How to learn Spanish fast

How to learn Spanish fast

Introduction

If you are looking for an in-depth article on how to learn Spanish fast....

... you are in the right place.

It is not easy to learn Spanish fast, especially if you have limited time and, perhaps, limited funds.

How to learn Spanish FAST


So, how can you do it?

In this article, I set out:

  • What does it really mean to learn Spanish fast? 
  • The mindset needed to learn Spanish fast 
  • How to approach learning Spanish
  • Where to learn Spanish
  • Apps that will help you learn Spanish
  • Books that will help you learn Spanish fast
  • YouTube videos that will help you learn Spanish
  • Podcasts which will help you learn Spanish
  • What to learn to make fast progress

How to get around the article

To help get around this post efficiently, the quick navigation box will help. 

Rocket Spanish - a review

Can you learn Spanish in five minutes?

Some videos on YouTube are entitled “ learn Spanish in 5 minutes.”  Such a claim will certainly attract some eyeballs, as the online marketers say.  But, is this realistic in any way, shape or form?

Clearly not.

Spanish in 5 minutes?

However,  in 5 minutes,  you could learn a key number of elements which will help you on that weekend trip to Spain.

Numbers, for example.

…  or asking how much something is.

Useful practical stuff, but you are not really learning Spanish in any meaningful way.

So, we really need to park this claim, because evidently it is not possible to learn Spanish in such a short time.

Can you learn Spanish in 24 hours?

Is this possible?

The key question, of course, is to what level and depth the language is being learned.

The European Framework for Languages gives various levels  of language learning, and in such a short time frame, one can assume that little more than level A1 is going to be achieved.

Learn Spanish in 24 hours_
Level A1 Spanish on the CEFR framework

The requirements for A1 are set out below, in English and in Spanish.

Spoken Production A1

I can use simple phrases and sentences to describe where I live and people I know. (Source CEFR)

Expresión oral  A1

Utilizo expresiones y frases sencillas para describir el lugar donde vivo y las personas que conozco.

Spoken INTERACTION A1

I can interact in a simple way provided the other person is prepared to repeat or rephrase things at a slower rate of speech and help me formulate what I'm trying to say. I can ask and answer simple questions in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics. (Source CEFR)

Interacción oral  A1

Puedo participar en una conversación de forma sencilla siempre que la otra persona esté dispuesta a repetir lo que ha dicho o a decirlo con otras palabras y a una velocidad más lenta y me ayude a formular lo que intento decir. Planteo y contesto preguntas sencillas sobre temas de necesidad inmediata o asuntos muy habituales.

Listening A1

I can recognise familiar words and very basic phrases concerning myself, my family and immediate concrete surroundings when people speak slowly and clearly. (Source CEFR)

Comprensión auditiva  A1

Reconozco palabras y expresiones muy básicas que se usan habitualmente, relativas a mí mismo, a mi familia y a mi entorno inmediato cuando se habla despacio y con claridad.

reading  A1

I can understand familiar names, words and very simple sentences, for example on notices and posters or in catalogues. (Source CEFR)

Comprensión auditiva  A1

Comprendo palabras y nombres conocidos y frases muy sencillas, por ejemplo las que hay en letreros, carteles y catálogos.

Writing  A1

I can write a short, simple postcard, for example sending holiday greetings. I can fill informs with personal details, for example entering my name, nationality and address on a hotel registration form. (Source CEFR)

Expresión escrita  A1

Soy capaz de escribir postales cortas y sencillas, por ejemplo para enviar felicitaciones. Sé rellenar formularios con datos personales, por ejemplo mi nombre, mi nacionalidad y mi dirección en el formulario del registro de un hotel.

And, for some, that might be enough.

This is where you need to really consider what your aims and objectives are when learning Spanish.  The following section addresses this in detail.

As a consequence, therefore, some self-analysis is very important before deciding what how to learn Spanish fast means to you.

 And everyone will have a different response to that question.

CEFR levels - A1
CEFR A1 Level

Can you learn Spanish in a week?

Is it possible to do anything properly in a week?

Competency, it is said, comes from having done something 10,00 times.

It is Malcolm Gladwell's hugely popular book, Outliers, that is largely responsible for introducing "the 10,000-hour rule" to a mass audience - it's the name of one of the chapters.

You cannot really do anything much in a week.

Even if you devoted, say, all of the waking hours to learning Spanish, that would give you:

8 hours a day x 7 = 56 hours hours in total.

That is a long way short of the 10,000 hours mentioned in the book. 

However, with serious determination and consistent application over the seven day period it may enable a student to start approaching level A2 on the European framework of languages.

So level is A2?

Here are the levels for the different skills required when speaking a foreign language.

I have put in bold the elements of this particular level - with say 60 hours of time at a student's disposal, this level should be attainable....

...subject to determination and consistent application and.... all the other necessary attributes needed to make real progress in learning a foreign language.

Note the phrases in bold are mine, not the European Council's.

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    Writing  A2

    I can write short, simple notes and messages relating to matters in areas of immediate needs. I can write a very simple personal letter, for example thanking someone for something.

    ​ (Source CEFR)

    Expresión escrita  A2

    Soy capaz de escribir notas y mensajes breves y sencillos relativos a mis necesidades inmediatas.Puedo escribir cartas personales muy sencillas, por ejemplo agradeciendo algo a alguien.


    (Fuente: © Council of Europe / Conseil de l’Europe)

     spoken production A2

    I can use a series of phrases and sentences to describe in simple terms my family and other people, living conditions, my educational background and my present or most recent job.

    ​. (Source CEFR)

    Expresión oral  A2

    Utilizo una serie de expresiones y frases para describir con términos sencillos a mi familia y otras personas, mis condiciones de vida, mi origen educativo y mi trabajo actual o el último que tuve.


    (Fuente: © Council of Europe / Conseil de l’Europe)

    spoken interaction  A2

    I can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar topics and activities. I can handle very short social exchanges, even though I can't usually understand enough to keep the conversation going myself.

    ​ (Source CEFR)

    interación oral  A2

    Puedo comunicarme en tareas sencillas y habituales que requieren un intercambio simple y directo de información sobre actividades y asuntos cotidianos. Soy capaz de realizar intercambios sociales muy breves, aunque, por lo general, no puedo comprender lo suficiente como para mantener la conversación por mí mismo.


    (Fuente: © Council of Europe / Conseil de l’Europe)

    reading  A2

    I can read very short, simple texts. I can find specific, predictable information in simple everyday material such as advertisements, prospectuses, menus and timetables and I can understand short simple personal letters (Source CEFR)

    comprensión de lectura  A2

    Soy capaz de leer textos muy breves y sencillos. Sé encontrar información específica y predecible en escritos sencillos y cotidianos como anuncios publicitarios, prospectos, menús y horarios y comprendo cartas personales breves y sencillas.


    (Fuente: © Council of Europe / Conseil de l’Europe)

    listening  A2

    I can understand phrases and the highest frequency vocabulary related to areas of most immediate personal relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local area, employment). I can catch the main point in short, clear, simple messages and announcements.

    ​(Source CEFR)

    comprensión auditiva  A2

    Comprendo frases y el vocabulario más habitual sobre temas de interés personal (información personal y familiar muy básica, compras, lugar de residencia, empleo). Soy capaz de captar la idea principal de avisos y mensajes breves, claros y sencillos.


    (Fuente: © Council of Europe / Conseil de l’Europe)

    listening  A2

    I can understand phrases and the highest frequency vocabulary related to areas of most immediate personal relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local area, employment). I can catch the main point in short, clear, simple messages and announcements.

    ​(Source CEFR)

    comprensión auditiva  A2

    Comprendo frases y el vocabulario más habitual sobre temas de interés personal (información personal y familiar muy básica, compras, lugar de residencia, empleo). Soy capaz de captar la idea principal de avisos y mensajes breves, claros y sencillos.


    (Fuente: © Council of Europe / Conseil de l’Europe)

    listening  A2

    I can understand phrases and the highest frequency vocabulary related to areas of most immediate personal relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local area, employment). I can catch the main point in short, clear, simple messages and announcements.

    ​(Source CEFR)

    comprensión auditiva  A2

    Comprendo frases y el vocabulario más habitual sobre temas de interés personal (información personal y familiar muy básica, compras, lugar de residencia, empleo). Soy capaz de captar la idea principal de avisos y mensajes breves, claros y sencillos.


    (Fuente: © Council of Europe / Conseil de l’Europe)

    A2 is achievable with a good text book and a good teacher to guide the student through the process.

     The link below is a link to text book that does precisely that.

    So, Spanish in a week?

    As the levels are indicating, an A2 level is not speaking Spanish in a sophisticated way, but it is communicating with familiar words on familiar topics. 

    ... and that is a very reasonable aim for 60 hours worth of study.

    An A2 level is great for transactional Spanish:

    • for a week or two's holiday     .... so you can book a hotel room
    • or a flying weekend visit          .... so you can order food in a restaurant 
    • a work-related visit to Spain  .... so you can respectfully interact with your                                                                         Spanish colleagues, albeit in a simple way. 
    The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) - Level A2
    CEFR A2 Level


    Can you learn Spanish in a month? /
    Can you learn Spanish in 3 months?

    The short answer is "yes".

    The time frame starts to become less important.

    More important is mindset, approach, setting goals and, let's face it, linguistic ability.

    Some people are cut out for learning languages, whilst others are, well, not. 

    However, with that said, you can start moving into the realms of B1

    It is not easy but .... it is "doable". 

    So what is B1? The levels are set out below in both Spanish and in English.

    The key elements have been highlighted.

    Learn Spanish in 1 month_
    Learn Spanish in 3 months_

    listening  B1

    I can understand the main points of clear standard speech on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. I can understand the main point of many radio or TV programmes on current affairs or topics of personal or professional interest when the delivery is relatively slow and clear.

    ​(Source CEFR)

    comprensión auditiva  b1

    Comprendo las ideas principales cuando el discurso es claro y normal y se tratan asuntos cotidianos que tienen lugar en el trabajo, en la escuela, durante el tiempo de ocio, etc. Comprendo la idea principal de muchos programas de radio o televisión que tratan temas actuales o asuntos de interés personal o profesional, cuando la articulación es relativamente lenta y clara.


    (Fuente: © Council of Europe / Conseil de l’Europe)

    reading  b1

    I can understand texts that consist mainly of high frequency everyday or job-related language. I can understand the description of events, feelings and wishes in personal letters.

    ​(Source CEFR)

    comprensión de lectura b1

    Comprendo textos redactados en una lengua de uso habitual y cotidiano o relacionada con el trabajo. Comprendo la descripción de acontecimientos, sentimientos y deseos en cartas personales.


    (Fuente: © Council of Europe / Conseil de l’Europe)

    speaking interaction  B1

    I can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. I can enter unprepared into conversation on topics that are familiar, of personal interest or pertinent to everyday life (e.g. family, hobbies, work, travel and current events).

    ​(Source CEFR)

    interacción oral b1

    Sé desenvolverme en casi todas las situaciones que se me presentan cuando viajo donde se habla esa lengua. Puedo participar espontáneamente en una conversación que trate temas cotidianos de interés personal o que sean pertinentes para la vida diaria (por ejemplo, familia, aficiones, trabajo, viajes y acontecimientos actuales).


    (Fuente: © Council of Europe / Conseil de l’Europe)

    speaking production  b1

    I can connect phrases in a simple way in order to describe experiences and events, my dreams, hopes and ambitions. I can briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. I can narrate a story or relate the plot of a book or film and describe my reactions.

    ​(Source CEFR)

    expresión oral b1

    Sé enlazar frases de forma sencilla con el fin de describir experiencias y hechos, mis sueños, esperanzas y ambiciones. Puedo explicar y justificar brevemente mis opiniones y proyectos. Sé narrar una historia o relato, la trama de un libro o película y puedo describir mis reacciones.


    (Fuente: © Council of Europe / Conseil de l’Europe)

    speaking production  b1

    I can connect phrases in a simple way in order to describe experiences and events, my dreams, hopes and ambitions. I can briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. I can narrate a story or relate the plot of a book or film and describe my reactions.

    ​(Source CEFR)

    expresión oral b1

    Sé enlazar frases de forma sencilla con el fin de describir experiencias y hechos, mis sueños, esperanzas y ambiciones. Puedo explicar y justificar brevemente mis opiniones y proyectos. Sé narrar una historia o relato, la trama de un libro o película y puedo describir mis reacciones.


    (Fuente: © Council of Europe / Conseil de l’Europe)

    Writing b1

    I can write simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. I can write personal letters describing experiences and impressions.

    ​(Source CEFR)

    expresión escrita  b1

    Soy capaz de escribir textos sencillos y bien enlazados sobre temas que me son conocidos o de interés personal. Puedo escribir cartas personales que describen experiencias e impresiones.


    (Fuente: © Council of Europe / Conseil de l’Europe)

    CEFR Level B1
    CEFR B1 Level


    Achieving a B1 level in Spanish will take application, motivation and drive.

    The amount of time taken to do so, is, to a large extent, is irrelevant.

    ... the journey getting there, and what you pick up on the way, is almost as important as the language learning itself.

    And, what are the things that you might pick up on the way?

    These include:

    Improved memory - exercising those little grey cells

    ​Improved communication skills in your own language

    Better understanding of how your own language works

    ‘Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.’Flora Lewis (American journalist)

    Can you learn Spanish in a year?

    With one year, anything is possible.

    One year's immersion, coupled with a good ear and some grammatical underpinning in a classroom environment, you can begin to approach fluency and real mastery of the language.

    ... and, dare I say it, with some romantic interest the possibility of this happening is even higher!

    Can you learn Spanish in a year_

    Indeed, romantic interest is a great motivating factor when it comes to learning languages.

    What .... with having to impress you partner, and his or her friends and then it's the family ... but let's not run away with ourselves!

    Thus, in one year, with the C1 and even C2 level is achievable. 

    The mindset needed to learn Spanish fast

    The why?

    Why do you want to learn Spanish?

    You must ask yourself this question.

    The big question ¿WHY?

    ... and does it have to be fast?

    Urgency - the need may be due to circumstances. You may need Spanish, for example, for your job.

    Or, you have just met someone, and, for whatever reason, you would like to communicate with that particular person in Spanish.

    Indeed, a romantic link is often one of the best motivators to learn a foreign language.

    If learning Spanish has always been one of the things you would like to do,

    ... that you have never really got round to doing, and now, you think it is the time, it is worthwhile taking a few moments to ask yourself

    .... do I really  want to do this?

    Because:

    • Learning Spanish takes commitment
    • Learning Spanish takes time
    • Learning Spanish is not necessarily easy or straight forward (what is that is worthwhile?)
    ‘Knowledge of languages is the doorway to wisdom.’ Roger Bacon (English philosopher)

    Your why has to be big enough to keep you going through the ups and the downs of language learning journey.

    For it is a journey, and the path is not always smooth. There are some inclines, and on occasions it can get quite steep and difficult.

    But, when you reach the top, the vistas and possibilities which have opened up for you are huge.

    Spanish language learning goals

    What are your language learning goals_

    What are your language learning goals?

    Yup - it does sound a bit management-speak. Because it is!

    But, I suppose managements use it for one good reason....

    ..... the method actually works.

    If you don't have a goal in your language learning, you cannot really keep any track of your progress. 

    Duh!

    What are your language learning goals_

    Here are a number of ideas to play with, when considering you language goals.

    You will remember somebody, somewhere saying (a teacher, a boss, a relative) that goals are supposed to be SMART.

    What does this acronym mean? Here's a reminder:

    Specific -        What do you want to achieve?

                                 Who needs to be involved for you to achieve this goal?

                                 When do you want to have this goal finished by?

                                  Why should you achieve this goal in precise terms?                     

    Measurable - How can you measure progress so that you know that your goal                                has been achieved?

    Attainable -   Are you capable of achieving this goal?

                                 Do you have the necessary skills - if not, what is needed to                                           acquire them?

    Relevant -     Why should you achieve this goal? What will it mean if achieved?

    Timely -        By when will the goal be achieved? Is it realistic?

    How smart is smart?

    So, how can this acronym help?

    Here are a couple of ideas.

    The first is for a beginner, for someone who is just starting out on their Spanish learning path .... for someone is aiming for level A1.​​​​

    The second is for someone who is being more ambitious, and, accordingly, needs to be be more strategic. This is for someone aiming at level B1.​​

    A1 level -SMART level suggestions

    A1 Level


    Specific





    Measurable


    Attainable / Achievable


    Realistic


    Timely

    Steps


    By my next summer holidays I will be able to interact in a simple way provided the other person is prepared to repeat or rephrase things at a slower rate of speech and help me formulate what I'm trying to say. I can ask and answer simple questions in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics - hotel, bar, restaurant

    I can measure my progress (retention of vocabulary) by daily testing with electronic flashcards - quizlet 

    I will commit 15 minutes every day to Spanish language learning (e.g. on my morning commute, whilst walking) - achievable.

    This goal is realistic - 15 muniutes per day is emminently realistic

    By next summer, I will have spent 6 months worth of  daily 15 minutes commitment (say 42 hours in total) to achieve my goal. Timely and doable.

    The purpose of this table is give you some ideas, but the real test of your commitment to learn Spanish is whether or not you actually take any action.

    Enough said!

    Below are some suggestions, and nothing more than that, for the B1 level.

    B1 level SMART level suggestions

    B1 Level

    Specific





    Measurable


    Attainable / Achievable


    Steps

    By ..... (a specific date) I will be able to deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. I can enter unprepared into conversation on topics that are familiar, of personal interest or pertinent to everyday life (e.g. family, hobbies, work, travel and current events)

    I can measure my progress (retention of vocabulary) by daily testing with electronic flashcards - quizlet 

    I will commit 1 hour  every day to Spanish language learning (e.g. on my morning commute, whilst walking) - whilst this is a not inconsiderable time commitment, it is achievable given my overwhelming wish to speak Spanish with a degree of fluency and understanding.

    Realistic


    This goal is realistic - 60 minutes per day is  reasonable but will require commitment and an element of sacrifice

    Timely

    By next summer, I will have spent 6 months worth of daily 1 hour commitment (say 180 hours in total) to achieve my goal. Timely and doable but with a recognisable yet acceptable element of stretch.

    Smart language learning goals

    Are these smart goals really for you?

    Only you can really tell.

    For some personality types, having this sort of framework for learning is really very helpful.

    Whilst for others, well ...

    ... perhaps not. Discipline and commitment can be tough. But, if you do want to stand out from the crowd ... you have to do things the crowd do not want to do.

    To sum up - are you a language wannabe?

    C2 level - this is for the high flyers

    The information below has been taken from the CEFR website.

    The key sections have been highlighted to show the challenges implicit in operating at this level of linguistic competence.

    How to achieve this level? 

    And, how long to achieve this level?

    If you live in an environment where you speak competently with near native fluency every day in social, academic and professional circumstances, then you are operating at this level.

    But how long did it take to achieve? ....

    ... it could be argued that it is learning a language is an ongoing exercise which is never completed.

    Indeed, many people do not operate at this level and it is their native tongue. 

    So, this is a level which is challenging and is perhaps beyond the reach of most. 

    Indeed, it is the sort of level that student with a good honours degree achieves and has had :

    • lots of time to study (3/4 years)

    • exposure to and practise of speaking, reading, writing and listening Spanish at university academic level

    • possibly a year in a Spanish speaking country

    C1 CEFR levels

    Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. 


    Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.

     

    Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.

     

    Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

    Niveles de referencia CEFR - C1

    Es capaz de comprender una amplia variedad de textos extensos y con cierto nivel de exigencia, así como reconocer en ellos sentidos implícitos.

     Sabe expresarse de forma fluida y espontánea sin muestras muy evidentes de esfuerzo para encontrar la expresión adecuada.

    Puede hacer un uso flexible y efectivo del idioma para fines sociales, académicos y profesionales.

    Puede producir textos claros, bien estructurados y detallados sobre temas de cierta complejidad, mostrando un uso correcto de los mecanismos de organización, articulación y cohesión del texto.

    CEFR Level C2

    This level is added for the sake of completeness.

    This is basically fluent use of the language at a high level. Many native speakers do not achieve this level. 

    C2 CEFR level

    Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read.

     

    Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.

     

    Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.

    Niveles de referencia CEFR - C2

    C2 CEFR level

    Es capaz de comprender con facilidad prácticamente todo lo que oye o lee.

    Sabe reconstruir la información y los argumentos procedentes de diversas fuentes, ya sean en lengua hablada o escrita, y presentarlos de manera coherente y resumida.

    Puede expresarse espontáneamente, con gran fluidez y con un grado de precisión que le permite diferenciar pequeños matices de significado incluso en situaciones de mayor complejidad.

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      How to approach learning Spanish

      Where to learn Spanish

      Learn Spanish on holiday
      Learn Spanish - full immersion
      Learn Spanish in Spain
      Learn Spanish in Latin America
      Learn Spanish while teaching English

      Apps that will help you learn Spanish

      1

      Apps that help you learn Spanish fast número 1 - Fluentu

      FluentU logo

      2

      Apps that help you learn Spanish fast número 2 - Lingualia

      Lingualia logo

      3

      Apps that help you learn Spanish fast número 3 - Duolingo

      Duolingo logo

      4

      Apps that help you learn Spanish fast número 4 - fluencia

      Duolingo logo

      5

      Apps that help you learn Spanish fast número 5 - Rosetta Stone

      Rosetta stone

      6

      Apps that help you learn Spanish fast número 6 - busuu

      Busuu logo

      7

      Apps that help you learn Spanish fast número 7 - mosalingua

      Mosalingua logo

      8

      Apps that help you learn Spanish fast número 8
      - Michel Thomas

      Michel Thomas logo

      Books that will help you learn Spanish fast

      Books.

      I love books. My shelves are full of books on how to learn Spanish.

      Academic books. Fun books. Course books. Dictionaries. Vocab lists.

      You name it and I have bought it.

      Yes, I love books and even in the age of podcasts and Youtube and Netflix and the rest, there is still a place for books in the Spanish language learner's library.

      ten books to turbo charge your Spanish learning

      Below, I list a variety of books.

      There are ten in all. They are in no particular order - and they are all in my library.

      Click on the links to find out the price on Amazon.

      Depending on what type of Spanish student you are, you will find something below for you.

      1

      Books to help you learn Spanish - 1

      LANGUAGE HACKING SPANISH (Learn How to Speak Spanish - Right Away): A Conversation Course for Beginners (Language Hacking with Benny Lewis)

      If you want to "hack" your way into learning Spanish - this is the book for you.


      Bennie is a YouTuber and has given Ted talks.


      If you are a beginner and you want to get going fast, this book will definitely help.


      Full of practical tips, hacks and ideas.


      I can only agree with Bennie when he says:


      "Embrace your mistakes"


      "Master power phrases"


      "Do 20% of the work to get 80% of the results"


      "Learn by speaking - straight away"

      2

      Books to help you learn Spanish 2

      Spanish For Dummies (European Spanish)

      The Dummies series is well known. 


      It is successful - for a reason.


      This book, like others in the series, unpacks learning Spanish and reveals the process in bite-sized chunks.


      Easily understood, practical, emminently straight-forward.


      This book, without doubt, should be on your bookshelf, if you are a half-way serious student of the Spanish language.


      I have given a link to the Spanish (European version), but there is also Latin American version. 


      If you have this book, you will be able to:



      have every day conversations in Spanish


      make sense of Spanish grammar


      improve your Spanish pronunciation


      get a handle on Spanish conjugations


      use idioms and popular expressions


      get around a Spanish-speaking country


      3

      Books to help you learn Spanish - 3

      Collins Spanish Dictionary Complete and Unabridged: For advanced learners and professionals (Collins Dictionaries)

      This is the "go-to" Spanish dictionary for the serious learner of Spanish and for those who need to have a reliable and trustworthy reference source.


      If this is you - this book should definitely be on your shelf.


      This dictionary, indeed, has been a key part of my Spanish learning armoury for decades.


      This indispensable dictionary is:

      up to date with the latest words and meanings

      has in depth langage coverage

      extensive coverage of Latin American Spanish

      72 thematic guide to self-expression in Spanish and in English.

      4

      Books to help you learn Spanish - 4

      Palabra por Palabra Fifth Edition (Spanish) Paperback

      Why buy this book? If you are a serious student of Spanish it is worth its weight in gold.


      High praise indeed!


      Phil Turk has with this little book produced a gem.


      It punches well above its weight.


      I have used it for many years with students to guide them to expressing themselves in Spanish - both orally and in writing.


      As the cover of the book says, you can use the book to:


      write more authentic and accurate prose than using a dictionary


      create new phrases that fit your theme, using the phrases and substitute words provided


      impress examiners with more sophisticated expressions (and teachers and native Spanish speakers - my brackets!)

      5

      Books to help you learn Spanish - 5

      Preparacion DELE: Libro + CD - B2 (2014 Edition)

      I love this series of books preparing students for the DELE exam. Not sure what the DELE exam is? Click on the button.


      I have used all four books - A1 levels, A2,B1,and B2 (pictured) with students. 


      As a teacher I have found them to be well organised and focussed on the level of material need for the exam. All in all, a fantastic teaching resource.


      Moreover, my students have found the books to be accessible and highly practical. They have the confidence that the material is at the right level for the exam.


      6

      Books to help you learn Spanish - 6

      Gramatica de uso del Español - Teoría y práctica

      I have used all four books - A1-B2 (pictured), B1- B2, and C1-C2 (pictured) with students. 


      As a teacher I have found the series to be very well organised and focussed on the level of material needed for the exam. All in all, a fantastic teaching resource, with lots of reinforcement and thought-provoking exercises.


      What I have really like is the clear way that the grammar is explained in the target language, Spanish. 


      Moreover, my students have found the books to be accessible and highly practical. They have the confidence that the material is at the right level for the exam and the level of challenge involved.


      Great value resources for both students and teachers alike.


      This is the information provided about the book on the back cover of the A1 to B2 level book:

      Recorrido completo por todas cuestiones esenciales de la gramática...

      organizados en dobles páginas para enfrentar la teoría con sus ejercicios correspondientes

      cuadros para resaltar los puntos gramaticales más importantes

      numerosos ejemplos de uso

      dibujos para ilustrar y facilitar la comprensión de las explicaciones gramaticales

      Más de 125 páginas de ejercicios , con modelo de respuesta y soluciones, para ayudar al estudiante a desarrollar su autonomía  

      7

      Books to help you learn Spanish - 7

      A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish (HRG)

      This is my "go-to" grammatical Spanish reference if I need to refresh my memory on specific points.


      An in-depth academic tome - worth every penny! 


      The "blurb" on the front cover of the book says it all!

      '.... compulsory reading for students of all levels ..."

      8

      Books to help you learn Spanish - 8

      Easy Learning Spanish Idioms (Collins Easy Learning Spanish)

      9

      Books to help you learn Spanish - 9

      AQA A-level Spanish (includes AS)

      For English A level Spanish students, this is the must-have course book if you are studying the AQA exam board.


      For non UK readers, the A level exam is taken in the UK by students who are aged 17-18. It is an academic exam, designed to test Spanish in all the four skill areas - reading, writing, listening and speaking.


      The topic areas covered are age appropriate and provide isights into Spanish-speaking  culture, politics, history, cinema and literature. 


      The book:

      Develops language skills with a mix of tasks and practice questions

      Expose students to authentic Spanish material with film and literature tasters

      Build grammar and translation skills through theme-related practice

      Engage students with a variety of topical reading and listening passages

      10

      Books to help learn Spanish - 10

      Oxford Picture Dictionary: English/Spanish Dictionary

      This picture is a"must-have" if you are visual learner.


      I have used successfully it with students who are happier with illustrations than with the written word.


      Illustrations present over 4,000 English words and phrases within meaningful, real-life contexts


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        Music that will help you learn Spanish easily

        Sources of good music to help you learn Spanish
        Spotify
        Itunes

        YouTube videos that will help you learn Spanish

        I have listed the ten most popular videos on YouTube at the time of writing.

        I do not endorse any particular video - my aim here is give an idea of the range and variety of videos which are available.

        Popularity, of course, does not mean that the videos are pedagogically sound.

        Music to my ears!

        However, it does means that they are striking a chord amongst the YouTube community.

        ... and that, as a languages teacher, is music to my ears! 

        What strikes me form the list is the range of ways that different topics ar tackled.... such is the ingenuity of the YouTube community!

        1

        Spanish while sleeping - YouTube video #1

        2

        Spanish 101 - YouTube video  #2

        3

        How I Learn Spanish Verbs - Spanish Lessons For Beginners
        - YouTube video #3


        4

        Learn Spanish Level 1 Lesson 1 - YouTube video # 4

        5

        A Spanish lesson nobody else will give you! | Superholly

        YouTube video # 5 

        6

        12 hours of Castilian Spanish Language tutorials ✔️

        7

        Learn Spanish: The best basic Spanish toolkit

        YouTube video #7

        8

        Learn Spanish: 300 Spanish Phrases for Beginners
        YouTube video #8

        9

        Learn Spanish in 5 days - Day 1
        YouTube video #9

        10

        How to Make Small Talk in Spanish (Learn and Practice Everyday Spanish Conversation)
        YouTube video #10

        1

        Podcasts that will help you learn Spanish fast

        Why podcasts to learn Spanish?

        If you have not discovered podcasts...I will be honest ....

        ... you are missing out.

        I have learned so much from podcasts over the past four or five years.

        In areas of interest. Like, for example, building this website. I have learned this through podcasts and through YouTube ( see the previous section on how you can use YouTube to learn Spanish).

        What is so good about podcasts?

        Location

        You can listen to them when you want, where you want and basically how you want.

        In the car. During your commute. You can turn "dead" time into fruitful and highly productive time.

        Whilst you are out walking the dog. While you are cooking. You get the idea.

        Convenience

        Podcasts are literally information on tap. When you want and for as long as you want.

        Convenient - yes super convenient.

        If you have got a mobile phone you are "good to go".

        Download a podcast app (I use the appropriately entitled "Podcasts" from the app store. 

        How to learn Spanish fast | Podcasst logo from the apple store

        Intimacy

        What do I mean by this?

        Listening to podcasts is a close contact sport! Since the earbuds are inserted into your ears, you can build up a close, almost intimate relationship, with the podcaster.

        This has happened to me. 

        I now know a lot about the podcaster I listen to a lot (Pat Flynn) and he has provided so much valuable information to me in a pleasant format - the podcast.

        ... and I have leaned so much.

        You can do the same with podcasts helping you to learn Spanish.

        What podcasts to listen to to help your Spanish? 

        I list below my top ten favourites.

        top ten podcasts to learn Spanish fast

        We are all different and you will build up a relationship with one or other of the podcasters.

        Once you have found a podcaster you like stick with them - especially if they produce material on a regular basis. In this way, the intimacy and familiarity with the voice, and the content, and the way that it is conveyed, will skyrocket your progress in learning the Spanish language.

        1

        Audiria - podcast número 1 

        Audiria logo

        2

        Notes in Spanish - podcast número 2

        Notes in Spanish logo

        3

        StudySpanish.com - podcast número 3

        StudySpanish.com logo

        4

        SpanishPod101.com-
        Podcast número 4

        SpanishPod101.com

        5

        Spanish obsessed - podcast número 5

        Spanish obsessed logo

        6

        Coffee Break Spanish -Podcast número 6

        Coffee Break Spanish

        7

        PodcastsinSpanish.org - podcast número 7

        PodcastsinSpanish.org logo

        8

        Podcast número 8 - Language Treks

        Language Treks logo

        How to learn Spanish fast using Netflix

        What a tremendous resource Netflix is if you are Spanish language student.

        Access to Spanish-language films and TV series, make the monthly subscription seem so reasonable.

        There are so many ways to use Netflix to help you learn Spanish.

        How to use Netflix to help you learn Spanish - whatever your level

        Here are some suggestions depending on your level of Spanish.

        How about:

        1. Listening to the video in Spanish and having the English subtitles on - you can enjoy the story line with the sound of authentic Spanish but you will not miss any of the story line or the action.

        or

        2. Listening to the video in Spanish with Spanish subtitles on. This is slightly more advanced but you are now having what is known as a "linguistic bath" - both listening and reading at the same time. 

        2. If you are even more advanced, listen to the material in Spanish and have no support from the subtitles.

        If you miss something important, you can always scroll back and listen again, or, if you still cannot make out what is going on, you can watch with subtitles in Spanish / English. You might need to go back to the English if the Spanish is very colloquial.

        So what do I recommend?

        El Ministerio del Tiempo

        el ministerio del tiempo logo

        This is a magnificient series.

        If you want to improve your Spanish and learn more about Spanish history, this is a "must-watch".

        Get onto Netflix - now! 

        Binge-watch!

        Your Spanish will come on leaps and bounds.

        Las Chicas del Cable

        las chicas del cable logo

        If you want to get a feel for 1930's Madrid, this is for you.

        Fun, magnificent costumes, and intrigue. 

        At the same time, by watching Cable girls you will be helping your Spanish along.

        All in all, what is not to like?

        All of my students have loved this series.

        7 años

        7 años logo

        Just over an hour's high quality drama.

        Enjoy, and improve your Spanish at the same time!

        What to learn to make fast progress on your Spanish learning journey

        Key words - high frequency words / verbs

        If something crops up in language a lot - it's best to know it.

        Nouns. Adjectives. Verbs.

        Click on the links below to other pages on this blog to help with this all important language learning issue.

        This set of links will get you up and running with the verbs.

        This link will get you started with the nouns.

        This link will get you up and running with adjectives.

        The videos below from YouTube. They are not elaborate - but they do the job if you really want to learn Spanish.

        Have a click and see!

        Conclusion

        There you have it!

        A few ideas on how to learn Spanish fast.

        The most important thing is to start.

        A few baby steps.

        Do not be overwhelmed. 

        If you have already started your journey - steady and consistent is the way to go.

        Why not use the menu below to find your way around this article.

        ¡Buena suerte!

        Steve

        How to learn Spanish FAST

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