There are many good reasons to study spanish and there are also a great many methods, tactics and even educational technologies which language learners can employ to reach their ultimate goal of speaking Spanish fluently before old age strikes them down. Read on for our in-depth discussion on learning spanish..
Spanish is actually the most commonly spoken Romance language today with approximately three hundred million native speakers, not to mention of course countless non-native speakers (that would be you 😉 ) all of which makes it an extremely useful second (or more) language for anyone to learn. You’d be hard pressed to go anywhere in the world today and not come across a Spanish language speaker of some description, it is almost nipping at the heals of English in terms of how ubiquitous it is around the world these days.
Being a romance language also means that speakers of other romance languages such as French, Italian or Portuguese (there are actually LOTS of other romance languages) have a distinct advantage when it comes to learning to speak Spanish as well. Conversely if you already speak Spanish you will have an easier job of learning another romance language. Strangely it is not just romance languages which are closely related – in the Philippines they have a language called Tagalog which actually borrows about 5000 words from Spanish!
Naturally if you want to study spanish you will very likely visit Spain some day (of course that is assuming you are learning castillian rather than latin american spanish) so you can not only do some language immersion in the best possible way, but also to experience the many great things which Spain has to offer. Perhaps surprising to some but Spain is not just about drunk British “clubmed” tourists pickling on the sunny beaches or even dodgy dudes on the lam, there is in fact much more to experience.
In the Catalonian city of Barcelona you will find the mind boggling Sagrada Familia by the legendary Catalan architect Anton Gaudi. If the works of Gaudi are not enough to sate your thirst for local culture there are plenty of other wonders, from the world famous Barca football club to the steamy mediterranean beaches, the Olympic marina and the wonderful spanish cuisine – in Spain they really know how to do a business lunch, let me tell you! None of that eating a soggy sandwich at your desk malarky over there – they head out for a lazy two hour multi-course lunch break washed down with fine spanish wine or a strong shot of carajillo to really give you an afternoon buzz! Very civilized indeed. Of course no visit to Barcelona would be complete without a stroll along La Rambla where you will find much to gawp at such as the many and varied living statues but you will also even find a few spanish language classes which can really give your language skills a boost if you have the time to enrol.
Heading further south into the flamenco heartland of Andalusia reveals a magical region where the streets of many towns and villages are filled with the unmistakable sound of guitars and tapping feet and your grasp of the local language (and guitar if you have one) will really be put to the test, so get into the flamenco groove and remember it’s all about the compás.
Of course not everyone who plans to study spanish has any intention of visiting Spain – for many people latin american spanish is more relevant and it is spoken over a vast region which includes many diverse and exotic countries. It is important that you learn the “right” spanish for your intended use – there are differences between the Spanish spoken in Spain and that of Latin America, albeit not insurmountable differences but why make things even more difficult for yourself when you are trying to learn a foreign language?
Going for the full “on site” immersion in Spain is certainly great for a whole host of reasons but not everyone can spare the time or the money required to spend a significant time living overseas. Fortunately it is not actually necessary nowadays to do that since the internet provides all manner of new fangled ways to immerse in and learn a new language without ever leaving home.. from streaming internet radio stations to full length spanish movies and from free software and language exchanges to private spanish lessons all done over the internet using Skype. There are now more ways to indulge in your passion for language learning than at any time before in the history of life on this pale blue dot we all live upon and there really is something for everyone, no matter what level you may be at or how much or how little you wish to spend on the process.
At the end of the day, all that really matters is your own motivation and commitment to the task – if you truly want to speak spanish you must take the time to actually study spanish and that means utilising every resource you can find, or at least those that you most prefer as of course everyone has their own ways of learning. Once you have learned at least the basics you must venture out into the spanish speaking world, whether it be online or offline in the “real world” it matters not as long as you actually make the effort to speak with people at every possible opportunity until it becomes second nature to you and then one day you will suddenly realise you are finally fluent in a foreign language – score!
But even when you are finally fluent, don’t go resting on your laurels – switch to language maintenance mode and keep using it one way or another or it will just melt away like a snowflake on a hot spanish beach.