There’s no shortage of online resources dedicated to learning Spanish (or any language). From online Spanish courses and tutors to free podcasts and YouTube videos, if you have the motivation, and put in the hard work, you will eventually learn the language. But you’re not here because you want to take it slow, right? You’re here because you want to know how to learn Spanish fast.
Through research, I came across several articles that provide tips on how to learn Spanish fast. One article caught my attention. In his article “How to Learn Any Language in 3 Months”, Tim Ferriss highlights that learning languages aren't complicated. The ideal system and progression to learning any language are based on three elements in order. I know we discussed this before on Rype, but let me recap.
The three elements are effectiveness (priority), adherence (interest), and efficiency (process).
3 Pillars For Learning Spanish Faster
The effectiveness pillar refers to your material or what to learn, based on usage frequency. It makes sense to focus on those materials that yield the highest ROI for time invested. Focus on the wrong materials and you will most definitely not be able to learn a language fast. For example, in English 100 of the most written words account for 50% of all written material. So focusing on these 100 is a good place to start.
Adherence is your why and based on the idea that if you have the right motivation you can achieve anything. Content choice and learning method are important here. You should expose yourself to topics of interest. For example, choosing a language course that focuses on sports when you have no interest in sports will increase your chances of quitting. If you enjoy reading books, read books. If you enjoy watching videos, watch videos.
Lastly, efficiency refers to the process you use to learn a language. In this instance, our goal is to learn Spanish in the shortest possible time.I’ll discuss these three principles and apply them across 8 killer tips that will answer how to learn Spanish fast.
#1 Learn the Most Common Spanish Words
Start learning Spanish by building up an arsenal of words. But not just any words. As we’ve learned through the effectiveness principal, you want to learn those words that will yield the highest ROI for time spent.
Studies of Spanish suggest that 1000 most frequent words in Spanish account for 87.8% of the spoken language. So why waste your time on others? Get started by visiting Memrise or 101 languages and if you’re feeling overwhelmed by 1000, why not start with 500?
#2 Decide on How Many Words to Learn Daily
Now, decide how many words you want to learn daily. Think about it, if you learn 20 a day, it’ll take you 25 days to learn 500 words. You’ll be one step closer to fluency.
#3 Incorporate Spanish Learning Into Your Lifestyle
Study in the shower. Make it fun. Make it easy. If you’re building your life around learning Spanish you will struggle. Rather incorporate Spanish into your everyday life. For example, if you’re busy it doesn’t make sense dedicating large portions of your day to learning.
Why not go over the words first thing in the morning, and practice in the shower? Or better yet, use free Spanish apps on your way to work.
#4 Find a Spanish Tutor Online
Now once you’ve started building up a vocabulary, start practicing. Immersion is the best way to learn any language fast. What’s better than immersing yourself in the language than interacting with a one-on-one tutor? Online tutoring through Rype is cost effective and won’t cost you much.
But if you really have no budget, find an accountability buddy or a native speaker who’s willing to trade. Why don’t you teach them English in exchange for Spanish lessons? There are also many language learning apps, like HelloTalk, that let you connect with native speakers.
As you build up the vocabulary, start reading about topics that interest you. Grab your favorite book in Spanish, read the newspapers or even magazines.
Scheduling is important for productivity. So, set aside time to learn Spanish. But, be realistic in how much time you dedicate. If you’re busy, refer to #3. Make use of Google calendar.
#7 Set a Deadline
If you want to learn Spanish fast, you need to set deadlines. Setting deadlines give us something to work toward. It makes it tangible and allows us to assess our progress. Not having a deadline only leads to procrastination.
#8 Don’t Obsess Over Finer Details
It will only halt your productivity and the time it takes to learn Spanish. By the finer details, I’m talking about grammar for instance. A perfect example of this is: I’m typing this post without concern about the spelling mistakes in previous paragraphs, and let me tell you, I see many. The OCD side of me wants to go back and correct them, but that just stunts the flow. I’ll rather focus on writing first and correct spelling and flow later.
In conclusion: How to learn Spanish faster?
Becoming fluent in Spanish isn’t as hard and complicated as you may think. In fact, if you diffuse the 3 pillars of language learning, namely, effectiveness, adherence, and efficiency into it, you’ll learn Spanish fast.
So, focus on those materials that generate the fastest results. Make sure you sustain your motivation over time by learning in a way that suits you and read or watch videos about topics that interest you. Also, don’t be afraid to change the above process (efficiency) if you feel you aren’t getting the best results.