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7 Best Ways to Learn Spanish for Beginners

What’s the best way of learning Spanish? Every language learner asks themselves the question at some point in their lives regarding the target language. Let me tell you the truth. There is no straightforward answer to this question. In this blog, I explained 7 best ways to learn Spanish as a beginner.

Your success in learning Spanish depends on your ability to determine what works best for you. I’ll share some effective ways of learning Spanish fast and in a fruitful manner. However, you need to experiment with the ideas and pick the ones that work best for you.  Yes, the answer lies within you.

Don’t beat yourself up for failure in learning Spanish. Imagine yourself as a Spanish speaker joining over 400 million users of the language in Latin America, Europe, or the Pacific. As a beginner, you’ll feel awkward often. Try to speak the language even if you feel silly at times. Taking a curious approach, go ahead with the basic ideas, and form a habit of doing the right thing that works for you. At one point, you will start enjoying the whole process of learning Spanish.

7 Best Ways to Learn Spanish: A Beginner’s Guide

Let’s try to find out together how you can start learning Spanish as a beginner and emerge as a competent user of the language.

1. Working with a Personal Spanish Tutor

If you want to start speaking Spanish confidently, a personal tutor will help you a lot. Taking an online course, you can learn new things quite fast. However, an online tutor gives you the opportunity to speak out loud and helps you with your pronunciation.

Feeling a bit lost with the language? Your online tutor keeps you engaged and motivated during bad patches of your learning experience. In addition, you can pick up a valuable accent if your online teacher comes from a specific geographic area of your interest.

Finding a teacher online depends on your budget, your target country and your cultural affinity. The language platforms like iTalki, Preply, Verbling, Lingoci, Tandem provide you with a lot of opportunities to choose your Spanish mentor.

Should you find a native teacher? Language teaching depends largely on motivation, cultural integration. While native teachers give you the authentic samples of language, non-native teachers can easily put themselves in your shoes because of common learning backgrounds. Moreover, every language learner has their own ways of learning things. Look for the traits in your teacher that attract you. Find common grounds that will work out for both of you. A conversation exchange partner will also help you in many ways. In addition, you can attend meetups of Spanish learners in your community for some practice.

2. Listening to Spanish Podcasts

Fortunately, learning Spanish for beginners is more fun these days with learning apps and podcasts. With podcasts, you can explore a wide range of topics and real-life conversations from native speakers. It is perhaps the best choice among these 7 best ways of learning Spanish as a beginner. If you want to speak Spanish fast, you have to listen to Spanish to a great extent.

Podcasts give you access to wonderful conversations on the go. Are you on your way to the office or jogging casually in the morning? Listen to a small piece of Spanish conversation and reflect upon it for the whole day.

Listening to Spanish Podcasts

Coffee Break Spanish provides award-winning language courses for learners of all levels. Each podcast covers practical themes from real-life situations.

Available on iTunes | Website.

SpanishPod101 Logo

SpanishPod101 features native speakers from different Spanish-speaking countries. As a  result, you get access to different parts of the world such as Peru, Costa Rica, Mexico. The dialogues are delivered at a normal speed. In addition, a range of supporting materials are available with the podcasts.

Available on iTunesApp Store | Google Play | Amazon | Website.

Notes in Spanish Logo

Notes in Spanish is a venture by a couple from Madrid. Ben Curtis is from England and Marina Diez is from Spain. The couple is very popular worldwide with more than 14 million downloads worldwide since 2005. Their conversations contain real-life phrases which aim at immersion into Spanish language.

Available on iTunes| Website.

3. Take a mixed approach to learn Spanish

Language learning went through many phases in history. Modern linguists talk about the post method era. What is it all about? Let’s have a look at the popular approaches briefly. I believe a mixed approach is effective as every learner has their own ways of learning and adapting to a language. A mixed approach is one of the 7 best ways to learn Spanish.

The translation approach

Before the 20th century, everyone used the translation approach to learn languages. You take a Spanish book and use a bilingual dictionary to translate the words into your own language. It is, by far, the least expensive and most tedious way of learning Spanish. Additionally, the chances of learning how to speak Spanish is quite unrealistic in this process. However, you can learn new vocabulary quite rapidly if you can retain the new words.

The grammar-based approach

In addition to the translation approach, grammar-based approach was quite popular in the past. You can study the grammatical rules of Spanish language from books along with small chunks of vocabulary. Usually, the approach is still integrated in popular Spanish coursebooks. However, as I have mentioned before, new textbooks use a combined approach. Even if you don’t believe in traditional approaches, a grammar-based text would be very helpful for grammatical references. You can use a dictionary for the same purpose these days.

The communicative approach

The communicative approach gained momentum in the 20th century as language learning became more contextual and communication-oriented. If you have some sort of experience of learning Spanish in an academic setting at school, you are familiar with the approach. The communicative approach promotes face-to-face interaction, live discussions in the target language. The approach is quite effective if you believe in learning in an academic setting. Nonetheless, some formal classes are quite expensive, and you usually receive generic support from your tutors. Language teachers often prefer the communicative approach as it incorporates some other approaches implicitly.

The vocabulary-based approach

A lot of modern learning tools implement the vocabulary-based approach. You start learning new words and phrases that you can use for communication. The approach helps you to gain vocabulary effective in a short span of time. Moreover, you’ll definitely require the new words for communicative purposes. The vocabulary-based approach, however, doesn’t rely much on structural knowledge of the target language. If you want to have meaningful conversations, you need some form of grammatical knowledge. Although it may not be the best way to learn Spanish, it is one of the easiest ways of getting started with the language.

4. Using apps to create and repeat flashcards

Learning and retaining your vocabulary can contribute a lot to learning Spanish language fast. You can use your smartphone for using useful apps at your convenience. For me, the best way to learn Spanish is to repeat the words or phrases you memorized regularly. Ideally, you should use flashcard apps that come with spaced repetition options. I picked up a few flashcard apps for you.

Tinycards - Flashcards by Duolingo (Android | iPhone | iPad )

Tinycards is a popular flashcard app that can help you to create flashcard-based lessons on various topics. In this app, you have to review your cards in periods to keep the memory strength bar of the app full. Moreover, the app allows its user to share personalized cards with friends. Tinycards is available on iOS and Android devices.

Quizlet (Android | iPhone | iPad)

With Quizlet, you can search for the topic of your interest from a huge online database compiled by millions of users of the app. This app will help you to revise your vocabulary and pick others’ brains easily.

AnkiApp Flashcards (Android | iPhone | iPad | Web)

AnkiDroid is an open source flashcard app that is compatible with all types of platforms, even Linux. The app provides syncing options, text-to-speech integration, and support texts, images, sounds within a platform.

Super Flashcards (Android)

With a beautifully designed interface, Super Flashcards app allows you to create flashcards with both text and image. You can import Quizlet sets, publicly listed Flash Exchange cards sets, CSV files, gallery images. You can set your card in two modes: ‘normal’ and ‘endless’. The cards in ‘endless’ mode appear more often as they are more difficult to memorize.

5. Watching movies with subtitles and listening to Spanish radio

You may watch videos on different platforms to learn how to speak and communicate in Spanish. At the beginning, you’ll understand little of what you are watching. But you can watch movies and drama serials with subtitles for a better grasp of Spanish.

The most important aspect of visual contents is the body language and cultural inputs. Learning Spanish doesn’t necessarily mean new Spanish vocabularies or phrases only. It means new ways of expressing yourself and understanding the Spanish cultures across the world.

Recommended Spanish Movies and TV Shows for Learners

Name Genre Type Description Year

Source: Spanish Land School

Abre los Ojos (Open Your Eyes) Movies Drama
Mystery
Romance
Sci-Fi
Thriller
The story of a man who goes through a critical surgery after a dreadful injury. Unfortunately, it happens after he meets the love of his life. 1997
Los Destinos: An Introduction to Spanish TV show Drama
Mystery
Romance
Sci-Fi
Thriller
The story of a man who goes through a critical surgery after a dreadful injury. Unfortunately, it happens after he meets the love of his life. 1997
Los Destinos: An Introduction to Spanish TV show Teaching
Telenovela
The story of a lawyer who travels to Puerto Rico, Mexico, Spain, Argentina in search of secrets. 2002
El Laberinto del Fauno Pan’s Labyrinth) Movie Drama
Fantasy
A fictional story about a girl named Cecilia. The girl moves to a small town with her mother and finds a mythological creature. An incredible  revelation follows. 2006
Aquí Entre Nos (Between Us) Movie Comedy
Romance
A Mexican movie about a man who takes a day off work and comes to a new realization about his life. He tries to bring radical changes in search of freedom. 2011
Narcos TV show Action
Drama
A series from Netflix that revolves around the infamous Drug Lord, Pablo Escobar. 2015

Here is an useful link for some popular radio stations in Spanish. It might seem overwhelming at the beginning but you will enjoy the music anyway. It is my personal favorite in the 7 best ways to learn Spanish.

6. Using mnemonics to retain information creatively

You are learning a new language. It means you are consuming a lot of new words frequently. In addition to flashcards, mnemonics will prove useful if you know how to use them.

Mnemonics helps us with complex lists and concepts. If you relate your freshly acquired vocabulary with a picture in your mind or a familiar story from your childhood, you have a better chance of memorizing a complex series of information.

Our brain has an amazing ability to associate our old knowledge with new information. You can remember the days of the week in Spanish with a rhyme you know from childhood. Alternatively, think of the rooms in your house and visualize each room in your memory as a day of the week in Spanish.

You can use acronyms, stories, rhymes, and songs, words and sound associations, sentences, stressed syllables to remember words and phrases in Spanish.

7. Be Consistent and Form a Habit

From my experience of learning French, I realized how crucial consistency is. Over the years, I tried to learn the language institutionally. However, I didn’t get the expected results for the lack of consistency. If you want to improve your Spanish, work on a simple routine. It is one of the best ways of learning Spanish or any other language.  Additionally, add little chunks of vocabulary and phrases to your collection on a regular basis. Find a way of using new words frequently.

In short, you have to form a habit of learning new features of Spanish. Many people quit learning halfway through. They want to squeeze the language learning aspect into their busy schedule. However, they somehow fail to keep learning to a manageable phase and stop trying. You can develop a habit in a month. Take small incremental steps and you’ll eventually get there. You have to form a habit of learning Spanish each day. Start with a regular habit of listening to a Spanish podcast for 10 minutes a day, and continue doing it for a month even if you are listening to it while jogging.

In this blog, I tried to cover different learning strategies and 7 best ways to learn Spanish with the help of useful apps, approaches, and materials. The best to learn Spanish can combine all of the tactics or some of the chosen ones that suit you better. Now, it’s your turn to make the decision.

August 20, 2020

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