How to learn Spanish best? How to use this site best?

  Some words about didactics

The question how to learn a language the easiest way is discussed widely. Thinking about the practical part of it, the answer is quite easy.

  If you want to learn a language you need to do three things.
Get used to the sound of the language
Learn vocabulary (as boring as it might sound)
Study the grammar of this language

  Sound of the language:
How fast you can get used to the sound of a language, depends on the difference between your mother tongue and the language you are about to learn. French find it easier to learn Spanish than they find it to learn German or English. With more technical support it is faster and easier to get used to the sound of a language.

A language consists of (what a surprise) of vocabulary, approximately 40 000 words. This sounds quite a lot, but learning vocabulary can be trained. If you are used to the sound of a language it is possible to learn about 20 words per hour. If you study for one hour a day, you have 20 words a day. Within a year you get 300 x 20 = 6000 words, which is about the double the words you need to manage every day life or even read a newspaper. There are people thinking about the importance of a word, whether it is necessary to learn it or not. During this time the person thinks about this, it could be saved in your mind. A useful method to learn a language is for instance to read a newspaper, i.e. 'El Pais', to write down the unknown words. Newspaper usually use the actual vocabulary, which is not necessarily true for literature. 'Don Quijote de la mancha' cannot be considered a contemporary book. You might be surprised how fast you'll be able to read quite fluently.

You can also use any creative idea you have. For instance some put the Spanish vocabulary of the all the things in a house on this thing, on the mirror in the bathroom, the fridge, the computer etc. You can read them aloud or learn them before going to bed (perfect sleeping pill!).

You'll need some disciplin a bit time and a good dictionary. Then it's only up to you and your creativity how fast you will be able to talk in Spanish.

The question about grammar is not that easy. How much grammar does a man (respective woman) need? This manual has analysed the grammatical structure of the Spanish language. We know that grammar is already overused at school, in universities and other courses. We know that a child does not learn a language this way. We also know that the human brain does not work in a chaotic but a quite structured way. So why not using this to bring some order in the chaos of a language. If not knowing at least part of the grammar, all you can do is repeat what you hear. Producing own thoughts can only succeed if the structure is clear.

How much of this is needed is another thing. Some will notice that they find the correct way just automatically, some things need to be trained longer. We suggest to get an overview over the grammatical structure and to find the similarities and differences to your own language. If you know them passively and recognise them in a sentence you have already managed the first step. A second step is to finetune the details of the grammar and use them actively when talking and putting your own thought into your own words.

However there is this allround truth that you only learn a language if you speak it. There is no use in all the grammar in the world. If you don't use the language, you will forget it.

There is also the possibility to read original literature. Here you find some interesting works that are easy to read and still recommendable: Mario Vargas Llosa (La ciudad y los perros), Gabriel Garcia Márquez (Crónica de una muerte anunciada), Pio Baroja (El árbol de la ciencia), Miguel de Unamuno (Niebla).

  An suggestion for learning:
step 1: Something is said and the possibilities of answers is limited. Typical for situations as a tourist, in a hotel, a restaurant, at the beach etc.
step 2: An abstract topic is discussed. Since the other person knows your possibilities of talking in his language he/she will be careful, speak more slowly. You have the chance to steer the discussion since you are part of it.
step 3: Read some newspapers. It might be a bit more difficult, but you have time enough to search for the missing words.
step 4: Read some good literature. You can enjoy the literature part and you have time enough to find the words you need and to follow the string of narration.
step 5: Understanding news on TV or the radio. They are spoken usually very clearly and without saying that might change. They do not use slang. They are close to the written language, and you can understand without really understanding because usually one gets the idea.
step 6: Listen to a discussion of two native speakers. It will be much faster than if they discuss with you. The language will be full of sayings and maybe even slang or dialects. You don't have the chance to influence the topic, you only can follow.
Stufe 7: Watch movies in the orinial versions. It might be about a difficult topic and the string of narration can be difficult. It's fast and you have no chance of influence.

The main thing about languages is not about grammar or vocabulary. In any language of this world you have the chance to say something nice or interesting or important. The ability to do this has nothing to do with the way you learnt the language, but only with you.

this means: Have fun