Archive for learning spanish

What Is Stopping You From Learning Spanish?

Learning Spanish BienvenidosIf you want to learn a second language then Spanish is a terrific choice. For a start, it is one of the easiest tongues for a native English speaker to get to grips with. Add the fact that it is spoken by an estimated 460 million people all over the planet and we can see that it is an exciting language to learn.

However, what if something is stopping you from learning Spanish? There are some common reasons for not going ahead and taking the lessons you want so let’s take a look at them.

Afraid of the Difficulty Level

It is fair to say that no foreign tongue is easy to learn. After all, you need to learn thousands of new words and a good deal of grammatical rules. Having said that, if you are enthusiastic about your lessons and put your best efforts into them you can learn it a lot easier than you might think. There are many Spanish words which are similar to their English counterparts, so you can make a strong start by learning some simple rules and some easy words. If you get into the swing of things and start enjoying the classes you will soon look at it as a great hobby instead of a chore anyway.

No Chance to Use It

Maybe you are keen to learn some Spanish but aren’t sure whether you would ever get a chance to use it in real life. The good news here is that there are Spanish speaking countries and communities of native speaking immigrants all over the world. This means that whether you are an adventurous traveler or prefer staying close to home you can find people to speak to. You might also find that you can use it in your work at times or simply enjoy some Spanish language films and books in your spare time.

It Might Take Too Long

Of course, we live in an age in which we all want everything right now. Learning a language is something which is going to take you time but it is going to enjoyable along the way too. By getting these classes started you will see how much fun it can be and how the long period of studying isn’t going to be as tough as you might think.

Learning Spanish Verbs Online

Learning Spanish verbs online is the most effective way to master this difficult part of learning Spanish. Many students have struggled with learning Spanish verbs, in particular irregular Spanish verbs, and it is hardly surprising considering the mind-numbingly boring and tedious old school methods that are used to master conjugation.

Ever since languages have been learned the only way a student could eventually master verb conjugation was to recite and memorize verbs over and over again until they could recite them in their sleep. Although effective, this was very time consuming and hardly what could be called enjoyable.

It is a well known fact that it is far easier to learn something if the enjoyment level is high and this is why learning Spanish verbs online has become increasingly popular.

There are many sites online that provide information regarding the conjugation of verbs, such as this one, that provide all the necessary information required to study Spanish verbs, but none offer the verb training needed to help students learn difficult conjugation easily whilst at the same time enjoy doing so!

There are many sites that offer Spanish verb conjugators, which are very handy, but in all fairness they are all just glorified verb conjugation books, sure they provide the information you require much quicker than if you were trying to find it in a resource book, but apart from that they will not help you master verb conjugation.

If you want to know the best way of learning Spanish verbs online there is only one tool currently available that I would suggest considering which will not only provide the great results you require, but will do so quickly and in a way that makes learning them great fun and that tool is called ‘Verbarrator‘.

I myself have a copy and have no hesitation recommending it to any person who asks for my advice on the best way to learn Spanish verbs. So if you are looking for the best way to learn Spanish verbs online check it out…it’s not free…but it is a quality verb training tool and worth every penny.

10 Top Tips For Successfully Learning Spanish Quickly

Learn Spanish QuicklyIf you are considering learning Spanish or have just started out, then these10 tips are designed specifically for you! It would be great for you if you could use all of them but if not, pick out those that you can use and implement them.

1. Mental Preparation:

Too many people think that they will be able to just grab the first Spanish course off a shelf and within a few weeks be able to hold down a full blown conversation in Spanish…nothing could be further from the truth! Learning Spanish is tough and anyone who says different is either expanding upon the truth a little or, a qualified linguist, which does make them an expert in their field I guess! Being prepared mentally for the challenge ahead will always be a key ingredient in your success.

Do not set yourself unreachable targets, like being able to speak Spanish fluently in 6 weeks! There is nothing that is more likely to make you give up your quest than consistently failing to achieve your goals so you should always be realistic.

2. Physical Preparation:

There are hundreds of different Spanish courses out there many of which are expensive, but when it comes to learning Spanish, cost does not always equate to quality.

Do not be deceived by top branding and course materials that are of a quality finish, sure they look and feel nice, heck, they may even smell nice, but what really matters is the quality of information contained within the course, or more to the point, the methods of teaching.

Look for courses that let you try them out first, go online and find forums or chat-rooms to see what other people are using and like and make your decision based on what feels right for you… not the price tag. The best course isn’t necessarily the most expensive!

3. Choosing the RIGHT Spanish Course:

If you have done some research on different courses and have a shortlist… you need to cut lose all those that are not aimed at teaching you conversational Spanish as a priority.

That isn’t to say that learning grammar isn’t important, but so many people get weighed down trying to learn and memorize grammar rules that they lose sight of why they wanted to learn Spanish in the first place; the enjoyment that being able to speak and understand Spanish can bring.

You will enjoy learning Spanish much better and be much more successful at it if you are able to put a few sentences together within a week rather than being able to successfully memorize the indefinite article, subject pronouns and whatever else your first week of grammar study throws at you.

Once you are up and running and speaking Spanish confidently, grammar will become much easier to learn and it will just be a case of tweaking what you already know.

4. Post Notes on EVERYTHING!

Sounds funny I know, but buy yourself a block of post-its and stick them on everything in your home with the Spanish word for that object written on them (with the exception of your spouse, children and pets, although tortoises are OK!).

You will be amazed at how quickly you will pick up the vocabulary for everyday objects…’Everyday’ being the important word here. I am never surprised any longer by the vocabulary that Spanish courses ask beginners to learn…I mean, how many of us are going to use the words bullfighting or donkey in everyday conversation!

5. Tune in to Spanish TV and Radio:

Watching Spanish speaking TV or listening to Spanish radio stations will help you get a feel for spoken Spanish as well as keeping you up-to-date with subjects that Spanish speaking people could be talking about.

Television would be better because it is easier to understand what is being said if you have accompanying pictures.

If you are busy around the house you could always adopt a method of learning I like to call ‘subliminal Spanish’. Turn the TV or radio onto a Spanish speaking network, turn up the volume, and then get on with your chores. There is no need to pay any attention to what is being said.

Over time you will start to pick out certain words without even concentrating as well as becoming used to hearing how Spanish is spoken.

It is a good idea to start with news type programs first as the pronunciation is usually a lot clearer and understandable. However, sport is not a good choice as the commentators do tend to get a little excited and speak very quickly, although it is enjoyable to listen to!

6. Make Your Own Flashcards:

I would suggest that you make some flashcards to help you learn vocabulary, rather than buying them. I suggest this for three reasons:

  • Why spend unnecessarily when it’s simple and cheaper to make them yourself!
  • You are able to create cards using words that are most useful to you
  • The process of actually making them will help you remember them, in fact many of the cards you make could well be redundant before you even use them!

7. Become Involved in your Local Spanish Community:

For those of you that live close to, or within, a Spanish speaking neighborhood, try to mix as much as possible into their social activities, use the local Spanish speaking supermarkets or 24/7, join in with your Spanish speaking neighbors whenever possible.

Not only will this benefit your studies but you will receive a lot of help and encouragement as well as making many new Spanish speaking friends.

8. Use Online Resources:

If you don’t have a Spanish neighborhood close to you, or you cannot receive Spanish TV or radio networks, then the next best thing is to utilize the internet. There are many resources such as chat-rooms, open forums, podcasts and PCTV networks that are all easily accessible online and can all be used to practice your Spanish…so get surfing and use them!

9. Use a Spanish Verb Trainer:

Learning Spanish verbs is probably the most difficult part of learning Spanish and also one of the most important. Using a verb trainer that will help you do this more efficiently is a wise move. If there is one area that is often overlooked by many students it is the correct use of verbs. Verbs are important as they make sense of your sentences and in Spanish they are doubly important as they also indicate who is performing the action.

The best way to learn a verb quickly and effectively is to use a verb conjugator or a verb conjugation training program. A good verb training program will allow you to select the verb you want to learn and in whichever tense you choose and then provide the drills to train you. The aim is to make learning Spanish easier and a verb conjugation trainer will do that.

10. Total Immersion:

If money and time are not a problem for you, then the best way to learn Spanish is to invest in a total immersion course located in a Spanish speaking country.

Not only will you learn the local language but you will also be immersed into the culture and customs of your hosts as well as the local way of life. Immersion courses are not as expensive as they once were but, are still beyond the reach of many.

However, irrespective of price, they are, without doubt, the quickest and most enjoyable way to learn Spanish…if you can afford to go on an immersion course…do so, you will never regret it.

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.