“Every expert was once a beginner,” said someone on the Internet, but I don’t know who!
¡La parte más difícil de un proyecto (the most difficult part of a project) es empezar (is to begin)! If you clicked on this article, probablemente you’re starting out your journey to learn Spanish, ¡la lengua más bonito del mundo! (the most beautiful language in the world!)
¡Te felicito! (Congratulations!) Estás en el camino correcto. (You’re on the right track!) AND en este artículo (in this article), you will discover 4 things to keep in mind when you’re just starting!
1. Start with the best method right away!
The traditional learning method is the fastest way… to get frustrated and feel like you’ll never learn!
Here at Spring Spanish, our linguists and expert polyglots have put together a proven method to acquire the Spanish language. Se llama (It’s called) Conversation-Based Chunking and it’s built around the use of chunks, that is, phrases or word combinations that will ease your way into fluency.
I use two chunks at the beginning of most of my videos:
- En este video (in this video)
- vas a aprender (you will learn)
If you learn them by heart as a whole, you’re understanding so much more than learning each word in them in isolation.
You’re learning demonstratives; agreement between noun, gender and number; futuro próximo (going to future); the right conjugation of the verb ir (to go) in the second person singular. But you don’t need to know all of that! So, forget I just used all these grammar terms.
Just learn the chunks: En este video and vas a aprender, and with time, all those grammar items will naturally click!
To learn more about how you can use the Conversation Based Chunking method to learn Spanish the easy way, check out our Free Spanish training!
2. Learn Spanish pronunciation once and you’ll always get it right
Within the limits of a few very simple rules, letters in Spanish are pronounced consistently. Once you learn the right sound of each letter, that’s it! They will always sound the same!
Once you know the vowels (A, E, I, O U), you will know that regardless of where you see them, they will invariably be pronounced the exact same way!
English is not a phonetic language! This is why we Spanish speakers have a relatively harder time getting their English pronunciation right. Check out Mariana’s article on the Spanish alphabet to get you started!
3. Listen before you speak
Babies don’t come out of the womb speaking their native language, right? Los bebés solo escuchan (babies just listen) por un par de años (for a couple of years) before they utter a single word!
So, don’t feel pressured to start speaking right away. It’s okay! The more you listen, the better you’ll know the right pronunciation and the easier it will be for you to try to replicate that sound.
Fun-added benefit: the more you listen, the more CHUNKS you’ll discover as well!
So, pay Mr. Google a visit and get la letra de tu canción favorita (the lyrics of your favorite song) en español and as you skim through the lyrics, play it una y otra y otra y otra vez (over and over and over) until your neighbors complain!
Watch Spring Spanish videos and pay special attention to the phrases we say en español.
4. Don’t memorize conjugation tables, learn verbs in context!
Keep in mind that verbs work differently in Spanish than they do in English. Let’s think of the verb to speak: I speak, you speak, we speak, they speak, BUT s/he speakS. That S is super important, right?
It’s somewhat similar in Spanish except that the conjugations differ more. In English, there are two; in Latin American Spanish we have five; and in Castillian Spanish (from Spain) they even have six!
So let’s have a look at how this works with the verb hablar (to speak):
- Yo hablo
- Tú hablas
- Él / Ella habla
- Nosotros hablamos
- Ustedes hablan
- Ellos hablan
Since hablo only works with the pronoun yo (I), in Spanish we may drop the pronoun and say things like:
- Hablo inglés (I speak English)
We don’t have to say: yo hablo inglés, yo hablo francés, BUT notice how hablan may be used to talk about the plural you or about ellos (them).
Got lost already?! This is why advice number 1 is not to learn with this kind of list!!!! Remember, you gotta chunk it! Don’t try memorizing the list of conjugations!
If I ask you, why do you want to learn Spanish? You could say:
- Quiero aprender español porque todos mis amigos lo hablan. (I want to learn Spanish because all my friends speak it.)
This is a phrase and learning it is way more helpful than trying to memorize conjugation tables.
FREE Spanish Training
¡Muy bien! Now you’re in for a great start in your journey para aprender español! Cuéntame cómo te está yendo (Let me know how you’re doing). What progress have you made? What is proving to be difficult? What subjects would you like me to address en mis videos (in my videos)?
Now, if you sign up to the Spanish training I told you about before, you’ll get some free Spanish sample lessons that come directly from the Spring Spanish Academy!