Speed Matters: 13 Tips to Learn Spanish Quickly

Speed Matters: 13 Tips to Learn Spanish Quickly

Like other languages used on the planet, Spanish can take a lot of time to learn. In fact, even native speakers can learn something new every day. As a foreign language learner, you might be wondering if there are methods on how to learn Spanish quickly. The quick answer is “no” because mastery of languages can take time. However, if you want to be fluent in using conversational Spanish, there are some things you can do to make the learning process shorter. 

According to the US Foreign Service Institute or FSI, a native English speaker will need to take at least 24 weeks’ worth of classes to be fluent in Spanish. Take note: Spanish is actually a very similar language to English. Still, it would take a few weeks to be fluent, even for English speakers. . The case for non-native English speakers would even be more difficult. 

Other factors such as the quality of your learning materials and learning habits can affect your journey. Although learning materials are easy to replace, it can take quite a long time to reestablish your language habits. If you want to learn Spanish quickly, try integrating these habits into your study style.  

What Makes Spanish Hard? 

But before that, you might want to know the hardest parts of learning the language. Knowing what aspect of Spanish should be focused on is a great time saver too. Here are some of the hardest areas of overall learning this romance language. 

  • Confusing Tenses

There are three main verb tenses in the English language: the past, present, and future. However, when it comes to Spanish, you will have to learn 16 tenses. Although these tenses are grouped into “Simple tenses” and “Compound tenses”, learning a lot of verb conjugations is a tedious and confusing task. 

  • Pronoun Confusion

Spanish pronouns work differently than their English counterpart. Pronouns are also not used most often because of numerous verb conjugations that exist in the Spanish language. It’s important to know when to left out and include pronouns in a situation. To make things easier, take note that certain pronouns come first before the verb. 

  • False Cognates 

False cognates are another pain in the neck for Spanish speakers. These are words that sound familiar but has a different meaning. Most of the time, the translation of a word from Spanish to English doesn’t really match. For example, if someone says “Blanco”, you might associate it with the word “blank” in English. However, what the speaker really means is “white”. These words cause a lot of confusion for English-speaking learners. 

  • Gendered Nouns

In Spanish, nouns often end with the letter “o” (el niño) for the masculine, and “a” (la Hija) for the feminine. It’s like a “he” or “she” in English. What makes this rule complicated is that there are also masculine and feminine nouns used for objects and ideas. To make this more difficult, the adjectives that describe these nouns are also gendered. 

  • Differences In Dialects

Like other languages, Spanish has regional accents and local sayings that only applies to a certain region. For example, someone who speaks in Castilian dialect would sound a little bit different compared to Andalusian or Rioplatense (from Argentina). Local idioms and sayings are also not the same across Spanish dialects. 

  • Lack Of Actual Usage

And last but not least, what makes Spanish hard for some people is the lack of actual usage. A learner can memorize hundreds of words per day. But if there is no actual application for these words regularly, their meanings would be forgotten shortly. Learning within a group is necessary if you want to regularly use what you learned from your self-study. 

13 Proven Ways to Learn Spanish Quickly

1. Know Your Target Spanish Level

There are six official Spanish levels (Level A1 to Level C2). Level A is considered the lowest in all the tiers, meaning that you can understand basic phrases and expressions. Level B is the intermediate tier, in which the speaker is expected to know enough Spanish to work and study. 

Level C is the expert tier, where speakers are able to understand Spanish in written or audio form. Higher levels would need more time and effort, but reaching level B is a feat on its own. Choosing materials and setting up hours would be easier if you have a target level. 

2. Learn Words Regularly

The next part of effective Spanish learning is creating a list of words to study regularly. If speed is crucial, you should focus on words that can help you with basic conversations. A flashcard system is useful in memorizing new words and their pronunciation. Don’t forget to add generic travel words phrases (such as directional words and location names). Knowing these words will help you navigate around any Spanish-speaking country.

3. Speak Spanish As Often As Possible

Language proficiency is acquired by using repetition. The more you use Spanish, the faster you become proficient in it. That’s why if you have the chance, don’t pass up on using the Spanish language. Start thinking internally using Spanish, talk to other Spanish speakers, and more. Simple language repetition habits(such as commenting in a social media post with simple Spanish) can give tons of help in speeding up your progress. 

4. Read Children’s Book

This tip is applicable to almost any foreign language. Children’s books are known for their simple stories and sentence structures, making it a good practice material for beginners. Children’s books are also great for introducing gendered nouns and adjectives. Some of the most popular books are “Don Quixote”, “Pollito Tito”, “Los Tres Cerditos”  and  “La Guagua de pan de Manuela. ”

5. Watch Movies And TV Shows In Spanish

Movies and TV shows often use conversational Spanish words and phrases that are easy to adapt. The learner does not only learn proper word usage but proper word pronunciation as well. Learning via video is also a great way to familiarize yourself with more verb conjugation and gendered pronouns. Don’t forget to pick up a genre that you enjoy watching to avoid boredom and get more motivated to improve. Netflix is a good place to start when you want to hunt for good Spanish TV shows. 

6. Use Pronunciation Apps 

Vocabulary is important, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to forget about pronunciation. When dealing with foreign words, pronunciation is often the hardest part due to sound differences in languages. If you’re unsure of how a word is pronounced, you can use pronunciation apps available online for free. In fact, you can use Google Translate alone for this purpose. It’s a useful method to learn pronunciation, especially if you don’t know a tutor or a native speaker. 

7. Think, Read, And Write In Spanish

To immerse yourself in the Spanish language, you need to think with it, read it, and write with it/ You can start by reading simple books or short paragraphs daily. Try writing a poem and Spanish (any topic works), or communicate online by writing comments in Spanish. Train yourself to think in Spanish to improve your sentence generation. It sounds intimidating, but once you get used to Spanish, these things become second nature. 

8. Make A Regular Challenge For Yourself

Challenges are fun! It can make a dull and tedious task more enjoyable. It doesn’t have to be a daily challenge to be effective. You can have a weekly one so you don’t get burnt out with the challenge itself. It’s better if you hook up other friends on the challenge for motivation (preferably someone who also needs to do something tedious). 

9. Use Your Electronics In Spanish

Electronics is one of the things that a lot of people use for hours in one day. Since you’re going to use your electronics often, why not make it a chance to practice your Spanish? If you have a Spanish option on your phone or laptop, use it instead of the default language. If you’re a gamer, you can set your game language to Spanish for an immersive yet educational experience. 

10. Use Mnemonics 

Mnemonic is a tool that aid in learning and remembering a large amount of information. It can be in a form of a song, acronym, rhyme, image, or phrase. A good example of a Mnemonic is the MVEMJSUNP, which is the acronym for all the planets in the Solar System aligned in order. What makes this tool useful in learning Spanish fast is by applying it in useful Spanish phrases.  

11. Immerse Yourself With Spanish Songs

Spanish music is a kind of music that makes you dance and tap your feet. Most Spanish music is “feel good” and makes you want to sing along. If you’re not sure where to start, you can begin by listening to the local radio station or tuning it with Spanish-speaking podcasts. Who knows? Maybe you’d meet a new friend by sharing music and learning a new language. 

12. Use Spaced Repetition Apps

A Spaced Repetition App is a tool that takes advantage of the fact that the more we forget, the more we learn a word. In short, you “forget” the word to “remember” it again and “re-learn” it for long-term use. It can take a couple of weeks to see the difference. However, its efficacy can make overall learning faster. This is because you’re learning words properly and not just cramming up hundreds of words every day. 

13. Find A Spanish-Learning Community

It doesn’t matter if you find a community online or offline, the important thing is that you find one to learn Spanish. Get into social media groups or make one yourself if you want a close-knit community. Of course, you can visit any Spanish speaking countries and immerse yourself with the culture first hand.  

Final Thoughts

Spanish is one of the most popular secondary languages on the planet right now. There’s a lot of benefits to learning this language and improving your proficiency over time.

What makes Spanish so hard to learn?

But before that, you might want to know the hardest parts of learning the language. Knowing what aspect of Spanish should be focused on is a great time saver too. Here are some of the hardest areas of overall learning this romance language: confusing tenses, pronoun confusion, false cognates, gendered nouns, differences in dialects, lack of actual usage.

How to learn Spanish quickly?

First of all, determine your target Spanish level. Learn words regularly - a flashcard system is useful in memorizing new words and their pronunciation. Speak Spanish as often as possible, because the more you use it, the faster you'll become proficient in it. Read children's books and watch TV shows and movies in Spanish. Lastly, try to think, read, and write in Spanish as much as possible.

Can you learn Spanish with TV shows and movies?

Movies and TV shows often use conversational Spanish words and phrases that are easy to adapt. The learner does not only learn proper word usage but proper word pronunciation as well. Learning via video is also a great way to familiarize yourself with more verb conjugation and gendered pronouns. Don’t forget to pick up a genre that you enjoy watching to avoid boredom and get more motivated to improve. Netflix is a good place to start when you want to hunt for good Spanish TV shows.

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