3 Reasons Why Learning Spanish Is Easy
I was talking with a friend who said he was learning Spanish with Duolingo. I got curious, so I started to ask him questions. He explained he began with Indonesian because he was living in Indonesia. He then tried Spanish, apparently, for no particular reason. He kept learning it because, compared to Indonesian, it was much easier for him.
As a native speaker, it’s hard for me to say whether learning Spanish is easy. Back in school, teachers never taught us when to use the subjunctive or how to conjugate verbs. Yet, we’d do it correctly.
So how do I know learning Spanish is easy? Because the US Foreign Service Institute has ranked Spanish as one of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers.
So why so many people are unable to speak it after studying it for years? Well, it can be due to:
- Their natural ability to learn languages.
- Whether or not they have prior experience studying languages.
- How much time and effort they’ve put into acquiring it.
More often than not, however, there’re also some possible reasons they can’t articulate a sentence after studying it for a long time:
- They never get to visit a country where they speak Spanish. If so, they go to a vacation resort where everyone speaks English.
- They do not learn it for fun, but to fulfill a language requirement.
- They never get to use the language in an authentic setting.
Back to the reasons why learning Spanish is easy, I believe they’re at least three:
- It’s similar to English.
- Native speakers are everywhere.
- The amount of learning resources is huge.
Let’s take a look at them.
1. Spanish is similar to English
Many will argue that Spanish and English aren’t that similar. I mean:
- In Spanish, you have to use masculine and feminine for articles, nouns, and adjectives (la casa blanca, el banco famoso), while in English you don’t (the white house, the famous bank).
- In Spanish, you need to use two different verbs, ser, and estar, for what in English, you only have one, to be.
- The structures of many expressions are different: In Spanish, you’d say “Me llamo” and “Tengo 20 años”, which in English means “I call myself” and “I have 20 years”.
- You can omit the subject of a sentence in Spanish (Yo como and Como are both correct). In English, you can’t do so (I eat).
- Spanish requires you to conjugate verbs, while in English, things aren’t so complicated!
- In Spanish, we use tildes or written accents, but in English, we don’t.
- In Spanish, the adjective usually goes after the noun (el coche rojo), while in English, it’s the opposite (the red car).
What makes Spanish and English so similar then?
- Except for the beloved Spanish ñ, both languages share the same alphabet.
- Spanish and English have over 1000 words in common, meaning that they’re spelled the same or very similarly (color, hospital, helicóptero). The fancy term for this type of word is “Cognate.”
- Plurals have an added “s” or “es”: coche/coches (car/cars), flor/flores, (flower/flowers).
2. Native Speakers Are Everywhere
I remember once I went shopping when the Norwegian girl attending me had the courage to speak with me in Spanish. She had studied it for a few years in high school, so she dared to practice her knowledge. She was brave, and I felt flattered by her trying to speak with me in my language.
Do you see it? Chances are you don’t even need to travel internationally to talk with Spanish speakers. Above all, if you live in the United States where the Hispanic community is so huge. That being said, don’t expect them to knock on your door and ask you whether you’d like to practice your Spanish with them. It won’t happen. You need to seek out opportunities to practice.
“If the mountain won’t go to Mohammed, then Mohammed must come to the mountain.”
Let me guess; you aren’t very outgoing, are you? I understand that not everyone is willing to start a conversation with a random person they’ve just met. No problem, there are some excellent alternatives:
- Going to meetups: Do you have Spanish meetups in your area? You can meet other people that are interested in practicing face to face.
- Talking with natives online using HelloTalk. It’s relaxed and informal. The deal? The natives correct you, and you correct them in your language.
- Chatting with Spanish native speakers on Tandem.
- Paying a private tutor on Italki.
- Finding someone interested in conversing in Spanish and maybe learning your language on the subreddit r/language_exchange.
- Joining a Discord Server to practice Spanish, like this one: English/Spanish Language Exchange Discord Server.
Apart from the learning tools mentioned above, you can also try to reach native speakers by:
- Joining Facebook groups in Spanish that focuses on a shared interest. For instance, I have a friend from Sweden who’s genuinely interested in motorcycles. Since he also wants to learn Spanish, he joined the Facebook group of a Spanish-based motorcycle club that arranges many gatherings in a region where he usually spends his holidays.
- Following Instagram accounts of Spanish native speakers. You can see their posts, read their comments, and interact with them.
- Looking for subreddits in Spanish on topics you like. Here’s a few ideas on subreddits where people communicate in Spanish: r/ArgentinaCocina, r/libros, r/preguntaleareddit, r/espanol.
There’re many Spanish native speakers out there. You can talk with them. Preferably, every day. It will help develop your Spanish, practice what you’ve learned, expand your vocabulary, and improve your pronunciation. All these things on a budget!
3. The Amount of Learning Resources Is Huge
Whether you want to read Spanish, write it with others, speak it, or watch it on TV, you can easily find a way to do it.
On the one hand, you can find many online resources that are exclusively made for Spanish learners. Here’re some examples:
- Podcasts: Learn Spanish con Salsa, Duolingo podcast, Hoy hablamos, Radio Ambulante, Coffee Break Español.
- Youtube channels: Why not Spanish, Butterfly Spanish, Maria Español, and Nacho Time Spanish.
- Learning apps: Memrise, Duolingo, Drops, Busuu, Babbel, AnkiApp.
- Websites: Language Transfer, Study Spanish, Lingolia, Quizlet.
- Courses: Peter Hanley’s “Spanish for Beginners”, BBC – “Mi vida loca,” Coursera – Spanish Vocabulary: Meeting People.
On the other hand, there’s also a vast amount of native media content to which you can easily access on Youtube, Netflix, or RTVE.
Y tú, ¿qué piensas? ¿Te parece fácil aprender español? Do you find learning Spanish easy? What’s your experience? Please, leave a comment! 🙂