Spanish is one of those common languages that picks up words from the cultures around it. So, for anyone wanting to learn a new language it seems like a prime choice for beginners!
For me, it was that exact premise that kept me coming back for more. We all studied a language in school and from an early age, I was interested in learning.
It was all about learning french, travel to Paris and taste some fresh patisseries! The only thing that was stopping me was the fact that I was assigned to learn German. I gave up learning German after leaving school and practised French & Spanish for a few months after, but with work commitments, I was unable to keep it up and, frankly, had no inspiration to continue with it…until now!
I booked a Holiday for July 2016 and really wanted to start learning Spanish not because I want to blend in with the locals, no-no my friend.
I’m just one of those people that love to learn new things, DIY, new recipes, new dances and of course get the cultural benefits of knowing a language.
No longer will the waiters be able to gossip about my hair!
I’m genuinely really excited to listen in on conversations people think I can’t hear. I think that’s the best thing about learning a language, the unexpected conversations you could encounter!
I picked up a few apps for my phone over the last month and found a few websites along the way. The best way for me to learn isby using a blend of all of those and giving myself a schedule to learn by. 20 minutes each day was all it took but the best way to do it (by far by far) is Duolingo. It’s a free app for your phone or you can just use the browser but it gives you hundreds of languages to learn. If you’re interested in knowing more alternatives and some of the websites I used here are a few you might like;
- Babbel: Search a word and translation.Very similar to Duolingo, speak, hear and see the words.
- Live Mocha: It’s the basics, teaching you alphabet’s and word formations to help you progress.
- Study Spanish: I used this when I was a few stages into Duolingo so I could form sentences on my own.
For a full list of sites you can use pop over to listfoware where I managed to gather a few tips too!
- Pick a language
- Take a test (It determines whether you know any of it already)
- Start learning!
Duolingo works by focusing on categories until you have learnt them properly then moves on, some categories are; Animals, food, verbs, buildings, time etc etc..In each category there are several groups.
Each group has a few new words in it and a list of phrases, you get pictures at the start of each group. The pictures introduce you to the Spanish phrase and English word to help you connect them. towards the end of the group you’re given some sample sentences and asked to convert them to Spanish!
If you happpen to complete a group you unlock the next group and gain XP ( So you can compete against friends, or yourself) and once you complete the whole category you unlock the next level! Once you complete a group you win ‘lingots’ little points in which you can swap for funny sentences and phrases in the ‘shop’.
You’re unable to move onto the next section until all groups are completed in that
category. If you have some mistakes in your answers that relate to other categories they’ll drop in their “100% gold” sections and you’ll see a bar that’s not quite full. All tasks that need to be topped up are tasks that you’re not 100% confident in and to top them up you have to take a ‘booster test’ that reminds you of the words.
How it teaches you:
Visually: You’re given pictures and Spanish and English words to help guide you to the comparison of the languages
Audio: Every word is either said out loud to you in a full sentence or you can hover it for a replay of the individual words.
Repetition: In each group, it focuses on four or five words and they repeat them in different ways; past, present tense or with long sentences. It encourages the word to stay in your head in new sentences.
Translation: The app offers sentences in Spanish for you to convert to English and for you to convert into your newly learnt Spanish
Verbally: The app allows you to speak into the phone for proper pronunciation! Don’t worry, you get three tries and it pronounces it for you too!
Simple? I think so!
I’ve been using it for 22 days ( I have a 22-day streak and have won a fair few Lingots for it!) Not that it means I’m any good but I can understand a few phrases, I just can’t make up my own sentences quite yet. I put in around 20-40mins a day and try to refresh my memory on my old topics, I always have to take boosters.
What do you think? Ever thought about learning a language, what did you use (did it help?).
I’m sad to say that my holiday actually turned into a nightmare but knowing small parts of Spanish helped with a few directional issues we had whilst away. I only really knew a few words from Duolingo but it did help with my grasp of Spanish so I’m writing up a more extensive guide to Spanish.