Here are some of my favourite Spanish learning tips. That’s how I’ve learned English and other languages, and how you’ll become fluent in Spanish.
Spanish learning tip #1: the magic of ‘el’ & ‘la’
Always learn Spanish nouns with their article: El or LA.
It’s true that many Spanish feminine nouns end in A, and many masculine nouns end in O.
But there are also many nouns that end in other letters, and their gender isn’t obvious.
By learning all nouns with EL and LA, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of frustration, basic mistakes, and unnecessary re-learning.
In my Spanish course, I give you all nouns with EL and LA in the vocabulary flashcards. So you can learn all words the right way from the start.
Spanish learning tip #2: love your lost minutes
To learn Spanish fast, make the most of what I call: your lost minutes.
Those minutes when you cannot do much because you’re queuing to get a coffee, waiting for a bus, commuting, or not doing anything in particular.
Open your Spanish course and listen to a conversation, play some flashcards, or do a drill.
Five minutes here and there a few times a day will help you make amazing progress.
Spanish learning tip #3: the magic of flashcards
Vocabulary flashcards are the easiest way to learn and remember Spanish words.
When going through the flashcards in your course, make sure you say them out loud, along with the speakers.
You may be tempted to just say them quietly in your head, but saying them out loud will help you develop your speaking skills a lot faster.
And it’ll also help you develop a great Spanish accent.
Spanish learning tip #4: busting a pronunciation myth
Have you ever had people telling you that you need to have a perfect Spanish accent to be understood?
Well, the good news is that that’s just another language myth that you can simply ignore.
Your Spanish accent do NOT have to be perfect. But it needs to be clear.
And for your accent to be clear, you need to avoid making certain mistakes.
Throughout the pronunciation lessons in my Spanish course, I show you the mistakes you must avoid.
You’ll become familiar with all the Spanish sounds, and you can practise saying everyday words, so you can get them right every time.
Spanish learning tip #5: having good & bad days
Now that you’ve been learning Spanish for a bit, you’ve probably noticed that not all study days are equally fruitful or enjoyable.
Sometimes you’ll have the feeling that you’re not learning anything.
And occasionally you’ll even feel that you’re forgetting more than you’re learning.
When I was studying English I had some great days, and many appalling days. But I really wanted to learn, so I kept going.
I want to encourage you to continue learning, even if some days it all feels like a pointless task.
Mastering a foreign language is one of the most rewarding achievements in life.
Spanish learning tip #6: the power of focus
Never underestimate the power of focus.
If you only have ten minutes a day to learn Spanish, and you make the most of those ten minutes, you’ll be amazed by your progress.
For ten minutes, ignore all distractions and focus 100% on your Spanish lessons.
Turn off the TV, your phone, close all social media sites, and switch off everything except for your Spanish course. For just ten minutes.
Try it for a week, and you’ll be surprised by the result.
Spanish learning tip #7: the magic of reviewing
Reviewing is the secret to fast Spanish learning. Make sure you review your Spanish lessons at least 50% of the time you’re studying.
I know how tempting it is to learn new things, but very few words will stick on your mind the first time you hear them. No matter how good your memory is.
Go back to previous lessons regularly. Redo the drills until you can get all the answers right, and play the conversations at least once a week.
Far from wasting your time, you’ll be getting to a higher level much faster.
Spanish learning tip #8: love the challenge
When I was learning English, I often felt I’d never get anywhere with the language. There were so many things to study.
And then, one day, things changed. Or rather, one thing changed: I learned to enjoy the challenge.
Instead of looking at the language like an enemy that I had to beat, I started looking at it like a friend that I wanted to get to know and understand.
Since then, every new word I’ve learned has felt like a small achievement.
Make Spanish your friend, and enjoy the challenge!
Spanish learning tip #9: how to make fast progress
Always listen to a conversations in your Spanish course BEFORE reading its transcript and translation.
I know it’s difficult. Often you won’t understand more than a couple of words the first time you hear a conversation without looking at the transcript.
But it’s the only way to develop your listening skills.
If you rely on the written text, you’ll make painfully slow progress.
But if you persevere and play your conversations on a regular basis, your listening skills will skyrocket.
Spanish learning tip #10: how to learn common expressions
In your Spanish lessons you’re likely to have come across a few expressions like: de primero, dentro de, ¿qué tal estás?, me llamo.
You’ve probably tried to translate those expressions word for word, only to realise that they make no sense.
And you’re right. Expressions make sense as a whole, not as a chain of single words.
It’s the same in English. Think of an expression you know. For example: as a starter.
When you hear it, you don’t think of three separate words: as – a – starter.
Instead, you think of the whole set: as a starter.
To master Spanish fast, allow yourself to understand the general meaning of the expressions you hear, not their individual words.
Spanish learning tip #11: the truth about pronunciation
Having a great Spanish accent will allow you to communicate without trouble.
And it will also help you understand native speakers more easily, because you know what sounds to expect.
Spanish has a regular pronunciation, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
I often hear intermediate, and even advanced students, speak with a very poor accent. And it’s difficult to understand what they say.
Familiarise yourself with the Spanish sounds, and you’ll soon develop the great accent you deserve.
Spanish learning tip #12: embrace your mistakes
Building your own Spanish sentences is going to get you out of your comfort zone.
And it’s going to trigger your fear of making mistakes. But the only way you can become fluent in Spanish is by making lots of mistakes.
At this point, if you’re not making plenty of mistakes, you’re not practising the language enough.
The mistakes you make now are those you won’t make in the future.
As you learn more Spanish, you’ll reduce the number of mistakes you make, and you’ll become more confident.
More confidence will lead you to speak more, and the more you speak the faster you’ll master Spanish.
It’s a virtuous circle.
Spanish learning tip #13: how to get a great Spanish accent
Having a good accent is really motivating, because people can understand everything you say, even as a beginner.
There are some great ways to develop a cool accent. My favourite is what’s called: shadowing.
I did endless hours of it when I was learning English.
The best way to do shadowing is this:
Play a conversation in your Spanish course. When you hear the Spanish lines, say them out loud, along with the recordings.
Try to keep up with the speed, and imitate the pronunciation and intonation.
Once you’ve done a conversation, you may be tempted to jump to another, but here’s the trick to developing a great accent.
Repeat the same conversation over and over. Not only will it help you master the Spanish sounds, but you’ll also learn words much faster.
After a few days doing shadowing, you’ll find it addictive, because you can really feel the progress you’re making.
Spanish learning tip #14: the power of habits
The most efficient way to learn Spanish is to make it a habit.
And the easiest way to create a habit is by taking tiny steps. Really tiny.
Decide what time of day suits you best to learn some Spanish, and try this easy experiment.
Open your Spanish course, and go through a short section for just a couple of minutes. Close your course and put it away until tomorrow.
Tomorrow, at the same hour, open your course and do the same. For just a couple of minutes, no more. The third day do the same.
If you feel like doing more, don’t. Stick to your experiment. On day 4, do five minutes instead of just two.
Then on day 10, do ten minutes. Continue doing ten minutes per day until it feels like no effort.
By day 20, you’ll feel that studying Spanish has become part of your life. Something that now, instead of dreading, you’re looking forward to.
Spanish learning tip #15: how to find the time to learn Spanish
One of the biggest struggles when you’re learning Spanish is finding the time to sit down to study.
But, with today’s technology, you don’t need to sit down to learn Spanish. You can learn it anywhere.
I learned a lot of the English I know today while commuting on buses and trains.
I’m currently refreshing my French and German, and I do it on my iPad over lunch. Or while having a break from writing my Spanish lessons.
I play my French lessons in the bath, when I’m cooking, or sitting in the garden.
I take my lessons with me everywhere.
You can do that too, with my Spanish course.
Spanish learning tip #16: how to improve your accent fast
The more Spanish you hear, and the more speaking practice you have, the better your pronunciation will be.
Reading out the conversations in your course, practising the vocabulary, and saying the drills out loud, will all improve your accent.
Spanish learning tip #17: a little trick to learn Spanish fast
The trick to learning Spanish fast is to master the most common words.
That’s why throughout my Spanish lessons I introduce you to the top everyday Spanish words.
You’ll hear them in the course conversations. And you can practise them in the speaking and listening drills.
Once you’ve mastered the most common Spanish words, expanding your vocabulary will be a lot easier.
Spanish learning tip #18: your biggest pronunciation mistake
When my students ask me: “what’s the most common Spanish pronunciation mistake?”
My answer is always: the vowels.
Spanish has five vowel sounds: A E I O U.
Getting those five vowel sounds right is essential if you want to be understood without trouble.
If your vowels aren’t clear, it doesn’t matter how good your double R is. People won’t understand you.
With my Spanish course you can learn and practise the five vowels in no time.