I think you will agree with me that learning Spanish is REALLY time-consuming and frustrating. Especially when you have just started.

Well, there is hope. You can drastically improve your learning speed with the right approach. I’m not talking about the way your teachers would tell you, that’s to get a clear fundamental basis and is not the best way to learn Spanish.

In this article I am going to show you that the best way to learn Spanish is to first get a sizeable vocabulary in Spanish so you can accelerate the speed by what you learn.

What you need to know before learning Spanish

Just like with any other language, you will not speak Spanish fluently without putting the effort in it. Are you thinking about taking a gap year or marrying someone from Latin America to learn Spanish? It’s not that easy. Forget about the shortcuts, you will need to study. Boring, alone in your room. At least at the beginning. With this approach you will able to get into the field sooner than you think.

Before we dive in the actual steps, there are a few questions you will need to answer YES to:

  • Do you have enough time to spend on learning Spanish and are you willing to give up Netflix for a while?
  • Are you not afraid to make spelling, pronunciation or grammar mistakes?
  • Are you going to stick with it long enough for it to show results?

Yes, yes, yes. Perfecto. Now, show me the money.

Build a vocabulary in Spanish

Learning the Spanish language without using words seems a bit tricky to me. Studies have shown that the 1,000 most often used words in Spanish account for almost 90% of all spoken Spanish. That’s crazy.

Get your Spanish vocabulary straight. Buy tons of sticky notes and put them everywhere around the house. In the kitchen, your bedroom in the shower. Anywhere.

Change your phone to the Spanish language. Use Chatroulette to talk with native speakers. Add Spanish subtitles to movies or go to events for Spanish learners. Whatever it takes.

Knowing a bunch of words will make it all go a lot faster. Once you know just 200 Spanish words you will be able to pick up new words a lot easier.

Should I focus on Spanish grammar?

Forget about grammar or irregular verbs. They will come later once you have some material to work with. Talking in Spanish without using any conjugations might not be recommended by your teachers at your university, but you will prove them wrong very soon.

Don’t get me wrong, of course the grammar is important when learning Spanish. You only don’t need to know every detail about it yet. Have you ever talked with someone whose English is not fluent? You did still understand that person right? It’s the same in a foreign language. They will still understand you if you’ve just said it incorrectly. Who cares?

This is also why I needed you to say yes to the question that you are not afraid to make mistakes. The more grammar mistakes you make, the more vocabulary you will learn. Read the first few chapters of your Spanish book to get a basic overview of the sentence structure and the grammar. That’s all you need.

Is reading Spanish books good for learning?

The answer is YES. Take every book, newspaper or whatever else you can get your hands on. Read it from the first page to the end. It might be difficult, but you got all the time you need. Use Google Translate on the side to look up the words you don’t know. That’s learning. The more difficult the better.

Once you’ve read it to the end. Read it again. And again. Until you’ve learned all the words in the book and can read it without translating.

This will also help you better understand the grammar in a very natural way. Without focussing on it you will still get familiar with the words a native Spanish speaker uses. And, you will learn the spelling as well.

There is definitely no shortcut for this one. If you don’t understand a word you can read further to get the context. You will understand the story but will miss out on the opportunity to learn a new word.

Although it’s hard work and time-consuming. Feel free to choose a book that you will actually enjoy. Here are the best books to learn Spanish.

Learn to speak Spanish

Speaking is at a whole different level. This is where you will need to connect the dots and make your brain use the material that’s somewhere in the back of your head. Your mouth is probably not capable of those sounds either so try not to struggle with the pronunciation. And then there’s also the time pressure with someone in front of you.

The good thing, you don’t give a crab about how long it takes or how many mistakes you make. Right?

Good. Because that’s what you will have to do to learn it. Several studies have shown that presenting something is the best way to learn from it yourself. The reason for this is that it requires you to really think about what you’ve learned to be able to reproduce it.

You cannot nod yes anymore to make it seem like you understand it. Try to listen carefully to the words the person you are talking to uses, so you can use some of those words yourself when you respond to their story.

Include Spanish in your lifestyle

The same as studying the table of 10 when you were younger. You gotta dream about it. Make studying Spanish part of your lifestyle. When someone talks to you in your native language, translate it into Spanish in your head. Think in Spanish.

By doing this you will constantly be thinking about learning Spanish. Make it part of your life. Translate an English word if you don’t know it by hard. Take the effort, that’s what it is all about.

Without putting the effort in it, you will never discover the best way to learn Spanish. It should also not become something that you feel you have to do. Instead, make it something natural. Part of your daily life. This way you will keep up with it a lot longer and eventually become a fluent Spanish speaker.

Conclusion

There’s no shortcut to the top, but you can certainly become a fluent Spanish speaker sooner than you think. Make sure you stay focussed and keep having fun doing it.

Try to take it a step further everytime you think you have it all under control. Start with the basics, then reading the books and eventually you will be able to have more interesting conversations than you could think off.

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