Learning Spanish

How to Really Learn Spanish

July 28, 2020

So you have decided to learn Spanish.  Now what?

Many of us toy with the idea of learning a new language. Our job, our personal relationships or our travel adventures may have an influence on this. Knowing how to speak Spanish is an advantage in the times we are living, after all it is the official language of 31 countries!

There are two key concepts to learning Spanish: consistency and immersion.

At StudySpanish.com we have the experience of teaching Spanish for over 20 years, and we believe in consistency. Those students who dedicate a certain amount of time daily to learning Spanish are much more successful at learning it than those who dedicate a full hour every few days.

It does not matter how much time you spend on learning Spanish each day. Just 15 minutes daily will make you progress much more than a longer amount of time just on weekends.

Keeping this in mind, we suggest that you are realistic when setting your goals. Consider your daily schedule and set a time that works for you. If you only have 20 minutes, it’s okay, just make sure you do not skip days.

Some people hear us talk about immersion and think the only way to do it is to travel to a Spanish speaking country and walk among the locals. Obviously, most of us do not have the time or money available to do this.

Although it is definitely ideal to spend time in a country where they speak Spanish, to truly become fluent, it is also true that you can immerse yourself in the language anywhere you might currently be.

Start Thinking in Spanish

Start by looking around yourself and trying to name in Spanish everything that you use or need daily. Can you imagine how much vocabulary you will learn just by doing so? If it helps, you can use sticky notes around the house to remind you of the words.

If you do this, please always include the article “la mesa”, “la silla”, “el sillón”, “la cocina”, “el jabón”.  The articles are very important in Spanish, so start learning them from the beginning.

Once you feel comfortable with a good amount of vocabulary in Spanish, you may want to transition to thinking about all the common expressions that we constantly use in English: “Okay!”, “sure!”, “hi”, “how is going?”, “of course”. Include them in your daily routine.

This practice will help immerse you in speaking Spanish, but what about reading and listening to it?  Well, in this age of technology there are actually some pretty great options available to you.

Read Spanish News Online

Most of the Spanish speaking countries in the world have their own news sites, and they of course offer the content in Spanish.  Some of the publications normally written in English also offer a Spanish version free of charge.

Use a Language Learning App

There are probably hundreds of apps out there designed to help you learn Spanish.  They all have their technique for teaching you a language on a mobile phone or tablet, but at their core most of them follow the same pattern.

They make you listen to and read some short phrases. Then they make you fill in a blank or organize some words on the screen that you just learned.

Finally, they present you with a short quiz or task to confirm you understood the lesson.

This is effective if your goal is simply to memorize a few phrases or some Spanish vocabulary.  However, if you are serious about learning Spanish, then you need to be immersed. 

Camino, our mobile app, was designed to not just help you learn Spanish, but to surround you in the language.  It will not make you fill in blanks, drag words into a correct order, or play any kind of game after each lesson in order to make you think you are learning.

Camino, from StudySpanish.com

Instead, Camino will teach you Spanish by immersing you in it.  You will hear Spanish conversations from the beginning, and after each new conversation you will practice repeating what you just heard, understanding what it means, and exploring different ways of expressing similar ideas and concepts.

It’s completely different from the other apps out there, and that’s the reason that many of our customers find it extremely effective.

Listen to Spanish Podcasts

If you’ve gotten into listening to podcasts, you know that there are a lot of them out there.  There are also a lot of them in Spanish. 

If you are a beginner, then you may want to try something specific to learning Spanish, such as the News In Slow Spanish or Notes in Spanish.

For more advanced speakers, consider listening to news or talk podcasts that are produced in spanish, such as The Washington Post Podcast in Spanish or the many “talk” Spanish podcasts found at EuropaFM.

Watch Spanish Television

If you watch television at all you’ve likely stumbled across Univision or Telemundo while channel surfing.

Why not try watching a show or movie on one of those channels?

Do you like sports?  Lots of popular sporting events such as football, soccer and more are simulcast on networks for Spanish speakers to watch and listen.  By watching it in Spanish you are still keeping up with the action, but practicing your Spanish comprehension at the same time.

Immerse yourself daily, for a at least a few minutes, and start enjoying the process!