5 Nearly Foolproof Ways to Learn Spanish

So, Spanish is on your bucket list? ¡Qué emoción!* How exciting! You’ve chosen well. It’s a useful and beautiful world language and you are not alone on your learning journey. Over 500 million people speak español across the world.

So, how do you get from saying tortilla, burrito, cerveza, to enjoyable fluency?

May I make a recommendation? Use the same method as for our first language(s); listening to and watching the people around us. Immersion is the best and most natural way to learn to speak a foreign tongue. Choose to bring the language to you, or take yourself to a location where it is spoken. Surround yourself with media en español and hispanohablantes (Spanish speakers) in your present environment, or travel abroad to study and/or work where your new vernacular is spoken.

You may have heard that people have different learning styles, immersion takes care of all the senses: auditory, visual, and tactile. It even throws in olfactory (odors) in free! Think mango, papaya, limes…

The most important part of learning a language is accepting mistakes. In English, we all went through the overgeneralization phase, from “I did” and “I didn’t” to “I am” and “I amen’t.” You’ll make similar bloopers in Spanish. That’s okay!

What’s your first step?

  1. Find music you like in Spanish. You’re in luck, there’s quite a variety from rock to rap, jazz, meringue, cha-cha, salsa and mambo, to name a few. Listen to music en español and look up the lyrics online. Watch videos of the song and sing along! Like rock? Try Maná. Like modern flamenco? Try Alejandro Sanz. Prefer fast dance music? Milly Quezada. Salsa? Choco Orta. Cha-Cha? Tito Puente. Rap? Control Machete.
  2. In your country, take the language class you can afford, in person or online. Three times a week or more is best; build your skills steadily like when playing an instrument or sport.
  3. Practice with a friend. Consider a language exchange with a Spanish-speaker, eat at a Spanish or Mexican restaurant, play card games or lotería (bingo) in Spanish.
  4. Watch movies in Spanish with subtitles en español. See my post on my favorite films for titles.
  5. Save up for a trip to a Spanish speaking country. Participate in a week- to a month-long immersion class abroad.

Do you speak a second language? What are your tips?

Gracias for reading Fake Flamenco. Olé! –Rebecca

La Lotería, Mexican Bingo  Photo: Rebecca Cuningham


Rebecca Cuningham

8 thoughts on “5 Nearly Foolproof Ways to Learn Spanish

  1. These are all good tips, especially the immersive activities. For me personally, the road to Spanish fluency is going to be long and bumpy. Therefore, patience (with myself as well as others) and fortitude to get through the tough times without giving up are key to success.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Colombia will be a great place for your immersion activities. You are so right about patience. That is a key factor in learning a language. Children’s tolerance for partial understanding and making mistakes is far greater than that of adults. -Rebecca


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