Technological advances, growing internationalism and continuing immigration of Hispanic peoples to the U.S. and Canada have made learning Spanish as a second language ever more popular recently. If you are learning or have tried to learn Spanish, you know that at some point in time you hit flat spaces where your learning program slows down and your enthusiasm starts to wane.
Don’t let yourself get bogged down! Language learning can be and should be fun and exciting. This article explores some of the methods to liven up your language learning process, make it fun, exciting and easier.
Here are some techniques that you should consider:
1. Watch multilingual DVD’s. Find DVD movies, short educational films, whatever interests you, that have both subtitles and voice-over sound tracks in both English and Spanish. That will give you the option to watch it using the Spanish sound track with English subtitles, Spanish with no subtitles, English with Spanish subtitles, etc. This will give you a clear, repeatable personal experience with how information is imparted in the two separate languages. See for yourself the truth in the old adage, “You cannot translate directly (word for word) from one language to another, but you can express the same ideas and information.” Get the “feel” and rhythm of spoken Spanish.
2. Get a personal trainer. Find an educated native Spanish speaker to tutor you. An excellent source is foreign students from Latin America who are studying in the U.S. You already know that they are educated, and as students they probably won’t be as expensive as professional tutors. Put up a “Spanish Tutor wanted” notice on the bulletin board at your nearest University. Note: Education level is important. Spanish speakers who haven’t graduated from “Colegio” (high school) may teach you bad habits and pronunciation.
3. Read bilingual books, magazines. There are many good books and magazines published in bilingual format; one page in Spanish, facing page in English. This is another excellent way to get into how things are said properly, in Spanish, as contrasted to English. And you can do this while reading interesting stories and articles.
4. Spend some time in a Spanish-speaking country. Even if it’s only a long weekend in Mexico, go somewhere where speaking Spanish is a necessity, not an option. This is one of the very best ways to not only learn but get motivated. If you cannot travel to a Spanish-speaking country, try making friends with Spanish-speaking people who live near you. Putting yourself in face-to-face situations that require you to use your Spanish, for real, make studying and learning Spanish come to life for you.
In summary, there are many ways to spice up your Spanish learning and make it more interesting, easier and fun! Whether you watch movies on multilingual DVD’s, get a tutor, read bilingual books or spend time in Spanish-speaking countries or with Spanish-speaking people, is not really important. Pick one or more methods that appeal to you and just stick with them. Make Spanish part of your life, enjoy yourself and keep on learning and improving.