A Quick Guide to Learning Spanish

The internet has made it possible to access a wealth of Spanish learning resources online. There are websites, podcasts, games, revision tools, vocabulary collections and much more, all with the purpose of helping you to learn Spanish quickly and easily. I have written this article as a basic guide to help you bring all these excellent resources together into an organised structure for your Spanish learning.

Building your Spanish Vocabulary

There are a great many different ways to learn and expand Spanish vocab on the internet. If you search for Spanish vocabulary on Google for example you will come up with millions of search results. It is however important to use these as efficiently as possible and starting with the very basics (e.g. numbers, colours etc.) is a good place to start. When you come across long lists of the vocab you want to learn remember that it is simply not enough to read through them once and move on – the new words will just leave your brain as quickly as they came in and you will not learn.

I would highly recommend finding a site with Spanish flashcard collections which you can use to practice and come back to. There are also sites allowing you to input vocab into your own flashcards – this is useful to help master the vocab you collect while reading and also those long lists you come across on many Spanish vocab sites online.

Furthermore there are other useful tools available such as interactive mini quizzes and games – Real Spanish and Spanish Dict are excellent sites for these sorts of tools. The problem with these is that often you don’t have control over the words you are actually practicing but Rocket Spanish offers its MegaVocab software which solves this issue.

Once you have a basic knowledge of Spanish vocabulary it is important to build on this by reading, reading, reading. There is so much interesting content to read such as newspapers, magazines (online and paper), blogs, short stories, novels, non-fiction etc. – in my opinion it is best to read anything you enjoy, this will keep you interested and give you the vocab around the topics you are most likely to talk about. I’d also recommend building up slowly because there is nothing more disconcerting than reading Spanish material which you find very difficult to understand at all.

Don’t Ignore the Grammar

Learning Spanish grammar is also extremely important and you can’t avoid learning all these new rules or anomalies that come with any new language. As with practicing Spanish vocab, Spanish grammar requires a lot of practice and will improve more quickly if you are using a variety of media. Don’t jump in at the deep end but build your knowledge from the bottom starting with the most simple sentence structures – just as a young child would learn English. Again sites like Study Spanish offer good mini quizzes but it also helps to be writing and taking note of different tenses in the reading you should be doing.

I believe by writing using different tenses and Spanish sentence structures you gain a far better working understanding of Spanish grammar than by simply conjugating into a known tense – if your aim is to reach written fluency it is absolutely essential to be writing on a consistent basis. In the same way by speaking more your grammar will improve very quickly and in time your speaking will also improve as a result.

It is also useful to keep refreshing your knowledge of all the different rules you have learnt until they become second nature. I kept all my worksheets (which were available online) which helped me to keep my learning organised and ensured I didn’t neglect any certain areas. Don’t avoid the difficult stuff (like the subjunctive for instance) but stick at it and eventually you’ll get there- there are also good grammar guides which provide a good learning structure and practice exercises.

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