Learning Spanish can be exasperating and confusing, especially if you’re trying to remember if a word is masculine or feminine, if you had used it properly in the sentence, and if you pronounced it right! It becomes worse if you’re under pressure to learn, like if your scheduled business trip is looming on the horizon.
First of all, you need to work on making your ears accept Spanish. Now while Spanish has a few strange ways of constructing their words, written language is vastly different from the spoken one. You must learn how to listen to how it sounds, and the best way to do that is to surround yourself with the spoken Spanish language. Why not take a look at the Spanish singers? You might find one whose voice and music you enjoy, Spanish Magazine then listen to him or her all the time.
Switch your cable channels over to Spanish instead of English. Even just watching half an hour of Spanish everyday does a lot to help. Why not watch the world news in Spanish? If you have a basic idea of what the news is all about through CNN or BBC, watching it on Spanish news will make understanding it easier.
Don’t stop speaking! The only way to say is right is to speak it. It’s like a person that studies how to drive a car but has never gotten behind the wheel. He can tell you all the driving rules but will probably bump into something on his first trip out. Speaking Spanish requires constant practice, just like driving. You don’t need to speak to a person at first. Take yourself out for test drives with online language tutors or practice lessons with a Spanish-speaking friend. You can also record yourself reading a bit of Spanish material and listen how a native speaker reads it. Then, compare how the two of you sound.
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What’s the hardest part of learning Spanish? The grammar? Verb tenses? For me, it was actually building up a decent-sized vocabulary. All the grammar in the world won’t help you if you don’t know enough Spanish words to hold a conversation. Follow these tips to quickly expand your Spanish vocabulary.
Get Flash Cards – Flash cards are the best invention since sliced bed. The most effective way to use them is put 10 cards or so in your pocket and drill them throughout the day whenever you have a few moments to spare be it in the elevator, on your lunch break, or even in the restroom. You should be able to learn at least 5-10 words per day from just a few minutes of study. Before you know it, you’ll have added hundreds of words to your vocabulary.
Read Spanish Newspapers – Free Spanish news sources online make excellent vocabulary-builders. Since the news is generally written at a level easily digestible by the masses, most Spanish students with a basic grounding in the language should be able to read the news with the help of a dictionary. First, find your news source of choice. Next, read today’s front-page stories. Every time you see a word you don’t know, write it down on a sheet of paper and look up its definition in the dictionary. Make a note of its basic definition, in your own words, on the piece of paper. By the time you finish today’s top stories, you should have a list of vocabulary words to study. Make a point of going over this list once or twice before bed so that next time you see that particular word, you won’t need a dictionary at all.