How to Speak Spanish Fast: 10 Time-saving Tips for Rapid Learning
One popular reason to learn Spanish fast is for an impending trip. If you know you’re going to an exotic locale soon, chances are you’ll want to improve your language knowledge. At the very least, you’ll need to learn the basics to ensure you always get your free bar of soap and extra towels.
But if you’re not traveling, you still might want to learn Spanish quickly in order to get immediate results that’ll motivate you to learn in more depth. There’s no doubt about it: immediate results feel good. If you learn some Spanish very quickly, it just might kickstart your journey to fluency.
Finally, you might want to learn Spanish quickly in order to communicate with native speakers soon. For instance, if you have friends, colleagues or in-laws that speak Spanish, you might want and/or need to communicate with them sooner rather than later. There’s no time like the present to finally connect with Spanish speakers in their native tongue!
Managing your time while learning Spanish
Many courses promise that you’ll learn Spanish in 30 days. Yet most people fail to achieve this goal, and this is through no fault of their own. To learn Spanish conversation is no easy feat. Three reasons why you can’t do it this fast are:
The importance of time management when learning Spanish
Time management is extremely important when learning Spanish, or any new language. When you lead a busy life, it is hard to prioritize improving new skills and not make excuses to avoid practicing because you have other responsibilities.
It is, therefore, crucial to find ways to automatize language learning and make it a habit. You can teach yourself a language while commuting or doing chores. Practice speaking Spanish while doing mundane tasks by describing them to yourself in the language.
The importance of everyday practice for improving your skills in 30 days
The only answer to “how to talk Spanish in 30 days” is: practice makes perfect. If you want to see a considerable difference in your skills in the short amount of 30 days, you will have to deliberately practice each day. This involves monitoring your performance and continually looking for new ways to improve.
Tips for finding time for practice
Topics to master
A good method for improving your Spanish in 30 days is to choose 5 topics to master and dedicate 6 days to each topic. Here are some examples of important topics to master depending on your level:
How to start learning Spanish as an adult
All writers fear having to face a blank page, and we’re in the same situation as language learners! There is so much to learn, and such a bewildering array of options to choose from. What should we do?
Establish a base
As a beginner, the most important thing we need to do is to get out of beginner zone, and learn enough so that we can actually go and start practising. For this, we need a base of vocabulary, a stock of phrases, and an idea of Spanish grammar.
Build your vocabulary
Building up a strong base of vocabulary is one of the most important initial steps in learning a language. When building your vocabulary, you need to consider both the “what” and the “how”. The “what” covers what kind of vocabulary you need to learn, and the “how” is concerned with methods for memorisation and recall.
Should you focus on verbs, nouns, or phrases? We love learning phrases, as this gives you something you can use from the get-go. A good phrase book usually contains more than enough to get you started.
It’s also a good idea to start learning the most common verbs, as these will crop up time and again throughout your language learning journey. We recommend learning one verb and a couple of phrases using that verb. Focus on the communicative aspect at this stage – in which situation do you see yourself using that piece of vocabulary?
When you learn Spanish vocabulary, you need to learn for the long term. It’s no good cramming 50 vocabulary items a day, only to be able to recall 10 of them a week later. Our brains are efficient, and if we learn something that we don’t use we’ll soon forget it. That means it’s much better to stick to a handful of items (no more than 10 a day), which you’ll be able to re-visit and review more regularly. It’s far better in the long run – you can’t cram a language! Consider learning vocabulary to be a process of “internalisation” rather than “memorisation”, as this places more emphasis on use and long term recall. More tips on how to memorise Spanish vocabulary.
A quick note on word lists
One popular method used is to bulk-learn a word list. Word lists are usually sorted by frequency, with the most common words appearing at the top of the list. Logic dictates that these words should be learnt first as they are used more often. However, we advise against this approach. Many of the most frequent words in a language are “functional” words, which contain no meaning in and of themselves. You need to know a lot about these words to be able to use them properly, as they contain more grammar than “content” words, such as nouns and verbs. Imagine you are learning English, and decide to learn the following common words:
In order to use these words, you need to know a lot of grammar, and you would also have to combine them with content words in order to actually say anything. They are very important words, but cannot be studied in isolation. You’ll come across them naturally in time, but we don’t recommend learning them as part of a list.
Don’t study grammar: Pick it up
Learning grammar has had a lot of stick recently, as many see it as a boring, academic approach to learning a language which leaves you lacking the vital tools for actual communication. However, most arguments around this focus on approaches to learning grammar but not the importance of actually learning it. The phrase “study grammar” conjures up images of being buried in an enormous tome, studying obscure and impractical details. However, grammar is a crucial part of the language and can’t be avoided.
Our approach is to learn the language first, and the grammar second. Grammar guides should be a reference, rather than teaching you something new. That said, it can be very frustrating at beginner level to avoid grammar. Grammar is the glue that helps you stick your vocabulary together, so unless you want your Spanish to be a jumble of single words, it’s worth attending to. We have a longer post regarding some tips for learning grammar, but here are a few other ways to approach Spanish grammar:
Understand that even once you’ve learnt an item of grammar, it will be a while before you can really use it. There’s a process of internalization that takes place, which (ideally) looks something like this:
Notice that the emphasis here is on checking and referencing grammar, rather than studying from “cold”. This is more efficient, and will make the learning process and internalisation quicker and easier.
Although there is no set order to learning a language, it does make sense to learn verb conjugations as a priority. These help you to communicate quickly, and give you the tools to create phrases of your own. The good news is that if you are learning phrases, you will have already met many of the verb conjugations. When you come to check these in a grammar reference, you will find them easier to memorise.