How fast can Spanish classes teach me the language?

Learning a new language can be difficult or easy; much depends on the teacher, the time spent in lessons and the determination and motivation of the student. Spanish classes vary greatly in content, format and value. What works well for one student may not work at all for another.


Most students find that full immersion in language study produces the fastest results. But if you’re heading for Madrid next Wednesday, chances are you’re going to want to take along a translation dictionary; it’s already too late for you to become conversant in Spanish, much less fluent. Two months, however, is another matter. A dedicated student enrolled in a Spanish immersion situation can be at least conversant in as little as two or three months. Fluency comes later, after many months or even years.


A talented instructor and an enthusiastic student are the twin pillars of successfully learning Spanish in a short amount of time, but there also are many other factor and plenty of tips to remember that will help you on your way. The first and foremost is, don’t be nervous about getting it wrong! Jump into the language pool with both feet and get as wet as you can. Speak Spanish at every opportunity to those who can correct your mistakes and set you on the right path. Will this make you look occasionally foolish? Sure, but who cares? The goal here is to learn a new language and you’re not going to do that without myriad blunders along the way. Embrace them and plow ahead anyway. Remember, nobody’s expecting you to be fluent right out of the gate.


Trial and error is probably the single best way to develop your new language skills. Remember, that’s how you learned your native tongue as a child, by stumbling around in short pants trying to put names to the objects that filled your world. Eventually, adjectives, verbs, adverbs and other parts of speech eventually joined your juvenile repertoire and voila, you were fluent! The same will happen with Spanish, just keep at it.


Other than constant usage, other tips to remember are these: Don’t worry overmuch about vocabulary, at least not initially. You’ll be able to converse with far fewer words than you might imagine. Additional vocabulary will come with time, practice and need.


Try not to find the meanings of new words in a dictionary. Instead, consider the situation and context in which you first heard the words. What was the speaker talking about? Were there any visual clues or indications as to the meaning of the word in his inflection?


Verbs are very important in the Spanish language. Accordingly, most Spanish classes focus heavily on verb usage and tense. Like I said, the vocabulary will come in its own good time. Far more important is learning the proper verb patterns.


Finally, use Spanish even when you’re not in Spanish class. Take every opportunity to use the Spanish names for everyday objects, places and even people. If you can find someone to join you in your quest for Spanish fluency, so much the better. Bounce words and phrases off each other every chance you get. Before you know it you’ll be speaking the language like a native.

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