You’ve had the desire to learn a new language and after much deliberation, you’ve made it your goal to learn Spanish. You begin by learning the basics, whether that’s through taking introductory classes or through a language-learning app, and soon you build some sort of foundation in Spanish. But how do you continue on in your Spanish learning quest? How will you continue to improve in Spanish and use it in a practical way? Luckily, there are many simple ways to improve your communication in Spanish on a daily basis. Here are three ways you can do so.
1. Watch Movies and T.V. Shows in Spanish on Netflix.
Set aside your Spanish grammar books and flashcards, and turn to something more fun and natural: Netflix. But instead of letting your mind go numb from binge watching Friends for the millionth time, opt for a Spanish movie or T.V. series. Watching a movie or a show in Spanish provides an easy, yet practical way to immerse yourself in the language from the comfort of your couch. Not only are you exposed you to the language, but watching Spanish movies and shows will also allow you to broaden your Spanish vocabulary, build idiomatic phrases, and sharpen your pronunciation. In addition, they will show you the nuances of the language such as intonation and body language. As a result, you will improve in your Spanish communication.
However, don’t expect to just put on El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth) or Casa de Papel (Money Heist) and expect to understand everything that’s going on. You’re going to have to do some brainwork if you want to experience all the benefits a Spanish film or show has to offer. Here are some quick tips to getting started:
- Pick a Spanish movie or T.V. series that actually interests you. Learning Spanish should be fun. If it doesn’t pique your interest, move right along until you find something that holds your attention.
- Break it up. Depending on your level, and your attention span, divide the movie or series into segments so that you don’t overwhelm yourself.
- Observe what’s going on. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Watch how the actors say words and observed their body language as they talk.
- Write down new words and expressions. When you hear a new word or phrase, write it down so you can build your vocabulary.
- Use subtitles. When I watch a Spanish movie or show, I usually add Spanish subtitles. They not only help me follow along, but also allow me the opportunity to practice my reading skills.
2. Look for Opportunities to Practice Your Spanish Daily.
Do you know someone who is a native Spanish speaker? If so, consider yourself lucky—you just found someone to practice your Spanish conversation with. When you learn to speak Spanish, or any other language for that matter, it will feel daunting at first. You aren’t used to the sounds in Spanish, you’ll have limited vocabulary, and you’ll speak at a much slower rate because you are new to the language. Don’t lose heart though. Start with the basics. When you meet a native Spanish speaker, be sure to introduce yourself in Spanish. Say “hello” to your Colombian co-worker the next time you’re at the copy machine and ask how they are doing in Spanish. While your out with your Peruvian friend, take five minutes (or longer, depending on your level) to practice your Spanish through short conversation. If you’re at a Mexican restaurant where the wait staff speaks Spanish, order your food in Spanish.
Don’t know a native Spanish speaker? No worries, you can practice your Spanish with a Speechling coach. No matter who you’re with or where you are, look for ways to use your Spanish. Through small bits of daily conversational practice, you’ll find yourself building your Spanish vocabulary and increasing the rate at which you speak in no time.
3. Keep a Spanish Journal.
I know what you may be thinking when you see this point. Ugh, writing in a journal? How will that help me improve my Spanish? When learning a new language, many people tend to place importance on developing their listening, speaking, and reading skills but they often forget to practice their writing skills. After all, you don’t need to learn to write in order to speak to others, listen to podcasts, or read basic signs unless there’s an absolute need for it. But, writing is a powerful tool that is proven to be effective in improving your communication skills and learning to write in Spanish could be the very thing that propels you forward in your language-learning quest.
There are many benefits to writing, but here are the top two benefits of writing in Spanish:
- Writing helps you learn. Information is always being exchanged and when you’re learning Spanish, the amount of information is doubled because you are not a native speaker. Give yourself a hand by writing down new words and phrases you’ve learned in a journal. Try to write sentences that use those new words or expressions. In doing this, you’ll challenge your brain to look at the language in a visual way, which will help you learn and recall words and expressions more easily.
- Writing will help you improve your communication in Spanish. Learning to write in Spanish can drastically improve the way you communicate in the language. Writing allows you to organize your thoughts and ideas so you can express them properly. Writing also gives you the opportunity to carefully think about and choose words and phrases to effectively communicate what you want to say. In doing so, you are allowing yourself the chance to work through the language to retain the information so you can better communicate your thoughts, ideas, and opinions.
Ultimately, there are numerous ways to improve your Spanish communication whether it’s through listening to a Spanish podcast, singing along to a Spanish song, or reading a Spanish book. There is no “right way” to learn Spanish. You have to find what works best for you and stick with it. The options really are endless as long as you are open and creative in practicing Spanish.