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From Beginner to Bilingual: A Plan of Attack for Learning Spanish

From Jon, published on 20/02/2018 Blog > Languages > Spanish > Learning Spanish From Scratch: Where to Begin

Would you like to finally take Spanish tutorials but have absolutely no idea where to start? That’s understandable. Language learning, after all, is no mean feat! This is especially true if you’re starting out as a total beginner and have never taken a Spanish course in your life. You need to be patient.

Whether you want to learn Spanish because of your heritage, your job, wanting to travel, or moving abroad, everyone has to start somewhere. Whatever your reasons for learning Spanish may be, you need to make sure you’re prepared before you start studying.

Before you start preparing, take the time to find out what your level is in Spanish. There are a number of free Spanish level tests you can take. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to better work out achievable objectives and a course of action.

After this, you can set off on your journey to join the 500 million other speakers of Spanish around the world.

Let’s put together the plan that you’re going to use to start learning Spanish, improve your Spanish, and finally master it!

Learning Spanish for Beginners

Do you not have the first idea about Spanish? Is Spanish a completely foreign concept? Don’t worry! Everyone was a beginner at one point.

Which are the best ways to learn Spanish? Numbers are one of the first things you should learn in Spanish. (Source: Digital Buggu)

If you’re reading this article, it’s because you want to change that fact.

Learning a foreign language is probably one of the most enriching experiences in the world and nowadays you can learn Spanish online quite easily since you can look up Spanish vocabulary in the blink of an eye and find out anything you want to know about your new language just by typing it into Google!

Easy Spanish: Start with the Basics

If you’re just starting out learning Spanish, the first thing you’ll have to do is make sure you understand the most basic aspects of the language. You’ll need to learn about:

  • The Spanish alphabet

  • Spanish pronunciation

  • Genders in Spanish

  • Articles and adjectives

  • Basic vocabulary (words, phrases, introducing yourself, colors, numbers, weather, clothes, etc.)

  • Grammar and putting together simple affirmative, negative, and interrogative expressions

  • Negation

  • Auxiliary verbs such as “ser”, “estar”, and “haber”

  • Types of Spanish verbs and their conjugations in the present, preterit, and future.

  • Pronouns

  • Conditional

  • Imperative, subjunctive, and imperfect

  • The different types of adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions.

After having mastered these basic concepts of Spanish, you’re ready for the next level!

What should I do to get better at Spanish? Learn to speak Spanish in Spanish classes, of course!

Once you’ve put your list of things to study together, you’ll probably start thinking about all the work you’ll have to do. Don’t freak out! With the right tools, you’ll be able to learn Spanish easily. You can even learn a language while having fun!

What are the best songs for learning Spanish? Make sure that you’re having fun while learning Spanish. (Source: burst.shopify.com)

Firstly, if you can, we recommend getting Spanish classes or tutorials. Before deciding on whether you’re having your Spanish classes in a group or with a one to one private tutor, you should have a look at your budget (group classes are cheaper but you’ll need more of them) and whether you want to meet other people or not.

Don’t forget that there are plenty of private tutors on our site.

Don’t forget that you’ll probably need to invest in some materials such as books, too. No matter what your age, there are books on Spanish for beginners for everyone. There are also books for every level and your Spanish teacher will probably even recommend a few for you.

Don’t forget that you can also complement your Spanish learning with videos, podcasts, websites, and dedicated mobile and tablet apps.

These types of materials are usually very good for training your ear and having fun while you learn. You can also get used to the Spanish language by watching films in Spanish (with the subtitles in Spanish or English, if you’re an absolute beginner) and listening to your favorite types of music. There are also tons of ways to teach children Spanish!

Intermediate Level: Spanish Teachers and Exchange Programs

Once you and your tutor have gone over all the basics, you can move on to the next level. Welcome to intermediate Spanish!

Which are the best resources for learning Spanish? Make sure that you stay focused while studying Spanish. (Source: kaboompics.com)

Taking Intermediate Spanish Classes: What You Need to Know

When you start learning Spanish, you’ll go over the above concepts. Now it’s time to really get to know them inside out. Here are a few things intermediate learners should know:

  • Refine your pronunciation

  • Make more complex structures

  • Revise vocabulary thematically (e.g. verbs, nouns, adjectives)

  • Study more conjugations (present, preterit, present perfect, simple future, imperfect, preterit perfect)

  • Learn common irregular verbs

  • Study subjunctive (present and imperfect subjunctive) as well as further studying the conditional and the imperative

  • Use tenses correctly

At this level, you should be able to talk with a Spanish native and understand them.

This seems like a lot of things to learn. Maybe it’s too late to learn Spanish…

Improving Your Spanish: Speaking and more Speaking!

At an intermediate level, you can always read Spanish books and get private tutorials or group classes from a dedicated teacher or tutor. However, with all the skills you’ve learned, you have to start practicing every day. Keep speaking Spanish!

Keep watching films, videos, and series in Spanish, too! If you can, get rid of the subtitles in English and only use the Spanish subtitles when you really need to. Avoid speaking English and start reading Spanish novels, too. This is a great way to expand your vocabulary and learn more about Spanish grammar and conjugations.

At this level, we recommend looking for a native speaker to chat with regularly or even going to the country on an exchange program. In fact, since languages are communication tools, you’ll quickly improve your Spanish by putting yourself in situations where you have to communicate in the language with native speakers.

How can you practice speaking Spanish? Learn to speak Spanish by speaking Spanish. There’s more than just classes. (Source: skitterphoto.com)

Nowadays, it’s very easy to find a Spanish-speaking friend. You can start by sending a few emails, texts, letters, or even using chat clients to talk to each other textually. Once your Spanish is good enough, you can move on to making phone calls or chatting over Skype. This will help you improve both your written and spoken Spanish as well as giving you the opportunity to hone your reading and listening comprehension skills.

Don’t forget that it’s never too late to start learning Spanish!

Advanced Spanish

By the time you reach this stage, you’ll feel very comfortable with Spanish. You’ll have mastered the basics a long time ago, taken a number of Spanish courses, and be able to comfortably talk with native Spanish speakers and fully understand their responses.

Do you still want to improve your Spanish? Good! Let’s work on our strategy for reaching the advanced levels of Spanish. Have you considered gaining fluency by moving to a Spanish-speaking country?

Make sure you keep studying the concepts from the earlier levels. You’ll need to be fully aware of all these concepts (especially all the different tenses and conjugations there are in Spanish). Additionally, you should practice your pronunciation and try to make it as indistinguishable from a native’s as possible.

Don’t forget to try to expand your vocabulary on a daily basis. For example, why not work on studying a few new words each day?

Travel and Learn Spanish more Naturally

Once you get to an advanced level, it might be time to leave your textbooks behind. Let’s move up a level. From now on, practice makes perfect! One day, you’ll even start dreaming in Spanish.

How much do Spanish private tutorials cost? Going to a Spanish-speaking country can do wonders for your Spanish. (Source: Leoniw Fahjen)

If you have Spanish-speaking friends, don’t lose contact with them. Make sure you’re talking to them in Spanish as often as possible. Furthermore, if you live in a big city, look around for events dedicated to Hispanic culture and places where you can speak Spanish. Don’t forget to check out websites where you can find language exchange partners, too.

In short: Give yourself as many chances to speak Spanish as you can.

You should also definitely consider traveling. Why not head to Spain or another Spanish-speaking country? Whether it’s the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Costa Rica, Argentina, Colombia, or Chile: there are so many Spanish-speaking countries to choose from.

It’s also a huge bonus that these countries are mostly paradise on earth! Once you get there, you probably won’t want to leave.

However, it’s not all about the beach. You’ll want to completely immerse yourself in the local Spanish-speaking culture. You should avoid speaking English and even avoid meeting other English speakers. Even at night, you should watch TV shows and read books in Spanish. It’s the very best way to improve your Spanish.

Now that you’ve got your plan of attack ready, it’s time to get to work! One last tip for learning Spanish quickly and effectively: have fun and focus on short regular study sessions. In fact, there’s no point in studying for an hour or two every Saturday. You should be studying 15 to 20 minutes each day.

This can help you learn all the concepts that you need to understand in order to speak a language. Thus, you’ll make slow and steady progress, stay motivated, and continue wanting to learn Spanish. Above all, don’t forget that the best way to learn a language is by using it!

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