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How to learn Spanish-Ten tips to easy learning
Top ten tips for learning Spanish
Anyone can learn Spanish…it’s just a matter of putting your mind to it. Literally! You have to start telling your brain that what it thought was called ‘a table’ really isn’t only a table but it is also ‘una mesa’. The problem is that your trusty old brain just won’t believe you. But be realistic....this is a slow process and will take time, but nave no doubt; it will be worth the great sense of achievement in the end, as long as you have the motivation and patience to see it through.
They say "Truth always hurts!"
And they are right Here is an example of what goes on in your mind!!
Brain says, (tearfully): “You mean for the last 20/30/40/50 years you’ve been saying ‘table’ and NOW you’re telling me it’s not true? (Now hurt) :You’ve been lying to me for all that time. How could you?! (Now angrily) Well I’m not having any of that! It WAS ‘table’, it IS ‘table’ and it will ALWAYS be ‘table’ to me!"
In fact, the longer your brain has been using ‘table’, the harder it will be to persuade it that there is another perfectly valid option. This is why younger children are usually faster at learning a second/third or even fourth language. Their brain is still receptive to language learning as a survival tool. It hasn’t been ‘brain-washed' for so long into believing there is only one way of saying ‘table’.
So if you are just past the receptive stage for language learning (0 to early teens) then you could try out these tips (see below) to try and gently persuade the old brain that you didn’t really mean to lie and in fact it was actually more of an omission than a lie...
TOP TEN TIPS that work!
TIP 1..... Clarify in you own mind your motivation (if you really want to learn, why you want to learn). You will need to remind the old stubborn brain about this at regular intervals. Do you need formal language for work purposes or more conversational language?
TIP 2..... Set realistic goals: Think about how much you are willing to invest in this project in regards to weekly time commitment and money. If you DO intend to invest financially then you have a variety of options.
Visit Andalucía, Spain
TIP 3..... Choose your method: From most economical to most costly:
a) Teach yourself, often by purchasing a Spanish teaching course or subscribing to an on-line Spanish course to suit your language requirements.
b) Advertise locally to have ‘exchange’ conversation lessons with a Spanish–speaking person in return for perhaps English conversation with them or some other skill you may have. (A great way to meet new people and really get to grips with the language as it is spoken).
c) Attend group evening classes organised by your local education authority (these classes are surprisingly inexpensive and excellent value conducted by qualified teachers).
d) Private tuition (can be costly)
TIP 4..... Get a hold of as many Spanish newspapers, magazines and books published as you can and browse for anything you might recognise as you are learning.
Tip 5.....If you live in a Spanish-speaking country then all of this will be so easy for you! You can watch Spanish children’s TV programmes (cartoons are easily understood as they tend to be easily understandable, using simple language). Also news bulletins are very useful to watch, as you may already know the news item and so are able to follow the gist better. Radio programmes are also worth listening to, although they are not as effective as TV. A visit to the cinema to watch a film in Spanish of your choice is also useful and will help you to consolidate a little more vocabulary.
TIP 6..... Try and acquire DVDs of your choice in Spanish which you can watch at your leisure and repeatedly. You will be surprised at how you will begin understanding more and more words as you watch again and again.
TIP 7.....Make a resolution to learn 5 new words a day/a week and stick to it! Remember, you are trying to persuade your brain to accept the ‘new you’ and the new Spanish.
TIP 8..... Join a Spanish-speaking web-site so that you can connect up and communicate in Spanish right away. There will be lots of Spanish people out there who would love to chat and help you, if you show an interest in their language.
TIP 9..... Spanish ‘Tapas’ bars are becoming more and more popular! Get yourself down to a one near you if possible and even if there are not many Spanish people there, you can at least try your Spanish out on the staff who are hopefully Spanish-speakers. They will love the fact that you are making an effort to learn.
TIP 10.....Repetition! Repetition is the key to learning Spanish, or any other language. Repeat as many of the words you hear or see as often as you can, alone or not: try showing off to someone who is not learning how clever you are. You have to train the brain (and your mouth) into thinking that this is a valid option as is your mother language, but you all (brain, mouth and YOU) have to become accustomed to hearing yourself uttering these strange sounds, otherwise you will be embarrassed to use your Spanish. Of course Spanish sounds are no stranger than English sounds, but your brain thinks they are!
The ultimate Spanish Classroom
Take a look at some of my other articles
The Origin of Spanish Tapas describing the delights of the Spanish Tapas tradition!
How to raise bilingual children, my personal experience!
Secret to learning Spanish fast, more tips and ideas on how to tackle the language!
Spanish false friends, a fun look at 'false cognates' and how they can lead to misunderstandings
© 2009 Marie Ryan