There are so many reasons people choose to learn a second, sometimes even third language. Spanish is my 4th attempt at a language, I'm fluent in English, I speak broken Gealige / Irish (my mother tongue) and in school, they tried to teach me French but very little stuck.
As an adult, I fell in love with mainland Spain, South America and the islands around Europe, the more I went back to each location, the more I wished to communicate with the people I met in a language they understood. So I decided, it was time to tackle Español.
"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart."
- Nelson Mandela
Why Learn Spanish?
There are many advantages of learning to speak Spanish, but let's start with what is possibly the most important.
Spanish is the world's second most spoken language!
Yep, that's right, Spanish is the second most widely spoken language across four continents. In addition, you’ll be able to communicate with over 572 million people around the world!
With so many people worldwide speaking Spanish it makes travelling a whole lot easier. Wherever you go, there will surely be someone speaking Spanish! The Spanish language will enhance the experiences you will have during your journey native Spanish speakers love when people learn to speak Spanish, it shows respect to the visiting country.
Speaking another language enhances your employability
We live in a multicultural world in the midst of the digital age, so no matter where in the world you reside, whether it is in Ireland or New York, people who have experience in more than one language are high in demand in the job market in all sectors and industries, as employers consider them to be better communicators and problem solvers.
Naturally, it makes sense, those who speak both English and Spanish are going to be highly desirable employees, as both languages are spoken most globally.
Speaking another language improves your long term memory and attention span
Learning a second language improves your attention span and improve your long term memory. When speaking, bilinguals or multilingual people are constantly switching between two or more languages in their minds, and this switching improves the brain’s ability to concentrate on one thing while ignoring other irrelevant information.
"Everybody laughs the same in every language because laughter is a universal connection."
Tips for Learning Spanish on Your Own
Some people want to learn the basics on their own before signing up for lessons or a course in Spanish so below is a list of some tips I've gathered along the way.
- Create a Personalised Spanish Phrasebook. This does not need to be anything fancy just a copy or notepad, with two different coloured pens, one for the Spanish words and one for the English translation. Every time you learn a new phrase you know you will use again write it down phonetically, correctly and then in English.
- Download Podcasts. Where ever you get your podcasts whether it's with Apple, Spotify or the Google Playstore it doesn't matter, make sure you download Podcasts in Spanish repeat them aloud and write them into your phrasebook when learning a language, practice and repetition are key.
- Free Apps. For me, Duolingo was the app that worked best, learning a language on Duolingo is fun because lessons are split into bite-sized skills that feel like games. As mentioned this app is available to use for free, with ads and limitations however there is a plus version that comes at a price.
The one thing you must have in order to learn Spanish is Motivation
If you plan to succeed at speaking Spanish then you have to ask yourself why you want to learn Spanish in the first place.
Why are you learning Spanish? "just because" or "I'd like to" aren't good reasons to want to learn a language. If you're going to stick with it you'll need motivation, such as:
- Travelling / spending time abroad.
- You have a Spanish-speaking partner/friend and want to communicate with his/her family.
- You’re taking a course with a component that requires you to learn Spanish.
- You need it for career opportunities.
Remember, you don't have to start off with Learning your ABCs and being able to count to 100. You're far more likely to stick with it if you get that phrasebook out and you listen to your podcasts. You're going to need conversational Spanish, yes grammar and the basics are important, but if you start off by learning things like how to say 'hello' 'where is' 'my name' 'I need', phrases that you actually will use every day, you are more likely to want to keep learning.
Simple Conversational Spanish
By learning to speak even basic Spanish you will be able to immerse yourself in rich cultural offerings available across 20 Spanish-speaking countries. Breathtaking culture aside, you will be able to communicate with over 572 million people around the world, because Spanish is the second most common language spoken globally!
So why don't we get you started on some of the most useful phrases you're ever going to learn?
Below I've compiled a couple of lists of just a few phrases and words to start you off in your new book of Spanish, take what you need to leave what you don't, I'm hoping you get some use of most.
This first list is individual words that you may find useful:
- Hola = Hello (pronounced o-la)
- Adiós = Goodbye ( pronounced a-dee-os)
- Sí = Yes (pronounced cee)
- No = No
- ¿Quién? = Who? (pronounced key-n)
- ¿Qué? = What? (pronounced Kay)
- ¿Por qué? = Why? (pronounced pour Kay)
- ¿Dónde? = Where? (pronounced don-day)
In the second list you're going to find phrases that you may find useful:
- Buenos días = Good morning (pronounced bway-nos dee-as)
- Buenas noches = Good evening (pronounced bway-nas note-chas)
- Hola, me llamo... = Hello my name is... (pronounced o-la meh yah-moh)
- ¿Cómo estás? = How are you? (pronounced ko-moh es-taz)
- Disculpa. ¿Dónde está el baño? = Excuse me. Where is the bathroom? (pronounced dis-cul-pa. don-day es-ta el ban-yo)
- Yo no comprendo = I do not understand (pronounced yo no com-pren-doh)
- Yo necesito un taxi = I need a taxi (pronounced yo nes-i-ce-toe une taxi)
- Yo quiero pagar la cuenta = I want to pay the check (pronounced yo keh-ro pah-gar la kwen-ta)
I'm hoping you find these few words and phrases useful as you embark on your Spanish adventure! Remember, practice makes perfect so keep adding to your notes and your skill will build.
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