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How do I start learning Spanish?

How do I start learning Spanish?
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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.

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.   And of course you can also enjoy their immense library of free videos on YouTube.

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

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.

Moving beyond the basics

 

Once you’ve got a few of the basics down, it’s time to start expanding your vocabulary by learning more Spanish verbs and how to use them.   That’s where one of my podcast series comes in handy, All About Spanish Verbs.

This podcast series examines the most essential Spanish verbs and teaches you the most common uses of them in everyday speech through practical examples.

You can listen to the podcast through various avenues including YouTube, Google Play Music, Sound Cloud, and of course listen to it here on the blog.   You can also get the written transcripts by subscribing to the Helping You Learn Spanish newsletter.

You should also take a look at my Real Life Spanish podcast series.  You’ll learn how Spanish is used in real life conversations along with many of the idioms, expressions and language nuances you aren’t taught in the classroom along with Spanish for everyday situations.

YouTube is also a fantastic resource for learning Spanish materials and I’ve already put together a short list of some best learning Spanish content for beginners.  Take a look at My Top 3 Learning Spanish YouTube Channels for Beginners.

That list has some great selections to help you learn conversational Spanish and and grammar.

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 my Helping You Learn Spanish Newsletter so you don’t miss anything!

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