Here are six simple tips to success in learning Spanish online. They are simple, because most everyone can use them easily. They are helpful because online learning is often a lonely process, and students may need extra support to keep learning.
Tip Number One: Learn Basic Spanish Vocabulary and Grammar First
When you begin your online studies, it will be tempting to learn a lot of Spanish vocabulary very quickly. Your curiosity about the language will have you learning the Spanish words for just about every thing you can think of…but keep it basic. Focus on vocabulary that you will use in everyday life, and practice making basic, short sentences first. See if you can use a short, simple sentence and make it more useful to you by changing verbs and nouns to create new meanings within the existing sentence structure. Once you memorize vocabulary and use it in simple grammar, it will become a part of you.
Tip Number Two: Listen to Native Spanish Speakers and Recreate Their Speech Patterns
This tip is really crucial. It means that you should spend time with native speakers learning to speak Spanish as they speak it. Good pronunciation of vocabulary is important. Also important is to listen to the way Spanish speakers combine their words into sentences in common speech. Listening to common speech will develop your ear and your tongue quickly. And, you will have the added bonus of not sounding as if you are speaking directly from a Spanish language guide book using already prepared conversations. The guidebooks rarely have the sentence exactly the way you want to say it anyway. So, why not simply spend time speaking with native speakers? It really is an excellent way to supplement your online learning time.
Tip Number Three: Focus on Communication, Then Grammar
Certainly in the beginning it will be difficult to communicate. But use your online learning as the starting point, with your goal being easy communication. You will always have plenty of opportunity to learn proper advanced grammar and use it. But your goal is actually to be able to communicate with someone who speaks a different language. So, practice communication skills. Try out simple and polite greetings. Learn a variety of proper responses. These simple skills will take you a long way when it comes to meeting people, and they will help you along as you struggle to learn even more Spanish. Use your online time to develop new vocabulary, and to review and learn grammar use.
Tip Number Four: Make Every Free Moment Count
Of course, you will want to plan for regular sessions online as you learn Spanish. But, consider also the extra times you may have during the course of your day to fit in other impromptu practice sessions. Use Spanish audio CDs on your commute to and from work, school, errands, or while waiting to see your doctor or dentist. Take your ipod or mp3 player with you when you exercise. You will find that the combination of exercise and practice will help you learn better, because the physical energy exertion will increase your learning power.
Tip Number Five: Don’t Worry About Mistakes
You will make plenty of mistakes learning any language. The mistakes are most likely to happen when you are speaking Spanish with someone. Frustrating, but don’t let it get to you! It really happens to everyone, and is part of the learning process. Just keep going until you feel more comfortable with your own speaking and the Spanish conversations will eventually fall right into place. One thing to remember about mistakes is that the Spanish language is not really more difficult to learn than other languages. In fact, it shares the same alphabet as English for the most part. And, there are many similar words that mean the same thing in both languages. The mistakes most often pop up if you try to learn Spanish online, but never put it to use in real practice. So, practice also with real people!
Tip Number Six: Always Encourage Yourself
As you learn more and more, it may seem that you will never quite reach your goal. When your online learning leaves you feeling like you can’t learn Spanish at all, then it is time to step away from your online program, and step out into your world. Look for Spanish markets to visit. When you go shopping, you will be able to practice your vocabulary at the same time, and be ready to fix a nice Spanish style meal. Try to visit cultural or historical sites in or nearby your community that have Spanish-speaking guides. You don’t have to take an entire tour in Spanish, but you might enjoy visiting with them and practicing your Spanish in person. Look for Spanish cultural events to attend in or near your city. And certainly enjoy a meal at a Mexican restaurant, and practice Spanish with your servers and host.
All of these simple tips will enhance your online learning of Spanish in wonderful ways. Just be sure to take the time to enjoy them!