How To Conquer Spanish In 2021
Here’s how to conquer Spanish in 2021 — even if you have little to no experience with the language.
This is it! We’re now in 2021. How are you feeling?
If you’ve been studying Spanish for months or years — if you’ve taken a Spanish course, used different language learning apps, and you barely speak Spanish — don’t worry. I’ll show you some techniques on how to conquer Spanish in 2021 — including how you can go from zero to fluency in twelve months.
1. Do: Expose yourself to Spanish
The best way to learn Spanish is to expose yourself to it as much as possible. Live and breathe Spanish all year long. Let’s see what happens.
The more you expose yourself to Spanish in different situations and contexts, the more connections your brain will make. Right, you can’t spend months on vacation in a country where they speak Spanish. So how can you surround yourself with Spanish anytime, anywhere?
1. Reading. One thing you want to do this year is to incorporate some Spanish reading into your life. The knowledge you’ll get will be invaluable.
2. Watching movies and TV shows. Love watching movies and TV shows? Conquer Spanish this year by watching movies and series in the language. You will improve your comprehension skills whilst doing something fun. Sounds like a win-win to me.
3. Journaling. By typing out some Spanish lines every day, you will be working on writing, reading, and grammar. This will then translate into better communication.
4. Practicing with natives. Call up a few of your Hispanic friends. Look into websites that allow you to conversate with other people in Spanish.
5. Listening to podcasts. Even if you’re busy, you can still listen to podcasts while doing other things like exercising, cooking, or cleaning. If I were you, though, I’d dedicate some minutes to listen to a podcast while reading the transcription. Here’re some good podcasts for Spanish learners:
6. Playing video games. There’s no reason why you cannot combine two things you enjoy doing.
7. Listening to music. There’re many talented artists in the Spanish-speaking world. You may want to check out Rozalén, Georgina, Conchita, Natalia Lafourcade, Manuel Carrasco, and Jarabe de Palo.
2. Do: Embrace variation
Minimalism doesn’t work when it comes to learning a language. At least not when it comes to learning methods. The more options you have to get exposed to the language, the better.
I’m not talking about using ten different language-learning apps. That can be overwhelming, and overwhelming usually leads to nothing.
Variation means choosing different techniques to learn Spanish. Here are some:
1. Hiring a Spanish tutor. I have one good suggestion for you (me).
2. Using a language-learning app. Avoid falling into the trap of downloading ten different language-learning apps. One or two can be part of your learning strategy, though.
3. All the above mentioned in point one: Reading, watching movies and TV shows, journaling, practicing with natives, listening to podcasts, playing video games, or listening to music in Spanish.
3. Do: Make it a daily habit that sticks
Consistent, automated, systematic. Those three words are key to become the kind of person who stops talking and starts doing (and achieving!). Well, in this case, you should start talking, but in Spanish. Remember that motivation is important, but discipline and consistency mean everything.
You don’t want that learning Spanish becomes just another project you never followed through. Hopefully, if you choose me as your private tutor, I can show you the exact strategies that can help you communicate effectively in Spanish.
4. Do: Make mistakes
The funny thing about mistakes is that everyone makes them—even natives!
So let’s be clear. To speak Spanish, you have to give yourself permission to make mistakes.
Now, the important thing is learning from them.
That’s if you’re aware of your mistakes. Because in many cases, people won’t even know they’re making them. So having someone else pointing out what you’re doing wrong when speaking Spanish is gold. You need that kind of feedback as well.
What happens if you don’t have someone to correct you? In that case, it’ll take you longer to communicate effectively in Spanish. For this reason, having a Spanish tutor can be essential for recognizing your mistakes, learning from them, and moving forward.
5. Do: Make tangible and quantifiable goals
No, improving your Spanish, learning conversation skills, or getting a grasp of the language are not tangible and quantifiable goals.
What about setting up a goal of reading 2–3 articles per week about topics that you find interesting in Spanish?
Here’re some other examples of tangible and quantifiable goals:
- Writing 100 words in Spanish every day.
- Using a language-learning app ten minutes daily.
- Listening to five songs while reading the lyrics each week.
- Writing down ten new words and their meaning every day.
- Chatting with a native twice a week.
- Booking three hours of online lessons with a Spanish tutor every week.
Why make tangible and quantifiable goals?
If you don’t make tangible and quantifiable goals, you’ll end up chasing random tactics and getting random results.
One day you read something on Facebook in Spanish. The next day you spend some time on Duolingo. Once in a while, you happen to have an opportunity to speak with a native. However, you don’t feel confident enough and avoid doing so.
So not having a learning strategy with tangible and measurable goals doesn’t sound very promising.
My recommendation is to set up a few tactics to learn Spanish. Even better, try to have a cohesive thread running through them. Do a specific thing for working on grammar (maybe a textbook?), another one for improving your vocabulary (reading the news?), and the third one for pronunciation (listening to songs while reading the lyrics?).
6. Don’t: End up mispronouncing many words
You’d be amazed at how many non-native “Spanish grammar gurus” you can find online with poor pronunciation (not that my English pronunciation is the best!). On the other hand, many other non-native Spanish teachers speak Spanish so well that it’s hard to say they are not natives.
From one extreme to the other, everything is possible. Just do me a favor. Do not undervalue the importance of working on your pronunciation.
7. Don’t: Get bored
Studying a language can be pretty boring. Think about how many grammar rules, conjugations, and words one has to learn. It’s overwhelming.
But, as people say, curious people don’t get bored. They’re always willing to discover something new, to learn, to understand. So stay curious. Always.
There will always be new words and expressions to learn, new ways to use the language, and many more Spanish speakers worth speaking with in Spanish. Because learning a language is a lifetime project.
Conquering Spanish in 2021 is doable if you:
- Expose yourself to the language as much as possible
- Embrace different learning techniques
- Incorporate Spanish into your daily life
- Give yourself permission to make mistakes
- Make quantifiable and tangible goals
- Avoid mispronouncing words
- Avoid getting bored