How to Learn Spanish Online

Three Parts:Devising Your CurriculumPutting Study into PracticeMaking Use of Other Techniques

Learning a second language, like Spanish, opens up opportunities for communication that would not have been possible otherwise. Spanish can be useful for meeting school requirements, traveling abroad, and can give you an edge at work or when looking for a job. The Internet is an excellent resource for training a non-Spanish speaker in a short period of time.

Part 1
Devising Your Curriculum

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    Identify the sites best for you. Each person has a different learning style, especially when it comes to something as individual and personal as language. Also consider your price range when choosing sites; some sites are free, such as duolingo, but others cost money. You'll find as you investigate Spanish teaching websites that some naturally suit you better than others. Trust your instincts, but always try to challenge yourself. Some potential sites to consider include:
    • Babbel
    • Conjugemos
    • Duolingo
    • Fluencia
    • Spanish YouTube channels
    • Rosetta Stone Online
    • Some teachers allow lessons over Skype
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    Engage the four main language learning areas. Without activating each of the four language learning areas and applying concentrated study, you will never gain fluent ability. Some learning areas will come more easily, or you may prioritize one area over another, but all four are necessary components of any and every language.[1] The four areas you'll need to activate in the course of your studies are: Speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
    • Though there is no wrong way to learn language, recent research has indicated that focusing on the audio component first and cultivating your listening ability may be the best way to study a foreign language.[2]
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    Allow the four language areas to guide your selection of language learning websites. Some websites, like those focused on language learning for a business environment, might focus mainly on one skill, like reading. This is usually to prepare an individual for a business situation in which memos, business emails, contracts, etc., take priority; don't let this fool you. All four language areas are necessary for true fluency.
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    Incorporate your areas of interest. This will provide motivation for your continued study, even when the going is tough due to difficult vocabulary or the impositions of your level.[3] Some common areas that might motivate you in your study of Spanish:
    • Sports
    • Current events
    • Spanish literature
    • History
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    Determine your level. You can either do this on your own or take an online test to gauge your level of ability. Chances are you likely have some inclinations about Spanish already, as there are many cognates (similar sounding words) shared between the two languages. Be aware that online tests might use widely different criteria to evaluate your language ability, which might lead to very different results for your "level" depending on the test. Self examination can be attempted by:
    • Listening to several native Spanish broadcasts (various topics).
    • Rating yourself in terms of percentage understood.
    • Averaging the percentages to get a cumulative listening percentage.
    • Looking through online textbooks.
    • Finding a level you feel you mostly understand.
    • Establishing a base level off the textbook level and listening comprehension percentage.
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    Study with a purpose. Try setting a goal, or several goals, before you begin studying. Try to be reasonable with yourself. A good goal for beginners might be making polite greetings and simple requests. Whatever goal(s) you choose to help direct your study, write these down, and as you accomplish them, re-evaluate and set even more challenging goals for the future.[4]

Part 2
Putting Study into Practice

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    Make a reasonable practice schedule. This depends on your personal preference, schedule, and daily habits, but consistency is important for your language learning.[5] Set a time of day when you can guarantee an uninterrupted block of study, and stick to it.[6]
    • Some Spanish-learning websites allow you to set a daily goal for the site.
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    Ensure immersion. Various studies have validated the importance of immersion in learning a second language.[7][8][9] Using Spanish radio, Spanish language podcasts, Spanish music, and whatever other resources at your disposal, try to expose yourself to as much Spanish as possible as you continue in your studies.
    • Especially with listening activities (like online radio or podcasts), you don't need a perfect understanding of what you are listening to for you to benefit from it.
    • Many popular websites such as buzzfeed and youtube have articles/videos that are made for Spanish speakers. [10] Simply hearing the flow and distribution of Spanish will help speed your learning along.
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    Master the basics. Many free sites have comprehensive information on beginner level Spanish grammar and mechanics. Make sure you have a firm grasp of these before attempting more difficult level exercises.
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    Conjugate with confidence. It is impossible to become fluent in Spanish without having proficiency with the various forms that verbs take when tense or context is applied.You will also have to learn how pronouns change according to part of speech or verb pairing.
    • Tenses and moods can be be very tricky. Try to come up with a personalized way of remembering these, like mnemonics devices.
    • Online verb conjugation sites can be a great supplement to an online learning strategy.
    • Print out conjugation guides to help with irregular verbs and irregular constructions.
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    Create usage opportunities. Take part in Spanish speaking online communities, become involved in popular Spanish online forums, and search online for Spanish email pen pals with whom you can practice your Spanish. Set a regular schedule for your participation; regularity will make it easier for you to get into this habit.
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    Drill vocabulary with flash card apps and programs. There are many free and pay-to-use flash card apps and programs that are specifically intended to help you learn vocabulary. These are ideal for building your knowledge of Spanish words.
    • Try to find a flash card app that tracks your statistics so that words you struggle with appear at higher frequency. These programs can help you isolate problem words and formations.
    • Don't just use flash card apps for vocabulary; include common conjugations with the English equivalent in your flash card pool. This way you are studying both vocab and grammar.
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    Hunt for vocabulary that is useful for you. If you're visiting a Spanish country as a tourist, chances are you won't need to engage in a Spanish conversation on economics. Be discerning with the vocabulary on which you focus. It can help if you compile a list of words you believe will be useful to you in your daily Spanish conversations.
    • You should also think about making a list of words and phrases you find yourself using frequently in English. Look these up in an online Spanish dictionary or through another site, and begin trying to integrate them in your usage.
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    Graduate to a higher level and reevaluate. Language learning is a lifetime pursuit, and there will even be words and topics in your native language that you are unfamiliar with. As your skill increases, you should adjust your goals and move on to higher level, more difficult material.

Part 3
Making Use of Other Techniques

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    Read about your favorite subjects in Spanish. School language is very standard, so it can be boring or unchallenging. Take notes on difficult words and look them up or ask a native or a language instructor if you have the chance. This may include:
    • Literature (ebook format)
    • Online Comic books
    • Fashion blogs
    • Current events forums
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    Watch plenty of Spanish movies with Spanish subtitles. These are especially valuable for learning everyday Spanish. Remember to keep your Spanish notebook on hand so you can write down anything worth remembering, or any troublesome grammar that clicks after hearing/seeing it used.
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    Utilize pre-installed software/settings. Most word processors come pre-installed with software that you can use to help improve, or check, your Spanish. This software is very useful for checking your verb conjugations, and allows you to learn at your own pace.
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    Decipher Spanish sites. This is an excellent way to practice for intermediate to advanced students of Spanish. Skim through sites written entirely in Spanish and see how much you can comprehend. Keep a notebook handy and jot down words that are unfamiliar. You can look these up later and add them to your flash card pool.

Article Info

Categories: Spanish