September, 22th, 2018
Moisés Vivas Luna
1. Connect It to Your Life
Learning a new language must be a very immersive experience, don’t isolate your study of the language from the rest of your life, it doesn’t make any sense if you only practice it in your Spanish lessons or when you’re going to take an exam about it. Instead, think of Spanish as a new way to experience your everyday life, in the modern world we have many tools in the palm of our hands that even when they’re small ones, all of them summarized will help us a lot. One of the first and most recommended things you should do is to change the display language on your computer/smartphone/tablet or any other device to Spanish, all of us kind of have some memories of the settings and the common buttons and menus in our devices, so it won’t be too difficult to learn using them in Spanish, also, you will be more interested in learning since you’d want to use the technology normally again. On the other side, you should try to replace some words you normally use for their translation in Spanish so you’ll be involving the language to your daily life and therefore, if you use Spanish to do things that you’d be doing anyway, studying daily will become an automatic reflex instead of a dreaded chore.
2. Listen, Listen, Listen! Let your ears to get used to Spanish
Another important point when we’re learning a new language is indeed learning to listen, when everything is new, there are many similar sounds of words that have totally different meanings, so that is why it is really important learning to listen properly the words even though you’re not sure what they mean, at least you’ll be refining your ears for the time you’ll be ready to speak and listen in a Spanish environment. There are two activities for this exercise such as listening to music or watching some TV shows.
Music: Listen to music in Spanish and search for the lyrics. Follow along with the words and look up and you don’t understand.
Movies/Television: Watch movies in Spanish (preferably Spanish or Latin American films – get some culture!) with Spanish subtitles. Take note of new words or phrases and look them up during or after.
3. The Imitation Game
To master a Spanish accent you need to listen closely to native speakers and imitate what you hear. Think of yourself as a method actor: You aren’t just learning the lines, you’re attempting to inhabit your character. However, you expose yourself to Spanish, imitate the voices you hear as accurately as you can. Over time, this will familiarize you with sounds that you aren’t used to making. At first it may feel silly like you are doing a bad impression, but eventually, the correct pronunciation will sink in.
Since Spanish has so many different regional accents, the people you choose to imitate can give your Spanish a particular regional flair.
4. Practice with Native speakers and don’t be afraid of making mistakes
The last point of this list is practicing, practice is the key for everything and even though it sounds pretty obvious, many people who are learning a new language don’t like to talk it when they’re in front of native speakers since they feel like they can be judged or be an object of derision. However, this “shy” mood doesn’t help you at all and instead, it is kicking you from the incredible opportunity of talking with a native, in most of the cases the native speakers are so friendly and they even can help you out to improve your accent, they will surely give you some recommendations and along the conversation you will surely hear many local expressions which are really important to learn so you won’t sound very formal in informal occasions.
Tips for learning Spanish