Learn Spanish: A Beginners Study Guide

Think about this: if the goal is to speak Spanish, why do most beginners start learning Spanish using approaches that don’t compel them to express it?

It is the single greatest mistake most people commit when they study Spanish or some other language.

Many learning strategies only teach you the “stuff” of Spanish, such as grammar, vocabulary, listening, hearing, etc. But very few of them really teach you how to speak Spanish.

A Brief Introduction

This section is designed for the absolute novice. If you already have or are used to Spanish knowledge, you can skip to the next level.

The intention is to get a short introduction to Spanish, with the goal of getting to know yourself:

  • What Spanish spoken feels like
  • How it feels to say Spanish words
  • A few simple sentences

It helps you get acclimated to learning a foreign language, and you get used to listening and communicating straight away.

Begin by listening to a free audio course or one of the most popular applications. Ideally, it’s meant to be a guided course that’s easy to navigate.

Well, that’s true. But this is the only time point where it’s OK to use the software. Since what you’re trying to do at this stage is get your bearings and get relaxed listening and repeating.

You probably will need about 30 minutes a day, and this introductory stage is supposed to last no longer than two weeks.

Learnings from this Level

Pay attention to your pronunciation.

Try to get the pronunciation correct from the start. When you hear the Spanish song, make sure you repeat it clearly.

At first, repeat each word slowly, syllable by syllable, until you can reproduce the sounds almost precisely. If possible, record your speech and listen back to me.

Once you’re sure that you’re saying it correctly, repeat it repeatedly until it sounds normal.

Welcome To The Beginner Stage

At this portion, the intention is to establish a rooted ground for yourself in terms of primary vocabulary, grammar, techniques in establishing your ideas into complete sentences, and be fearless enough to communicate to people wherever you are in the world.

At the end of your language journey, you want to have simple discussions that include sharing details, asking questions, chatting about jobs, family, and interests.

For amateurs, the easiest way to learn Spanish is to pick one of the two options:

1st Option: Textbook + Speaking Lesson

Using a textbook may seem old-fashioned, but it’s probably still the easiest way for a novice to learn Spanish grammar. Books are a useful learning tool because it teaches you a standardized way of mastering your field. It brings you through an improvement that slowly builds on each idea, one step at a time.

In every chapter of the textbook you’re working through, review the dialogs to make sure you’re completing all the lessons. Ideally, you can try to find additional online language classes relevant to the idea you’ve just studied.

Much like other ways of instruction, a textbook can’t teach you to talk. But it would be best if you practiced it with local people that have an idea of the language you are trying to master.

You may use a mixture of colleagues, meetings, or language exchanges to learn. At this point, you don’t have full conversations yet (nor should you try to). Try to comprehend sentences and other brief dialogs or situations. However, it’s highly advisable that you target speech practice for 1-2 hours a week.

2nd Option: Get a Language Teacher To Learn From

When you train from a trainer, you get step-by-step instruction and practice speaking all in one kit.

A decent Spanish instructor will give you textbook materials and all the lessons you’ll ever need (that’s what we do at Verbalicity), so there’s no need to look for materials on your own. You still have homework, much as you did in kindergarten.

Teachers can describe grammar to you in a lot of ways and answer questions if you don’t understand them. It is a significant advantage over someone who’s only learning on their own.

Being able to practice what you know straight away by voicing is another plus. For example, you could spend the first half of your lesson working through the Imperfect Tense conjugations and then utilize the second half of your lesson learning it orally through question and answer, storytelling, and other fun activities.

3rd Option: The Classic Flashcards

There is no such thing as the right or wrong time in using flashcards to help you recall words.

But exceptionally, if you’ve selected the 1st option, it could be a little overwhelming to prepare when attempting to find practice opportunities. You don’t want to introduce another tool like flashcards to deter you from that.

Remember the 80/20 saying, and it’s best to concentrate on a few items that have the most effect.

If when in doubt and you feel confused when recalling new vocabulary or grammar conjugations, it’s probably time to add flashcards to your schedule.

Some Tips To Pull Off This Stage

  • Avoid Jumping to Conclusion

It may be tempting to work your way through a cover to cover book immediately, but that’s only going to flood you with details.

There are so many language learners who make the mistake of digging too far into grammar, without making sure they thoroughly understand each definition and practice it before going on to the next one. If in question, spend more time studying what you’ve heard.

  • Apply Vocabulary Techniques

Start concentrating on memorizing the most useful phrases to make it easier for you to exercise communicating. Specific practical terms are “power verbs” and “connectors.”

Examples of power verbs:

  • Ir a (to go do something) – Voy a… (I’m going to…)
  • Necesitar (to need) – Necesitas… (You need…)
  • Poder (to be able to) – Puedo… (Can I…)
  • Examples of connector words:
  • Aunque (although)
  • Por eso (that’s why)
  • Por cierto (by the way)

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The last section outlines constructive activities, suggests materials to support the advanced Spanish proficiency curriculum, and offers ways to help understudy step forward and backward between reading and writing in Spanish and English.

  • Kick Start Your Spanish Lessons

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Important Things That You Must Know Before Anything Else

Learning Spanish vs. Speaking Spanish

Why would you like to learn Spanish?

What do you and the others have in common? It is merely to master Spanish so that you can use it when traveling the world. In other words, you just really wanted to learn and speak Spanish.

It’s not like deciding to learn Spanish and enjoy staying at home watching your favorite Spanish soap operas daily. Instead, it’s also giving yourself and extra knowledge, which you will definitely benefit from in the future.

Speaking: The practicality of making the learning journey easier

You might be asking yourself in contemplation, how am I supposed to communicate if I don’t know any Spanish vocabulary and grammar? Should I learn them first?

Although a limited base of vocabulary and grammar is indeed required, the issue is that most beginners vastly overestimate how much they actually need it.

People spend thousands of dollars on courses and months of self-study and still don’t feel like they’re confident enough to converse in Spanish. Speaking is something that most language-learners delay most of the time.

According to Experts:

  • 90% of what students learn is when they use it instantly.
  • 50% of what students learn is when engaged in group conversations.
  • 20% of what students learn is from audio-visual learning tools.
  • 10% of what students learn is from reading related materials.
  • 5% of what students learn is from lectures – both virtual and private.

These figures mean that the easiest way to learn Spanish is to start speaking from the onset and attempt to incorporate every new word and grammar idea in actual conversations.

Speech is the only skill that combines all the aspects of language learning. When you talk, you’re also learning simultaneously on some other part of the language.

Here’s a rundown of how other language skills can be strengthened by speaking:

Vocabulary

You just learned a word in Spanish, yet you get baffled on using it in a conversation?

This scenario happens all the time, and while you can grasp the word when you come across it, you can’t suddenly remember the phrase when you want to or when you need it.

The best way for new words to become part of your repertoire is to use them frequently, putting them in real terms that have real meaning. Eventually, the new vocabularies would become a force of habit because you can utter it without ever worrying about it.

Grammar

Let’s have scenario.  Say your friend came to you and asked where were you yesterday, and you wanted to give your response in Spanish:

Your response in English: “Yesterday, I walked to the beach.”

In Spanish: “Ayer, caminé a la playa.”

You might have learned all the grammar, but you would have wasted a solid ten seconds of your life worrying about it if you are not that used to using grammar in conversations.

Speaking is the only thing that teaches the brain and speeds up this phase of reasoning so that you can answer any question.

Listening

The majority of language-learning novices find it hard to comprehend local speakers and is the most challenging phase when studying Spanish.

When you’re talking to someone at the same time, you’re talking and exercising your ears. You listen actively,” which means that you listen to react. This pushes you into a higher state of focus, as opposed to “passively” listening to Spanish radio, for example, where you merely receive information.

Listening and talking go hand in hand perfectly.

Pronunciation

The beginning phase of the pronunciation is to understand how to correctly produce sounds that can be incredibly challenging and tricky, especially when it comes to enunciating your R’s correctly.

However, when you say it correctly, the next phase is getting enough reps and frequently mentioning the words as loud as possible.

Expect that the words will make your tongue and lips feel odd initially; hence, your muscle memory will get accustomed to it over time until you feel entirely comfortable with it.

Reading and Writing

As a phonetic language, Spanish ensures that the words spoken would sound precisely how they are written. There are no exceptions or odd pronunciation laws like those in English.

If you can hear something in Spanish, you won’t have trouble reading and writing it as well.

On the contrary, though, this is not at all accurate. If you concentrate on reading and writing, you won’t be able to speak better.

Why is that?

Because every time you speak, there is always something happening in seconds. At the same time, reading and writing occur in a few minutes. Clearly, by talking, your brain can process fast enough based on how the conversation goes.

The Basics

This theory is totally massive when it comes to the right way to learn Spanish, and it has two key applications:

1. Grammar and Vocabulary

2. Methods of Learning

Application 1: Grammar and Vocabulary

The Spanish language has a limit of around 100,000 words, however:

The 300 most famous words make up 65% of the spoken dialogue.

The 1,000 most famous words account for 88 percent of spoken dialogue.

Obviously, you are not required to learn every single word in the Spanish dictionary. Start by reflecting on the most common vocabulary and terms that would help you generally, depending on your preferences and priorities.

Similar to vocabulary, you would want to pay more attention to grammar and conjugation’s most fundamental requirements (ex. Present, Preterit, Future, Conditional, etc.). Several sophisticated grammar rules are not commonly used in daily speech, so they are less concerned.

Application 2: Methods of Learning

There seem to be a million ways to learn Spanish these days, from conventional approaches like textbooks to infinite online platforms. It poses a considerable challenge for language learners: loss of attention. There are people who want to try out as many as 5 or 6 different learning strategies and end up ranging too thinly.

Instead, pick one or two of the most successful approaches (giving you 80 percent of the results) and skip the others.

Take a second to think about all the people you meet who have mastered Spanish or some other language.

By using the app, did they all become fluent in Spanish?

Language Learning Methods:

Language Platforms

Filled with fancy features, hundreds of applications, and software out there claim to be the ultimate game-changing solution that lets you learn a language.

But are they beneficial enough? Is the software the right way to learn Spanish?

The major tech and app firms have all sponsored their own “independent research on their software’s efficacy. In other words, they all charged the same researcher who came to the conclusion that every single app was the best undoubtful thing.

In the long run, applications and mobile phones, much like the conventional classes you take at colleges, are lacking a critical ingredient that is connecting to actual people.

The easiest and quickest way to learn Spanish is to spend as much time as possible in actual conversations. It is the manner in which languages have been studied for thousands of years, and while technology can help make this more comfortable, there are old ways that cannot be substituted that easily.

Flash Cards

Despite the pitfalls of applications and smartphones, there is one form of an app that can have a tremendous effect on your learning experience:

Electronic flashcard

Each flashcard will show you the English word, and you have to try to remember the Spanish term. If you get it wrong, it’ll show you the card again in one minute, so if you get it right, it’ll take a longer time, like 10 minutes, or in a couple of days.

Flashcard applications work by continually forcing you to recall words that you’re unable to remember, and when you get smarter, the term emerges less and less often. As soon as you feel like you’re going to miss a new phrase, the flashcard pops up and refreshes it.

This method lets you create evident memories and encourages you to manage a catalog of all the words you’ve heard, including those you’ve picked up months or years before.

The most significant benefit of flashcards is that what you need is 10-20 minutes a day. We consume a lot of time just slacking around on a daily basis, whether it’s for public transport, at the shop, for a doctor’s appointment, etc. It’s all wasted time that you can use to develop your language. It just takes a few seconds to turn on the flashcard app and read a few sentences.

CONCLUSION:

Ultimately, anyone can and should learn Spanish. Whether you have a language skill or not or whether you are naturally a fast learner, it doesn’t matter. In the end, learning Spanish is about inspiration, concentration, and time.

If you possess these three of these things and you commit to communicating, rather than only knowing the “stuff” of Spanish, then you absolutely cannot fail. And don’t forget to have FUN, of course. The method can be as rewarding as the final target.

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