3 Unique Ways to Learn Spanish

Today we have a guest post from Ian at Fluently Spanish:

If you’re like most people who want to learn Spanish, you are sick of the boring methods used by old-fashioned school and college lecturers. All that hope, promise and excitement of learning Spanish can only last so long if you are stuck reading books or having conversations in Spanish that you would never use in real life.

This is why so many people give up before they’ve even learned a second language. Hopefully, with the help of this article you will be able to inject some fun into your Spanish learning and start on your journey to becoming conversationally fluent! Below are three unique, fun and interesting ways to learn Spanish without boring yourself to tears or upping sticks and heading to Barçelona or México.

  1. Post It! everything!
    Spanish structure can be learned easily in a book or audio course. What you actually need to learn Spanish and be confident in conversations is words. Label everything in your home with Post It notes and you’ll always be thinking in Spanish. Include sample sentences or phrases using that word every time you use it or look at it. Pick one Post It a day and take it with you to work or school. Use it in conversation with people or freak out the old lady on the bus by spouting off in Spanish. Get out of your comfort zone and start embarrassing yourself. That way, you won’t worry about forgetting words when you are speaking Spanish.

  2. Date a Spanish person
    It doesn’t matter where in the world you live, there will always be someone who speaks Spanish. With Facebook, MeetUp.com and many other sites you can find Spanish speakers in your local area. If you have a partner already, just meet up with people to talk with and learn Spanish over a coffee or four. For the singles out there, it’s a whole lot more fun! By dating Spanish speakers you not only get to try and woo them in Spanish, you get to order meals at Spanish restaurants, flirt with them in Spanish via text message and try to be cool and mysterious in a different language! If nothing else, the challenge will again build your confidence in speaking to people in Spanish.

  3. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
    The above two points also do this, but it’s a point worth making again. The best way to keep Spanish learning fun, interesting and unique is to get as far out of your comfort zone as possible. Go to Spanish or Mexican restaurants, drink cervezas in Spanish bars and order it in Spanish, phone Spanish companies or speak with Spanish people on Skype. Whatever you do, train yourself to not worry about making mistakes. Get used to asking ¿Cómo se dice ‘English word here’ en español?/How do you say ‘word’ in Spanish? If you need to refer to a dictionary for a word or phrase, you can just say Momentito… while you look it up!

One of the worst things you can do when learning Spanish is panic and then revert back to English, saying that you only speak a little. Persevere using unique ways of putting yourself under pressure, get out of the classroom and start learning Spanish the right way and I guarantee you’ll enjoy the process and the journey a heck of a lot more!

What unique way will you discover to learn Spanish?

You can learn more about how to speak Spanish fluently by visiting my website and signing up for my free Spanish online classes.

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This entry was posted in Language, Language learning, Spanish.

17 Responses to 3 Unique Ways to Learn Spanish

  1. JR says:

    The tips are not all that bad, but the first paragraph is nonsense. Of course, since the author already assumes that he speaks for “most people,” I’m suddenly in the minority. In any case, I’d say that the best method to learn a FL is at a good college or university. Here in the US at least, they are usually fun and we do actually have conversations that you would use in real life! The stress on such “real life” situations has been the norm in FL pedagogy in the US for about two decades now, after all. And since when is reading books boring?!

    If I ask people in the street if they would like to be able to speak Spanish or some other FL, surely most people would say yes. The problem is, most people don’t want to do all the hard work it takes to learn a FL. In the US, most college students in intro Spanish classes are there only because it is a requirement. They “want” to learn Spanish only if there were a magical way it could be implanted in their brain, but they don’t really want to work at it. And they might well blame the class for being “boring” for their failure.

    It all comes down to desire. I mean, sorry, but just posting post-it notes all over your house will not have you “always be thinking in Spanish.” You have to have the strong desire to always interact with those post-it notes first.

  2. Luis says:

    Nice post if you want to learn Spanish free visit my site for tips and help. http://www.spanish-aid.co.uk/

  3. prase says:

    I agree with the first comment. Or maybe I don’t. It’s not that the first paragraph is nonsense, the whole post is. It contains one trivially valid point (you need to actually speak the language you learn), covered in a cheap self-improvement booklet style gibberish.

    Perhaps there are some guys who need language learning be cool, even if it means shouting broken Spanish sentences at random old ladies in a bus, but I don’t suppose most people are like that. Most people actually don’t like being embarassed and try to avoid it. If you want to make language learning easier for them, you wouldn’t associate it with something they dislike. At least I suppose.

    And Barçelona with ç?

  4. Alex Semakin says:

    There are so many different ways to learn a language, and what works best for you has to do with your personality and learning style. This post is obviously just an advertisement for Ian’s online business and he had to sell his approach to language learning in what he considered to be a non-orthodox and eye-catching way. I don’t actually think the tips are nonsense. Most of them would work for me as a learner, except that I’m not too keen on cervezas and embarrassing myself in front of old ladies. But if you want to learn a language for a more academic purpose and/or if your learning style is ‘reflector’ rather than ‘activist’ you should not blame yourself for not being instantly enthused by Ian’s approach.

    I also wondered why Barçelona was written with ç. It’s not written that way in Catalan, is it?

  5. Yenlit says:

    He’s confused Barcelona with the nickname of Barcelona’s football club ‘Barça’.

  6. Abbie says:

    I recently made the decision to *finally* learn Spanish. Been focusing so far on the phonology. I want to put off any reading until I have a good feel for the sound. I learned to read Thai before I could speak or comprehend it well and that really screwed me up.

    Now if only I could trill a friggin R.

  7. While I wouldn’t say that someone should intentionally seek out a partner who speaks the language they’d like to learn, it does help. That’s how I learned Mandarin. It’s a little cruel, though, to only hook up with someone because of their native language skills. If you meet someone that you genuinely like, though, and they just happen to speak the language you’re studying — then go for it. You’ll learn exceptionally fast.

  8. JR says:

    @Prase: I don’t think the whole post is nonsense, as long as those tips are supplements to a more rigorous study of the language.

    @Alex: Yeah, kinda reminds me of the Rosetta Stone ads that are ubiquitous here in the US. Very similar to Ian’s post: If I were a monolingual adult who didn’t take FLs seriously in high school or college, Rosetta Stone and Ian might appear to be a magical revolution in terms of learning languages. Everyone else had it all wrong! There is an easy, quick, and fun way to become fluent!

    I wonder what such people have in mind in terms of “fluency.” I doubt that most people who want to be fluent want to achieve an “academic” level. But, surely, they want to be able to do more than order a beer in the foreign language.

    And it’s kinda embarrasing that Ian’s website which promises the “right way” to learn Spanish, contains totally basic errors on the few pages I looked at. Not just the spelling of Barelona, but even worse: “¡Gracias amigos y vuelven pronto por favor!” and “hasta entonces mi amigos!”

    But, yeah, if fluency means just being able to order a beer, I guess “mi amigos” is fine.

  9. prase says:

    @JR: I was possibly too harsh. The reason was that the style of the post fits exactly into the sort of marketing I dislike the most: be cool, be yourself, buy our method, just do it, it’s easy! But learning a language isn’t easy. It always takes time and effort, and there is no great method to overcome the obstacles for free. Somebody who has never learned a foreign language may be misleaded by such marketing, so I find it a little dishonest too.

    And I needn’t be told what way of learning is fun. I’d prefer reading Spanish Wikipedia to sticking little papers with “perro” onto my dog’s head.

  10. prase says:

    And by the way, the errors on the website are at least consistent with the “embarass yourself” policy.

  11. lukas says:

    Abbie,

    you don’t need to be able to trill an R in order to speak decent Spanish. I have a Mexican friend whose first language is Spanish but who is utterly unable to trill Rs. He just taps his ‘r’ and gargles his ‘rr’ and it comes out OK.

  12. JR says:

    @Prase: Agreed!

  13. jdotjdot89 says:

    @prase @Yenlit No, the name of the city is definitely spelled “Barcelona” in Spanish, Catalan, and English (though pronounced slightly differently in each). Even if he did confuse Barcelona the city with Barça the team, I don’t really see how that could have led him to sticking the c-cedilla in there when under no circumstances in Catalan would you have it before an e, nor for that matter would you ever have one in Spanish at all, the language he’s presumably writing about.

    (1) actually can be helpful, as long as it’s not taken to an extreme. It’s not good enough on its own, obviously, but for some learners it’s a useful supplement. But simply that–a supplement.

    (2) I think is actually very effective as long as an effort is made to speak the language, though this is only useful after gaining a conversational level. It’s much more useful in terms of learning the accent and phrases once the learner can understand the spoken language.

    (3) has limited use. I don’t think most people will take too kindly to someone sitting and looking up a word in the dictionary during a live conversation.

  14. Andrew says:

    Spanish is my specialty, so I was pleased to see something on Omniglot specifically about the language. I especially agree with point #2: NOTHING will improve your language skill faster than dating a native speaker, especially if they don’t speak English ;)

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  15. Meera says:

    Nice post. Can these apply for all languages or just spainish?

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