El Instituto Cervantes reported that in 2021 there were over 591 million Spanish speakers around the world, and they anticipate that this number will keep growing. So, if you’re wondering if learning Spanish is worth it, the answer is yes!
To help you start on the right foot, you’ll find some essential tips, resources, and reasons to learn Spanish in this article. I’ve also answered some frequently asked questions that many students have about the Spanish learning journey.
Here is a quick overview of things we’ll cover:
- Reasons to learn Spanish
- Tips for learning Spanish
- Useful resources
Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to decide whether or not you want to learn Spanish. ¡Buena suerte!
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Reasons to Learn Spanish
As fun as it may be, learning a new language requires an investment of effort and time commitment. Because of this, many potential Spanish learners like to evaluate if this language is the best choice for them. If you’re one of those people, here are 3 crucial reasons why you should learn Spanish:
1. Spanish is one of the most spoken languages in the world.
According to El Instituto Cervantes, 7.5% of the world population is able to speak Spanish. In fact, Spanish is the mother tongue of 493 million people, which makes it the second biggest language based on the number of native speakers.
These numbers are interesting, but what do they mean for you? With so many people speaking and learning Spanish, you have a higher chance of being able to use this language in different contexts.
2. Improves your job opportunities
Being able to speak another language used to be a nice skill to have on your resume. However, nowadays, Spanish is becoming a useful and sometimes a required skill in the workplace. A 2017 study by New American Economy found that jobs listing Spanish as a desired skill increased 150%.
As you can see, Spanish for the workplace is no longer just an excellent addition to your resume, but it’s actually opening the door for more and better job opportunities.
3. Makes easier to learn a third language
Dreaming about becoming a “citizen of the world” or a polyglot?
Learning Spanish will help you gain better learning skills and improve your brain activity. In fact, some studies have shown that it’s easier for bilingual people to learn a third language. Given that they share similar vocabulary and grammatical structures, knowing Spanish can help you learn another romantic language in a more smooth and easier way.
Tips for Learning Spanish
If you want to learn Spanish, you may be wondering what’s the most effective and fastest way to do it. Even though there are many strategies and tools that you could use, it’s important to keep in mind that every person has their own learning style. Just make sure you find strategies that work for you and stick to them.
Here are some effective tips for learning Spanish:
1. Make a plan and stick to it
When it comes to language learning, researchers have concluded that people who have a plan with strategies and apply it consistently learn faster and more effectively than those who do not. In simple words, you need to identify and use techniques that help you learn and absorb the new information you’re learning.
As you can imagine, this is especially important if you’re learning Spanish on your own. For starters, you should determine how much time you’re going to spend studying and what strategies you’re going to use during that period.
Some examples of strategies you can use include, but are not limited to:
- Use memorization techniques to remember relevant information.
- Use exercises to practice what you’ve learned.
- Find a conversation partner.
- Focus on more suitable topics for your goals (e.g. if you’re learning Spanish to travel abroad, pay attention to basic structures and vocabulary you may need).
2. Pay attention to the meaning
One big mistake Spanish learners make is to try to learn and memorize as much vocabulary as they can. Memorizing a list of words without understanding what they mean or how to use them will not help you improve your Spanish. You’re likely just wasting brainpower in vocabulary that will be sitting in your head.
Don’t get me wrong, memorizing is good. But you need to be selective, and you need to pay attention to the meaning of the words or expressions you’re learning. If you want to be effective when learning Spanish, memorize vocabulary that you can incorporate into your conversations.
Paying attention to the meaning helps you build mental bridges between that word and its applications. Because you get to use it frequently, you’re not going to forget it. Additionally, understanding Spanish vocabulary also allows you to make connections and educated guesses about the meaning of other expressions and words you hear.
3. Expose yourself to the language
The goal of learning Spanish is to be able to communicate in this language. As a result, you have to make a serious effort to expose yourself to Spanish, so you’re able to learn through communication.
Let me explain this in simple terms. Many Spanish students are great in the classroom. However, they struggle to communicate in a real-life environment. They also discover that, if they make an effort, they actually learn more from these experiences than from the books.
Exposing yourself to the language allows you to enrich your vocabulary with useful words and helps you practice grammatical structures. Additionally, it also forces you to use mental connections to understand the patterns of the language, which will improve your communication.
There are many little things that you can start doing to immerse yourself in Spanish. Some examples include:
- Change the language settings on your phone
- Read news, magazines, and articles in Spanish
- Watch movies, videos, and TV shows in this language
- Listen to a Spanish podcast
- Interact with a Spanish conversation group
4. Practice constantly
The key to being proficient in Spanish is constant practice. The Journal of International Education Research, found that having a short routine every day was highly effective when learning a language.
So, instead of spending hours one day trying to catch up with your Spanish, make a commitment to spend 20-30 minutes per day practicing and studying Spanish. To make the most of this time, make sure you follow useful strategies to help you with your learning process.
5. Find strategies for overcoming your fear of speaking Spanish
For many students, speaking Spanish can be nerve-wracking for a variety of reasons. This is completely understandable. However, the only way to improve your communication skills is by speaking Spanish! As a result, you should try to find a way to overcome this fear and practice your Spanish.
I’ll give you a simple example. One of my former students had a lot of issues engaging in group conversation. She was a brilliant student and knew that she actually had to practice. But she just couldn’t keep a conversation going during that part of the class.
After a few days, she realized that speaking with a large group of people made her extremely nervous. Her solution? Practicing one-on-one with a single partner and keeping away from large groups. Eventually, her Spanish improved to the point where she started engaging with the rest of the class.
Like her, you may have your own fears about practicing Spanish. But you should try to find the middle ground where you feel comfortable enough to start practicing!
6. Pay attention to the form
Although you may have heard that you don’t need grammar to speak Spanish, the truth is that you actually need to pay attention to this element if you’re serious about improving your command of the language.
Understanding how simple and more complex structures are formed will give a better insight into the Spanish language. This will allow you to convey your ideas in a more fluid and precise way. It will also help you understand what others are trying to tell you.
Resources to Learn Spanish
Below, you’ll find a list of articles that you can use to learn or improve your Spanish. Feel free to click on any of the following links to start your Spanish journey.
Spanish learning resources
When it comes to Spanish learning resources, there are different courses and textbooks that could be useful for you. Some of our favorites include:
“How to” articles
The following list is formed with “how to” articles. The topics they cover include vocabulary, pronunciation, how to do or improve something in Spanish, among others.
- How to Call a Girl Beautiful in Spanish
- How to Order and Ask for Drinks in Spanish
- How to Get a Haircut in Spanish – Vocabulary & Phrases
- How to Ask for a Kiss in Spanish
- 7 Ways to Address a Letter in Spanish | Examples + Closings
- 7 Tips for Reading in Spanish
- 7 Ways to Improve Your Listening Skills in Spanish
- How to Pronounce G in Spanish
- 13 Best Songs to Practice Spanish
- 7 Super Easy Ways to Learn Spanish from Songs
- 7 Ways to Learn Spanish Through Movies
- 7 Best Games to Learn Spanish
- Telling Time in Spanish: The Ultimate Guide
Spanish for beginners
The articles below cover some common topics that all Spanish beginners should know. Please, feel free to jump into any of them.
- Spanish House Vocabulary [175+ Words & Verbs]
- 130+ Kitchen Words & Verbs in Spanish | Vocabulary Guide
- 80+ Words & Verbs | Living Room Vocabulary in Spanish
- 101+ Words & Verbs | Spanish Dining Room Vocabulary
- Essential Spanish Bathroom Vocabulary [90+ Words & Verbs]
- 101+ Words & Verbs | Bedroom Vocabulary in Spanish
Essential Words & Phrases
- Cheat Sheet for Days of the Week in Spanish
- 3 Ways to Introduce Someone in Spanish
- Months in Spanish: Everything you need to know
- A Guide to Colors in Spanish | Everything You Need to Know
- Un, Uno & Unos – Uses, Meanings & Differences in Spanish
- A Guide to Nationalities in Spanish
- What’s the difference between ‘Contar’, ‘Hablar’ and ‘Decir’?
- Weather in Spanish: Guide to Words, Expressions & Questions
- 5 Situations When You Need to Use Preterite in Spanish
Grammar for Beginners
- 5 Ways to Use Imperfect in Spanish
- 5 Situations When You Need to Use Preterite in Spanish
- What are Spanish Articles
- Possessive Pronouns vs Possessive Adjectives in Spanish
- A Guide to Demonstrative Adjectives & Pronouns in Spanish
- Spanish Comparatives: Everything You Need to Know
Advanced and intermediate Spanish
As an intermediate or advanced student, you need to work on improving your idioms and learning more complex grammatical structures. The following articles provide you with some of these helpful topics. Don’t hesitate to explore whichever works best for you:
Vocabulary & Expressions
- 6 Must-Known Differences Between Mexican and Spain Spanish
- 11 Expressions to Say ‘I don’t care’ in Spanish
- 6 Ways to Ask for a Phone Number in Spanish
- 9 Terms to Call Your In-Laws in Spanish
- 7 Popular Spanish Phrases with Hacer
- 15 Must-Know ‘Tener’ Idiomatic Expressions
- Cariño – Translations, Meanings & Uses
- Vale – Translations, Meanings & Uses
- What’s the difference between ‘yo también’ and ‘a mí también’?
- Still and Yet in Spanish – Ya vs. Todavía
Grammar & Tense Guides
- Where to Place Direct and Indirect Pronouns in Spanish?
- Infinitives in Spanish: 4 Uses, Examples & Rules
- Spanish Present Progressive | Conjugations & Examples
- Spanish Gerundio Guide: Rules, Conjugations & Examples
- Past Participle in Spanish | Conjugation, Uses & Examples
- A Guide to Spanish Present Perfect | Uses, Rules & Examples
FAQs About Learning Spanish
What are some pronunciation problems I may face when learning Spanish?
When learning Spanish, some consonants don’t have the same pronunciation as in English. New Spanish learners usually make pronunciation mistakes with the following letters: ‘g’, ‘x’, ‘h’, ‘j’, ‘r’.
Why is it hard to learn Spanish?
Learning Spanish can be challenging for many people because of the following reasons:
- It has an extensive vocabulary.
- There are different Spanish dialects with their own vocabulary.
- Accents vary a lot based on regions and countries, so it can be difficult to understand native speakers.
- All Spanish nouns have gender, which affects the adjectives and determiners you use.
- There are tenses and moods that you don’t have or use as much in English (e.g., the imperfect tense and subjunctive).
- Unlike English, in Spanish, each person has its own conjugation ending for each tense.
How long does it take to learn Spanish?
The State Department in the U.S. estimates that a person needs between 600-700 class hours to learn Spanish. This period of time allows students to reach a professional working proficiency. This means people are able to communicate in most formal and informal conversations, but they may miss some language nuances.
Can you learn Spanish by watching TV?
A study conducted by the Educational Research Journal proved that watching television helped people learn a new language. Since TV can provide people with valuable and simple structures to communicate with others, watching TV can actually help you learn Spanish.
Watching TV is a good way to develop your vocabulary, reading, listening, and speaking skills. Some popular shows that you can use to start learning Spanish are: