Any Tips for Learning Spanish???
I just started learning Spanish using Duolingo this week and I decided to ask all of you experienced people for advice. Do you have any special memory cues you have? Any tips for retaining information? Weird Spanish words that you enjoy? Please list anything helpful in the comments for me and other beginners alike. Thank you so much!
I agree with all the other comments, (I like the idea of three words before bed). Duolingo is a great start but you will need more once you're past the basics,..
When I first started Spanish I used Duolingo for a few months and then headed over to Buenos Aires, where I found that I could read a lot of stuff (mostly menus and signage) and understand a little of what was said BUT nobody could understand a word I said! Eventually somebody told me that my accent was terrible! So i found a local teacher (she was from Peru) and did a lot of practice speaking and listening.
On my next rip, everyone understood me!
Here's some of the other resources I use, I'm sure that there are millions more!..
The TinyCards app for the Duolingo Spanish course is amazing. It's just flash cards of words you learn for each lesson. I didn't even think to try it out until after I finished the whole tree. I'd have learned faster if I did both at the same time.
Make sure you click on the little speech bubble to read the discussion of anything that you get wrong (when you have time). The discussion about the sentence, in English, is invaluable.
As others have said, use other resources as well. I've found all my other resources from the comments sections when I got stuff wrong.
Spanishdict.com is a great dictionary/translator/conjugator, etc.
StudySpanish.com is also fantastic and has it's own lesson tree that pairs well with DuoLingo.
Finally, branch out to the Labs tab here on Duo and check out the stories.
Watch Destinos on learner.org with the subtitles on. There is a lot of repetition from one episode to the next, but I found that helped reinforce the vocabulary for me. The storyline had enough interest to keep me engaged. I've watched the series itself twice now and feel much more confident in the vocabulary included in the show.
Here are three tips I’ve adopted for learning with Duolingo:
1/ Don’t rush ahead. I know it’s tempting when you get excited and enthusiastic to rush ahead in the learning tree to learn new words, but you shouldn’t do this until you’ve learnt the early lessons and drilled the words into long term memory. Because what will happen is, the words you learn from further down the learning tree will start apearing in the earlier lessons and if you haven’t learnt them fully, you’ll struggle to complete the early lessons.
2/ Use https://tinycards.duolingo.com/ for your main word learning tool. I’ve been here quite a while and it’s changed significantly from when I was first here and since coming back I’ve found tinycards to be a revelation for constant word repetition and learning. I now don’t complete any of the learning tree exercises until I’ve learnt all the words using tinycards.
3/ When you have sufficient lingots buy the timed practice tool. This is really helpful for testing out your memory and knowledge of the words using a timed practice. This can be tough because you’re against the clock and it doesn’t give you much time to think, so you have to know the words and translate the sentences pretty quickly, as such it’s an excellent tool for testing whether you’re ready to move on to the next learning tree lesson. If you can complete the timed practice several times without errors you’re ready to move on.
As a general note, there’s no short cut easy way. Languages are learnt by hard work, regular practice and constant repetition until you’ve drilled the words into long term memory.
My tip is to start listening to podcasts right away. I recommend Notes in Spanish- inspired beginners and Coffee Break Spanish. I think alot of people (including me) wait till they are finished the course but these podcasts make a great companion to the duolingo course and I wish I had started them sooner. Also, watch plaza sesamo and pokoyo! All kids shows are good, but these two kids shows are the best at teaching language and vocabulary.
1.) If you have a friend who is also learning Spanish, have regular conversations with them only in Spanish. Set a time for how long you guys want to chat for and pick a topic to discuss. When I took Spanish in middle and high school, my teachers only allowed us to talk in Spanish. While I hated it at the time, in retrospect, it was extremely helpful. Similarly, try having a diary and only write entries in Spanish.
2.) Back in my high school Spanish class, my teacher made us watch BBC in Spanish. I recommend this because it helped me with understanding native speakers and taught me about current events happening in the Spanish-speaking world.
3.) As others have said on this thread, watch shows/movies in Spanish. I HIGHLY recommend Narcos on Netflix. It's about Colombian drug cartels and has adult-content, but I am hooked! Also, the movie Selena is awesome! It's about Selena Quintanilla, Tex-Mex Tejano singer played by JLO. Whenever watching anything, have subtitles on to serve as your training wheels.
4.) Verb conjugations may seem complicated, but become so much easier once you've finally got them down. To do this, I recommend: https://conjuguemos.com/activities/spanish/verb/1. For vocab words, use Tiny Cards or Quizlet.
Best of luck and remember "El imposible siempre es posible!" P.s. piña and anything where I get to roll my r's are always fun <3.
Where do you live? If it's the US, chances are that there's a Spanish speaking community near you with their own restaurants, stores, etc. Hang out there and make friends. Even if you're just making ordering your food and making small talk, you'll gain confidence and ability. I've found native Spanish speakers to be very gracious and helpful. Their very proud of "el idioma de Cervantes"
Personally, I wish even the basic lessons were more practical. I just don't think I would ever say "I am a boy, you are a woman", or "I am a girl, you drink milk". Thus, I really can barely use my basic lessons because I have nothing I can say to anyone. It would be vastly more helpful to teach the most used vocabulary words in the early lessons because using the language is key to learning. Like, "I am hungry", or "let's play tennis".
You will get there! Now that the new crown system is in place, I find myself repeating the early lessons a lot. I still make mistakes! Practicing has helped me remember these words and grammar, and now I can understand later lessons (and more useful sentences and grammar) more easily.
If you are looking for more challenging vocabulary, try the stories in the "Lab" section. They are relatively short, yet with funny endings, and illustrate two people speaking together in conversations. I find them very engaging, and I often return to them to examine details of vocabulary and sentence structure. Good luck!