Best ways to learn the Spanish Language

The Spanish Language is one of the most important languages on the planet, ranking second in the world in the number of people who speak it as their mother tongue  Only Mandarin Chinese can beat it.  Many people want to learn Spanish, but how can they do it effectively?

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A great language

More than 400 million people speak Spanish as their first language, and it is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.  Although English is one of the most widely used languages in business, only 360 million people speak it natively.  Spanish is not only spoken in Spain, but in many Latin American countries and even the United States.

Language Variations

European Spanish is the language spoken in Spain, also known as Castilian or Castilian Spanish.  The Spanish spoken in Latin America is different, and although speakers of all varieties can understand each other, there are words that have very different meanings in Spain and Latin America.  Some examples of words that can lead to misunderstandings are:

  • Give: If someone from Latin America tells you to gift them something, it does not mean that they want you to give them a gift, but rather that you bring something closer to them.
  • Now: In Spain 'now' means already, at this moment.  In Latin America it means throughout the day or later.

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Official Organisations

In Spain, the Intituto Cervantes was created as a public institution to promote the teaching, study and use of the Spanish language, as well as to spread Hispanic culture.  This organisation is present in 44 countries and offers Spanish courses with official language teachers.  It is a good place to go if you want to learn Spanish.  On its website you can find a lot of information about everything related to the language, seminars, courses and many more interesting things for anyone interested in Spanish language and culture.

Self-taught learning

Some people prefer to learn Spanish in their own home, with their own material.  It is a very good option because nowadays you can find a multitude of courses on the internet, some even free, in order to learn the language step by step.  It is no longer necessary to spend a lot of money on learning a language, as the advance of the internet has made a great deal of material available to everyone.

Podcasts are another very good option.  With only headphones and a simple mp3 player you can listen to Spanish and learn it while playing sports, or travelling by car, train or bus.  Time spent every day on the road can be an opportunity to work on learning the language. 

Mobile apps are another very good option when it comes to learning a new language.  With the widespread use of smartphones , anyone can download an app dedicated to teaching Spanish.

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Academies and private lessons

If you need to have a timetable and interact with other people with the same concerns, you can go to a language academy and sign up for an annual or intensive course, with schedules and home exercises to establish guidelines.

Whatever the approach you chose, it is important to try to practice the language whenever you can, and if possible to go on holiday to a Spanish speaking country to have direct contact with the language and its culture.

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