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Spanish Learning

I will be discussing my Spanish learning process and the best methods to use.

How to Learn Spanish Fast!
16 December 2011

As many of you already know, there is no magic pill that you can take that will transform you into a fluent Spanish speaker; learning a language means that you have to fully engage with it, going through good and bad days, and commit yourself to something that will take lots of effort and dedication to achieve.

There are, however, lots of techniques and programs that you can use to improve your Spanish. If you are a beginner then you will want to start off with a course that gets you using Spanish right from the start. After reviewing many of the courses out there, I have managed to get that list down to three: an audio course, software and a video program. You can see those courses here - how to learn Spanish fast.

What We All Need to Be Doing

In order to learn Spanish fast you must put yourself out there and speak as often as you can. This is something that most of you realize, but actually doing it is another matter. There is no substitute for practicing your Spanish through conversation; using the Spanish that you know and listening for new Spanish to put into practice. Many learners don't have the opportunity to do this as they don't live in a Spanish speaking country. But living in Spain gives you all the opportunities in the world to speak Spanish.

I'm a shy person. I found it difficult at first to speak Spanish in groups of people. I tried my best to force myself to just speak, but I couldn't do it. Then I realized that the problem wasn't just speaking Spanish in large groups, it was speaking any language in large groups. So, what I did was I arranged lots of individual intercambios so that I could speak to my hearts content. I put myself out there in a different way.

I found a way to practice my Spanish as much as possible and made great progress. I stopped hanging out with my expat friends for one or two nights a week to meet up with my new Spanish friends. I asked them to correct me, I made lots of mistakes, but I didn't stop trying.

This is how I learned Spanish fast. I used my Spanish, made lots of mistakes, learned from them along with learning from my language partners, and started making progress.

So, I have a question. How has 2011 been for you in terms of learning Spanish? And what are you going to do differently in 2012?

Like 0        Published at 07:36   Comments (0)

Learning Spanish with Songs
07 July 2011

What I most enjoyed about learning Spanish was that when I knew I was improving, I knew that I could communicate that little bit better with native speakers and that I could understand more of what was going on around me. Knowing a language opens up many different opportunities to learn a new culture and interact in a natural way.

When I first started listening to the Spanish radio I couldn't understand any of the song lyrics (except for 'La Bamba' which we had learned in school). But as I progressed the lyrics that I heard started to make more and more sense. I decided to delve into some of songs that I liked the most and study them a little. I first listened without looking up the lyrics, then read the lyrics while listening. The next thing I did was to look up the meaning of the different words and phrases used. Then I sang along trying to memorize the lyrics.

There is a danger that you'll take the lyrics and use them in everyday conversation, when the lyrics used don't work that way. But you should be able to know what will work in conversation and what won't. Here is a list of 5 Spanish songs to help you learn Spanish. These are some of my most memorable songs while in my first year of Spain. All of them have the lyrics in the videos so that you don't have to look them up.

What songs have you enjoyed while living in Spain? Have you tried to learn Spanish through music?


Like 0        Published at 06:12   Comments (1)

Spanish Listening Practice
16 June 2011

I've been writing a lot at Squidoo recently which seems to be a great community of writers who like to share information. It doesn't suffer from spammers as articles have to be high quality to be featured. I wrote my newest article, Spanish listening practice, earlier today and it got some good feedback. I'm going to summarize the article a little here for those who are interested in improving their Spanish listening.

If you are a beginner, it is difficult to get a alot out of real Spanish (the television, radio etc.) It's a much better idea to focus on listening exercises that are adapted to your Spanish level. I found a couple of great resources a little while ago:

These are two fantastic and free websites that have different listening audio related to either your level or the topic you're interested in. The article that I wrote was targeted towards those who don't live in a Spanish speaking country, but I feel that you can still get a lot out of it. When I first moved to Spain we didn't have a television, so I had to rely on streaming television programs online. When I finally got one my evenings took a different shape. I was also at a level where I could understand what was going on and took a lot of enjoyment out of watching my favorite shows. My favorite show is Españoles en el mundo.

Before I started learning and teaching languages, I was under the impression that things are just soaked up. That you can just listen to people speak Spanish and you will just pick it up. Unless you put yourself through true immersion, this doesn't happen and you have to find time to study and practice your Spanish listening and Spanish in general.

Let me know your thoughts on how you improve your Spanish listening, especially if you are a beginner.

Like 0        Published at 06:40   Comments (1)

Living in Spain and Learning Spanish
08 June 2011

As an English teacher I found it very difficult to practice Spanish. For one, my Spanish was at a basic level when I first moved there. Whenever I communicated with anyone who had a basic level of English they saw an opportunity to practice their English. A few of the friends that we made saw us as practice time, and I didn't help myself as I would offer advice (the teacher inside of came out).

The first year I was there I was doing lots of studying, but the silent kind that involved reading, grammar exercises and watching television. It wasn't until the second year that I really started to improve. I landed a role in an academy and I had lessons with children as young as ten. I was told that I had to be able to communicate well with them in Spanish, as unlike the business lessons I taught in the first year, I obviously couldn't just rely on English.

I started to gain confidence and my group of friends soon started to talk to me in Spanish rather than English. This gave me more practice and I was soon talking in Spanish very often. Looking back at my first year I should have done more to put myself out there and part of the reason why people spoke to me in English was because I was afraid of making mistakes, and therefore I sometimes reverted to English. This can really stop you from talking and it is difficult to get out of this mind frame.

It took a group of ten year old children to make me more confident and not afraid to make mistakes; making a mistake in front of your friends is much less embarrassing than in front of a group of unforgiving ten year olds!


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