When looking at the best ways to learn Spanish, you need to think about a number of different things. Firstly, you need a method that is right for you. When it comes to learning a second language, not everyone enjoys language lessons. If you want to learn Spanish by taking Spanish lessons, you need to know that you way you learn will suit a classroom environment in a language school or with a private Spanish teacher.
You also need to consider your goals and your budget. Someone who only wants to have the basics of the spoken language in order to have a conversational level for a holiday to Spain, Argentina, Mexico, or Colombia, will need a lot less tuition than someone who wants to move abroad to work in Peru, Ecuador, or Chile.
Likewise, if you are on a tight budget and you are looking for a cheaper alternative than Spanish classes to learn how to speak Spanish, you might opt to learn Spanish online. You can often find free options on the internet which will be music to a lot of people’s ears.
As by now you are probably aware, learning a new language is a harder task than it seems at the start. It is a long journey which will have its ups and downs, so you will need to be committed and motivated in order to succeed.
Can you take the Robinson Crusoe approach to learning Spanish and go it alone?
That said, it is not impossible to study Spanish alone.
Moreover, if you already know another language apart from Spanish (French and Italian can be of great help), learning another foreign language becomes a lot easier.
You will need to prepare yourself well if you want to learn Spanish on your own as you will have no tutor to guide you, and therefore self-motivation will be crucial.
Hopefully we haven’t already lost your interest, and in the rest of this article we will look at exactly how you go about learning the language of Miguel de Cervantes on your own.
Language learning must start from a given point. But how do you know where to start from? Is your Spanish grammar good? Do you know many Spanish verbs? How good is your conjugation? Can you easily construct Spanish phrases?
If you are a complete beginner, this will be easy. But if you do have some experience of Spanish language learning, then you will need to assess your level in order to know where to start.
There are a number of ways to do this, but perhaps the best way is to take an online Spanish level test. This will tell give you a score on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), a set of guidelines which aim to standardise language learning across all European languages.
Once you know your level (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, or C2), you will be able to start teaching yourself Spanish accordingly.
Another less accurate and more difficult way to assess your level is to talk to a native speaker. If they have some experience of teaching languages, then they should be able to tell you where to start your Spanish training from.
If you want to learn Spanish using an app, then you can find one or two which will assess your level before you start learning with them.
Once you know your level, we advise you to get a book dedicated to the learning of the language. You will find them for all levels in bookshops and online.
Using a book will give you some direction in what you learn. Studying Spanish will require you to know different words and phrases, and also about the tenses. Once you reach a more intermediate level, grammar points such as the subjunctive will be important.
What is clear is that you need to get this information from somewhere. The process of assimilating it can be done on your own, and in your own time, but a Spanish textbook will allow you to find the relevant information, as well as practise its use.
The direction and guidance given in a book will compensate partially for the lack of teacher in your learning process, although you will still need to overcome the parts that you don’t understand on on your own.
There are lots of good books for learning Spanish, and you can often find good deals online so finding something to fit your budget shouldn’t be too challenging.
One of the top tips for beginners learning Spanish is to practise at every given opportunity. This is even more true if you are trying to teach yourself Spanish, as well. If you thought that to learn Spanish alone, you had to isolate yourself, you have it all wrong.
No, to learn a language, you need to communicate with people fluent in that same language.
There is no better way to practise that talking with Spanish speakers!
You can also choose people who are also in the learning phase like you. But we advise you to have at least one Spanish speaking person with whom to converse.
Finding a Spanish speaker to talk to will allow you to improve your Spanish pronunciation, as well as practise what you have studied so far to check that you have properly understood the topic.
You could even do this as part of a language exchange, whereby you find a Spanish speaker wants to learn English. You can help them with their English language skills whilst they help you with your Spanish.
Apps and websites can facilitate this exchange and help you to meet people who can help you with your Spanish.
Thanks to the internet, we now have the chance to have access many online tools.
Learn Spanish online, when you want, where you want
The tools for learning Spanish online are often free of charge (although not all of them are) and you therefore you don’t need to worry about the cost.
Learning Spanish with Google Translation and Reverso has long been something that people have tried to do. And although the technologies in these sites has improved dramatically, they can still sometimes leave a lot to be desired.
You would be better off using an online dictionary, such as Word Reference. With these sites, you can see all of the possible definitions of the word that you search for, as well as being able to see the context used.
This ensure that you always choose the right Spanish word for every situation.
What’s more, if you get really stuck on a phrase or word, you can use their online forum to ask questions to the community. People, often native speakers or Spanish teachers, will try to help you out the best they can.
Indeed, this famous site gathers a large number of videos dedicated to learning Spanish online.
Simply type “learn Spanish” in the search bar to find your happiness.
In addition, you will be able to hear the pronunciation of the words and this also trains you to speak. So it’s a great way to progress quickly and easily.
Also, on YouTube, you will find a lot of songs with subtitled lyrics. Choose Spanish songs and have fun translating them. This is ideal for improving your vocabulary.
It is indeed possible to find works similar to textbooks, but free. Perfect for saving some money. Websites such as Librivox are a good place to start looking.
Many people have understood the importance of knowing several languages.
That is why they have set up sites and applications specifically dedicated to learning a language. These kind of Spanish apps on smartphones and tablets can often be downloaded for free.
For paid tools, check before buying or subscribing. In any case, these sites and apps offer you to learn a language easily and without too much effort.
The goal: practice for a few minutes a day. Depending on your level, you will find different podcasts in Spanish allow you to improve your Spanish vocabulary, grammar, verbs, or pronunciation.
You can find them for computers, laptops, smartphones, or tablets.
As we all already know, the internet has good and bad things. Before rushing in head first, take the time to choose the right tools. Go to the forums where you will easily find the information you’re after.
To learn a language, it is obvious that traveling is the best method. It is a total immersion in the language, that will hugely improve your fluency and get you to learn new Spanish words.
There are 20 Spanish speaking countries world wide. Which one will you choose?
Beware, we’re not talking about tourist trips where you will be surrounded by English people. No, we are talking about language study trips where you will have to blend into the masses of the 20 Spanish speaking countries worldwide.
Through organisations, you can find families who can host you, for a fee, and help you learn more than the basic Spanish, without having to take Spanish lessons. Through doing this, you will learn more about the language and the culture of the country that you are in. After all, Spanish culture differs from Guatemalan culture, and Cuban culture differs from Uruguayan culture.
If this is not an option for you, then why not go to a Spanish conversation club.
This is a great way to practice in your everyday life without necessarily taking Spanish classes. Such events are often held in big cities around the world, and they give you the change to leave your English at the door and just focus on practising Spanish.
The best: to be able to immerse yourself completely in the country where you go. Try to find a little job that will allow you to practice the language on a daily basis. In the evening, go to bars and don’t hesitate to talk with new people.
Whichever country you choose, Spanish speakers are renowned for being open, welcoming and warm.
Generally, speaking Spanish constantly, no matter what your level is, your progress will be dazzling and you will learn Spanish quickly. In a relatively short time, you will begin to feel more at ease.
Do you know why it is harder to learn a language alone?
Because it takes a great motivation to practice on a daily basis.
Indeed, the learning of a language must be done by regular exercises, both oral and written. In all cases, you must practice every day without fail.
With a teacher and regular sessions, you are obliged to practice. Alone, it is much more difficult. It’s like playing sports. We are all motivated in the first few months. Then, one day, you are too tired and you say to yourself, “good, I can skip a session, it’s okay.” On the contrary: if you miss a session, you’ll miss a second, then a third, and so on.
Thus, to learn alone, it is very important that you can have fun, and that it doesn’t feel like a chore learning Spanish.
Learning Spanish needs to be fun in order for you to be successful (Source: StartupStockPhotos)
If you have fun while practising Spanish, you won’t feel like you are forcing yourself to do something that you don’t want to do.
To make your Spanish learning fun, you can, for example, play video games in Spanish, use movies to learn Spanish, listen to Spanish music, exchange ideas on Spanish subjects, etc.
You can even motivate the people around you who might also be learning Spanish by regularly organising challenges with rewards. The main rule: have fun. Progress will be all the more rapid and constant.
We can’t stress it enough, but it is difficult to learn Spanish alone. If you do not like group Spanish classes, you can contact a special teacher just for you to take private language courses.
Remember that Spanish is a language that everyone can learn. It is irrelevant if you want to help a dyslexic child learn Spanish, or if you simply want to fill your time after retiring. Either way you will find a method that suits your needs and goals, and resources to support your learning.
So we have now given you some tricks to learn to speak Spanish right now without having to take a Spanish class. So get to work!