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How Long Does It Take to Learn Fluent Spanish?

By Jon, published on 20/02/2018 Blog > Languages > Spanish > How Long Does it Take to Learn Spanish?

When people decide to learn a new language, they’re often concerned with how quickly they can start talking to people without having too many problems.

Becoming fluent in Spanish, just like any other language, is usually measured in terms of months and years. The time it takes will largely depend on you, but if one thing is for sure, it’s that to be successful, you will need a plan of action for learning Spanish.

That said, there are certain factors that we can look at which can give us a rough idea of how long it would take to learn Spanish if you started from square one.

Become Fluent in Spanish: Defining Fluent Before We Get StartedWhat Does Being Bilingual Mean?

Being bilingual in Spanish means that you can read, write, speak, and listen without any real difficulties. Of course, this is difficult to measure, and is very subjective. In fact one of the only ways to measure someone’s level, is usually in terms of a test.

For Spanish, you can opt to take a wide range of proficiency tests, such as the DELE or the SIELE. However, you have to pay for these and the act more as a proof of your level.

If you want to take a proficiency test to know your Spanish level before starting out, then you should take an online Spanish proficiency test that will tell you at roughly what level you are operating at.

In general all of these proficiency tests assess your grammar, vocabulary, and reading. The proficiency tests that give you a language certificate will also test your speaking, writing and listening. 

In these language certificate options, the results are graded in terms of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2). A1 is the level of a beginner, and C2 is the level of a native speaker.

Learn Spanish Quickly: Is It Possible to Learn Spanish in 6 Months with Total Immersion?

You will need to know how to go about learning Spanish if you are to successfully master it. This will require practising as much as possible, and what better way to do this than by living in a Spanish speaking country?

If you’re a student, you should consider immersing yourself through a language exchange program. Share an apartment and avoid other English speakers. That’s not why you’re there, after all.

If your level is already quite good, you could apply for jobs in a country where you’ll be speaking Spanish all the time. However, if you don’t speak a single word, you should start off with intensive Spanish lessons and take a basic job. Make the most of the high season by looking for work in hotels or tourism. 

Immersion is also great for learning idiomatic expressions and slang. The first month is your chance to dive straight in. By listening to the locals speaking, you’ll be able to get used to certain words, phrases, and the local accent. However, you should also start speaking as soon as you can. By the second month, you’ll feel more comfortable and won’t be able to stop yourself from trying to speak!

How to Speak Spanish Fluently: Take Spanish Classes to Quickly Become Bilingual

Taking Spanish classes can help you improve your Spanish. In fact, if you want to become fluent in Spanish, classes can help you master the syntax, conjugation, vocabulary, and the pronunciation.

You will need to go beyond the level you’re taught in school, though. This is where working with a private tutor can help. They can help you with the basics as well as practising speaking which is essential for anyone wanting to immerse themselves in a country that speaks a foreign language.

There are professional and qualified tutors available who can use their teaching skills to help you. They are often native speakers who have an unbeatable mastery of the language as well, so your speaking should come along nicely.

Of course, the perfect combination is a qualified teacher who’s also bilingual in English and Spanish. Your Spanish tutorials could also be conversational. Conversation classes will help you learn to speak the language fluently.

This can help you learn genuine everyday Spanish as its used all around the world as well as receive personalised language coaching.

How to Learn Spanish Fast: Use the Right Tools

If you want to learn Spanish as quickly as possible, you need to use the right resources. These resources will differ depending on the person, so if you are teaching Spanish to children, the resources will differ compared to an adult learning the language on their own. But no matter the situation, if you want to become fluent in Spanish, you’re also going to have to work really hard!

Here are some effective ways to help you become fluent in Spanish:

  • Get a Spanish app to practise your Spanish when you’ve got nothing to do: Duolingo, for example, can be installed on both a smartphone and a tablet. It’s completely free and is a fun way to practice your Spanish. With this method, you’ll no longer waste time waiting around.

  • Use free sites to learn Spanish. If you have a break at work or are waiting for your dinner to be ready, why not go online and do a few Spanish grammar exercises to make sure you’ve mastered the basics.

  • Watch or listen to the news in Spanish to train your ear and make you more familiar with Spanish pronunciation. This is a great way to practise without feeling like you’re doing any work. You can also watch plenty of different television channels online in Spanish.

  • Read Spanish as much as you can. There are plenty of Spanish newspapers and magazines that you can read online for free. You can keep up to date with the news from all over the Spanish-speaking world.

What are the best ways to learn Spanish? You can learn about Spanish customs and culture. (Source: pixabay.com)

You Could Be Fluent in Spanish with Bilingual Schooling

If you want to become bilingual, you usually have to start young. There is no minimum age to learn Spanish, and children have a number of advantages when it comes to learning. Plenty of scientific studies have proved it. If you want to get them into languages at a young age, specialised bilingual schooling is a great option.

There are schools that can teach children in both English and Spanish. This means they’ll get a mastery of both languages. However, these schools are mainly for Spanish-speaking families who would like their children to be taught in the language they speak at home.

Of course, these places are great for children from English-speaking families to learn Spanish quickly, too. In fact, practising a language every day is not only the best way to learn but also a great way for them to make Spanish-speaking friends. Why? This is because they’ll learn a foreign language alongside native speakers.

There are also bilingual schools where some classes are taught in one language and others in the other.

Which are the best Spanish exchange programs? Of course, you can also learn Spanish in Spain. (Source: Agustin Piñero)

This means they can also learn Spanish when they’re not even studying Spanish!

A student who starts learning Spanish from a young age through until the end of their time at school will have a good mastery of it. The sooner they start, the better. However, this doesn’t mean that there is an age limit for learning Spanish. Spanish is a language that is accessible to all people, regardless of their age.

Learning Spanish while You Sleep: The Key to Bilingualism?

Outside of school, language learning is a real benefit when it comes to your professional life. As an international language, Spanish is no exception to the rule.

Becoming bilingual in your free time isn’t as easy as you think even if you’re really motivated. There are a few options to help you, though.

How can they help you learn Spanish quickly? While there’s no magic solution, you should still do everything you can to help yourself. Have you heard about learning Spanish while you sleep?

Sleeping can be really helpful for learning things, especially foreign languages.

Put simply, our brain organises the facts and information from throughout the day while we sleep. There are plenty of studies showing the benefits of sleep in terms of learning. The opposite has also been shown to be true. A lack of sleep can negatively affect memorisation as well as your cognitive development and even your appetite.

With this in mind, you can maximise your learning potential by sleeping correctly. Studying just before bed might be a great way to learn, and you might even end up having dreams in Spanish!

Studies on Language Learning and Sleep

A study performed by researchers in Freiburg and Zurich focused on language learning and sleep. The participants had to learn vocabulary and then some participants then went to sleep and listened to the words as they slept. The other group remained awake and listened to the words for a few hours. The exams that followed showed that the group that listened to the words while sleeping had learned more. Listening to Spanish as you sleep could help you remember better.

Which are the best ways to learn Spanish? Sleeping is really important when it comes to language learning. (Source: pixabay.com)

Mosalingua, a language-learning website, also carried out their own study. Their results arrived at the same conclusion as that of the scientists. The results showed that listening to the words you learn during the day as you sleep are better assimilated.

Of course, you won’t become bilingual while having a nap. You’ll make much better progress using your free time to study what you’ve learned during the day.

Learn Spanish through Hypnosis to Become Fluent in Spanish?

Another alternative method similar to learning while you sleep: Learning Spanish under hypnosis. While this technique is usually used for changing behaviour and stopping people smoking, can it help you become bilingual?

How much do Spanish language tutorials cost? Learning Spanish through hypnosis isn’t really like what you’ve seen on TV. (Source: pixabay.com)

Hypnotists obviously say that it can. Can it really? Can we learn a language without being fully conscious?

Hypnosis: A Technique for Speaking a Language

Let’s start with an important fact: Hypnosis isn’t magic. You’re not going to miraculously wake up fluent in Spanish. A few sessions may be necessary since hypnosis is a state between being awake and sleeping where your sole focus is on the hypnotist’s words.

In a state of focus, hypnosis can help you with a number of aspects of language learning:

  • Training your ear to new sounds

  • Focusing on speaking and the Spanish accent

  • Improving your concentration

  • Preventing inhibitions

One of the hardest things about learning a language is putting the theory into practice. Speaking and correctly pronouncing words are often difficult things to overcome. It’s much easier to understand what people are saying but responding to them is a much more difficult challenge to overcome. There’s one simple reason: when you’re an adult, your brain is shut off to new sounds. Sometimes shyness can come into play, too.

Hypnosis is a way to overcome some of these difficulties by helping you to improve your speaking.

A Typical Spanish Hypnosis Session

You won’t spend your time sleeping during a Spanish hypnosis session. The session is organised into several parts where you will be under hypnosis. Generally speaking, the lesson focuses on a text. The words studied will be repeated under hypnosis before you work on them while you’re awake. You’ll then repeat the first step.

This is oral learning which can teach you vocabulary and expressions but is limited when it comes to learning grammar and conjugations, for example. However, it is a good way to improve your speaking. If you’re struggling to express yourself in Spanish, this might be a useful way to complement your traditional classes.

Either way, if you want to really benefit, you have to choose the right Spanish tutor or hypnotist.

The Benefits of Learning Spanish Quickly

Be careful! Don’t fall for the old “learn Spanish in 30 days” trick. You have to learn Spanish from the beginning. The sooner you start studying Spanish, the better.

If you already have a good level of Spanish, are familiar with irregular verbs, can use the subjunctive, and have a broad vocabulary, you’ll obviously be able to learn more quickly than someone who’s just started studying! Any guide to learning Spanish will include a number of useful tips and tricks to get you on your way to Spanish fluency, and here are our top selections:

  • Speak Spanish every day: whether on Skype or face to face, writing emails or texts, or on social media.

  • Watch movies in Spanish. You’ll soon have watched every movie with Antonio Banderas and Javier Bardem in the world! When starting out in Spanish, you can also watch TV series.

  • Put your cellphone in Spanish. This will help you learn some interesting vocabulary as well as help you expose yourself to Spanish every day.

  • Learn important joining words and expressions such as “I don’t agree”, “to be honest”, etc. Having a few of these expressions will help you become fluent in Spanish more quickly.

  • Look up new words you hear in a dictionary. As a Romance language, Spanish has a lot of vocabulary from Latin. Half of English vocabulary is from Latin directly or indirectly (mainly from French). Learning Spanish words can help improve your English vocabulary, too.

  • Go out with a Spanish speaker! El amor te da alas (Love gives you wings).

Can a Child Become Bilingual in Spanish?

Of course! For those interested, Spanish can be learned from a very young age. Don’t forget that the human brain loves learning new things, especially when it comes to languages.

The idea that a child should master their mother tongue first before learning a second around the age of 7 is complete nonsense.

In fact, it’s recommended that a child should learn their second language at the same time as their first by listening to stories in Spanish (every other evening, for example), playing games, and having fun in Spanish (with cartoons, games, or Spanish classes).

A child can learn Spanish at exactly the same time as they’re getting ready to say their first words in English. 

Now you know that becoming bilingual can be done in a relatively short period of time, you just have to get started. Start by using a few of our tips and tricks. Learning to speak a foreign language fluently requires that you learn all the different aspects of it (vocabulary, grammar, conjugations, pronunciation). The better you are at each of these things, the better your results will be.  You can start today!

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