Your Ultimate Guide to Basic Spanish for Beginners
Are you trying to learn basic Spanish and feeling a bit lost at times?
Maybe you’re not sure what to do or which resources to use in order to achieve your goals.
I get it. I was in the same spot you’re in now, only I was learning English. It’s normal that with the amount of options and information available these days, people simply don’t know which path to follow.
And that’s precisely what we’ll be discussing today. We’ll start by defining the meaning of “basic Spanish” and how to find out your real level of proficiency in the language. Then we’ll follow a simple, step-by-step guide to accompany you on this journey and help support the first phase of your Spanish learning process.
What Does ‘Basic Spanish’ Mean, Anyway?
Learning a new language is a process with multiple stages. Along the way, you gradually discover new parts of the language and develop a deeper understanding of how it works. Little by little, the pieces of the puzzle start fitting together and everything starts to make sense.
At the beginning, these pieces seem to have no relation between them and the big picture remains blurred for a while. That’s how I would define “basic Spanish”—the separate pieces of knowledge about the language that seem hard to put together.
However, I’d like to call your attention to the key word in that definition: “seem.” Because even when it may not look like that for a new learner of the language, the basic pieces of vocabulary that you already know are related and can help you to start speaking the language from day one.
What’s the CEFR?
The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) is an international standard used to determine language levels, Spanish included. It considers every aspect of the language and the different skills that you need to acquire in order to master it.
The CEFR has six different levels of foreign language proficiency:
- A1 & A2, for beginners
- B1 & B2, for intermediate learners
- C1 & C2, for advanced learners
These categories beg the question: what’s your level?
How to Know if You’ve Learned ‘Basic Spanish’
In order to determine your level of Spanish, you can take the placement test known as the DELE exam. If you’re not ready to take a test, you can simply complete a practice DELE test or take a look at the CEFR self-assessment grid and to find out your current level.
“Basic Spanish” is a combination of the A1 and A2 levels, where you are able to:
- Understand familiar words and frequent vocabulary
- Read short, simple texts
- Communicate in simple ways and handle short social exchanges
- Use simple phrases and sentences
- Write short notes and messages
Now that you know that you’re a beginner with knowledge of basic Spanish, let’s focus on what to do next.
The Ultimate Guide to Basic Spanish for Beginners
As a beginner, you’re at a crucial stage of your learning process. You can start seeing progress soon, but you can get frustrated or lose interest if you don’t take the right steps. Use this guide of 8 powerful strategies to help you get to where you want to go.
1. Make a Commitment
Organize yourself, define how you plan to learn Spanish, create a schedule, set your goals, and keep a progress chart. Gather your materials (books, notebooks, dictionary, etc.), and tell all your friends that you are learning Spanish.
Once you’ve made the commitment, the next step is to immerse yourself in Spanish. The idea is to incorporate Spanish into your daily routine and mindset. This will keep you focused and motivated.
2. Learn Basic Spanish Words and Essential Phrases
The next step is to get some basic vocabulary in Spanish that can help you navigate your initial explorations of this new language. Chances are you already know some of this basic Spanish, and now you can use that previous knowledge to keep adding more pieces of the puzzle.
Think of vocabulary related to your personal situation. For example, if you’re a professional adult, then learning basic Spanish words and phrases for the workplace will be of great help to you. If you’ve decided to take Spanish classes, these survival phrases will help you understand and interact with your teacher.
4. Find Your Go-To Spanish Resources
How do you plan to learn Spanish? By yourself or in group classes? Will you follow a book or use resources on the internet, in other words an app or a website? How about a YouTube channel or a language partner? However you decide to do it, you’ll need reliable sources where you can learn something new and check your progress.
Besides being a school where you can take online Spanish classes with native, certified teachers, Homeschool Spanish Academy (HSA) also provides Spanish learners with a comprehensive series of Spanish resources that include:
- The blog you’re reading, which covers all types of Spanish-related topics
- Our public YouTube channel where you can learn new Spanish concepts and vocabulary
- Free eBooks to help you start reading in your target language.
5. Master the Conjugations
It’s true—irregular verb conjugations are one of the hardest-to-master concepts in Spanish. At the beginning, learning them may seem like a daunting task, as you discover the amount of moods, tenses, and variations that each verb has. However, once you start studying them, you discover that they’re not so difficult and that with practice, conjugations will become a natural response on your part.
A good way to start is by choosing a few common verbs and learning their conjugation sets. This will help you to get a feeling about how conjugations work in Spanish and serve as a stepping stone to keep adding on new verbs little by little.
6. Watch TV and Listen to Podcasts in Spanish
Remember when I said “immerse yourself in Spanish”? Well, this is what I was talking about. Do you really want to learn Spanish? Surround yourself with Spanish. That includes your Netflix account and your Spotify playlists.
Watching TV and listening to podcasts in Spanish help your ear to get used to the rhythm and speed of the language and provide you with new vocabulary. You can even use these excellent tools to keep learning Spanish even when you’re not formally studying Spanish.
7. Read in Spanish
The next best thing you can do to learn basic Spanish is to read in Spanish. Don’t overthink it, find a book or a short story that catches your interest and start reading. Will there be parts that you don’t understand? Yes, probably. But you still will get the main idea of the story, and in the process, you’ll get a feeling for the grammar and learn new idioms and expressions.
When you read in Spanish, your mind is thinking in Spanish. Keep reading and at some point, you’ll still be thinking in Spanish even after you’ve closed your book. That’s when you’ll stop being a beginner learning Spanish, and you’ll be ready to move on to the major leagues.
8. Speak Spanish
Last but not least, the best way to learn a language is by speaking it, and many ways exist for you to do exactly that. You can find a language partner with whom you can talk half the time in Spanish and the other half in English; you can also get a tutor for one-on-one conversations or socialize with native Spanish speakers.
Any way you choose, speaking Spanish will help you understand how the language works more than anything else. When you speak, you have to build grammar structures and connect different meanings, and that’s when your learning process accelerates.
You Can Learn Spanish
Now that you know what “basic Spanish” means and how to determine your proficiency level in the language, it’s time to put this guide into practice. You can easily take the simple steps I’ve outlined without much cost or effort. It’s all about getting serious about your goal of speaking Spanish, and you can do it.
Start speaking Spanish today with a professional teacher. Sign up for a free class and find out for yourself how easy it is to learn Spanish. Our friendly, native-speaking teachers are experienced at working with beginners.
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