5 Tips to finally Learn Spanish successfully in 2023

5 Tips to finally Learn Spanish successfully in 2023

ALEX
Maura, ¿cuáles son tus mejores consejos para los que estudian español como yo?
(Maura, what are your best tips for those who study Spanish like me?)

MAURA
Qué buena pregunta, Alex. Lo pienso y te digo.
(What a good question, Alex. I’ll think about it and let you know.)

¡Hola, hola! Yo soy Maura, de Spring Spanish. In this video, we’ll pack together all of our experience and knowledge about learning and teaching Spanish. We’ll highlight our top tips so you can create the perfect strategy and reach your Spanish goals this year! ¡Empecemos!

1. Escucha tanto español como sea posible (Listen to as much Spanish as possible)

MAURA
Lo primero que deberías hacer es encontrar la manera de escuchar tanto español como sea possible.
(The first thing you should do is find a way to listen to as much Spanish as possible.)

ALEX
Escuchar música, videos, ¿o qué?
(Listen to music, videos, or what?)

MAURA
¡Eso! Todo lo que se te ocurra. Lo más importante es que te asegures de estar escuchando cosas que realmente te interesan.
(That! Anything you can think of. The most important thing is to make sure you’re listening to things that really interest you.)

ALEX
O sea, que me guste lo que estoy mirando o escuchando.
(That is, that I like what I am watching or listening to.)

MAURA
Exacto. La idea es que te involucres con lo que escuchas de forma activa. Intenta reconocer combinaciones de palabras, o chunks, escríbelos ¡y úsalos!
(Exactly. The idea is to actively engage with what you hear. Try to recognize word combinations, or chunks, write them down and use them!)

I can’t stress the importance of this seemingly simple tip enough. Yo aprendí inglés así (I learned English like this.) Tú aprendiste tu idioma natal así. (You learned you native language like this.)

Our Spring Spanish chunking method is based on active listening. Piensa en tu cerebro como en una máquina. (Think about your brain like a machine.) The more input you can give it, the more it’ll be able to recognize and repeat sounds, words, chunks!

Here are a few examples of what you could do:

  • Aprovecha la plataforma de streaming de tu elección (Take advantage of your streaming platform of choice): There’s probably a show, a movie, a series that’s originally in Spanish. Eso sería ideal (That would be ideal.) But also! You might have the option of watching something you already know and like dubbed in Spanish. Los programas animados y las caricaturas son geniales para esto. (Animated shows and cartoons are great for this!)
  • Encuentra podcasts sobre temas que realmente te interesan (Find podcasts on subjects you’re really interested in): You being interested in the information, beyond the fact that it is in Spanish, will only help you stay active while you listen. ¡Lo cual es una gran parte de este ejercicio! (Which is a big part of this exercise!)
  • Usa la música (Use music): Find songs you like and swear to learn them by heart. You can get the lyrics online, of course. Practica con ello todos los días (Practice with it every single day). Traduce la canción, transcríbela, canta sin la letra. (Translate the song, transcribe it, sing without the lyrics.) It’ll do wonders for your pronunciation, you’ll feel awesome singing along and you’ll learn a bunch of new chunks and vocabulary.

Bonus tip!

  • Mira un video de Spring Spanish a diario (Watch a Spring Spanish video daily): Of course, this is why we’re here. Tenemos cientos y cientos de vídeos. (We have hundreds and hundreds of videos.) We even have videos specifically made for you to practice listening. Puedes encontrar uno de ellos aquí. (You can find one of them right here.)

Even the title of this section is a great example of why listening to our videos work. It also gives way to our…

Chunk Alert!

This chunk: tanto como sea posible (as much as possible) can be used on its own or combined with other words. It also tends to go at the end of the idea you’re referring to. Además (Plus), it can help you substitute and enhance the good old mucho (a lot) that you might be tired of. Nuestra meta es ayudarte a aprender español tanto como sea posible. (Our goal is to help you learn as much Spanish as possible.)

If you check the link in the description, you’ll also get our free essential list of Spanish Chunks!

2. Aprende con chunks (Learn with chunks)

ALEX
Por ejemplo, ¿“o sea” sería un chunk?
(For example, would “o sea” be a chunk?)

MAURA
¡Si, exacto! Los chunks son básicamente patrones de repetición que existen en todos los idiomas. Trabajar en reconocerlos y utilizarlos te ayudará a avanzar más rápido sin necesidad de ahogarte en la gramática.
(Yes, exactly! Chunks are basically repetition patterns that exist in all languages. Working on recognizing and using them will help you advance faster without drowning yourself in grammar.)

If you want to understand exactly what we mean by chunks, make sure to check the video I made explaining all about it.

Mientras tanto (In the meantime), just keep in mind that this is how we actually talk: recognizing sounds that tend to stick together. Grammar is an entirely separate subject that can support your learning experience. ¡Pero no debería ser el objetivo principal! (But it shouldn’t be the main focus!)

As a testament you can learn the following chunks from our dialogues without understanding the grammar behind them. Try using them and see them work perfectly! Por ejemplo (for example):

  • Por ejemplo (for example): after this, give alternatives, options, examples of whatever you’re talking about. Just like I just did.
  • Lo primero (Firstly): you can start any sentence like this if you mean to convey that there’s an order of priority. Lo primero que debes hacer para aprender español es… ¡escuchar! (The first thing you must do to learn Spanish is…. listen!)
  • ¿O qué? (Or what?): use this question to ask if there’s another thing to add, another option, another possibility. Aprendes español con nosotros ¿o qué? (Do you learn Spanish with us or what?)

3. Encuentra con quien practicar (Find people to practice with)

ALEX
Vale, y ¿cómo hago para usar esos chunks una vez los detected?
(Ok, and how do I use those chunks once I detect them?)

MAURA
Claro, esa es toda una tarea en sí misma. Aprovecha a toda la gente a tu alrededor que sepas que habla español. Como los asistentes de tu tienda latina favorita, por ejemplo.
(Of course, that’s a whole task in itself. Take advantage of all the people around you that you know speak Spanish. Like the assistants at your favorite Latin store, for example.)

ALEX
¡Qué pena! ¿Y si meto la pata?
(How embarrassing! What if I screw up?)

MAURA
¡Te ríes y ya está! Puedes preguntarles si les importa que practiques tu español con ellos. Estoy segura de que estarán más que abiertos a la idea.
(You laugh it off and that’s it! You can ask them if they mind if you practice your Spanish with them. I’m sure they will be more than open to the idea.)

You really are going to make mistakes, un montón (a ton). So, start embracing that fact even before it happens and resolve to laugh it out. That way you’ll condition yourself to respond lightly to mistakes, como deberías (as you should).

If talking to people on the streets seems too far fetched just yet, considera alternativas como (consider alternatives like):

  • Únete a nuestro (Join our) Spring Spanish Inner Circle: Entre muchos otro beneficios (Among many other benefits), it also provides you with a totally safe environment to practice speaking with other students and teachers!
  • Mensajes de voz (Voice messages): Starting out slow is always a good idea and voice messaging can do just that. Find a friend, a colleague or even a speaking partner specifically for this purpose y chatea con ellos a través de mensajes de voz (and chat with them through voice messages).
  • Consigue encuentros lingüísticos locales (Find local language meet-ups): You can find this type of gatherings more and more all around the world. Vale la pena googlear al respecto. (It’s worth doing some googling about it.) Maybe you’ll find a coffee shop where people meet to practice Spanish every week!
  • Viaja a un país de habla hispana (Travel to a Spanish-speaking country): Lo sé, lo sé (I know, I know,) this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Nonetheless, know that this is definitely worth it if it’s within your possibilities. Nada se puede comparar con estar totalmente sumergido en un mundo de español. (Nothing can compare to being fully submerged in a world of Spanish.) Plus, you’ll have infinite possibilities to practice every aspect of the language and, even, the culture!

4. Sumérgete en el mundo del español (Immerse yourself in the world of Spanish)

ALEX
Ok. Lo voy a intentar. Ahora, ¿qué puedo hacer en casa?
(Ok. I’ll give it a try. Now, what can I do at home?)

MAURA
¡Mucho! Puedes crear tu propio microuniverso hispano dentro de tu casa. Así te aseguras de estar sumergida en el idioma y la cultura, al menos por un rato, todos los días.
(A lot! You can create your own Hispanic micro-universe inside your home. This way you make sure you are immersed in the language and culture, at least for a little while, every day.)

ALEX
¿Cuánto tiempo?
(How long?)

MAURA
¡Nunca menos de quince minutos diarios!
(Never less than 15 minutes a day!)

It is important you know that accumulative learning is vital for language students. So, better to do 15 minutes every day than 4 hours over the weekend.

You can go as creative as you want with this submerging. Algunas ideas pueden ser: (Some ideas could be:)

  • Haz esa lista de podcasts y programas de televisión que sabes que puedes ver en español. (Make that list of podcasts and TV shows you know you can watch in Spanish.)
  • Ve las noticias en español. Watch news outlets in Spanish.
  • ¡Pon algo de música latina! (Put on some Latin music!)
  • Pega post-its por toda la casa con vocabulario y chunks. (Paste post-its all around the house with vocabulary and chunks.)
  • Si te gusta la cocina, prueba algunas recetas latinas y sigue las instrucciones en español. (If you’re into cooking, try out some latin recipes and follow the instructions in Spanish.)
  • Ve videos sobre la historia y la cultura latinoamericana. (Watch videos about Latin-American history and culture.)
  • Acude a eventos hispanos, festivales, espectáculos, etc. (Go to Hispanic events, festivals, shows, etc.)

All of these, apart from feeding your brain in Spanish, te enseñarán sobre la cultura (will teach you about the culture.) The culture is crucial for you to understand the fabric that makes up the language. No es sólo lo que decimos, sino cómo lo decimos. (It’s not just what we say, but how we say it.)

So, to summarize:

  • Escucha un montón. (Listen a ton.)
  • Enfócate en los chunks. (Focus on chunks.)
  • Practica con alguien. (Practice with someone.)
  • Sumérgete en el mundo hispano. (Submerge yourself in the Hispanic world.)

Guys, gracias por aprender el idioma de mi gente, de verdad. (thank you for learning the language of my people, really.) I really believe that if you use these tips to create a strategy that feels challenging but sustainable and you focus on enjoying the process, you’ll reach your goals before you know it.

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