I talk to a lot of people who’ve made the decision to learn Spanish and the question they always ask is “How do I get started?”.
Some people immediately gravitate towards grammar books and start doing all sorts of written exercises. Well, that approach has its place, but in my opinion it’s best to jump right in and start learning how to actually talk to people. After all, isn’t being able to talk to someone the whole of point of learning Spanish?
We’re going to zero in on a few key resources that will get your learning Spanish journey off to a good start, so let’s get to it.
Get a good learning Spanish audio course
If you’ve decided to learn Spanish on your own terms and forego traditional classroom learning, having a good learning Spanish audio course is a necessity. In fact, I recommend using one even if you are taking a Spanish class.
So why use an audio course?
A good audio course has been very well planned out and provides you with a structured plan to teach you how to actually speak the language, putting emphasis on spoken Spanish, not grammar.
You’ll learn how to form sentences, verb conjugation, vocabulary and pronunciation in a natural manner just like you learned your native language. And you learn all of this through the “listen and repeat” method of learning that has proven to be one of, if not the most effective language learning approach.
Which audio course should you use?
There are numerous Spanish language audio courses out there, so you have a lot of options. I have one in particular that I’m going to recommend.
The original Learning Spanish Like Crazy (Lessons 1 – 30)
I recommend this particular course for a few reasons. Number one being it’s what I used when I was learning and I can’t imagine how I would have attained fluency without it. It gave me a solid foundation in the basics and there were many things I learned that I was able to apply directly in real life conversations, sometimes literally word-for-word from what I heard in the course.
I also recommend it because now you can get it for free.
It’s a complete course consisting of 32 lessons that start with the most basic Spanish concepts and also cover things like reflexive verbs and the subjunctive. By the time you finish it you’ll be well prepared to have conversations in Spanish.
If you sign up for a free trial at Audible.com , you get two free audio books. Even if you cancel the audible.com service the audio books are yours to keep.
Give it try, I think you’ll like it. After all, it’s free and you’ve got nothing to lose. Click here or on the image to check out the course.
There are also plenty of other learning Spanish audio courses like Pimsleur Spanish you can also get for free by signing up for that Audible.com free trial. It’s also a great course, but it consists of numerous parts and can be a little expensive to get the complete package. You might also find it in your local library for free.
Learn the conversational basics
Some people tend to think that they should spend a certain amount of time studying and listening to other people speak Spanish before they attempt to speak. That’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make. The sooner you start speaking Spanish the better. You’ll learn more and learn faster by talking to people.
Sure, you won’t be discussing the meaning of life in Spanish anytime soon, but you can most certainly start to have simple conversations with just a little bit of effort.
The best place to start is by learning how to greet people and how to introduce yourself in Spanish. I’ve referenced two videos below that will teach you how to do both of these things.
Learning how to greet people in Spanish
Being able to say hi to someone is one of the most basic but really important things to learn. While there are numerous ways of greeting someone in Spanish, it’s best to keep it simple in the very beginning. Here’s an excellent video lesson that will teach you the basic but extremely common and most know Spanish greetings.
Learn how to introduce yourself in Spanish
After learning how to greet people in Spanish, clearly the next thing you need to be able to do is introduce yourself.
The above videos are produced by Spanishpod101 and they offer a vast amount of materials for all levels of Spanish learners on their website, including at least one free lesson on a weekly basis. To get the free lessons you’ll have to create a free account but that’s a small price to pay.
Aside from an immense library of lessons, they also have tools to assist you with every step of the learning process and will help you layout a good study plan and stay motivated.
Now that you’ve got some basic conversational skills, it’s time for you to start to dig a little deeper into the Spanish language.
Learn the fundamentals of Spanish
There are many, many websites and books that can teach you the basic rules of Spanish, but if you want to save time and money you can just use what is probably the most popular learning Spanish app on the market today. And I’m not recommending it because it’s popular, I recommending it because it’s really good. I wish something like this had been around when I was learning Spanish.
Enough chit-chat, let me introduce you to DuoLingo.
DuoLingo is a free app (or you can use their website) that will teach you the basic Spanish concepts and then some.
It allows you to set a goal of how much time you want spend learning per day (up to 20 minutes) and sends you friendly reminders to help you commit to that goal. And since it’s an app you can take your Spanish lessons with you where ever you go.
The promo video below will give you an overview of the app. It’s available for both Android and the iPhone.
DuoLingo alone won’t make you fluent, but it’s a great starting point if you don’t know any Spanish or need a refresher. It will help you build a really solid foundation in the language. Eventually you’ll need to start incorporating other resources, but this will keep you busy for quite a while.
Learning how to use the most common verbs
You’ll need to learn a lot of verbs to achieve a conversational level of Spanish, and the best way to go about that is to start learning the high frequency verbs first, or in plain English, the most common verbs. And one of the best tools to help you with that is my podcast series, All About Spanish Verbs Season 1.
This podcast series examines the most essential Spanish verbs and teaches you the most common uses of them in everyday speech through practical examples.
Season 1 has 17 episodes, covering the verbs dar, tener, hacer, ver, faltar, poner, pasar, conocer, bajar, llevar, saber, dejar, quedar, quedarse, ser, estar and alcanzar.
The podcasts are free to listen to and the option to download the them and get the word-for-word transcripts is available as well.
All About Spanish Verbs Season 1
Find a few YouTube channels
YouTube is also a fantastic resource for learning Spanish materials and I’ve already put together a short list of some of the best learning Spanish content for beginners.
Take a look at My Top 3 Learning Spanish YouTube Channels for Beginners.
Wrapping things up
You’ve now got a small but great collection of learning Spanish resources to give you a some direction and focus to help you start learning Spanish.
You’ll quickly discover there are a myriad of learning Spanish resources available and if you’re not careful you’ll spend your time bouncing from one to the next with no direction or purpose. So in the beginning try to keep your focus on just a few resources.
Unless you just absolutely hate my recommendations, the materials I’ve pointed you to will take you a long way towards helping you meet your goal of speaking Spanish.
In upcoming posts I’ll help you build a plan to help you achieve your goal of Spanish fluency, so be sure to sign up for the Newsletter so you don’t miss anything!