Spanish is a very useful language to learn as it is the world’s second most widely-spoken language.
Outside of the popular coastal tourist resorts a basic knowledge of Spanish is invaluable. Even in the tourist resorts you will find the Spanish will not go out of their way to speak English to you. If you try a few words and get stuck you tend to find they suddenly can speak a bit of English!
The bottom line is that if you are moving to Spain and looking for work you might as well not bother if you don’t learn the language. If you are a tourist then obviously you don’t have to learn the language, you will get by, but learning a few basic words or expressions will actually add to the enjoyment of your holiday as you delight the locals (and yourself).
I don’t think it is fair to describe learning any language as easy but if it’s any consolation, there are hundreds of English words that are virtually identical in Spanish – so you already know a lot of Spanish vocabulary!
Tips on Learning Spanish
Get motivated. The best way to do this is to imagine your ideal outcome. If you don’t do this you will most likely fail when you start hitting a few inevitable hurdles. We all go through this stage but if you have burned into your mind the positive results that will follow then you will succeed where thousands have failed. Imagine something like getting a job in your dream destination or having a relationship with a handsome Spaniard or meeting a pretty señorita!
Take baby steps to build your confidence. Remember that the first objective is to master a few basic words like hello, goodbye, thank you etc. This will give you confidence to go forward – DO NOT start learning long and complex words.
Buy a good book or better still a good tape series where you can hear the language and how it sounds. Obviously you need to buy this but there are books that you will waste months on and get nowhere and there are books where you will start to be able to speak and learn Spanish very quickly.
Don’t be afraid. Fear is a terrible emotion. You have to try and speak Spanish to people otherwise you won’t know how you are progressing. It really doesn’t matter that you will make mistakes, it is only by making mistakes that you will learn. The worst that can happen is that the person whom you are talking to will not understand you. Yes, it’s frustrating, but don’t beat yourself up about it.
Go to Spain. Visiting Spain itself is a great motivator to learn the language. If you don’t keep practising what you have learned then you will be surprised at how quickly it is forgotten.
As much as you want to learn Spanish, there must be other people who are equally keen to learn English – place an ad and try finding someone who you can trade with.
Spanish grammar is different from English – leave it at that. Don’t keep trying to make sense of it in English terms – just concentrate on being able to communicate with people. Otherwise you will end up confusing yourself.
There may be thousands of Spanish words but you only need to learn a fraction of them. If you analysed your own vocabulary during the day you would be surprised to find that you are not speaking like a dictionary but instead use a very limited number of words. Spanish is the same – you just need to know the most commonly used words.
Turn wasted time into valuable time. Learning Spanish is great when you are doing things like driving, jogging, waiting for someone, ironing, cooking the dinner etc. The more time you practise, the more you will accelerate your learning.
Copyright © Mark Eastwood