How to Learn Spanish: 5 Easy Strategies That Actually Make You Fluent
How can you learn Spanish the fastest possible?
You could move to a Spanish-speaking country and spend a few months immersing yourself in the language there—but who has the time (or budget) to do that on a whim?
If you’re looking for Spanish immersion without leaving the comfort of your own home, then you’ll enjoy these 5 easy strategies that actually improve your fluency.
With this guide, discover how to create the immersion experience wherever you are and to learn Spanish fast!
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5 Easy Strategies to Learn Spanish
Close your eyes and imagine arriving in a Spanish-speaking country for a language immersion trip. From the moment you set foot there, you would be fully surrounded by the language—all communication in Spanish, including media, entertainment, road signs, news, shopping, and more.
These 5 strategies intend to make your life as similar as possible to the one you would have in a Spanish-speaking country.
Are you ready to jump-start your journey down the fast lane to fluency? In fact, these strategies prove much faster than more traditional approaches.
1. Live Your Daily Routine in Spanish
Adjusting your daily routine to Spanish means involving the language in all of the activities you dedicate a great amount of your time to—such as working on your computer, tablet, or phone, and entertaining yourself on social media.
By accommodating most of your screen time to favor Spanish learning, you immerse yourself in the language in a meaningful way.
A great starting point is to change the language settings of your devices. Then switch your social media accounts, Internet browsers, and the Google workspace to Spanish using the language preferences.
Computer Language Settings
Ready to start with your computer? Here are the instructions for both PC and Mac:
Software Language Settings
Once your computer displays everything in Spanish, take it a step farther by changing the language of the software or programs you use the most frequently:
- How to change the default language of an internet browser
- How to change the default language in Google Drive
- How to change the language for your Microsoft account
If there is a specific program or software you use daily (for example, Acrobat Reader), just type into a search engine “how to change the default language in (name of the product).”
Phone and Tablet Language Settings
Now, let’s switch your phone and tablet display to Spanish!
- How to change the language on an Android phone or tablet
- How to change the language on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
Social Media Language Settings
Next is the language of your social media accounts. This will be a fast way to get even more acquainted with the Spanish language.
- How to change your Facebook language settings
- How to change your Instagram language settings
- How to change your TikTok language settings
- How to change language on Youtube
Other Devices’ Language Settings
If you want to go the extra mile, also switch the language of your TV or game console. If you’re a gamer, check out these Top 5 Video Games in Spanish to Powerlevel Your Fluency!
Also, take into account Google Maps for your target language practice. Consider making the switch once you feel comfortable listening to driving directions in a foreign language.
2. Watch Movies and Shows in Spanish
What do you usually do whenever you have time to spare? You might feel like watching something on Netflix or any other streaming service. Watching all of your favorite movies or series in Spanish helps you improve your conversational skills.
Watching movies and series you like in your target language speeds up your learning because you learn new vocabulary and grammar structures without even realizing it. If you have involuntarily memorized some of the dialogues from your favorite series, listening to them in Spanish will favor your language acquisition.
Netflix is an exceptional language learning tool. Nowadays, there are many wonderful features you can benefit from to learn new vocabulary and phrases such as the LLN (Language Learning with Netflix) extension you can add to your Chrome browser.
LLN lets you adjust the playback speed, it includes a dictionary, and it allows you to save specific subtitles. You can also switch between the automatic translation and the one that interprets idiomatic expressions.
Hand-picked for you: Language Learning with Netflix: How to Use the Chrome Extension
Next time you’re enjoying Netflix, get the best out of it by learning Spanish!
3. Listen to Podcasts and Audiobooks in Spanish
As a foreign language learner myself, I take advantage of my study time to purposely work on my listening skills. I already have some favorite podcasts and audiobooks, and I constantly try to get my ears on anything in my target language. Disney movies’ songs are some I know very well—in Portuguese!
Where to start?
Choose the music you like and make your Spanish playlists.
There are so many great Latin American artists to choose from. I particularly like to play Julieta Venegas’ songs, as she usually sings slowly.
Spend some time looking for songs in Spanish of your favorite genre. Choosing the songs that most catch your attention will make the listening more fun. Don’t worry if at first you don’t understand all the lyrics—it will come naturally as you start training your ear. As you progress in your Spanish practice, you will be able to enjoy singing along.
Hand-picked for you: How to Learn Spanish through Music in Middle and High School.
Choose a podcast that adapts to your language level.
If you’re still wondering how to learn Spanish fast, give podcasts a try. They boost your listening comprehension and increase your vocabulary. You can find many options for any level. Podcasts come with transcripts that can support your learning, and let you check for words you still don’t understand.
One amazing podcast for beginner Spanish learners is “Notes in Spanish,” where its Spanish creator, Marina, engages in conversations in Spanish with her American husband Mark. They also explain the vocabulary and grammar structures they use in their conversations.
I also recommend Duolingo Podcasts, which are less grammar-oriented and more entertaining. They are easy to follow at the beginner level as well.
Here are two links to a selection of podcasts for beginner and intermediate Spanish learners.
Add an audiobook to your study plan.
Audiobooks may be trickier as they usually tell stories that might have intricate details in them, which require closer attention. However, you can consider starting with children’s stories, which are shorter and more fun. For instance, La Historia de Cenicienta (Cinderella Story) has a much slower pace which allows you to make sensible guesses based on your memory of the story.
Hand-picked for you: 22 Spanish Audiobooks with Texts that Delight and Entertain Every Learner
4. Read Targeted Books in Spanish
If you’re an avid reader, you have probably already started reading in Spanish—excellent decision! If you are a beginner, abridged texts are a fantastic option.
When it comes to studying foreign languages, I usually buy bestselling page-turners—thrillers, murder mysteries, crime novels, and the like. These genres might make a few flinch, but they tend to be ideal to study a language since they are gripping.
I would dare to recommend you mark your texts. Personally, I enjoy marking my favorite expressions, and the structures the authors use the most and repeat them often. This makes my reading easier because I learn key vocabulary on the go.
Also, as you get used to the language and the author’s rhythm, the story becomes just as interesting as the language itself. All of a sudden you’re on the last page even if you did not get every single word you read.
The last book I bought at an airport and finished during my flights is the Ice Princess by Camila Läckberg, called La princesa de hielo in Spanish.
If you want more inspiration for level-targeted books, and some tips on how to learn Spanish for free with books, check out the following articles:
- 20 Free Spanish Books, Novels, and Stories in PDF and Printables
- 20+ Free Online Spanish Books for Self-Motivated Beginners
There is also an interesting app to practice reading in Spanish. Readlang lets you highlight words on Spanish websites and create your own flashcards with them.
5. Study and Strategize in Spanish
One of the best ways you can incorporate both passive and active learning strategies into your study plan or program is to customize the combination of language learning applications, textbooks, and flashcards with one-on-one language classes.
Language learning mobile applications apply gaming strategies to increase your engagement (gamification) during your Spanish study sessions. You can complement them and heighten your understanding of Spanish grammar by practicing with any of the 20+ free online Spanish books.
Additionally, you can resort to flashcards to increase your vocabulary, and customize your practice schedule according to your most effective pace. In addition to these, implement one-to-one classes to reinforce all of your newly acquired knowledge and engage in enriching conversations with a certified teacher who can add to your learning experience, evaluate your level, and challenge you.
Choose your favorite mobile app.
Language learning apps are a great addition to your language strategies because, besides being enjoyable, they require only a few minutes of your time to consistently improve your comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, and writing skills.
Duolingo’s app design and game mechanics make it a great resource for vocabulary building. There is a group of linguists behind each language to ensure that the users get content of the highest quality.
Feel free to check out the following links to get a helpful selection of the best apps to learn Spanish for beginners and more advanced learners here:
- 12 of the Best Spanish Vocabulary Building Apps for Adults in 2021
- Top 5 Reading Apps to Improve Your Reading Skills in Spanish
- 8 Chat Apps to Practice Speaking Spanish with Your Phone
Whether you choose to make your own ones or use a ready software or app, it’ll be beneficial for your vocabulary building. Flashcards challenge your short and long-term memory and make sure that your brain saves the new word.
A long time ago, I used to make my own flashcards and carry them in my pockets. I’d move the ones I knew to the right pocket, and the ones I didn’t remember stayed in my left one. Today, it’s still a good idea to make your own flashcards as you also learn during the process and you can customize them as you wish. However, if you don’t have time or don’t feel like doing it, use ready sets from Memrise. This is probably the best flashcard-based website and app I know.
Hand-picked for you: How to Use Spanish Flashcards to Get Fluent Faster.
Choose your textbook.
The best way to learn is to understand what you’re studying. Some students might be able to learn grammar structures by imitations, but a lot of us need some sort of explanation or pattern. Here is where text and workbooks come in handy.
You can focus on either vocabulary or grammar workbooks, or you can always go for comprehensive, level-based courses.
Hand-picked for you: How to Find the Perfect Spanish Workbook.
Even in this super digital, online world, this classic resource can do wonders.
Sign up for one-on-one classes.
Looking for support and help from the experts is one of the smartest things to do when learning something new and foreign language acquisition is no different. A private tutor can help you correct specific and subtle mistakes, challenge you more, help you deepen what you already know, and evaluate your level as well as guide you on which way to go.
One of the greatest advantages of online education is that you can find wonderful language schools anywhere. There are many online academies that offer you free classes so that you can get an idea of their methodologies and teaching dynamics.
I hope you try the strategies I will mentioned in this article and combine them with focused effort and discipline.
Apart from all of the modifications you can melt into your daily routine as seen above, you can also incorporate Spanish in your sleep: How to Learn Spanish in Your Sleep
It is important to keep in mind that all strategies require consistency in order to be effective.
What should you do now? Design your daily and weekly routine. Think about how you can fit in each of the strategies, and carefully select your resources with the help of the links included in this post.
Practice Spanish With a Native Speaker
Consistency and lots of intrinsic motivation are key to succeed at foreign language acquisition, and it’s all worth it.
Among the many advantages of attaining fluency in Spanish, communicating effectively in a highly demanded language guarantees you will also benefit financially from it.
According to a study conducted by The Economist, you can earn anywhere from $50,000 to $125,000 extra just by knowing a foreign language alone.
Don’t wait any longer! Download the checklist in this article and distribute the 5 strategies over the week. Choose your resources mindfully and sign-up for a free class with one of our professional, Spanish-speaking native teachers from Guatemala. They can help you make the most of your week and give you additional tips on how to learn Spanish fast and effectively.
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