You probably only need about 30 minutes a day, and this introductory stage should last no more than 2 weeks. Afterwards, you need to STOP using these resources because although they are fine as an introduction, they are slow and inefficient.
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Try to get your pronunciation right from the very beginning. When you hear the Spanish recording, make sure you repeat it out loud. At first, repeat each word slowly, syllable by syllable until you can mimic the sounds almost perfectly. If necessary, record yourself speaking and listen back. At this stage, the goal is to build a solid foundation for yourself in terms of basic grammar, vocabulary, put your thoughts into complete sentences and be confident enough to talk to people.
At the end of this stage, you want to be able to have basic conversations that involve exchanging information, asking for things, talking about work, family and your interests. Using a textbook might seem old-fashioned, but it is still probably the best way for a beginner to learn the grammatical rules of Spanish. The reason why a textbook is effective is because it teaches you in a structured way.
It takes you through a progression that slowly builds on each concept, step-by-step. For each chapter of the textbook that you go through, study the dialogues, and make sure you do all the practice exercises. Ideally, you should try to find additional exercises online related to the concept you just learned. So for each concept you learn, you need to be practicing it with real people.
You can use a combination of friends, meetups, or language exchanges to get your practice in. At this point, you are not having full conversations yet nor should you try to. Try practicing phrases, and some short dialogues or scenarios. But nevertheless, you should aim for hours per week of speaking practice. When you learn with a teacher, you get step-by-step guidance and speaking practice all in one package. You even get homework, just like in school. This is a big advantage over someone who is just studying on their own. Being able to practice what you learned immediately through speaking is another advantage.
For example, you might spend the first half of a lesson going over the conjugations of the Imperfect tense, and then spend the second half the lesson practicing it verbally through question and answer, storytelling, and other fun exercises. It might be tempting to immediately work your way through a textbook from cover to cover, but this will just overload you with information. A lot of people make the mistake of diving too deep into the grammar, without making sure that they fully understand and have practiced each concept before moving on to the next.
Focus on memorizing the most useful words that will make it easier for you to practice speaking.
If you master these types of words, your speech will come out more naturally, and it will make you sound more fluent than you actually are at this point. This can give you a much-needed boost of confidence because at this stage it can still be scary to be out there talking to people. This stage is all about expanding your horizons. Some may choose to improve their Spanish even further to the advanced levels, but for many people, this is this level where you can fully enjoy the rewards of being able to speak Spanish. Based on the two options from the beginner stage, we can make a few adjustments for the intermediate level:.
In order to move into the intermediate stage, speaking becomes even more important. By now you should now be ramping up your speaking practice to a minimum of hours per week. Whereas you were previously practicing short phrases or dialogues, you should now be pushing yourself to have more full-fledged conversations now that you know more vocabulary and grammar. If you are learning with a teacher, you should know them pretty well by now, so you can have deeper conversations about more diverse topics. Your teacher can also start to speak a little bit faster to help train your ear.
This is the stage where active reading and listening start to shine. You know enough Spanish now that you can really take advantage of movies, TV, radio, podcasts, books, and articles. Reading and listening at the same time will get you the best results. Try to find material that is interesting to you. This way you can enjoy the process of listening and reading, which can become a source of motivation.
Try your best to understand it, pay attention to the grammar and vocabulary, and the context that they are being used. A big part of going from beginner to intermediate is significantly increasing your vocabulary. Using flash card apps like Anki or Memrise can really help commit them to memory. You can practice in short 5-minute chunks while waiting for the bus etc. A textbook is not mandatory at this point. Of course, there are always more advanced grammar concepts to learn, but they tend to be used very sparingly in everyday conversations.
You look up the meaning and then create a new flash card in Anki.
The next today, the flash card pops up and you review it. What you are learning now is more incremental and takes longer for everything to click in your mind. To overcome the dip, you need to trust the process and be disciplined when it comes to the learning formula. Your teacher can really help you stay motivated by creating a plan that guides you to new things you should learn and older concepts you should be reviewing, as well as giving you feedback on what you are doing well and what you need to improve on.
So, how long does it take to learn Spanish using this road map? Maybe some people can, but most of us lead busy lives, with jobs, families and other responsibilities competing for our time.
If you are learning with a Spanish teacher Option 2 , I believe that you can go from zero to conversationally fluent in 8 — 12 months using the methods in this road map. This timeframe is just an estimate, because obviously everyone learns at a different pace. If you decide to go at it alone Option 1 , it will take a lot longer. Feel free to reach out to me at chi verbalicity. More amazing articles and cool stuff delivered straight to your email inbox. Oops, either something went wrong or you're already a subscriber. Best Way to Learn Spanish for Beginners: Trying to figure out the best way to learn Spanish?
This all-encompassing guide contains everything you need to know about learning Spanish as a beginner. Do they really work? The minute a day method that will make sure you never forget anything again The best way to practice speaking in Spanish How to go from zero to conversationally fluent faster than you ever thought possible …and much, much more. This guide is organized into three parts:.
Which ones are effective and which ones are a total waste of time? Software and apps Passive listening Speaking practice. A stage-by-stage roadmap that you can follow to go from zero to conversational Stage 1: I wrote this guide for: Why do you want to learn Spanish? Does this mean you can drive now? Languages are the same way. In order to learn a language, you have to speak it.
Scientists from the NTL Institute discovered through their research that people remember: Listening and speaking really go hand in hand. This principle is absolutely huge when it comes to the best way to learn Spanish, and it has two major applications: Vocabulary and Grammar The Spanish language has about , words in total, however: Learning Methods It seems like there are a million ways to learn Spanish these days, between traditional methods like textbooks, to endless online resources.
Which methods work and which ones should you throw out the window? Take a second and think of all the people you know who learned Spanish or any second language. Did any of them become fluent by learning from an app? Is an app really the best way to learn Spanish? For example, the study for Babbel concluded that: Just check out their top review on Amazon: Despite the drawbacks of software and apps, there is one type of app that can have a profound impact on your learning: If you want to try this out, there are two apps that I recommend: Reviewing cards is extremely simple and straightforward Very easy to write your own cards, can be done on the fly Plenty of customization options, and user-written decks to download although not as many as Memrise.
More variety for reviewing cards fill-in-blanks, audio recordings etc. Offers a little bit of gamification rewards, reminders to keep you motivated Big library of card decks written by other people, and community of users. Free for all platforms iOS, Android, Computer. There is a big advantage to doing this, which you can see from the following steps: When using pre-written flash cards You see a new word for the first time in your app and then review the word until you remember it.
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You associate the word with a real-life situation. Your review the word until you remember it. Can you learn Spanish by just watching TV and listening to the radio? Examples of passive listening include: Audio courses Radio and podcasts Movies and TV shows The idea of passive listening sounds good on paper. Now, many people will have a couple of objections to this: I thought passive listening is how babies learn languages? Speak with people you know Maybe you have friends who are native Spanish speakers, or maybe you are dating or married to one! Practicing with people you know can be less intimidating than with a stranger, and as a result, you might be more willing to open up and speak although for some people it has the opposite effect.
They know you, they like you, so they will probably be very supportive and patient with you. Cons You may not know anyone in your immediate circle of friends and family who speak Spanish. People have deeply ingrained habits. Once a relationship is established, it is really hard to change the language of communication. Trying to practice Spanish with friends and family can be frustrating. You get to meet new people in your area who are learning Spanish just like you. If you need an explanation for a grammar concept, chances are someone in the group knows and can explain it to you.
Not great for shy people. Speaking in a group of people can be pretty intimidating. Everyone is at different levels of fluency, so you could find yourself talking to someone who is way more advanced than you are, and you may end up boring them. You get much better value out of meetups if you are already somewhat conversational. Language Exchanges The basic idea is to find a Spanish native speaker who is trying to learn English. You can get exposure to a lot of different people who come from different Spanish speaking countries and with different backgrounds Cons Can be very consuming to find the right partner kind of like dating.
It can take a lot of trial and error. Professional Spanish Teachers These days it is far more convenient to find a Spanish teacher online, which believe it or not, can be even more interactive than being face-to-face. Pros A good teacher is like having your own coach or personal trainer. They want you to succeed, and they are there to support you, offer motivation and advice. It is much easier to learn Spanish when someone is there to hold you accountable.
A teacher is a trained professional. They have comprehensive knowledge of both Spanish and English grammar. So they can explain to you the difference between the two, and provide a lot of useful examples to help you understand difficult concepts. Teachers know how to correct you when you make a mistake, but not so often as to interrupt the flow of conversation.
Talking to a teacher just feels natural. A teacher can quickly figure out your strengths and weaknesses, and come up with a learning plan to address them. They will design a customized curriculum for you, based on your learning goals and interests. This ensures that whatever they teach will be very meaningful to you. Here are some topics to get you started and some examples of what I might say:. As you try to speak with others in Spanish you'll naturally encounter other words or phrases that you will want to add to this list.
You'll also be able to check your initial attempts at translating it, to getting it right. Frequency word lists are a great resource, but rather than take the list as it is, go through and select those words that you know you will use on a consistent basis. Usually after the top words the, to, yes etc. Fluent Spanish speakers don't talk like a book. If you try to talk the same way people write, you'll wind up sounding like a robot.
Road Map: Zero to Conversational
Spoken Spanish has elements that allow you to bridge ideas and phrases, or add space to the conversation where your mouth can catch up with your brain or vice versa. Don't try to memorize all the Conversational Connectors at once! Pick a few and use them as quickly as you can. This is the fastest way to ingrain them into your memory. You only need one or two to start, and then you can add to your repertoire as you gain more experience and confidence. This is where you truly hit the ground running!
Your goal is to use as much of the language as you can, as often as you can, wherever you can. Location is no excuse. Even if you are one of those rare people with no Internet, no native speakers in your city, and no resources, there is still a way to speak Spanish all the time:. All the normal self-talk that you do in your head during the day can be done in Spanish!
So be sure to check out my list of Spanish language resources , including podcasts, videos, online services, and more. Listen and then listen again. Work for comprehension and try to duplicate the sounds you hear. This sort of active study of what you hear will increase your ability to speak like a native.
In any language learning project, you can easily get overwhelmed with all the things about the language which are challenging. In fact, it seems this is the first thing many beginners do. So, why not try a different approach? Mindset and your approach to learning a language can be one of the greatest determiners of success. In my guide, Why Spanish is Easy , I go in depth with methods for simplifying your approach to Spanish.
I share over 60 pages of techniques in the guide, but here are a few specific things to keep in mind to understand why conversational fluency in Spanish is certainly achievable. Once you learn the pronunciation rules which take very little time at all you will be able to say anything you can read! That makes pulling out a dictionary to find the right word a breeze! Did you know there are fourteen ways of saying pretty much every word in Czech?
While Spanish has a different accent and musicality to English, the intonations are very similar for example, when you ask a question. Thanks to the occupation of England by the Norman French, we ended up with many French words in the English language. Fortunately many of these are very similar to the same words in Spanish! It is really all about your mindset and approach to learning the language.
Back when I started learning Spanish I stumbled across a totally new philosophy which has fueled my study of languages from that day forward: I could only learn to speak Spanish if I spoke Spanish. These five steps are a road map to help you move forward on your path with Spanish. But regardless of the course materials you use or the method you employ, if you want to be conversant in Spanish, then you need to actually converse. It essentially boils down to getting out there, opening your mouth, and making some friends.
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So, what are you waiting for? You have to speak. Speaking is by far the most important part of developing your language skills. Most of us learn a language to connect with others. Getting caught up with the idea of being able to read, write, listen and speak perfectly will overwhelm you and cause inaction. Here are some topics to get you started and some examples of what I might say: There are 10 main categories of connectors that I focus on:
Related Spanish Language Phrase Book - Learn Conversational Spanish Quickly!
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