Talk to children
“They have no filter, know all the slang, and won’t ever dumb it down for you! I learned so much as a kindergarten teacher!” says Danni Roseman, Community and Content Director for Las Morenas de España.
Take a class
Take a Spanish class. Photo: ZadorSpain/Flickr
“For English speakers who’ve only ever spoken one language, like me, I do recommend taking a class,” says wine blogger Timmer Brown of Catalunya Wine. “If possible, find an instructor to give one-on-one lessons…”
Date a Spaniard
“Learning how to argue, love and be yourself in a new language is an exhilarating journey,” says Danni.
Do an intercambio
“I’ve had the same intercambio partner for over two years and, even though we’re now good friends, we still try and stick to our half English, half Spanish rule. One word of advice though: it’s really important that you have things in common with your partner and enjoy chatting to them, otherwise it can be quite painful thinking of things to talk about!” says Jane Spivey, founder of Two Birds Languages.
“What really helped me was making really good friends with Spanish people,” food blogger Wesley Muchimwe told The Local.
“Once a month I would go with them to the ‘pueblo’ for a weekend and there, we only spoke Spanish for an entire weekend – you have no other choice but to use the language and you learn a lot from your mistakes. I remember telling everyone that I’d lost my throat when I wanted to say I’d lost my gloves. We laughed and I learned.”
Watch Spanish TV
Photo: Dennis Skley/Flickr
“Watch Spanish TV with Spanish subtitles. I’d recommend news or documentary,” says Nadine Walker, owner of Nest boutique in Madrid.
“It’s also definitely handy to have a translation app on your phone to consult when you don’t know a word.”
Have a good old debate
“Get chatting to people in the bar,” says Danni. “Spanish people love debating current affairs, especially after a few beers! Which is great, because liquid courage is a thing!”
“I’d recommend making an effort to socialize with Spanish speakers. It’s not as easy as it sounds because when you don’t know the language that well you tend to stick to what’s familiar, it’s more comfortable. But it’s worth it and helps with your confidence,” says Nadine.
Do something you love in Spanish
Photo: Matt Madd/Flickr
“I learned tons from my Power Yoga sessions, and dance classes! It’s great because you’ve already got some context, so it’s not as new – or intimidating,” says Danni.
“I’ve also learnt a lot doing activities I enjoy like Bikram yoga, bootcamp, photography, hiking etc.” says Jane.
Download an app
A great way to practice when you’re on the go, there are some brilliant language apps available that will make learning the “boring” grammar fun!