Nothing makes you appreciate learning a foreign language like trying to decipher a menu in Czech. In light of a recent trip to Prague and Budapest, where I could discern approximately zero words in each language and did a whole lot of drawing and gesturing, I’d like to offer up some tips for learning Spanish—a foreign language I actually can provide some insight into.
I started the long and arduous process when I was 11 years old, so in actuality I’ve been learning Spanish for the majority of my life. Even though I’m fluent now, there are times every day living in Spain where I don’t understand something, feel like I’m lacking vocabulary, or can’t quite put into words what I want to get across. The struggle is real; fluency is a lifelong process.
I’ve written some posts about tips for learning Spanish over at FluentU‘s blog that some readers may find helpful, so I thought I’d share the links and synopses here. Happy learning, and remember, we’ve all made those mistakes that make you want to throw in the towel. Like calling someone mentally retarded instead of wishing them a belated birthday, for example. Just keep swimming.
*Please note: In some cases, these articles were heavily edited after I submitted them; a writer’s best frenemy is their editor. If you like the work, we’ll say it’s all me. If you find some lines cringeworthy [see “Learning Spanish in Your Car”] that was obviousssssly the editing. Duh.
Tips for Learning Spanish
(Click on titles for link)
Addressing those pesky sounds in Spanish that can trip us up–double LLs, the B versus the V, etc.—and a few ways to jump the hurdles.
Including, but not limited to, binge-watching 8 seasons of dubbed Grey’s Anatomy, and eavesdropping on your roommate’s private conversations.
I forget what it’s like to drive instead of take the metro. I’d be a danger behind the wheel now, but hey, YOU can still learn Spanish in your car! (Think of all those great Melendi hits you could be listening to.)
*Side note: Once again I’m not a falsely chipper 45-year-old divorcée teaching moody adolescents. I did not write the line “Now it’s time to shift your Spanish language learning into high gear!” Trust me, if I make a pun, I do it right.
4. Intermediate Spanish SNAFUs (aka pitfalls)
In this article I address several banes of our Spanish learning existence: ser vs. estar; por vs. para; the preterite vs. imperfect past tenses; and the subjunctive. Oh my god the subjunctive.
Turning Facebook from foe to friend (finally); reading blogs in Spanish (I won’t feel like you’re cheating on this one); and disregarding every high school teacher you ever had by using online translators. Gasp!
So there you have it, just a few tips for learning Spanish that I’ve used since 7th grade. Except Facebook and Grey’s Anatomy didn’t exist in 7th grade, but you get the point.