Best Way to Learn Spanish on Your Own
Growing up even in a small town in North Carolina, Spanish had a huge influence. It was on signs everywhere, and you could hear people speak it in passing at stores or restaurants. I also managed to take a few classes of Spanish in high school.
Despite of all that, I still couldn’t speak Spanish. Throughout the years I would pick up a word or two here and there. But I was still unable to have a conversation. I realized that the best way to learn Spanish on your own was not in the books but in actual practice.
The best way to learn Spanish on your own is via speaking and listening skills will be more effective than formal classroom training. What can take years from classroom training, will take months if you focus on speaking and listening skills. This is done by consistent listening to Spanish media, and having Spanish conversation partners.
With consistent listening to Spanish media and practicing with partners, you’ll see that you can learn Spanish on your own with little to no formal training.
Here is a list of the best ways to learn and speak Spanish:
1. Creating flash cards out of a Spanish song
The words you don’t know can initially be memorized via flash cards. Overtime this can be reinforced by listening to the song. Listening to the song maybe one of the most passive way to learn Spanish. However, like with anything passive, you have to put in the up front work of memorizing those flashcards.
2. Play a Spanish video game
The benefit of playing a video game is that you can use your console’s instant recording feature and go back over the Spanish phrases/dialogue to listen again and again, until you master it. You can create flashcards out of some subtitles or audio files while listening along with the lines for better comprehension.
3. Re-watch a TV series in Spanish
Something I started doing more of was tuning into HBO Max and rewatching Rick and Morty in Spanish with Spanish subtitles. When I first started, I could only understand a few words throughout the show. But as my vocabulary set expanded for that specific shows, I could see certain words repeat itself.
If I didn’t know what the word meant, I could look it up on my phone or ask someone. This helped tremendously in my learning Spanish vocabulary and listening skills. Plus you can also watch Spanish movies to add to the fun.
If you don’t feel like digging through media yourself, FluentU is an awesome place to do so. They have thousands of videos across various categories like Spanish music videos, trailers of Spanish movies, news and more. Each video is accompanied by both a transcription of the dialogue along with the word’s definition. With this added information, you can learn Spanish on your own through actively listening to these videos rather than passively.
What’s also great about FluentU is that it has a plethora of different language courses to choose from. In addition to Spanish, there’s also French, German and even Chinese. With FluentU’s Learn Mode, you can actively take part in improving your foreign language comprehension while having fun watching videos. If fun is your preferred mode of learning, then this could be the best way to learn Spanish on your own.
4. Talk via Skype with a tutor or a conversation partner
While learning from books is effective on its own, it doesn’t provide the opportunity for in-depth conversations. The best way to learn Spanish is through speaking and listening.
I’ve talked about this earlier, but I can’t stress enough how conversing with someone who speaks the language fluently will help you learn it at a much faster rate.
There are many websites where you can find conversation partners from around the world and learn Spanish on your own. My personal favorite is iTalki . It’s a great platform where you can find teachers and students from around the globe for language lessons.
With these platforms, you can create your own native speaker conversations partner to help you learn the Spanish language before ever stepping foot into a classroom.
5. Spanish Immersion (The Best Way)
This is the best way to learn Spanish on your own. It is a little complicated as you have to bookmark an extended amount of time and money for a Spanish immersion program. But this method will allow you to native Spanish speakers the quickest.
An immersion is ideal, if you’ve already proved interest in the Spanish learning process. So if you have basic Spanish under your belt, then learning Spanish in a proper language class, will accelerate your language learning journey.
Supplements to Learn the Spanish Language
Although I recommend to strictly focusing on speaking and listening skills to learn Spanish quickly, there are additional resources you can take once you get passed basic survival or conversation level of Spanish. These resources can become the catalyst you need.
I do want to mention again, that the best way to learn Spanish on your own, will be focusing on listening and speaking skills.
Okay, now that that’s clear, the next catalyst for learning Spanish is understanding Spanish Grammar. Spanish grammar is different than English, but not drastically.
The good thing about Spanish is that its very similar to the English Language. As a matter of fact, if you can speak or understand English, then learning Spanish will be an advantage as you already have a foundation in the language’s structure and vocabulary.
You can pick this up by immersing yourself with other language learners, or native speakers by going to a Spanish speaking country.
The final supplement is having fun with learning Spanish. If you’re not enjoying your learning process, your mind won’t be as receptive to picking up the language.
This can make your progress much slower than if you had a good time with it. There’s always something that you like that can help motivate yourself to learn Spanish on your own (or even in a classroom).
You could learn Spanish to play video games, read books or comics, watch movies or shows. You can even opt for an extracurricular activity like dancing. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you’re having fun and learning the language in the process.
There are also material resources that can be handy for learning languages.
Additional resources as a way to learn spanish:
DuoLingo is a free language app and website that can be used to supplement language learning. It’s similar to FluentU except it doesn’t have fancy videos but has more of an interactive style to learn Spanish.
This is another great app that is also available on the web. It focuses on teaching you through writing, speaking, and listening.
Duolingo Spanish Podcast
This is actually a bonus resource that’s not only great for learning Spanish but other languages as well. It can be accessed through iTunes or an RSS feed . The episodes are short podcast-like lessons that target different areas of the language.
Read Spanish Books
You can find books depending on the level of Spanish you are learning. You can also look for graded readers that have simpler language to help you learn.
Movies in Spanish
Movies are a great resource to add into your learning process because it incorporates both listening and speaking skills while being an engaging way of learning. If you’re having a hard time understanding or enjoying it, it’s okay to turn on the English subtitles in the beginning you learning Spanish.
Take Spanish Courses
These are helpful as they take a structured approach to the Spanish language. You can figure out what level you are in your language learning process and jump into a specific level to study Spanish at.
Live with Native Speakers
This is a part of an immersive way to learn Spanish. It’s easy to find native speakers if you move to a Spanish speaking country. Because of the Spanish language being so predominant in the USA, it’s possible to be immersive in the USA as well.
Go to Latin America
My favorite way to learn Spanish is via travel. You learn Spanish through learning the Spanish culture. Plus you get to make plenty of Spanish speaking friends.
There are other great ways to learn Spanish on your own. These are simply suggestions that’s backed by me personally, because I used it when I was learning Spanish in order to get to conversational Spanish.
Whatever way you choose, make sure that the reason you’re learning Spanish is for your personal growth and not just another thing on your list. If you do want to learn it for business reasons, make sure your Spanish is at a conversational level before trying to use it for work-related purposes.
Overall, the best way to learn Spanish independently will be following this order of priority:
1. Understanding basic conversation
2. Learning Listening/Speaking skills
3. Learning the writing system
4. Learning Grammar
5. Understanding Spanish Culture
6. Talking with Native Speakers
And the key to all this is to practice Spanish regularly. Soon those Spanish sentence structure will flow like it was your native language.
Spending Time in a Spanish Speaking Country
I spent most of last year in a Spanish speaking world. I picked up on new Spanish words that you wouldn’t be able to find if you learn Spanish strictly with books.
If you decide to take your language learning to another country, you’ll realize people are quick to teach you slang or las “palabras groseros.” It’s mostly for fun and it fosters kindred spirits as you learn Spanish with Spanish speakers.
I spent two months to learn Spanish in a language learning immersion. When I woke up to go to school, I would be speaking Spanish with my driver or whichever store I would go to buy food at. And when at school I would be with other language learners to learn Spanish.
Being in a Spanish speaking environment 24/7 really accelerated my Spanish learning. My spoken Spanish could be considered fluent after those two months.
DIY Ways to Learn Spanish via Immersion
But if you can’t go to Spanish speaking countries, you can still have your own way of immersion:
- Listen to Spanish songs
- Take an online Spanish class
- Start speaking Spanish every chance you get
- Learn Spanish with Spanish music
- Listen to Spanish Podcasts
- Find a language exchange partner online
- Go to Spanish restaurants and read the menu
All of these can be great ways to learn Spanish. It puts the fun in your Spanish journey.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I really learn Spanish on my own?
Yes! You can absolutely learn Spanish on your own. Just be sure to take a structured approach and practice regularly.
How long does it take to learn Spanish on your own?
That depends on how willing you are to learn and practice. It can take a few months or it could take years. If time isn’t an issue, I recommend immersing yourself in the Spanish language for two months like I did.
What is the easiest and fastest way to learn Spanish?
Honestly, there’s no easy or fast way to learn Spanish. But the best ways are immersing yourself in the Spanish language, finding a tutor or taking lessons, practicing regularly with Spanish music and movies, having conversations with native speakers, reading books written in Spanish and studying online via free materials or paid ones.
Why is Spanish so hard?
It might seem hard at first, but if you put in lots of time and effort it can become easy. You learn something new every day and eventually you will know more than enough to get by.
Can I learn Spanish with a friend?
Yes! Having a language exchange partner is the best way to learn Spanish while also having fun. You can get together with your partner on Skype or Google hangouts to have conversations in Spanish.
What is the best app for learning Spanish?
I really like DuoLingo as it gamifies language learning. It feels more like a video game you want to be consistent in to win.