the Spanish verbs and tenses used in daily life and quickly progress from basic Spanish to intermediate level due to all of the constant exposure and use of the language.
Learning a language most efficiently would ideally require some time living in a country where it is spoken. It is the quickest way to learn a language, and you wouldn't need to worry about how long it takes to learn Spanish as you will be constantly hearing and speaking the language as a necessity.
But it is still wise to take Spanish lessons before you relocate, if only to be able to converse on a basic level...
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