How Long Does It Take To Learn Spanish?
To get by in Spanish, and to get the information or things you need, you don’t have to be fluent. Even if you know just a couple of hundred words, there’s a lot you can say, and a lot you can understand. So conversational Spanish could be learned in a few months. To speak Spanish fluently, though, will take longer. So the question “How long does it take to learn Spanish” cannot be simply answered.
There are many elements that play a role, like how much time you will dedicate to studying or how well your general langue-learning skills are developed, so it’s is really up to you. But we can see some general trends. The US military, for example, and in particular the Defense Language Institute, teaches students Spanish on a continuous basis and students are required to do extensive homework. After about half a year, these full-time students can speak Spanish pretty fluently.
Here are seven tips on how to put your message across successfully, and how to increase the odds of understanding what’s being said to you:
1. Remember to speak loud enough, so people can hear you. When we speak in a language we’re not confident in, we often say things too quietly. Project your voice and don’t lower it when you’re hesitant about a word or expression.
2. Speak clearly. Don’t mumble or put your hand in front of your mouth. If something doesn’t come out right, say it again.
3. Think ahead. Before you go out shopping, to a restaurant or to rent a car, prepare the sentences you may need. Check the main words and make sure you can say them correctly, and in the right order.
4. Think of the possible answers you might get when you ask a question. Write down the words you’re likely to hear and check any you’re not sure of.
5. Keep it short and simple. Avoid building long sentences.
6. Make sure your pronunciation is good. You may only know a limited number of words, but if everyone can understand them when you say them, those few words can go a long way.
7. Review the numbers. They come up in almost every situation.
Your chosen Spanish course will help you with all the points stressed in this article. They will quickly develop your listening and speaking skills. They will introduce you to everyday vocabulary, practical grammar, and they will help you master the Spanish pronunciation with fun and engaging drills.
You can study Spanish with me wherever you are and at your own pace. There is a wide variety of courses to suit all your needs: online, mp3, apps, books, cd-roms, ebooks and more.
Teach yourself some Spanish
The way in which you go through your Spanish course is going to be a key factor in how well and how fast you learn the language. Here are 8 tips to help you develop your listening and speaking skills successfully, and get a good Spanish accent.
1. When you start a new dialog, always make sure you listen to it BEFORE reading its transcript. It’s harder and often you’ll understand very little at first, but it’s also the most effective way to develop your listening skills well and fast.
2. Always read the Spanish dialogs, vocabulary flashcards and pronunciation examples out loud, as if you were talking to someone. Saying them quietly or in your head will sound better, but it won’t help you develop your speaking skills.
3. Make a note of the words you’re having trouble remembering. At the end of every learning session, go back to them. Review them with the vocabulary flashcard by reading them out loud, along with the recordings. That way you’ll avoid gaps in your knowledge and you’ll be able to learn new words faster.
4. Make a note of any grammar points that aren’t clear to you. Put them aside and then come back to them a couple of weeks later. The odds are you’ll understand them much better the second time around, once you’ve made a bit more progress.
5. Listen to the dialogs and all other recorded material in your course not just once, but many times. Every time you listen to the recordings your listening skills are been given a boost.
6. If you routinely mispronounce a letter, it’s likely that you’ll find it difficult to understand words with that letter. Go through the Spanish pronunciation lessons in your course as thoroughly and as often as you can. Remember: the better your accent is, the easier you’ll find it to understand Spanish speakers.
7. Study at least six days a week, even if sometimes it can only be for ten minutes. The more regularly you’re in contact with the language, the faster you’ll learn. Studying for several hours every so often isn’t nearly as effective as doing half an hour six days a week. Guaranteed.
8. Review your Spanish lessons regularly, even those you find easy. The more solid your basic knowledge of Spanish is, the faster you’ll be able to learn more difficult words, sentences, and grammar points.