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3 Tips to Learn Spanish as Efficiently as Possible

When I decided to learn Spanish I had next to no experience in language learning outside of my native English. I did take one Spanish course in high school, but I failed it.

Needless to say I didn’t qualify as a language learning expert. I wasn’t a world traveler. I had a day job, sometimes two. I wanted to learn Spanish, but I simply didn’t have loads of time to dedicate to the endeavor.

How to Learn Spanish Efficiently

Through some trial and error I was able to find enough time to progress through the language. It wasn’t always easy, and I made some mistakes along the way. In this post I’ll share my experience and give you 3 ways to help you learn Spanish more efficiently so that you get the most out of your time and your effort.

1) Use your time when you have it

The most valuable resource you have as a language learner is time. While you may not have spend money to learn a language, you will have to spend time. For me, hours and minutes are a currency that you trade on a weekly basis to grow in your language learning.

I am assuming that language learning is a priority for you. It might not be the number one priority, like keeping your job, or taking care of your family. But it does have to be important enough to you to invest significant amounts of time into your learning. There’s just no way around that.

That being said use your time wisely!

Use time wisely!

When I first started learning Spanish I was working 45 or more hours per week and traveling during most weekends. I quickly fell into the trap of putting my Spanish learning off thinking, “Oh I’ll do it next week”, or “Saturday….I’ll do it Saturday”. Needless to say a few weeks went by and I hadn’t really learned or practiced anything.

That’s when I took some time and reevaluated my approach. I realized that yes it was probably a long shot for me to spend hours everyday learning my new foreign language, but I could use my time to spend an hour a day everyday studying or practicing. If you’re on a busy schedule an hour a day can sound like reaching for the stars, but it’s more possible than you think.

I started to make use of the little gaps of time I had in the day. I could listen to a Spanish podcast while driving to and from work. I could review new words while on lunch break and right before I went to bed. I could also review or listen to Spanish while I was in line at the store or waiting at the airport. Together these moments added up. I was able to more or less practice around 60 minutes everyday, and I saw significant improvement in my Spanish abilities.

2) Don’t method jump

When you’re new to language learning there’s a temptation to try out the newest course, app, or method. There are more language learning tools and courses than I can list. Some are free, some are cheap, some are expensive, and all of them promise to be the best or fastest way to learn a new language. Find a solid Spanish learning course or tool and stick with it (I definitely recommend SpanishPod101!). Consistent practice over a period of time is what is essential for language learning.

Consistent practice over a period of time is what is essential for language learning.

Everytime I hit a bump or plateau I’d be tempted to think maybe there’s a faster or better way to learn. I’d search around and buy the next best language learning tool only to use it for a couple weeks and realize it wasn’t really any better than the last course I tried, and the same difficulties I had with Spanish were still there.

If you’re learning your first language and you pick a specific method or course I’d suggest you to stick with it for at least 3 to 4 months. You actually hurt yourself in the long run if you constantly switch between resources because you never give yourself the opportunity to progress.

3) Focus on one thing at a time

When I decided to learn Spanish I was pumped. I had all my resources lined up, a plan in place, and I was ready to go. I thought I’d spend 3-4 hours a day practicing and that I’d be fluent in no time. I really believed that I would learn the whole language right away.

That lasted for about 3 days. Then I got discouraged and avoided Spanish for another 3 days. I repeated this process 3 or 4 times before I realized that maybe I was approaching things the wrong way.

I also tried to devour the entire Spanish language in a very short time. At the time it was my first foreign language, and given the fact that I probably don’t have anything outside of a normal aptitude for language learning, this was not the best approach. In my experience it’s better to focus on one small part of the language at a time. Either a specific grammar point or specific vocabulary.

In my experience it’s better to focus on one small part of the language at a time.

In the beginning these should be based on the parts of the language you’ll use right away. Even in the business world research shows that replacing less important tasks with ones that add value and help you reach your goals is the best way to get the most out of your time.

As you advance through the language and your level increases try to pinpoint the harder aspects of Spanish grammar and work on them one at a time. For me one of the hardest parts of Spanish grammar was knowing the difference between the preterite and imperfect tenses. The preterite by itself seemed simple enough, but the Spanish imperfect tense gave me a lot of trouble because it was used in ways I wasn’t familiar with. I took several weeks and learned and practiced all I could on these two tenses and before long they started to feel natural in Spanish conversations.

So I quickly learned that for me it was best to focus on a small part of Spanish, learn it, and then practice it as much as I could. At first this approach can seem slow, (I tend to be impatient), but you’ll be better for it.

Final thoughts

As I said before learning a foreign language isn’t easy. It takes time and work. However it is quite possible, and if you stick to your guns and stay focused you will see improvement in your skills and find satisfaction in using the language. Remember that learning Spanish is really more like a journey. It doesn’t have to feel like school work or your day job. Savor your experience in the language and enjoy every step along the way!

Author bio:
Jesse Reyes is the founder and editor of Livefluent.com, a language learning site for native English speakers learning foreign languages. He has a passion for learning and a penchant for travel.

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So You Think You Speak Spanish? Think Again.

So You Think You Speak Spanish? Think Again.

Spanish, the second most spoken language in the world, has 437 million first language (L1) speakers, according to the latest data available from the Ethnologue website. It is spoken in 31 countries. Approximately, the total number of Spanish speakers around the world is 570 million.

Spanish translation services are in very high demand in the United States, where there is a huge community of Spanish speakers (about 41 million native speakers). It is projected that the number will continue to rise.

Can you speak Spanish?

Spanish though is not just one common language as there are several variations of it. If you go to Andalusia, you won’t be hearing people speaking “Spanish” that you are used to hearing, the one that you learnt in school or heard on TV. In Andalusia, they speak “Andaluz” that sounds like Andalutthhh. The accent of Spanish speakers in Andalusia is very different to the standard Spanish that you are used to.

For example, “see you later” translates to “hasta luego,” which is very easy to pronounce. If you remember your Spanish lesson, the “h” is silent so you say “asta luego.” Locals in Andalusia though have different ways of saying see you later. You’ll either hear ‘a’ta luego, ta wego, ta we’o or just we’o. If you are not used to the accent, you’ll never know what it means.

If you are traveling to Spain and have the foresight to take a crash course in the language, it’s fine. You’ll be able to get by in Madrid. But if you’ve joined a tour package that will take you to Cadiz, Granada and Seville, you might find it difficult to converse with most people. Even the helpful phrase book would not be so useful, if you cannot understand the replies locals give to your straight-from-the-book questions.

What do these things tell you? If you want to learn Spanish, the best thing to do is to go to Spain and learn the language there. Or learn the language from a native Spanish speaker at least. And here are some reasons why it is better to study the language in the country where it originated.

1. Pronunciation is very important in Spanish.

Spanish in Spain is different from the Spanish in South America. In Spain, ci is pronounced as “thee,” while ce is pronounced as “the.” In South America, it becomes si as in ‘’seat'’ and se like in ‘’cemetery.'’

The double L (ll) is pronounced as y in Spain while in South America, locals pronounce it as lya.

2. When a language is exported to another country, its pureness becomes diluted.

Some words are added to it and often these new words are never sent back to the country where the original language came from. It’s comparable to this example. The English word for a round bread is “bun” but it became known by different names in specific parts of England, where the bun can be a bridie, stotty, buttery, bap or cob.

It’s the same with Spanish. The verb “to drive” is conducer in Spain. But when you go to Colombia and Ecuador, you’ll learn that they use manejar for the word. Dinero is the Spanish term for money whereas in Argentina, it is called plata, which is the English and Spanish word for silver.

It does make sense to study Spanish in Spain because it gives you a good foundation in the language, as it allows you to pinpoint the local changes that happened to it.

3. Textbook Spanish is different from native Spanish.

Enrolling in a Spanish language class in your own country is admirable, but nothing can beat learning the language in the country of its birth. It cannot replicate the authenticity you’ll get if you are learning it in Spain.

4. You are exposed to the language everyday.

At the same time you are immersed in Spanish culture and lifestyle that deepen your understanding of Spanish. You will be able to pick up common vocabulary that you’ll not get from textbooks. You’ll be able to make sense of local expressions and understand why phrases are constructed in such as way. Hearing Spanish spoken from the moment you wake up until you retire for the night will help you avoid word for word translation, as you will get used to the delivery of real Spanish sentences.

5. You’ll receive excellent lessons from teachers who are philology degree holders

You also will have the advantage of integrating the language into your everyday life very easily because you have no recourse but to think, speak, live and breathe Spanish.

Variations

It can be daunting to know that there are many variations of the Spanish language. If you’re a learner, you might be intimidated and get shy about speaking the language, afraid that you might not be understood. It’s formidable, isn’t it? But as a learner, it is also important to know the variations of the language.

  • Castilian. This is the official Spanish language. It is spoken in Central and Northern Spain.
  • Andalusián. This is a dialect that is prevalent in Southern Spain. It is the second most popular Spanish dialect. It varies greatly with Castilian, as mentioned earlier. It is also distinct for the dropping of the final consonant in a word, the exclusion (emission or elision) of the letters ‘d’ and ‘r’ as well as the aspiration of the letter ’s’ at the end of the word. This makes Andalusián Spanish more fluid and softer sounding.
  • Murcian. It is the dominant language in the Autonomous Region of the Community of Murcia, which is located in Southeast Spain.
  • Catalan. It is the official language in Andorra and some parts of Northern Spain. their official language is.
  • Basque. It is a language isolate, spoken in the Spanish community located in the Pyrenees.
  • Galician. It is the dialect spoken in Northwestern Spain. It’s also distinct because the language is influenced by Portuguese.
  • Extremaduran. In the autonomous community in Western Spain called Extremadura, they speak a three-branched language.
  • Equatoguinean Spanish. This is the only official Spanish language spoken in Africa is. Its pronunciation patterns and some of its vocabulary are influenced by immigrant Germans and native Guineans.
  • Caribbean Spanish. It prevails in Central America, the East Coast of Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Cuba.
  • Rioplatense Spanish. This is spoken in the River Basin region between Uruguay and Argentina and across both countries. It sounds more like Italian than Spanish.
  • Latin American Spanish. This is spoken in many places, including Central and South American countries, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and mainland Mexico.
  • Canarian. This is the Spanish dialect spoken in Canary Islands. It is similar to Caribbean Spanish. It is influenced by Portuguese and is distinct among other Spanish dialects because the letter ‘h’ is pronounced.
  • Llanito. This is another Spanish dialect, which is a combination of British English and Andalusián Spanish. It is spoken in Gibraltar.

Sounding like a local

Sounding like a local

Knowing that there are several variations of Spanish can be quite intimidating. However, you have nothing to fear, as there are many words that are understood and used by Spanish speakers around the world. Here are some of them.

  • Vale means ‘’okay.'’ It is an important word that you will often use, especially if you’re traveling around Spain. You can use vale if you mean ‘’understood,'’ ‘’sounds good,'’ and ‘’all right.'’
    - Example: Desayunamos a las 6h. ¿Vale? (We’ll eat breakfast at 6:00. Okay?)
  • Hello in Spanish is buenas. Use this instead of ‘’hola'’ because it is the most commonly used term in Spain and applicable at any time.
    - Example: Buenas. ¿Puedo ayudarte con algo? (Hello. Can I help you with something?)
  • If you learned in high school Spanish that tío/tía means ‘uncle’/'aunt,’ in Spain the term is used an as a nonformal way to refer to or address someone.
    - Example: ¿Qué te pasa, tía? ¿Estás bien? (What’s going on, girl? Are you okay?)
  • When referring to things as ‘’cool,'’ such as a good book, an experience or a restaurant where you’ve enjoyed the food, you use guay. Use majo when you want to refer to people, especially if you mean that they are attractive.
  • If you’ve been used to saying “no hay problema” if you want to say that ‘there’s no problem,’ in Spain they use no pasa nada (don’t worry about it) in both formal and informal occasions. Another phrase they use is no te preocupes.
  • Pinchos is another term for tapas, which is more commonly used in Northern Spain. Although almost the same, pinchos are normally served on skewers and placed over bread. They are also bigger than tapas.
  • If you wish to express disbelief or have experienced or seen something incredible, use the Spanish phrase ¡Venga ya! Its equivalent in English is ‘’no way!'’
  • Pasta is the colloquial term for money. It’s like when you’re in the U.S. and you say ‘moolah’ or ‘dough’ to mean money or cash. Una pasta means a fortune.
  • When in Spain, you will not often hear people saying adiós. Spaniards commonly use hasta luego or ‘’see you later'’ when they say goodbye. Often, they will call out the compressed version, ’sta logo.

There you have it. Now you know that textbook Spanish is quite different from actually learning Spanish from native speakers. The Spanish language is very interesting, isn’t it?

Author Bio:

Sean Hopwood, MBA is founder and President of Day Translations, Inc., an online translation and localization services provider, dedicated to the improvement of global communications

How to Start Thinking in Spanish

Learn 4 tools and techniques to stop translating in your head and start thinking in Spanish

Going through Spanish lessons is enough to get by and learn the basics of Spanish, but to truly become fluent you need to be able to think in Spanish. This will allow you to have conversations with ease, read smoothly, and comprehensively understand natives. To do this, you need to go beyond just completing daily or weekly lessons.

We naturally translate in our heads because it’s viewed as the easiest way to learn the definitions needed when learning a language. This way of learning can actually hinder your skills and fluency later on. If your brain has to make neural connections between the word you’re learning, what it means in your native tongue, and the physical object the connection will not be nearly as strong. When you bypass the original translation between Spanish and your native language then there is a more basic and strong connection between just the Spanish vocabulary word and the tangible object.

start thinking in Spanish

In this blog post, you will learn the 4 important techniques to easily and naturally begin to speculate about the daily occurrences in your life. The best part is all of these techniques are supported and can be achieved through SpanishPod101.com.

Create Your Free Lifetime Account and Start Learning the whole Spanish Language from the Beginning!

1. Surround yourself with Spanish

Surround Yourself

By surrounding yourself with Spanish constantly you will completely immerse yourself in the language. Without realizing it you’ll be learning pronunciation, sentence structures, grammar, and new vocabulary. You can play music in the background while you’re cooking or have a Spanish radio station on while you study. Immersion is a key factor with this learning process because it is one of the easiest things to do, but very effective. Even if you are not giving the program your full attention you will be learning.

One great feature of SpanishPod101.com is the endless podcasts that are available to you. You can even download and listen to them on the go. These podcasts are interesting and are perfect for the intention of immersion, they are easy to listen to as background noise and are interesting enough to give your full attention. Many of them contain stories that you follow as you go through the lessons which push you to keep going.

2. Learn through observation
learn through observation

Learning through observation is the most natural way to learn. Observation is how we all learned our native languages as infants and it’s a wonder why we stop learning this way. If you have patience and learn through observation then Spanish words will have their own meanings rather than meanings in reference to your native language. Ideally, you should skip the bilingual dictionary and just buy a dictionary in Spanish.

SpanishPod101.com also offers the materials to learn this way. We have numerous video lessons which present situational usage of each word or phrase instead of just a direct translation. This holds true for many of our videos and how we teach Spanish.

3. Speak out loud to yourself
talk to yourself

Speaking to yourself in Spanish not only gets you in the mindset of Spanish, but also makes you listen to how you speak. It forces you to correct any errors with pronunciation and makes it easy to spot grammar mistakes. When you speak out loud talk about what you did that day and what you plan to do the next day. Your goal is to be the most comfortable speaking out loud and to easily create sentences. Once you feel comfortable talking to yourself start consciously thinking in your head about your daily activities and what is going on around you throughout the day.

With SpanishPod101.com you start speaking right away, not only this, but they have you repeat words and conversations after a native Spanish speaker. This makes your pronunciation very accurate! With this help, you are on the fast path to making clear and complex sentences and then actively thinking about your day.

4. Practice daily

If you don’t practice daily then your progress will be greatly slowed. Many people are tempted to take the 20-30 minutes they should be practicing a day and practice 120 in one day and skip the other days. This isn’t nearly as effective because everyday you practice you are reinforcing the skills and knowledge you have learned. If you practice all in one day you don’t retain the information because the brain can realistically only focus for 30 minutes at most. If you’re studying for 120 minutes on the same subject little of the information will be absorbed. Studying everyday allows you to review material that you went over previous days and absorb a small amount of information at a time.

It’s tough to find motivation to study everyday, but SpanishPod101.com can help. It’s easy to stay motivated with SpanishPod101.com because we give you a set learning path, with this path we show how much progress you’ve made. This makes you stick to your goals and keep going!

Conclusion

Following the steps and having patience is the hardest part to achieving your goals, it’s not easy learning a new language. You are essentially teaching your brain to categorize the world in a completely new way. Stick with it and you can do it just remember the 4 tools I taught you today! With them, conversations, reading, and understanding will become much easier. The most important thing to remember is to use the tools that SpanishPod101.com provides and you will be on your way to being fluent!

Learn Spanish With SpanishPod101 Today!

Your Learning, Streamlined – The New Lesson Interface

Click Here to Get Your All Access Pass at SpanishPod101

Your Learning, Streamlined – The New Lesson Interface

Your learning is about to get a whole lot easier.

More than ever, learners are choosing mobile as the platform to study Spanish. Mobile has always been a part of our DNA. We began our life on your iPod, and have remained by your side ever since.

In our 11th year, we’re returning to our roots as a way to learn Spanish on-the-go. How? With a brand-new lesson interface just for you.

Hint: It will launch in beta later this month!

If you want to secure access to this brand new upgrade, take advantage of the upcoming All Access Pass Sale! Click Here to Get 25% OFF All SpanishPod101 Subscriptions!

(example taken from japanesepod101.com)

It’s built from the ground-up to be a great experience on your phone, tablet, and computer.

You don’t have to compromise anymore.

Take the whole lesson experience with you wherever you go.

Our lessons are the heart of our learning system and now they’re the heart of the interface as well. Just tap the big play button to start learning right away.

(example taken from japanesepod101.com)

As you scroll through the lesson contents, the player sticks with you at the bottom of your screen.

Pause, rewind or adjust your speed and volume without losing your place.

(example taken from japanesepod101.com)

Navigation is also just a tap away.

Quickly jump to the dialogue, vocabulary, or lesson notes with our new lesson navigation bar. Available at the top of your screen wherever you are.

(example taken from japanesepod101.com)

And for the first time ever, you don’t need to download a PDF or jump between tabs to read the lesson notes and transcript. Read it all on your mobile browser as you listen.

(example taken from japanesepod101.com)

There are many more small improvements but the end result is this: a drastically improved lesson experience on mobile and desktop.

Spend less time squinting at your screen and more time reaching your Spanish goals.

The new lesson interface will launch in beta this month.

We can’t wait to hear what you think. Keep on studying!

Sneak peek! And if you take advantage of our upcoming 25% OFF All Access Pass Sale, you secure full access to this new update! You unlock our complete Spanish learning program – ALL Audio/Video Courses from Beginner to Advanced, Premium Study Tools, Bonus Apps and much more!

Click Here to Get 25% OFF All Plans until March 31st, 2017.

To your fluency,

Team SpanishPod101

P.S. Get 25% OFF ANY Plan! Master Spanish with YOUR All-Access Pass!

Want to learn Spanish fast with an ALL-ACCESS PASS to our entire learning system? Get 25% OFF Basic, Premium and Premium PLUS and unlock ALL audio/video lessons, study tools and exclusive apps that you’ll ever need. And with Premium PLUS, you get your own teacher! Just $3 a month & up to $137 in savings. Ends March 31st, 2017.

Get Your Spanish All-Access Pass! Click here to get 25% OFF ALL Plans!

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The 5 Review Tactics that Will Sharpen Your Spanish

top 5 review tactics to boost your spanish

Have you ever returned to SpanishPod101 lessons you’ve completed?

Accessing a lesson once is enough to learn more Spanish. But to master what you’ve learned, to understand Spanish the second you hear it, to read with just a quick glance, and to speak smoothly, without thinking… you need to review.

In this blog post, you’ll learn the 5 review tactics and learning tools that will truly sharpen your Spanish (all of which I’ve been able to resources for on SpanishPod101.com).

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1. Listen to lines over and over again!

One of the best ways to learn Spanish (or any language) is to listen to native speakers over and over again until you understand what they are saying. By listening closely and often, you start to pick up the rhythm of a language and pronunciation from a native speaker. It’s not surprising, then, that Innovative Language offers a great line-by-line feature that lets you listen (and read along!) as many times as you’d like. I really recommend taking advantage of this feature— aside from moving to Spain or another Spanish speaking country, it is the best way to immerse yourself in the language.

2. Use a voice-recording tool to perfect pronunciation.

No one likes to hear themselves recorded, but it is a great way to perfect your pronunciation! Record yourself and compare against a fluent speaker. If you sound different, repeat after the fluent speaker until your pronunciation matches. Innovative Language has a great voice-recording feature that makes recording super easy. Never hesitate or be shy about your pronunciation again.

review tactics

3. Master recorded conversations.

Another excellent way to review your Spanish is to record conversations and go over them again and again until you have the entire conversation mastered and can repeat it line by line. Now, it might be kind of awkward trying to explain to someone why you are recording them speak so it is fortunate that Innovative Language has dialogues available for download right off of their website. I found these also come with transcripts of the entire conversation, which is great if you don’t want to spend tons of time translating the conversation yourself.

4. Use mobile devices to reinforce previously learned conversations.

It might sound redundant at this point, but constant review is the best, and only, way to perfect Spanish. In that spirit, I strongly recommend downloading the recorded dialogue to your mobile device and incorporating it into your music playlist. You’ll be amazed how effectively quick reviews throughout a day can reinforce what you’ve learned.

review tactics

Start Learning-on-the-Go with Your Free App

5. Read with line by line notes.

The guaranteed accurate transcript of the recorded dialogues is one of the most useful features Innovative Language offers. You can read along with a fluent speaker to really master pronunciation and natural conversation. You should start slow at first, then slowly increase the speed with each pass through. Every time you read through, your pronunciation will become more intuitive and your ability to understand fluent speakers will greatly increase.

Imagine a child who just learned how to read. At first, they slowly struggle through a sentence, but on the second try, they know what the most of the words sound like and so they read a bit faster and easier and on the third try, they read that sentence at normal, native speed.

review tactics

Improve Now your Reading Skills by Learning More Vocabulary

Using these five simple review techniques the most challenging parts of learning Spanish will become your areas of comfort. Conversations will no longer be excruciating and embarrassing, but rather offer a chance to show off your new skills and communicate with someone from a different culture in their natural language. You will be able to casually listen to Spanish and understand everything. Reading, too, will become natural and enjoyable.

Learning any language takes time and dedication. With the right focus, however, you can ensure the maximum impact of your efforts. Consistently listening to fluent speakers, recording your own voice and comparing it against fluent speakers, mastering conversations, listening to them on go, and following along with written transcripts will put you on the path to becoming fluent in Spanish. Learn from the mistakes that so many have made, myself included, don’t let what you’ve already learned slip away.

Review, review, review!

Want to speak more Spanish? New SpanishPod101 lesson series start January 2nd!

Hi Listener,

Want to speak more Spanish in 2017?

You need exposure to native Spanish conversation from day 1. You need a native Spanish speaker to explain it all – the words, the grammar, and cultural nuances.

And you get all of that in every single SpanishPod101 lesson.

In fact, we’re starting up a brand new season just in time for the New Year!

Starting January 2nd, 2017, we’ll be publishing brand new seasons of Audio and Video Lessons to get you mastering Spanish the fast, fun and easy way! Want to know what you can expect?

Here’s SpanishPod101’s Lesson Schedule:

  • Monday:
    - Absolute Beginner Season 4
    - Beginner - Must-Know Spanish Sentence Structures

  • Tuesday:
    - Video Series - Listening Comprehension

  • Thursday:
    - Throwback Thursday Lessons (Get a free random lesson from the past sent directly to your e-mail inbox.)

  • Friday:
    - New Video Series

  • Saturday:
    - Video Series - Reading Comprehension

  • Sunday:
    - News & Announcement - Sunday News
    - Bonus Courses - Spanish Vocab Builder
  • Remember, SpanishPod101’s newest lessons are free for the first three weeks! You have three weeks worth of lessons at any given time. Oh, and the first 3 lessons of every series are free too!

    Check out the newest SpanishPod101 lessons for free!

    Click here to learn Spanish with the newest lessons for FREE!

    To your fluency!
    Team SpanishPod101

    How to Overcome the Top 4 Spanish Learning Fears

    Every Spanish learner will have these fears“I’m not good enough yet.” “I don’t think I’m making any progress.” “What if I never reach my goals?” Spanish learning fears – we all get them from time to time. What are yours? And are they worth being scared of?

    how to overcome learning fears

    In this blog post, we’re killing the top 4 Spanish learning fears – 1) what are the fears learners tend to have the most and 2) how you can overcome them!

    Here are the top 4 language learning fears according to our users:

    1. “I’m not good enough to start speaking yet.”

    Do you feel like you’re not good enough to start speaking yet? It’s a pretty common fear or misconception that most learners have. Here’s how you overcome it:

  • The best way to get good at speaking is to start speaking from day 1.
    So if you’re holding yourself back, because you think you’re not good enough, well, that’s exactly why you’re not good enough. You need to open your mouth and start talking!
  • If you think you’re not good enough, just learn Spanish lines you want to say!
    In our lessons, you get the exact phrases and scripts for introducing yourself making small talk, ordering food, expressing opinions, and much more! So if you think you’re not good enough, the lessons will give you the exact lines to say.
  • learn spanish

    Want to speak Spanish with confidence? With Learning Paths, get your personalized courses based on your goals and interests. Check it now!

    2. “I’m afraid I’ll never be fluent.”

    Many successful Spanish learners worried about that, only as a beginner. They started learning Spanish and, it’s funny because the better their Spanish got, the less they were worried about that. So, how can you overcome this?

  • You’ve got to set small, specific goals.
    Fluency is a big vague goal. Arguably, we don’t even speak fluent in our native language. There are over a million words and we use about 2,000 words only. So you should focus on smaller goals like being able to introduce yourself or having a 5-minute conversation. Or 10 minutes. Something you can measure so you know you reached it because you can’t really measure fluency. It’s a pretty vague goal! But you can measure small goals like having a 5-minute conversation. And as these small goals add up, you’ll be speaking very comfortably!
  • learn spanish

    Discover now 10 Monthly Goals that will help you on your way to Spanish fluency!

    3. “I’m afraid that I’m not making any progress.”

    In other words, getting stuck. If you’re afraid you’re not making progress, there are two things you can do right now.

  • Use the dashboard to track your progress.
    If you need numbers to believe it, our dashboard tracks all the lessons you’ve completed and shows how much you’ve accomplished.
  • Try a harder lesson on the site.
    It sounds crazy and you might not understand it but you will in minutes. Our lessons come with line-by-line translations and the lesson hosts explain everything. THEN, you’ll be making progress because you now understand something you didn’t minutes ago.
  • learn spanish

    From Beginner to Advanced, get the lesson that is perfect for you! Start learning Spanish now!

    4. “I’m afraid of not understanding anything I hear”.

    This is very common. You hear advanced grammar and vocabulary and it goes completely over your head. To beat this…

  • If you’re taking an advanced lesson, simply read along.
    Reading along with our line-by-line tool is the best way to instantly understand advanced conversations. The translations and scripts are right in front of you.
  • For real-life situations, learn useful phrases.
    Like “Can you say it more slowly?,” “Can you use simpler words?” or “I don’t understand what that meant.” There’s nothing wrong with saying that you didn’t understand something or with asking for help. And our Survival Phrases lessons cover must-know phrases like this.
  • learn spanish

    So, these are the top 4 fears and how to overcome them. And if you want to have the perfect tools to overcome them, don’t forget to create your Free Lifetime Account at SpanishPod101.com!

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    3 Reasons Why Playing Games Helps You Learn Spanish Faster

    Discover 3 ways that Spanish learning games and video games can help you learn and master Spanish faster, retain more, and enhance your language skills.

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    Can You Learn Spanish Using Games?

    Yes, Spanish learning games and even video games can help you learn and master Spanish faster and improve overall comprehension. Research studies have concluded that video games enhance traditional learning methods and make mastering a new language like Spanish fun and exciting. Without the firm foundation in grammar and vocabulary provided by conventional learning programs, however, you will not be able to learn Spanish with games alone. But when you combine the solid educational foundation like you’ll get at SpanishPod101 with the benefits of Spanish learning games, you learn faster and retain more than with traditional learning alone.

    Let’s now take a look at three of the biggest benefits of using video games to learn Spanish:

    Video Games Help Improve Linguistic Skills and Cognitive Development

    When combined with a solid foundation in vocabulary and grammar, video games help students improve reading, comprehension, and even speaking skills. The results are even more pronounced in struggling students. According to a recent national survey, more than 78% of teachers noted that learning games, even video games, were effective in helping struggling students compensate for learning gaps in their traditional studies.

    So how do Spanish learning games, or even video games, help students improve their linguistic skills and cognitive development? The key is practice, practice, and more practice!
    Learning games and video games naturally require the integration of several linguistic skills including reading, listening, speaking, and even writing in some games. And by removing the fear of making mistakes so common in students in traditional classroom settings, students are free to practice the language and further develop their linguistic and cognitive abilities in the process.

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    Learning Games/Video Games Provide In-Context Learning

    Students naturally learn faster and comprehend more when they are forced to use the information often and in real-world situations, even the fake ones created by Spanish learning games and video games. Essentially, this is immersion-based learning or contextual learning very similar to what one experiences when living abroad and being forced to interact with people in another language. So by providing both context and constant feedback, video games allow students to actually use the knowledge they gain in classrooms or conventional study to learn and master Spanish or any new language faster.

    Spanish Learning Games Make Studying Fun and Alleviate Stress

    Homework, quizzes, tests, and even in-class assignments can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety in students, particularly those who may be struggling to keep up. This stress and anxiety can actually derail a student’s progress and cause them to feel isolated from their more successful peers. But video games and even most learning games are the great equalizer because they help alleviate stress, increase social engagement, and yes, even help students have fun while learning Spanish or any new language.
    In fact, research recently published in The Washington Post shows a wide range of health benefits from video games and learning games including the fact that they:

  • Help Reduce or Alleviate Symptoms of Depression
  • Help Reduce or Alleviate Symptoms of Insomnia
  • Help Alleviate Transitory Stress Symptoms
  • Scientists have indeed discovered that not only can you learn Spanish or any new language faster thanks to video games, they can also provide a wide range of potential health benefits as well. However, learning languages through video games alone is not really a feasible alternative to progressive, structured learning like you find in classrooms or programs like SpanishPod101.

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    The Limitations of Learning Languages Through Video Games

    While great supplemental learning tools, video games and even more formal learning games are simply no substitute for structured learning programs for two reasons:

  • Learning Games Not Designed to Provide a Foundation in Grammar or Vocabulary: Without the foundation provided by structured Spanish learning (classroom or online), video games or even language learning games only teach specific phrases and concepts. Now within the context of the video game, these phrases and concepts make sense but most would have little practical value in the real world.
  • Lessons Are Not Structured or Progressive in Nature: Structured learning requires students to be provided with basic building blocks of knowledge (like grammar or vocab lessons) that are then expanded upon in a progressive fashion until mastery. Video games and even many language learning games really only quiz and reinforce what students already know instead of providing structured lessons that can be built upon for future learning.
  • Spanish learning games and even video games are great supplemental tools to help students learn and master a language faster. Scientific studies and recent research reveal that video games can help contextualize formal lessons from structured learning, enhance linguistic skills, alleviate stress, and even provide a wide range of potential health benefits. However, learning languages through video games (even learning games) has limitations and is no substitute for structured lessons that provide a firm foundation in vocabulary and grammar.

    SpanishPod101 is the world’s most advanced online learning system with tons of HD video lessons created by real Spanish instructors. With more than 500 million lesson downloads and 10,000’s of success stories, SpanishPod101 can provide you with a world-class foundation in vocabulary and grammar.

    Combined with Spanish learning games, our cutting edge online language system can propel you to mastering the language faster, more easily, and at far less expense than traditional classroom instruction.

    3 Reasons Why Successful Students Learn Spanish In the Car

    Not only is it possible to learn Spanish in your car, there are 3 great benefits that will help you master the language faster and with less effort.

    With everyone so pressed for time these days, it might seem like a daydream to believe that you could learn Spanish in your car—but it’s not! Thanks to a wide range of new technologies and resources, learning a language in your car is easier than ever. Not only is it easy to learn a language while driving, there are actually a number of benefits, especially if the lessons are part of a structured learning program like SpanishPod101. Here are three specific benefits to learning Spanish or any other new language in your car.

    3 reasons why successful students learn spanish in the car

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    1. Transform Downtime into Progress

    How much time do you spend commuting to and from work? Learning a language in your car transforms your commute time into tangible progress towards your dream. So instead of being stressed over how much time you are “wasting” on errands and daily commutes, you can decompress and have some fun while you learn Spanish in your car!

    2. Daily Exposure Leads to Passive Learning

    Practice makes perfect and learning a new language is no different. The daily exposure you get when you learn Spanish while driving helps improve listening comprehension, pronunciation, and of course helps build vocabulary and improve grammar. Don’t worry: You don’t need to memorize everything as you listen in Spanish while driving. Just having continuous exposure to a foreign language helps you improve your vocabulary, learn faster, and ultimately retain more through passive learning.


    3. Learning While Driving is Fun

    Learning a new language does require a serious commitment, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! When you learn Spanish in your car, you get to take some time away from the PC or smartphone and immerse yourself in the language instead of just “studying” it.

    Plus, there are a number of “fun” activities that you can do and still learn in your car, such as:
    - Singing Along with Spanish Songs
    - Playing Word Games or Trivia
    - Just Listening Along and Seeing How Much You Can Pick Up and Understand

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    Yes, you can learn a language while driving and have loads of fun doing it. Now let’s take a look at some specific things you can listen to while driving to help you learn a new language.

    BONUS: 3 Ways to Learn Spanish in Your Car

    -Listen to Podcasts: Typically designed to focus on one topic or lesson, podcasts are a great way to learn a language while driving. Unfortunately, podcasts are rarely at the same listening/comprehension level as the language learner so listeners may not get their full value. But at SpanishPod101, our podcasts are created for every skill level so you don’t waste any time on material that isn’t relevant or suited to your exact needs.

    -Sing Along to Spanish Songs: Remember, just immersing yourself in a language can create passive learning and improve your pronunciation. Plus, with SpanishPod101, you can sing along and memorize the lyrics, and then look the words up and add them to your personal dictionary.

    -Playing Word Games or Trivia: There are audio games available online that you can download to any media device and listen to on your commute. Although we recommend this option for more advanced users, games are a fun and productive way to learn Spanish in your car because they require listening and comprehension skills.

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    You won’t recognize or understand every word you hear in a Spanish song, podcast, or game—but that’s ok. The daily repetition and immersion in the language leads to passive learning that gradually increases your knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. And the greater your foundation in grammar and vocabulary, the more you’ll understand and learn from the audio lessons, podcasts, or whatever you listen to while learning Spanish in your car.

    Yes, you can learn Spanish while driving because it leads to passive learning via daily immersion in the language. Although you may not understand all or even most of what you hear at first, the exposure helps improve pronunciation, vocabulary, and even grammar over time. Learning a language while driving also helps transform your commute into exciting “exotic adventures” that secretly teach you Spanish in the process. Podcasts, songs, and even games can all help you learn Spanish in your car while eliminating the “boring commute” in the process!

    At SpanishPod101, we have more than 2500+ HD audio lessons and podcasts for every skill level that you can download and use to learn Spanish while driving!
    So don’t forget to sign up for a Free Lifetime Account on SpanishPod101.com to access tons of FREE lessons and features to become fluent in Spanish!

    4 Reasons Why Spanish Slang Words Will Make You Fluent

    Learn 4 honest reasons you need Spanish slang words and why they are so vital to truly learning and mastering the language.

    Teachers may normally cringe at the thought of their students learning Spanish slang words. After all, slang words and phrases are typically defined as being grammatically incorrect. So why would your teacher want you to spend time learning the “wrong way” to speak Spanish? Here are 4 of the top reasons why you should study slang words and expressions when learning Spanish or any new language.

    reasons to learn spanish slang words

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    1. Native Speakers Use Slang Expressions in Everyday Conversation

    If you are going to study a foreign language and plan to use it to speak with native speakers, then you have to learn slang words and expressions. Otherwise, just using formal expressions and grammar may alienate you from native speakers and make it more difficult to establish a real connection. So it is best to at least learn some common slang words and expressions if you’re planning to meet or speak socially with someone.

    2. Slang Words Are Used All Throughout Spanish Culture

    If you turn on any popular Spanish TV show, listen to any song, or watch any movie, you are quickly going to see the value of learning Spanish slang phrases. Just like everyday conversations between native speakers, Spanish culture is filled with slang phrases and expressions. Without at least some knowledge of the more common slang phrases, popular culture and most conversations will be very confusing and potentially alienating.

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    3. Slang Expressions Help You Better Express Your True Thoughts and Feelings

    Only relying on formal grammar and vocabulary is very limiting, especially in social situations. Just like in your native language, using the appropriate Spanish slang words can help you express a broader range of emotions, thoughts, and feelings.

    4. Proper Use of Slang Makes You Sound More Natural

    We’ve all met foreigners who technically used formal language perfectly but still sounded odd and well….foreign. But when you use the right slang words and expressions, you will sound more natural and like a true native speaker. If you notice, even most politicians include a sprinkling of slang expressions and words throughout their speeches to help them sound more natural and to better connect with the audience.

    The Dark Side of Slang Expressions

    Learning Spanish slang words can indeed help you sound more natural, better understand the people and culture, and make integration much easier. However, there is a dark side: using the wrong slang expressions can also make you look foolish, uneducated, and potentially disrespectful.

    But how do you know which slang words or phrases to use and when?

    The truth is that you can’t learn the most modern and appropriate slang words in textbooks or formal classroom settings. By the time the information gets incorporated into a formal curriculum, it’s already outdated and no longer in use by actual Spanish people. And while you can learn current slang expressions from Spanish TV shows, movies, songs, and games, you may not understand the context. If that happens, you may use the right Spanish slang words but in the wrong situation and still look like a fool or possibly even offend someone.

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    So where can you learn current slang expressions and the right context in which to use them?

    At SpanishPod101, native speaking instructors create audio and video lessons that can include slang expressions and words. Our instructors provide context and examples for all the Spanish slang words used in any lesson to make sure students understand the right time and place to use them.

    Spanish slang words and expressions may be grammatically incorrect but they are vital to truly understanding and immersing yourself in the culture. In fact, it will be very difficult to fully understand any movie, TV show, song, game, or even 1-on-1 conversation without knowing a few of the more common slang expressions.

    However, it is important to learn the proper context and use of even popular slang expressions or you may come across as confusing, disrespectful, or uneducated.
    At SpanishPod101, you’ll learn how to use slang phrases and words to draw the right attention and avoid these problems.

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