How to Start Learning Spanish
2 Important Considerations to be Successful
At the beginning of learning a new language we all are extremely motivated and excited, however, our first enthusiasm can easily disappear resulting in an abandonment of our goal's pursuit if we don't take into account certain considerations.
To avoid giving up, the first advise I would give to anyone who is serious about learning a new language it would be to start approaching that language, for instance Spanish, by keeping in mind your goals, which will help you to also understand what you need to learn in a practical way.
The CEFR establishes that in this level you should be able to spell all Spanish letters. To start with, many teachers would recommend you to get to know the alphabet of your target language, however, before trying to get used to the basics, the most important thing you need to do first to be successful in learning Spanish or any foreign language is to ask yourself two important questions:
To answer the first question is crucial since it determines your personal goal, but no less important, the second question specifically gives you the key about how your personal goal can be achieved. Thereby, the tactic you may use to learn a new language requests to be followed according to your personal needs and aspirations since the reason why you want to learn a language establishes which aspects of this language you need to master.
For instance, if the purpose of learning a language for you is to be able to speak in order to socialise with natives, your learning process should differ from students who want to write Spanish poetry or achieve formal qualifications. Thus, if you really want to learn Spanish the only homework you need to do first is to answer the two questions above. Once this is done, you will be closer to your personal goal.
Tip: Learn the basics by bearing in mind the 80/20 principle
There is a principle called the Pareto principle or 80-20 rule that suggests that for many situations 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. In the case of communication this principle would propose that we only use 20% of the language 80% of the time, which means that 80% of linguistics are barely used in practical day-to-day language. You can test it and see it for yourself by trying a “vocabulary test”. Grab any article written in your native language from magazines or newspapers and try to count all the words that are repeated in the article and compare them with the ones that only appear once or twice.
You can do this several times and you will soon realise that there is a large amount of words that not many people use, whereas there are other words that are constantly used in written and oral communication.
What is valuable at this stage of your learning process is to build strong and helpful foundations to achieve and sustain effective communicative skills in "real life" situations. These skills will always allow you to learn from your mistakes and overcome difficulties along the way and that is the key to reach fluency, whatever you learn after that is a plus even in your native language.
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I'm a Spanish and English philologist specialised in Spanish linguistics and in teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language (ELE) as I love sharing my language, my culture and a particular vision of the world with people from around the globe, getting to know more about the world itself through them and languages.