1. Memorize the Sounds – Something that is wonderful about the Spanish language, especially for beginners, is the fact that it is a phonetic language and the vowels only have one sound. This isn’t the case in English which has both long and short vowel sounds. With Spanish, you just need to memorize the vowels and consonants and you are good to go. This makes it easy to pronounce words that you’ve never even seen before. Memorizing the sounds in Spanish has to be your very first step and if you skipped this, go back and get it down perfectly before moving forward.
2. Say the Words Out Loud – To learn to speak Spanish, you obviously need to speak it as much as possible. If you happen to live in a Spanish speaking country this isn’t a problem because you’ll be immersed in the language. But, most aspiring Spanish speakers don’t live in a Spanish speaking country and don’t have the opportunity provided by complete immersion in the language. This leaves you with a couple of options.
One option is to learn Spanish with another person. This will provide the opportunity to practice with one another person and will significantly help speed up your learning the language. It’s fun to have someone with whom you can practice words and phrases, play games, and support each other in your goals.
The final option is probably the only option you’ll have. You probably don’t live in or have the opportunity to even visit a Spanish speaking country. And, you probably aren’t fortunate enough to have someone learning Spanish along with you. This leaves you seemingly alone with no one to speak to. But wait, you do have someone to speak to… yourself! Learning Spanish alone doesn’t have to be a great disadvantage if you will simply use every opportunity you have to say the words you are learning out loud. That’s the key, you have to actually say the words out loud to speed up the learning process. For every flashcard, book, or sign you read, say the words out loud. If part of your learning arsenal is listening to Spanish education audio, follow along and repeat the words as you hear them. The bottom line is you have to practice saying the words out loud and you have to do it consistently.
3. Use a Variety of Learning Tools – If you are limiting yourself to trying to learn Spanish only from a textbook, it’s time to add to your learning methods. A key to learning anything is to utilize as many of your senses as you can. You need to provide your brain with auditory, visual, verbal, tactile (touch), and even olfactory (smell) stimuli.
Another reason to mix things up is to prevent boredom from setting in. Doing the same thing over and over can rapidly get dull. Mix things up and keep it fresh and fun. Remember, learning Spanish shouldn’t be a chore, it should be fun for you.
Here are a few methods to add to your learning routine. For videos, it’s as easy as visiting YouTube to find an abundance of language learning videos. For auditory input, download some podcasts or purchase some CDs. These are perfect for listening to while in the car. To get your hands involved in the learning process, get some games that are designed to teach you Spanish. You can even get your nose involved by visiting a Spanish restaurant and saying the name of each dish out loud as you smell it. I know it sounds silly, but silly works. 😛