10 Effective Habits for All Levels to Learn Spanish and Speak It Fluently
Spoiler alert! There isn’t actually one, single “best” way to learn Spanish and speak it fluently. The ideal way to learn Spanish is whichever way keeps you motivated and enthusiastic to continue learning and improving your language skills.
While habits can be built in as little as three weeks with dedication and perseverance, the key is creating the habit of learning Spanish in your everyday life. Still, it takes years to become fluent in another language, so you need to commit to this path for the long haul if fluency is your goal.
By using appropriate tools for your level and learning style, you’ll be inspired to continue and build upon the Spanish you’ve learned so far.
The Best Way for Beginners to Learn Spanish: Build Confidence
1. Set Yourself Up for Success
Tons of resources exist for learning Spanish—from classes to apps to immersion experiences where you go and live in a Spanish-speaking country for a set period of time, there’s no shortage of ways to practice.
If you’re a brand-new beginner, you need something that makes you brim with excitement and curiosity. Most of all, you need to believe that learning Spanish is something you can achieve.
Learning Spanish grammar does require memorization and repetition; there’s no way around it.
Set aside 10 to 20 minutes per day to study verb conjugations and work with vocabulary flashcards. Books, websites, and apps offer loads of study resources.
2. Talk Up A Storm
A guideline that many students may overlook is to speak the language every single day. You don’t need to be perfect to be understood. Even if you make mistakes, people will usually understand you and appreciate your efforts.
The best way to learn Spanish is to get out there and start using your new language. Make that your goal, and let go of striving for perfection. We all learn by making mistakes. The key is to be willing to practice speaking at every opportunity; this is truly the only way you will improve your conversational ability.
3. Get By With A Little Help From Apps
Apps can be downloaded easily and used immediately, wherever and whenever your schedule allows. There are oodles of apps for iOS and Android devices that are designed to help you learn or brush up on your Spanish. Check out our recommendations of the top 6 free apps available in 2020.
The Best Way for Intermediate Students to Learn Spanish and Speak It Fluently: Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
1. Write in Spanish
Visual learners should keep a language journal—it’s an amazing way to support the learning process. Jot down any new words you hear in a conversation or in a movie, as well as those you come across when reading. Note the definitions and pronunciation, and review your notes regularly for reinforcement. Carry a pocket-sized language journal along with you if you know you’re going to be in situations that require Spanish conversation.
2. Read books in Spanish
Try reading simple stories in Spanish. Children’s books and stories are terrific for beginners since they use simpler language and more straightforward ideas compared to texts written for adults. Seek out stories at the right level for you, meaning you can mostly understand what’s happening, even if you don’t get every single word or phrase. Check out No More Boring Textbooks! Top 5 Beginner Spanish Books for Adults.
3. Listen to Spanish podcasts
Listening to Spanish podcasts is a superb way to support your learning goals. They will expose you to new vocabulary (including slang, in many cases), grammar, and conventions. For audial learners, this is a much more engaging way of learning vocabulary and grammar than a textbook. When you hear something you don’t understand, jot it down in your language journal. Looking it up to discover the meaning is a way of actively learning, as opposed to passively absorbing information.
For detailed lists, read our post on Podcasts for Intermediate Spanish.
Otherwise, here’s a quick list:
4. Watch Movies & TV
Unfortunately, for beginners, the Spanish spoken in films and on TV programs created for adults is too rapid-fire for you to pick up on new vocabulary. That’s why this is a better strategy for more intermediate and advanced students who are determined to learn Spanish and speak it fluently. However, just like you can read books for kids, you can watch TV shows for kids and learn a lot. Listening activities can still be useful even if you don’t understand everything, as it acclimates you to the cadence and sounds of Spanish. Take a look at these for inspiration on what to watch:
5. Get Yourself a 21st Century Pen Pal: A Language Partner
Many Spanish speakers out there would like to practice their English with you. In return, you can practice your Spanish with them. If possible, find a language exchange partner (also known as a language tandem partner or a conversation partner) in your area and arrange to meet up in person.
If not, it’s easy to find someone online to chat with for free on sites such as italki and Conversation Exchange. You can structure the language exchange in various ways. The simplest is to casually converse with your partner about whatever topic comes to mind and switch languages after a predetermined length of time (for example, every 10 minutes). Alternatively, you could work through a series of structured exercises or Spanish games together.
The Best Way for Advanced Students to Learn Spanish and Speak It Fluently: Get Immersed and Stop Speaking English
The immersion approach is super effective. Spending dozens of hours of intensive Spanish immersion in a week or two is far more meaningful than the same number of hours spread out randomly over the course of a few months.
If you really want to master Spanish quickly and efficiently, put yourself in locations and situations in which you’ll have no choice but to speak the language. Although you may feel nervous, uncomfortable, or confused initially, you’ll naturally grow and rise to the challenge. Plus it’s incredibly motivating to see yourself progress in your abilities as the days pass.
Where to Go
It’s helpful to go someplace where you won’t be surrounded by English-speaking tourists. Without English to fall back on, speaking Spanish turns into a necessity, not just a casual hobby or passing desire. Immersion forces you to practice and learn Spanish because by making Spanish the only option. Try out our list of Top 8 Travel Destinations in Latin America for ideas!
Immersion provides a constant stream of your target language. You will hear it all the time and read it everywhere. Of course, immersion is on the opposite end of the spectrum when compared to learning with an app or online course. You’ll have to move to another country, which is an exciting adventure that rather disrupts your daily routine. If you do have the means and motivation to go and live in a Spanish-speaking community, even for as little as a week or two, this is the best way to jump on the fast track to fluency.
The Best Way For Anyone to Learn Spanish: One-on-One Tutoring
In recent years, many Internet-based services have been developed to connect students with language teachers. You’ll conduct your lesson over an online video chat service via a computer or tablet with a built-in camera and microphone.
Learning With A Tutor Has Some Awesome Benefits.
Número uno: it gets you speaking Spanish out loud. The biggest problem with learning Spanish on your own at home or in a classroom setting is that you don’t speak out loud as often as you need to. And when you do speak out loud, how do you know if you’re ordering and pronouncing the words correctly? Private classes with a tutor will force you to speak Spanish right away and provide you with continual feedback on your pronunciation and grammar.
Investing in personalized lessons keeps you accountable. The teacher is always there to help you with anything you have trouble understanding. An experienced teacher or tutor will create customized lessons to fit your specific strengths, challenges and goals. An online lesson totally focused on you, since, after all, you are the reason for the class.
¡Vamos a Estudiar!
Are you studying Spanish? What are the methods that you prefer? Did this article give you any new ideas that you’re planning to use?
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