How To Learn Spanish Fast – A Complete Guide With 10 Easy, Quick, and Effective Ways
Article updated on 9th June, 2022
Are you trying to learn Spanish fast? We’ve got your back! We’ll show you how to learn Spanish quickly with the best 10 methods out there!
What is the fastest way to learn Spanish? (or any other language)
First, let’s get one thing straight: there is no magic formula or linguistic gene that will help you learn Spanish fast. Fortunately, there are real and effective tools, systems, and techniques that will speed up your journey to Spanish fluency.
If you’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to learn the language of tapas, mariachi music, and telenovelas, and you’re in a hurry to do so, you’re in luck! In this article, we’ll break down 10 of the best time-saving tips that actually work. Additionally, we’ll tell you why you should make the effort to learn this global language. So, stick around and we’ll show you how to learn Spanish fast!
Before we start, it’s worth pointing out that the Fluent Forever app and Live Coaching program integrate most of the tips mentioned here, helpfully organizing the tools that will teach you how to learn Spanish fast. Make sure you check out both of them! Lastly, don’t forget to take a look at our Fastest Way to Learn a Language guide! In it, you’ll find fantastic hints and tricks to accelerate your journey to fluency in any language, including Spanish!
- Why you should learn Spanish (or any other language)
- Spanish: some background
- Spanish for beginners: the basics
- How to learn Spanish fast with the 10 most effective tips
- Learn Spanish only
- Practice everyday
- Find the motivation to keep learning
- Learn the sounds of Spanish early on
- Choose the right vocabulary
- (Other Spanish language resources)
- Immerse yourself in Spanish (and have fun!)
- Practice with native speakers
- Don’t obsess over grammar
- Make mistakes and grow your confidence
- Try Fluent Forever’s app + Live Coaching
Why you should learn Spanish (or any other language)
So, first off, why should you learn Spanish? Why go through its gendered nouns, irregular verbs, subjunctive form, and other wonderful, complex things? Well, there are plenty of razones to do so! First, be it Spanish or any other new language, housing a second or third language in your noggin’ comes with exciting perks:
- Improve your brain – Multilingualism has different beneficial effects on your brain. Multilingual folks tend to score better on math, reading, and vocabulary tests. Additionally, they’re notably more efficient at remembering lists and sequences as well as avoiding grammatical mistakes. Similarly, bilingual children appear to be exceptionally better at multitasking than monolingual youngsters!
- Travel better – Traveling with a phrasebook in your pocket is one thing, but traveling with the phrases in your head is quite another. Learning a new language opens the door to experiencing, visiting, or living in another country in a more comfortable and engaging way. Additionally, you’ll be able to build new and interesting connections with the people you meet.
Hint: Heading to a Spanish-speaking country? Don’t miss out on our Essential Spanish Travel Vocabulary list!
- Broaden your academic and professional opportunities – In such a globalized market, people able to communicate in different languages are in high demand. Furthermore, knowing more than one language will increase your chances of being selected for academic programs abroad.
- Deepen the relationships with people around you – Speaking in a new language allows you to communicate in a deeper, more personal fashion with people who speak that language natively. Consequently, it’ll help you to understand them better.
Reasons to learn Spanish
Spanish, in particular, is a fantastic language to learn for a variety of reasons! Here are just some of them.
- Increase your business prospects – As we mentioned above, if you’re looking to enhance your career growth, learning Spanish is a good way to go about it. First, emerging markets in Latin America are coming up full of new and interesting opportunities for businesses and investments. Second, you’ll be able to relate better with colleagues and clients who speak it fluently.
- Enjoy Spanish media – Forget about putting subtitles in your aunt’s telenovela and Googling the translation of old Shakira songs! Learn Spanish and enjoy vibrant movies, series, songs, and podcasts in their original, unconstrained language.
- Read some of the world’s finest authors – Isabel Allende, Mariana Enriquez, Gabriel García Marques, and Octavio Paz are just some of the great authors who have written wonderful, world-renowned novels and short stories. Spanish will open a whole new ocean of wonderful literature to dive into.
- Live in a Spanish-speaking country – Prepare to live in the many countries that have Spanish as their official language, including Spain, Mexico, Uruguay, Ecuador, and Columbia – four of which are among the top places to retire in!
If these possibilities weren’t enough to get you pumped up, here are 20 more reasons to learn Spanish and speak it fluently! Keep them in mind to stay determined and committed! If your goal is to find out how to learn Spanish fast, it’s worth knowing that sometimes it all boils down to motivation.
Spanish: some background
As we’ve already mentioned, learning Spanish provides you with a way to communicate with native speakers around the world. But just how many people speak Spanish? Let’s have a look at the numbers next.
What countries have Spanish as their official language?
A total of 20 countries have Spanish as an official language, including culturally and environmentally rich places like Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and Spain, to name a few. Additionally, 400 million people speak Spanish worldwide and, per native speaker, it’s the world’s second most spoken language behind Mandarin. It’s also the second most spoken language in the US, and the fourth globally.
So, in your race to find out how to learn Spanish fast, know that there’s a whole new world to discover at the end!
How long does it take to learn Spanish?
This is a fairly common question, usually paired with “Is Spanish hard or easy to learn?”
First, it’s important to know that learning any language, including Spanish, can become unnecessarily nuanced and slow if you use an ineffective approach. Second, the more time and effort you put into learning Spanish, the faster you’ll see results.
Having said that, there is an estimate on the amount of studying hours needed to reach fluency in Spanish. You see, The US Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute (FSI), the US’s language training center for foreign service members, classifies languages based on their difficulty to learn for native English speakers. The system labels them from 1 to 4, with the former reserved for relatively simple languages, and the latter indicating more complex ones.
At the same time, a language’s place in this category system comes with a determined amount of time needed to learn, based on the FSI’s courses. In Spanish’s case, it takes 23–24 weeks of study time. That’s pretty bueno, right? Hint: If you want to learn what makes a language difficult to learn, check out these 8 reasons why it’s hard to learn a language and how to solve them.
Spanish for beginners: the basics
Grasping its basics, including vocabulary, pronunciation, and verb conjugations is important when it comes to how to learn Spanish fast. This section will elaborate on some fundamentals of the language.
Let’s keep this going with some good news: Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn for native English speakers. Why? Well, their shared alfabeto and vocabulario have something to do with it!
For one, both languages have the same Latin alphabet. Therefore, Spanish words don’t have unfamiliar symbology for English speakers, as Japanese or Russian do. And although Spanish is a Romance language and English is Germanic, they both originate from the same Indo-European linguistic family.
Furthermore, English and Spanish are influenced considerably by Latin and French. Consequently, they have a significant amount of cognates, or similarly spelled words that have the same meaning. That’s why alfabeto and vocabulario look like “alphabet” and “vocabulary,” respectively, and mean the same thing. Certainly, this is not to say that Spanish and English vocabulary are completely identical. You’d be surprised to know that, after Latin, Arabic has the highest linguistic influence on Spanish. For instance, around 4,000 words in Spanish originate or are influenced by the Middle Eastern language and can be found across different varieties of Spanish. Some of these include:
- Albahaca [alβaˈaka] – basil
- Aldea [alˈdea] – village
- Azucar [aˈθukaɾ] [aˈsukaɾ] – sugar
- Berenjena [bɛɾɛ̃nˈxena] – aubergine
- Guitarra [ɡiˈtara] – guitar
- Jabali [xaˈβali] – boar
- Marfil [maɾˈfil] – ivory
More good news! Spanish is highly phonetic, meaning words are generally pronounced how they’re spelled. Likewise, most of the language’s sounds exist in English. However, there are a few unfamiliar letters that give beginners headaches. These common culprits include rr, ll, j, and the infamous Spanish accent marks.
Fortunately, like most things in life, practice makes perfect! The more you invest in learning Spanish’s sounds, the faster you’ll pick up new vocabulary and the faster you’ll be able to speak. That’s how to learn Spanish fast!
At the same time, focusing on pronunciation from the get-go will help you understand other people more easily, especially natives, who tend to speak rather fast. So, let’s give you a head start on the complicated bits of Spanish sounds.
The double r
If you’ve ever met a native speaker who discovers you’re trying to learn Spanish, they’ve probably asked you, “Can you roll your Rs?” The double r, or rr, involves a “rolling” sound made with your tongue against the roof of your mouth. This little guy appears in words like carro [ˈkaro] (car), and cotorro [koˈtoro] (parrot). Additionally, you make this sound when the r appears at the start of a word, such as in ratón [raˈtõn] (mouse) or raro [ˈraɾo] (weird).
Rolling your Rs is not a genetic trait, nor is it something that can’t be learned as an adult. It is something you can learn, and there are several ways to do so.
First, practice vibrating your tongue against the roof of your mouth and running it back as you push air out. Second, practice saying the word “butter” continuously. When you do this, the sound the “t” makes is somewhat what you’re looking for. Slowly try isolating that sound and doing it without saying the entire word. Third, you can look for online tutorials available for people looking to master this sound. Lastly, practice as much as possible! Try rolling your r whenever you get the chance. You can even try to roll the r in English words that aren’t meant to sound that way. You may find yourself sounding silly, but every bit of practice counts!
Unlike the double Rs, the sound of Spanish’s j is a bit more familiar for English speakers. However, it tends to confuse learners at first. The Spanish j sounds like English’s h, but the former is throatier. It appears in words like jirafa [xiˈɾafa] [giraffe), jalea [xaˈlea] (jam), and rojo [ˈroxo] (red). On the other hand, the letter h is usually silent in words like hotel [oˈtɛl] (hotel), hola [ˈola] (hello), and helicoptero [eliˈkop̚tɛɾo] (helicopter).
The small, unassuming tilted line above certain letters of words like tía [la ˈtia] (aunt), canción [kãnˈsjõn] (song), árbol [ˈaɾβol] (tree) is a diacritic called an acute accent. It tends to cause dread among first-time learners, but it really shouldn’t! All it indicates is that a specific syllable in a word is stressed. For example, canción is pronounced [kãnˈSJÕN].
Nouns and gender
Each Spanish noun has its own gender, be it masculine or feminine. However, this doesn’t make specific objects, places, or abstract things intrinsically male or female. It’s simply a manner of grammatically organizing nouns that other languages like Italian, French, and German use.
More importantly, understanding this essential aspect of Spanish grammar is crucial to express yourself clearly in the language. Below, we showcase some of the more complex aspects of Spanish nouns to give you a head start on the matter.
First, even though Spanish nouns often follow similar patterns when it comes to their gender, it’s not always the case. For example, la jirafa [la xiˈɾafa] and la tía [la ˈtia] are feminine, and thus use the definite article la. They both end in a, as most feminine nouns do. Alternatively, most masculine nouns – think el carro [ɛl ˈkaro] or el lobo [ɛl ˈloβo] – end in o, and thus use the definite article el. Easy, right? Well, what happens with la mano [la ˈmano] and el problema [ɛl pɾoˈβlema] (the problem)?
Second, this gender aspect of Spanish nouns also applies to its adjectives. You see, adjectives change depending on the noun they’re affecting. An adjective like rojo (red) will change depending on the noun it’s modifying. For example, it’s el carro rojo [ɛl ˈkaro ˈroxo] (the red car) or la pelota roja [la peˈlota ˈroxa] (the red ball).
If you want to learn more about Spanish nouns and adjectives, you can check out some of our articles on the subject:
- Learn About Adjectives of Color
- How To Form the Plural of Spanish Words Ending in-o
- Learn About Spanish Singular Nouns Ending in -o
- How To Use Spanish Singular Nouns Ending in -a
- Learn About Spanish Compound Nouns
- Adjectives in Spanish Sentences: Does the Order Matter?
- How To Use Spanish Adjectives Ending in -o
In any language, verbs are the engine that sets a sentence in motion. Spanish is no different. Luckily for learners, all verbs in Spanish end in er, ir, or ar, so it’s easy to recognize when you’re looking at one. However, this is just a verb’s infinitive form.
Verbs in Spanish need to be conjugated depending on the subject that’s carrying out the action. For example, for a verb like correr [koˈrɛɾ] (to run), if the pronoun is yo or “I” in English, the conjugation would be yo corro [ˈɟʝo ˈkoro] (I run). Alternatively, if the subject is tú [‘tu] (you), this would change to tú corres [‘tu ˈkores] (you run).
In short, each verb has its own specific conjugation depending on the subject doing the action. And knowing how to conjugate each one is fundamental to express yourself clearly in the language. To help you out with this, we’re adding some of our popular articles on Spanish verbs:
- Here’s How You Learn the Future Tense in Spanish
- Learn the Passive Voice in Spanish Using Estar
- Learn the Passive Voice in Spanish Using Ser
- Know the Special Uses of the Spanish Verb Dar
- Learn How To Use the Spanish Verb Dejar
- Learn the Spanish Verbs Ir, Dar, and Estar
- How To Choose Between Formal and Familiar Verb Forms
- How To Choose Between Ser and Estar With Adjectives of Color
Basic Spanish phrases for conversations
The ways to learn a language fast involve learning its essential phrases early on. Knowing them allows you to navigate real-life, everyday conversations and interactions more easily. From greetings to farewells, these phrases are the bread and butter of daily life and are therefore extremely useful.
Here’s a list of some of the most useful phrases in Spanish. If you’re in a rush to learn more, check out our Spanish Survival Phrases article.
- Hola [ˈola] – “Hello”
- ¿Cómo estás? [ˈkomo ɛsˈtas] – “How are you?” Alternatively, You can use está instead of estás to greet someone in a formal setting.
- Bien, gracias [ˈbjɛ̃n ˈɡɾasjas] or [ˈbjɛ̃n ˈɡɾaθjas] – “Good, thank you”
- Buenos días [ˈbwenos̬ ˈðias] – “Good morning”
- Buenas tardes [ˌbwenas ˈtaɾðes] – “Good afternoon”
- Buenas noches [ˌbwenas ˈnot͡ʃes] – “Good night”
- Por favor [poɾ faˈβoɾ] – “Please”
- Gracias [ˈɡɾasjas] or [ˈɡɾaθjas] – “Thanks”
- Mucho gusto [ˈmuʧo ˈɣusto] – “Nice to meet you”
- ¿Cómo te llamas? [ˈkomo te ˈʝamas] or [ˈkomo te ˈʎamas] – “What’s your name?”
- Mi nombre es [mi ˈnõmbɾe ˈɛs] – “My name is”
- ¿De dónde eres? [de ˈðõnde ˈɛɾes] – “Where are you from?”
How is Spanish in Spain different from Spanish in Mexico and Latin America?
Some people try to find out how to learn Spanish fast without considering that there are various versions of Spanish. Consequently, once they finally learn Spanish with, say, a Mexican language coach, they’re shocked to discover that they can’t understand their neighbor from Madrid.
As we mentioned early on, Spanish is generally universally comprehensible regardless of the Spanish-speaking country. Therefore, a person from Perú would have no trouble communicating with someone from Spain. However, there are significant differences worth noting between the Spanish of Spain and that used in Latin America.
Depending on the country or region, Spanish speakers may call objects differently. For instance, Spaniards will call a “car” a coche [ˈkoʧe], while Latin Americans will say carro [ˈkaro]. Additionally, words may vary with different uses of slang – “money” can be referred to as plata [ˈplata] in Argentina and lana [ˈlana] in Mexico. These are just two examples, but there are many differences according to where Spanish is spoken.
Furthermore, the pronunciation of Spanish words may also change. Spaniards will pronounce the letter z and c – when it comes before an i or e – like English speakers pronounce “th.” On the other hand, most places in Latin America pronounce those letters the same way as the English s.
Lastly, grammatically, one of the most important distinctions between European and Latin American Spanish is the use of usted [usˈteðes] (you, singular) and ustedes [usˈteðes] (you, plural). European Spanish makes the distinction between informal and formal situations by using vos [boˈs] (you, singular) or vosotros [boˈsotɾos] (you, plural) for the former, and usted and ustedes for the latter. On the other hand, most of Latin America will use usted and ustedes interchangeably in informal or formal contexts.
These are just some of the regional differences of Spanish, and knowing them is part of the fun of learning this rich language!
How to learn Spanish fast with the 10 most effective tips
Now that you know the basics, it’s time to move on to how to learn Spanish quickly. These 10 tips will show you the most effective and fastest way to learn Spanish.
1. Learn Spanish only
If you’re looking for how to learn Spanish fast, you should stick to learning Spanish only. While this may seem obvious, often language enthusiasts will try to learn two languages at the same time, expecting to reach fluency quickly in both. Unfortunately, this strategy seldom works.
In short, the amount of time and effort you put into Spanish will impact how fast you achieve fluency. For instance, splitting your precious study hours between Spanish and Japanese will inevitably slow down your progress in the former. Alternatively, you’ll reach your goals faster if you focus solely on Spanish.
However, if you need to learn another language along with Spanish, we recommend that you choose something linguistically different to avoid confusion with vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. That is, stick to languages like Japanese, Russian, or Chinese instead of Italian, Portuguese, or French.
2. Practice everyday!
Consistency and practice are key when it comes to how to learn Spanish fast. In other words, you need to develop a sustainable learning habit to become fluent in Spanish swiftly. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to bury your head in a grammar book for hours on end everyday. Rather, it means that you commit to the study hours you’re able to pull off. Let’s look at how you can do that.
Build short, medium, and long term objectives
You can start defining short-, medium-, and long-term objectives. Wanting to learn Spanish is a good goal to have, but it’s even better if you break it down into manageable, time-bound chunks.
For instance, if you want to learn Spanish fast enough to have conversations with your Peruvian mother-in-law in six months, break down your journey into steps. For example, aim to learn Spanish greetings, farewells, and pleasantries in one month. Next, commit to learning the basics of nouns and verb conjugations in two months. Third, pledge to be able to hold a conversation on current events in three more months.
Finally, don’t forget to write these objectives down. Doing so will keep you motivated and accountable during the process!
Schedule your study time
As we already said, ways of how to learn Spanish fast depend on developing a learning habit. In this sense, having a studying schedule that you can commit to is key. For instance, if you work a 9-to-5 job, try to establish 30 daily minutes of Spanish into your morning or late afternoon. If that doesn’t work for you, try your lunch hour or before you go to bed.
When you’ve time-slotted your study hours, don’t let anything distract you! Reserve those precious minutes for Spanish and nothing else. There are plenty of time-management tools out there for language learners that are worth exploring.
Lastly, realize that there’s no right or wrong amount of time to allot for your Spanish practice. Some people can manage an hour a day, others only 15 minutes before work. What matters is that you find a time that works for you, and that you commit to it. The quicker you do this, the faster you’ll build a Spanish learning habit.
3. Find the motivation to keep learning
When it comes to learning Spanish fast – or any other language, for that matter – motivation is essential. Without it, the learning process becomes arduous and sluggish, slowing down the progress you make. Therefore, setting up ways to keep yourself pumped up is fundamental to reach your fluency goals faster. Here’s how:
- Create incentives – Rewards and incentives are fantastic ways to keep you motivated and encouraged. There are a couple of things you can try. First, you can gauge how much your time is worth, and throw that amount of money into a jar every time you successfully complete a study session or week. At the end of the month, buy yourself something you want to reward yourself! Alternatively, you can create a system where you treat yourself to a nice dessert, book, or trip to the movies if you complete a given amount of recurring studying days.
- Find a learning buddy – Finding a learning buddy helps you by having company on an otherwise solo journey. Doing this has several benefits that can aid you in learning Spanish fast. First, your partner can hold you accountable and check up on you to see how you’re doing. If you fall behind, they support you to pick the pace up. Second, a learning buddy can cheer you on during times when you’re struggling. Lastly, having a learning partner can make it seem as if you’re on a team, and some people feel energized when they’re on one.
There are different places where you can find a language buddy. For instance, Fluent Forever’s Language Learning Community is a great place to start if you already use any of our products – the app, book, tools, and resources from our Language Shop, or Live Coaching. Alternatively, you can try My Language Exchange. If you have the funds, you can also consider getting a personal language coach.
4. Learn the sounds of Spanish early on
Learning to listen to Spanish is intrinsically linked to its proper pronunciation. After all, you can’t reach fluency if you don’t know what proper Spanish sounds like. Therefore, learning the sounds of Spanish early on is crucial if you’re looking for the fastest way to learn Spanish.
Additionally, training your ears to understand and identify the sounds of Spanish makes picking up and retaining vocabulary more efficient. In turn, this makes learning Spanish quicker. Lastly, you’ll inevitably pick up grammar and the flow and rhythm of the language as you go along. There are several tools you can use to practice pronunciation and listening in Spanish.
There are free options like the Spanish Pronunciation Wikibook, Wikipedia’s Spanish Phonology page, and StudySpanish.com’s pronunciation guide with recordings. Another set of useful tools include Anki flashcards for Spanish to improve your pronunciation, such as the Spanish alphabet, Spanish IPA, and other useful goodies. Plus, you can check out Fluent Forever’s Spanish Pronunciation Trainer as a more efficient tool.
Hint: If you’re new to Anki and learning Spanish, there’s an Anki language learners’ community on Reddit. You can also check out this Anki language learning blog for other Anki tips and tricks for learning Spanish.
Finally, if you’re an English speaker, you can practice some of Spanish’s harder consonants to pronounce by checking out these videos: β (bebé), ɣ (trigo), ʝ (ayuno), x (jamón), ʎ (pollo), ɲ (cabaña), r (carro), and ɾ (caro).
5. Choose the right vocabulary
If you’re looking for how to learn Spanish fast, you shouldn’t waste your time acquiring vocabulary you’ll never use. Quite the contrary: you should only learn the most frequently used words. Additionally, because Spanish nouns are gendered, you need to find a way to learn each noun’s gender efficiently.
Your base vocabularyWe’ve made a base vocabulary list of words to start you off! You can translate those words using the short dictionaries at the end of a Lonely Planet Phrasebook; they’re cheap, short, and they give you good, standard translations for your words. Later, when you’re ready for sentences, you can go back to your phrasebook and grab some. Alternatively, you can purchase the 625-word list pre-translated into various languages, including Spanish! Download yours here.
Then, you can get a hold of Spanish Anki decks to improve your Spanish vocabulary, such as the Spanish alphabet and Spanish Top 2000 Words. Once you learn enough Spanish, move to a monolingual dictionary. RAE’s Diccionario de la Lengua Española is free. Linguee is a great dictionary resource, in that it shows you multiple example sentences for each word and tells you about each word’s relative frequency in the language.
Lastly, creating and using flashcards with a spaced repetition system (SRS), be it physical or digital flashcards, is a tool that can help you remember words longer. An SRS is a learning system that changes the time between flashcards seen based on your performance. If you get a word right, for example, the time until the next review will get longer. Alternatively, you’ll see it more frequently if you get it wrong.
Other Spanish language resources
Grammar bookThere are a lot of options here; so far, our pick would be Practical Spanish Grammar. (Note: Though we recommend the book, it does have some errors.)
TypingYou’ll need to be able to type a few new characters (á, é, í, ó, ú, ü, ñ, ¿ and ¡). Here’s a great, straightforward article on this at Spanishdict.com, with instructions for Macs and PCs.
Monolingual dictionaryOnce you learn enough Spanish, move to a monolingual dictionary. RAE’s Diccionario de la Lengua Española is free and excellent. Linguee is a lovely dictionary resource, in that it shows you multiple example sentences for each word and tells you about each word’s relative frequency in the language.
AssimilThe Assimil series is a sort of special language-learning resource that we discuss in a blog post here. It doesn’t quite fit into any of the categories above, and we think it works best as a sort of supplemental source of Spanish input. Here’s the beginner Spanish version with CDs.
DictionaristDictionarist provides translations, example sentences, conjugations, and synonyms for a number of languages including Spanish.
Spanish IPASometimes when languages are very phonetic and regular, they just assume that writing out the spellings is adequate for everyone’s needs. Thankfully, languages with really regular phonetics lend themselves well to computer programs, so often you can find a Spelling -> IPA converter for those, and there IS one for Spanish. Just plug in your word and you should get IPA for whatever you need.
6. Immerse yourself in Spanish (and have fun!)
Immersion, which entails surrounding yourself in your target language as much as possible, is one of the fastest ways to learn Spanish. Whether through travel, a course, or in your home, experts agree that immersion is one of the quickest ways to achieve fluency in a foreign language.
Travel to a Spanish-speaking country
One of the best ways to go about it is through traveling. By putting yourself in a place where you’re forced to hear, read, and talk in the language, you’re exposing yourself 24/7 to everything Spanish: vocabulary, nouns, and pronunciation. Additionally, it’ll be easier to find and interact with native speakers. Who knows? Maybe you’ll end up making a friend in the process.
So, if your budget allows it, consider taking your next holidays in Spain, Mexico, Argentina, or any of the other spanish-speaking countries we mentioned earlier.
Go for an immersion program
Full-immersion programs are available for most languages. We have information on language immersion programs on this page. For Spanish, there is a massive Reddit thread about immersion programs in Latin America. The first suggestion sits at $750 for an entire month of private lessons and lodging in Costa Rica. Additionally, this program in Peru is run by an NGO that teaches single mothers how to be Spanish teachers.
Lastly, you can check out the Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas in Spain. Every little community has its own school, and they’re public (i.e., cheap).
Create self-immersion at home
If traveling is beyond your budget, you can mimic immersion from the comfort of your home. First, you can create flashcards for everyday objects and turn your house into a giant review game. Second, try everyday activities like following a cooking recipe in Spanish. Additionally, you can change your electronics’ language settings to Spanish. Of course, have an English back-up text in case you mess up!
Third, consume Spanish media as much as possible. Spain and Latin America are huge powerhouses when it comes to media – movies, books, series, and podcasts are all a click away in today’s modern age. Whenever you have a spare minute, use it to read or listen to something in Spanish. If you’re into books, you can start with the Harry Potter series, which is available in Spanish and easy to start with.
7. Practice with native Spanish speakers
The sooner you practice with a native speaker, the faster you’ll reach fluency in Spanish. Practicing with native Spanish speakers is an invaluable tool that provides accurate feedback and perfect pronunciation examples in your target language.
Ideally, you should travel abroad and surround yourself with thousands of local Spanish speakers. However, if this is not possible, there are other great options.
You can go for the free option and find yourself a language exchange partner. Again, My Language Exchange is a great first place to start, but social media is teeming with language communities and groups. Alternatively, you can organize language meetups at your local church, café, or bar. You’d be surprised by how many people are looking for an exchange partner!
You can also volunteer to teach immigrants to learn English. While you practice your Spanish, you’re also helping someone else. It’s a win-win! On the other hand, you can find a job at a business frequented by native speakers. Waiting tables at a tapas bar could be half work, half language lesson!
There’s also the option to work 1-on-1 with a language coach who’s a native speaker. The benefit of this option is that you’ll get personalized feedback from someone who knows the ins and outs of Spanish linguistically. If you’re up for some private tutoring, check out Fluent Forever’s Live Coaching program.
8. Don’t obsess over Spanish grammar
Grammar is important, but growing your vocabulary and being able to communicate clearly matter more. Therefore, don’t obsess and lose time over perfecting Spanish grammar – what you’re looking for is to learn Spanish fast, not become a linguistic master. Trying to do so will hamper your efforts to reach fluency quickly.
That being said, learning grammar is important. However, you should focus on its basics: vocabulary, pronunciation, and sentence structure. You’ll learn the nitty-gritty of the language along the way. Remember: being understood beats grammatical perfection.
Lastly, if you’re really keen on becoming a grammar expert, we suggest that you use flashcards. You can learn grammar with sentences that you know or find interesting. This is a better use of your time, and more fun than poring over grammar textbooks.
9. Make mistakes and grow your confidence to speak Spanish
You can have perfect pronunciation and know 10,000 Spanish words, but if you don’t use Spanish it’s not really useful. Also, if you’re looking for ways of how to learn Spanish fast, not using Spanish doesn’t sound like one of them, right?
You need to come to terms with making mistakes along your journey, and shed the embarrassment of speaking in a foreign language early in the process. When we’re children, we’re able to jabber our way through speaking our then strange, native tongue. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way we lose the ability to be unapologetic in our attempts to speak a language we don’t know.
Growing your confidence to speak, and realizing that mistakes will be made in the process, is one of the fastest ways to learn Spanish. The quicker you do it, the faster you’ll reach fluency.
10. Try Fluent Forever’s app + Live Coaching to learn Spanish forever
Lastly, you can try a proven, 4-step method to learn Spanish forever. Of course, I’m talking about the Fluent Forever! In short, our system takes you through 4 key stages of language learning rooted in neuroscience, showing you how to learn Spanish fast and retain it for the longest time. Together, Fluent Forever’s app and Live Coaching make learning Spanish quick and efficient.
Let’s take a look at what this process involves.
Stage 1: Prepare your ears for Spanish
Through hundreds of minimal pair tests, the Fluent Forever app will rewire your ears to identify the sounds of Spanish. Minimal pairs are words that sound almost identical, but not entirely (think “más” and “moss”). Through these tests, learners are able to train their brains to recognize otherwise foreign sounds more easily.
With the immediate feedback system in the app, you’ll reconfigure your ears and brain to learn and understand Spanish vocabulary with less effort. That’s exactly how to learn Spanish fast in the long run!
Stage 2: Base vocabulary in Spanish
Through the awesome power of flashcards and our SRS algorithm, the app will teach you the most essential and frequently used Spanish words. Additionally, you’re able to choose which words you’re interested in, and which ones to skip. Using images, drawings, or pictures, the app automates a personalized learning experience that yields long-term retention.
Stage 3: Learning Spanish grammar, the right way
Skip the obscure grammar textbooks and learn grammar the right way! With the app, you’ll acquire Spanish grammar through stories and the sentences you care about. Additionally, it holds over 1,500 grammar sentences you can choose from, allowing you to focus on examples that you actually care about.
Stage 4: Live Coaching with native Spanish speakers
Lastly, with Fluent Forever’s Live Coaching, you’ll get to practice with your very own Spanish language coach. The sessions are 100% flexible and personalized, and our coaches are native speakers. Together with your coach, you’ll be able to create sessions based on your fluency goals and interests. And there you have it! Share this article and let your friends know how to learn Spanish fast![shareaholic app="share_buttons" id="28313910"]
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