Tips to start learning Spanish on the right foot

¿Hablas español?This question will be necessarily asked to you one day. And if you did not know how to answer anything other than vamos a la playa, mi casa es tu casa, this article is for you! Languages are not measured against each other, be it beauty, complexity or interest. That being said, there are some languages that are more useful than others and Spanish is one of them.

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tips to learn spanish

Why learn Spanish?

Did you come back frustrated from your hike near Machu Picchu because you could not communicate with locals? Are you tired of going to Malaga beach in summer without being able to communicate with the charming waiter at your favorite bar? Would you like to go to a tango concert in Buenos Aires and be carried away by the lyrics you understand?

If for any of these reasons, or others, you have decided to put yourself in Spanish, congratulations!

Define your level and your goals

why learning spanish

At the very beginning of your learning at a Spanish school, and before you start “blindly”, t’s good:

  • To know the different skills of a language;
  • To know your level;
  • To acknowledge skills that are already dominated and how to upgrade them all; or to set priorities according to one’s situation;
  • Define a strategy.

Different language skills

This phase is common to anyone wishing to speak a language. Learning Spanish progression in different skills until assimilation. By simplifying, when you learn a language, five skills are at stake:

  1. Written expression ->know how to write a text
  2. Oral expression ->to be able to express oneself or all continuously
  3. Reading comprehension ->understanding a written production
  4. Listening ->grasp the meaning of an oral production
  5. Interaction ->ability to converse in one language

Learners are classified in these 6 levels listed below:

tips to learn spanish

CEFR levels

For information, students who have Spanish as a second language are supposed to have level A2 in primary and B1 in high school. Level C1 corresponds to the level that each student must have in his own language at the end of high school. Level C2 is required for those who wish to teach a language.

I know you are reading this article to learn Spanish and not to have an analysis of language learning and teaching in general. But just have these basic elements in mind during your journey: it will save you from working only the written without looking at the oral, the risk of being able to read Cervantes and not understand the panadero (baker) from your neighborhood every morning.

2 – Take your test level seriously

Now that you know roughly what it means to learn a language, it’s time to know your own level in Spanish! For this, you can go to any Spanish School or ask private teachers.

Do not hesitate to go to any language academy. They usually offer a level test to know which course you are going to integrate. You can go there and just ask for this test.

3 – What skills do I already dominate? What are my priorities?

You now know the different skills of a language and your own level. Mix everything, let simmer a few minutes (or a few hours, depending on your fatigue and your caffeine in the blood!) And serve hot: you now know your language profile in Spanish, and most importantly: you understand it.

Learners are human beings who are in a very particular social situation. For example, if you are in Spain or Latin America for a few days and you need to look for work: do not hesitate to focus on the oral to survive the first time, and come back in a second time on written competence. So you balance between ideal and pragmatism!

4 – Define your strategy

Learning a language is the result of concrete actions and thought to assimilate it: nothing more. That’s why it’s important to define a strategy. The more thought and structured it is, the more effective the learning will be.

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