Learning Spanish - The Practical ApproachLearning Spanish - The Practical Approach

I have not met too many people who would not love to acquire a new language. Spanish is at the top of the list for most, as it is a language that is widely spoken all over the world. Latin American markets are becoming increasingly important to companies in America and Europe, and having Spanish as a first or second language on your résumé, can give you the edge that will help you stand out among the other candidates.

Given the abundance of learning materials out there, picking the one that is right for you can be simply a matter of trial and error. We do not all learn languages the same way. Although, some people may be fortunate enough to be able to learn languages easily, most of us may require a step by step approach. The important points to remember about learning a language are:

• Go at your own pace. Do not be frustrated if you do not make progress as rapidly as you expected. It takes years for most of us to be able to converse in a new language, even if it is at a basic level.

• Repetition may seem boring but it is a very effective way of driving home how the language is structured. This does not just mean doing written exercises, but also oral repetition. The Pimsleur and Berlitz methods base their teaching techniques on this concept. The more you speak and hear, the more comfortable you will feel with your new language. Berlitz also has a number of language schools all over the world that offer private or group instruction using the Berlitz method. Having tried it myself I can tell you that it is very effective.

• If you are a film buff, there are plenty of good films in Spanish to help you improve your knowledge of spoken Spanish. In addition, most Hollywood films also come with a Spanish audio track or subtitles in Spanish. Pick a few of your favorites and watch them again in Spanish. You may not understand everything at first, but do not get discouraged. You will be able to understand more with each viewing.

• The internet is also an abundance of material for language acquisition. Websites like "Learn Practical Spanish Online" offer free content with plenty of tips and examples for beginners as well as advice on how to take your Spanish to the next level. If cost is an issue using a free online Spanish course can be a viable option. This site presents a course on practical spoken Spanish with plenty of examples.

• There are a number of CDs and cassettes for students of Spanish as well. Pimsleur has more of a step by step approach that focuses on listening and repeating. Living Language stresses reading and writing as well as listening and repeating but has more of an accelerated approach.

The best approach, of course, is to use a combination of sources. This not only takes the monotony out of language learning but also helps keep you motivated.
by CR Desouza
References and Bibliography
CR Desouza, the author, has devoted much of her time finding better ways to learn languages and has created the website "Learn Practical Spanish Online" to help Spanish students of all levels: http://www.learnpracticalspanishonline.com/
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