Archive for learn spanish

How to Say Hello and Other Greetings in Spanish

How to say hello in SpanishLearning how to say hello in Spanish is the first step of many you will take when learning Spanish the path will definitely become harder but these early basic greetings are the food and water of any language and their importance can never be understated.

Do not worry about the formation and the grammar of these early phrases just relax and concentrate on the sound that each of the following phrases makes as you say them, greetings are the first impression you will make when speaking to a Spanish speaker so practice saying them regularly.

When you want to say ‘Hello!’ in Spanish you use the word ‘¡Hola!’

In Spanish the ‘h‘ is silent so you would pronounce ‘Hola‘ as ‘ola‘. This greeting is widely used as in English so you will gain lots of experience using it.

There are of course more formal greetings:

Good Morning which is ‘Buenas días‘.

This is pronounced as ‘bwenas deeas‘. The ‘ue’ is pronounced as a ‘w’ and the accented i in ‘días’ as an emphasized ‘ee

Good Afternoon which is ‘Buenas tardes‘.

Tardes‘ is pronounced ‘tarrdais‘ with a very slight roll on the ‘r’.

Good Evening or Good Night is “Buenas Noches.

“Noches” is pronounced ‘notchais

If you would like to ask someone how they are you would say:

¿Cómo estás?” – How are you?

You could also use “está” if you were asking someone you did not know as a sign of respect, however, apart from asking VIP’s, this form is rarely used nowadays.

Another more informal way of asking someone this is to say:

¿Qué tal?” – How’s it going? or How are you?

When you want to say goodbye to somebody you would say:

¡Adiós!” – Good bye

Now, not to confuse you too much, it is important should you ever hear it being used in this manner, but “adiós” is also used frequently to say hello in Spanish, but only when passing someone very briefly.

Why is Preparation the Key to Successfully Learning Spanish?

Learning SpanishWhen contemplating learning a new language such as Spanish most people will be eager to start and excited at the prospect and many believe that they will not find it difficult to do so, and for some that may well be the case.

However, for the vast majority of people, the excitement and eagerness to learn Spanish is quickly cast aside as the sudden realization of the challenge confronting them soon hits home, and this is why it is extremely important to think ahead and plan how and when to study and how to set realistic goals.

Learning Spanish takes time and effort and there is no escaping that fact. Some people are more adept at learning languages than others and will pick things up quicker, but even for those who fall into that bracket it will still take a considerable amount of time.

There are two main reasons why people fail when trying to learn Spanish, the first is that they do not put aside enough time to study and, the second is that they thought that it would be a lot easier than they actually found it to be.

Eliminating the first of the two reasons above is pretty easy and can be done so by simply working out a timetable and sticking to it, devoting as much time as you are able to towards your studies. Though the key to a successful timetable is to be realistic…do not set your schedule too tight or you will struggle!

The second reason is a little more difficult to brush aside! Unfortunately there is no 100% proven method of how to learn Spanish that will work for everyone. No one person is the same and because of that, each will learn at a different pace. Also, a specific method of learning a language, or a certain course, will suit one person but not somebody else.

With that in mind you may well be thinking how is it possible to prepare when there are so many variables? How can you prepare yourself for the challenge ahead when you don’t know what challenges you will face?

The reality is that there is no ‘best way to learn Spanish’ that can be used as a road map to success, and until you actually start learning you won’t know for sure how difficult or how easy you will find it. So the best way to prepare is to do so mentally.

You should never underestimate how difficult and frustrating learning Spanish can be and prepare to be patient. Patience is the key! By setting a realistic timetable and preparing yourself mentally for the challenge that is ahead of you, you will be giving yourself the best start possible.

Learning to Speak Spanish is On the Increase, Thanks to Shakira!

Learning Spanish with ShakiraAre Spanish speaking celebrities such as Shakira the real reason why learning to speak Spanish is becoming more popular or is it just a case of students having a much greater choice over which languages to learn? Here we explore the suggestion that popular culture affects a student’s educational decisions and we also offer alternative reasons as to why this shift to learning Spanish is happening.

The United Kingdom has recently seen an increase in the number of students moving away from the more traditionally taught languages of French and German and instead they are opting to learn Spanish. One of the reasons for this shift is the popularity of the ‘Colombian Songbird’ Shakira, as she is often regarded to on the internet. Well, that is what we are expected to believe if we were to take everything that is written in the newspapers as the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God!

Personally, I find it difficult to believe that a pop star can have so much influence over an entire country’s student body, especially when it is supposed to be influencing the choice of language to learn. If that were to be the case we would have seen an increase in Spanish students a long time ago in tune with the massive popularity that other Spanish speaking singers and celebrities enjoyed at one time or another; Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Penelope Cruz, Julio Iglesias (yes, remember him) Ricky Martin and more recently the extremely popular Enrique Iglesias, son of the aforementioned Spanish swooner, and I’m sure there are many, many more.

The fact is, although Shakira is extremely good at what she does and is very popular with a wide cross-section of the population, I think labeling her as the catalyst for the recent changes to language education in the UK is a little bit extreme to put it bluntly. However, that isn’t to say that popular culture cannot change and shape a society, and influence choice…remember the Beatles?

Learning the Spanish language has been on the increase for many years now, irrespective of popular culture, and for a lot of people it is unquestionably the first language of choice to learn, but why?

In the US it is easy to assume why this would be the case as not only does the US share a border with Mexico, which just happens to have the largest population of Spanish speakers in the world, but according to the 2000 census, Spanish is already spoken by 12% of the US population, which means the US has the fifth largest population of Spanish speakers in the world within it’s borders. This is in complete contrast to the UK which is quite insular where learning languages is concerned and this is highlighted in recent figures that reveal drastic reductions in the number of students taking languages at secondary schools, higher education, and university.

However, although the overall picture is bleak for language study within the education system in the UK there is indeed room for some optimism when considering the increased number of students opting for Spanish. Rather than popular culture, there are a number of more likely reasons why this switch to Spanish is probably happening and they are:

  • A greater number of UK based teachers available that can now teach Spanish
  • Greater freedom of choice for the student doubled with government policy change in 2004 that made languages non compulsory to 14 year old’s and over.
  • Stronger bonds with Spain due mainly to the fact that a large percentage of British people holiday each year in Spain, which is also home to over 1 million British expats
  • Spanish culture is seen as being much more appealing and far more accessible than other European cultures.

Unlike the UK’s youth, adult language education is one area that is definitely increasing year on year, and it is Spanish, once again, that is increasingly the preferred language of learning. The 40 to 60 year old age group in particular is seeing large increases and one can only surmise that these are individuals preparing for retirement in Spain.

Online Spanish courses are the preferred method of learning Spanish for the vast majority of these mature students as they are a much more cost effective and convenient means of learning Spanish, Much quicker too when compared to the more traditional evening class.

Interested in learning Spanish? Find out more about Online Spanish Language Courses here or, check out my review of one of the most popular online courses Rocket Spanish here.