With Germany approaching, several people reading this site have been brushing up on or learning to speak German. The Mexico trip is also coming up this February so I am concentrating on rehabbing my Spanish. (I hope that I can muddle along with broken Portuguese in Brazil!) I found this 7 Secrets to Help You Learn Spanish Like Crazy listwhile looking around Amazon the other day. It works for Spanish, it should work for everything else. Hope you enjoy it.
Numero Uno: Immerse Yourself in Spanish
If you really want to learn Spanish, you need to immerse yourself in the
language and the culture. Do you know why you learned English (or your native language) so easily? It’s not just because you were a child when you embarked on your study of the English language. It’s mainly because you were submerged in it. As a child you heard English 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
If you could hear and speak Spanish 24 hours a day and 7 days a week you would also learn Spanish incredibly fast. Although it may be difficult for you to hear and speak Spanish 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, there are things you can do to help immerse yourself in the language.
Instead of listening to your favorite music station when you’re driving in
your car, play a Spanish instructional CD. Of course, if your favorite
music station happens to be a Salsa or Meringue radio station, you can
listen to the Spanish lessons CD some other time.
Numero Dos: Develop the Right Habits
This is probably the most important advice that I can give you about
learning Spanish or any other foreign language. More than anything else, your habits will determine how quickly you learn Spanish. In fact, your habits will determine if you actually learn the language or not.
Of course it helps if you have a language learning aptitude. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a language learning aptitude. But out of habit, every time I turned on my television it was tuned to Univision, Telefutura or HBO Latino. Out of habit, every time I got in my car the radio dial was set to the Latino radio station. If not, then a CD or an MP3 from a Spanish course was playing.
Out of habit, if I went out to a club it was a Salsa or Meringue club. If I went out to a restaurant, it was probably a Latin American restaurant. And if I was dating someone chances are she was a Latin American. If you develop and cultivate these habits, you will learn Spanish extremely fast.
Numero Tres: Learn Spanish the Same Way that You Learned English
This may come as a shock to you, but in the high schools and colleges in the U.S., the method that they are using to teach Spanish is all wrong.
If you want to learn Spanish, you must learn it the same way that you
learned English (or your native language). Let me you ask you a question. Which did you learn first: How to speak your native language or how to read and write it first? Of course you learned how to speak it first.
That’s the same way that you should learn Spanish.
Numero Cuatro: Relate to What You Already Know
Many words in Spanish are related to English. When you learn words in
Spanish and you relate them to words in English, it is much easier to
remember the Spanish words. For example, the word “beber” means to drink.
If you make a mental note or written note that the word “beber” is related to the English word “beverage” it is easier to remember. Here’s another example. The word “vegetales” is related to the English word “vegetables.”
If you make a note of this, the Spanish word “vegetales” will be much
easier to remember.
Numero Cinco: Practice Makes Perfect
Practice Makes Perfect is more than just a saying. It’s a language-learning reality. When we were children we were completely unaware of the emotion called “embarrassment.”
You have to take the same child-like attitude toward learning Spanish. You will make many mistakes. You will mispronounce words. You will use the wrong vocabulary. And you will make grammatical errors. But never let this hold you back from practicing your Spanish with a native speaker – even ifthe native is a total stranger.
Keep in mind that Rome was not built in a day. And neither was Madrid, San Juan, Santo Domingo, Cali, Mexico City, Colón, Havana or Buenos Aires.
Numero Seis: “But First You Must Believe . . .”
I don’t know if it was Peter Pan who first said this one, but I am going to borrow it. It is imperative that you believe in yourself and your ability to learn this beautiful language. I cannot overemphasize this point.
Numero Siete: And now for my favorite Learning-Spanish technique: Get a Latin Amor.
This technique may get you in a lot of trouble if you are already married
or otherwise in a committed relationship. In other words, this suggestion is only for the single people.
If you really want to learn Spanish quickly, find a “significant other”
that’s a native of a Spanish speaking country. Preferably, someone that
speaks very little or no English. This way you will be forced to listen to
and speak Spanish.
Numero Ocho: I know that I promised you seven but here’s eight:
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER Give UP.
If you stay focused and practice daily you will surely accomplish your goal of speaking Spanish proficiently or fluently. And you have total controlover whether you reach that goal in a year or two or a decade or two. I hope that these eight secrets will enable you to accomplish your goal as quickly as you desire.
What have you been doing to learn a language? What techniques have been helpful to you?