I was half shocked, half amused reading all the stuff on the Internet about how learning Spanish is “easy” and how some guides teach you how to speak Spanish in 21 days. I always wanted to ask the people writing this kind of guides, exactly who they think they’re fooling. Spanish, just like any other language, takes time to learn. You’ll need constant exercise, you’ll need to focus on several parts of the language, such as the Spanish vocabulary, Spanish grammar and so forth. Of course, each person has a particular level of informational absorption that can help them (or hinder them if it’s low) in learning Spanish from scratch.
Obviously, it depends whether you want to learn Spanish for your next-week trip to Madrid, or if you intend to learn it for that job offer waiting for you there in 4 months. You may be able to grasp the basic language notions in a week, if you use one of those free language lessons that you can find online, but if you want to learn it properly and in-depth, you’ll be better off taking things slowly and chewing on what you learn instead of swallowing it as soon as you learn it.
During your first 2 weeks, take a child’s approach to learning Spanish. Learn what you would teach a child to know in English first: the colors, 0 to 20 numbers, helloes and goodbyes, seasons, months of the year, days of the week and all sorts of easy things that will help you get a taste of learning a new language as well as getting you accustomed to pronunciation and writing.
Once you’re at this point, go for a few grammar rules. Use a Spanish course if needed, or look up a Spanish grammar online lesson and try to find out differences and common points between Spanish and English (or your mother tongue if it’s not English of course). You’ll also work on your pronunciation, writing and understanding while going through the grammar rules.
Next up, assuming you already know the basic grammar rules and have a solid grip of the basic Spanish words, you’ll need to work hard to improve your vocabulary. Learning Spanish is just like playing with a jigsaw puzzle. You know that you want to get the bigger picture out of the small pieces, but before sticking them together you’ll need to start with the corners to give you a base (the “child” vocabulary mentioned above). After that, you need to understand the rules involved in sticking the pieces together (Spanish grammar) and finally, you will have to start picking the small pieces one by one and attach them to the forming picture (improve vocabulary).
Improving vocabulary in Spanish can be done in a number of ways. Probably the most common one is “relating objects”. That means that if you learn a new word from a specific category (fruits for example), you should expand your vocabulary in that particular category first, then move on to another related context.
For example, you learn the word “apple”, you move on to words like “pears”, “strawberries” and “peaches” then after you’re done with that distinct group of words, move on to bigger contexts in which you can use them such as “kitchen”, “farms” or “marketplace”. This will allow you to learn new words from the new bigger contexts and at the same time, re-use the words you had learnt in the smaller categories, which “fixes” them better in your memory.
I’m not saying this is THE only way of learning Spanish from scratch, but trust me, if you manage to follow these easy steps, you’ll soon have a solid and correct grasp of the Spanish language. There might be faster methods of learning a new language out there, but this old fashion step-by-step one practically restrains you from taking any huge leaps in the learning process and skipping some important stuff.
If you want to add some spice to your language learning process, you can try playing some word games, watching some Spanish shows on TV and last but not least, you could search the internet for some free language lessons online or even better, those free online “learn Spanish” videos that you can find all over the world wide web.
Increase your Spanish language vocabulary at Free Spanish lessons at InternetPolyglot.com by playing online games.