How I learn spanish in one year on my own
My background of learning languages
Well, before moving into how I learn Spanish within one year, I’d like to share my story about the other languages I learnt first. And… after the story, I believe you will probably have the same feeling.
Before I learn Spanish, I’ve known 3 languages already, Chinese, English and Japanese. Well, Chinese is my mother tongue, so let me just put it aside. I learnt both English and Japanese in the school. However, all the school systems ask us to memory a lot of vocabularies and grammars in the beginning, which makes most people regard it as the best way to learn a new language.
However, there was one thing bothering me —> Speaking. After learning for many years, I can only speak something like…I am an apple. All these god damn cramming things drove me crazy. Then, I lost my passion gradually.
Luckily, I met some people who could speak more than 10 languages. It feels like they treat languages like playing games. To satisfy my curiosity, I asked them about their way and I was shocked after I heard the answers which made me want to give it a shot. What exactly I heard from them? Well, keep reading.
According to the statistic in 2019, the first 3 most spoken languages around the world are Chinese, Spanish and English.
However, that is not the main reason for me to touch Spanish. Sounds ridiculous, but I decided to learn it because…I wanna have a gap year in Australia Yes, maybe you are thinking, “That Doesn’t Make Any Sense”. Well, trust me, if I heard somebody say that I come to Taiwan for learning German(which is a real story of one of my American friends), I would say that this guy is crazy as well.
Hold on, hold on. Let me tell you the whole story. Before I decided to visit Australia with working holiday visa, I heard there were a lot of Latin American in Australia and it’s much easier to get a job via friends’ recommendation. There is one phenomenon that most Asians get an illegal job(with illegal payment which is lower than hourly minimum wage) only for surviving in this unfamiliar country asap. Compared with Asians, Latin Americans get more chances to find a legal job. A little be sad, but I had to admit that it’s true. That’s my prior reason for learning Spanish.
After living in Australia for a few months, I met lots of friends from Peru, Colombia, Chile and Argentina. Then, I realized it was so interesting to know their cultures via their language, Spanish, which also makes my life become more and more colorful.
5 reasons why you should learn Spanish
1. Spanish is one of the most common used languages in the world
2. Spanish people are very passionate and they have a lot of special cultures
3. Spanish is very easy to learn for a native English speaker due to lots of similar words
4. The pronunciation of Spanish is easy to learn
5. Open your heart, change your shy personality and get happy easier
How I learn Spanish?
OK, let’s get into the topic. How exactly do I learn Spanish?
This time, I don’t want to grasp Spanish from remembering the grammar and the vocabulary due to the bad experience I got while I learnt Japanese and English. It’s more like an experiment for me. Then I started to find some free online resources, for example, following some Youtubers, Spanish-Learning Facebook pages, and watching Spanish dramas….etc.
There is one way called “Shadowing”, which is talking about effective input and output via mimicking.
Here is what I did. Firstly, I need to know how to make a self-introduction so that I can tell people that I can speak your language. It’s the first step, and trust me, you will bring people a good impression and they will be very glad that there is one foreigner wanna learn their language.
Me：Hola, soy Kevin. Encantado(a). Soy de Taiwan y yo puedo hablar 5 lenguas.
People：Oye, muy bien. ¿Cual es?
Me： Mandarin, Ingles, japonés, español y francés. Y mi lengua materna es Mandarin.
People： ¡En serio! Hablas muy claro. ¿Por qué quieres aprender español?
Me： Porque quiero conocer más gente, tener mas oportunidades y saber más cosas sobre la cultura
People： Bien. Si tu quieres hablar español, podemos hablar español juntos.
Me： Muchos gracias.
Then, I got friends(amigos españoles) quickly, and now I have a lot of native Spanish teachers(obtener muchos profesores) who I can ask every time I meet a question about how to describe something in Spanish. With a good start, I fall in love with learning this language gradually.
Secondly, sipping into the environment with the sounds of that language surrounded by, to make you ears get used to them.. For better learning, you need to use what you learn to the daily life. You must be curious, how did I find an environment without going to Spain or Latin America, right? Well, when I arrived in Australia, I chose to find a Spanish share house through Facebook. Typed in “Colombianos en Brisbane”, “Chilenos en Brisbane”….and I found one！Everyone in the house spoke Spanish！ It’s totally fine if you don’t understand nothing. Try to mimic their motion, body expression, and catch some words showing up frequently. Use this way to guess what people are talking about.
Below are the resources I used to learn Spanish
1. Spanishdict ( https://www.spanishdict.com/)
It is a must-know Spanish-English dictionary, and it is very powerful for Spanish learners. You can search the conjunction of the verbs. The favorite part for me is the function of sentences translation. You don’t need to use google translation anymore. Just paste the English sentences inside and you will get a great translation in Spanish. What’s more, they have mobile app as well, you can download it for free.
2. Mondly Spanish
This is a mobile app for language learners. You can learn a lots of languages inside. In this app, there are many kinds of lessons for different situation(in the restaurant, in the travel….). Once you finish a lesson, it will make flashcards for you to deepen the memories. There is a bot you can talk with, and it will tell you how you can respond when you hear someone say something. It is powerful, however, unfortunately it is not free.
1. Extra (español version) ( https://reurl.cc/mnLpgY)
This is a beginner-fit drama which is talking about an American moving into his pen pal’s house in Spain and making a lot of fun. Extra is designed for language learners, and there are different versions(German, English, Spanish, French…) I’ve watched it for thousand times and I like to mimic the characters’ exaggerate movements when they speak. Highly recommended!!!
2. Buena Gente (https://reurl.cc/ar9EaZ)
This is a Spanish drama narrating about some daily things. They speak very slowly so that you can build the foundation quickly. Oh, by the way, it’s from a channel called “Spanish Playground”. They keep publishing new videos on Youtube. So…Subscribe
3. Superholly (https://www.youtube.com/user/superhollyvideos)
This is an American bilingual jack of all trades youtuber (English & Spanish). It’s pretty simple to find English subtitle while watching her videos, which may help you understand easily. Also good for English learners.
4. Why not Spanish (https://reurl.cc/b5Xeb3)
This is the channel built by Cody and Marina. They teach lots of tips, fun facts, listening activities and lessons. You probably know that the speaking speed of Spanish speakers is super fast, and you probably wanna figure out how to improve your listening skill. Trust me, you might find an answer here.
1. Espanol Automatico(https://reurl.cc/4R69lK)
A Spanish podcast on Youtube built by Karo, who likes to share some useful learning tips. I like the way she says “Te acompañaré en este viaje” , which means she would like to join us in this journey.
2. How to Spanish(https://reurl.cc/NjbeO6)
In this podcast, David and Anna usually share interesting stories(las cosas chistosas). If you want to learn how to narrate a story, their podcast is a good choice.
1. Language hacking Spanish (by Benny Lewis)
Unlike any grammar books or vocabulary books, this book is designed for making a small talk with Spanish speakers. The writer learns numerous languages(Italian, Spanish, German, French…), so he has other books for other languages as well. In the book, you will find out how he can learn a language in the short time, and after you read the whole book, you will find out how fast you grow.
Here is the free audio for his books https://reurl.cc/V6E776
Here is the book：Language Hacking Spanish (Benny Lewis)
The entertaining time
Now, time for chilling. Here are some awesome Spanish dramas. Maybe they’re not good resources for a beginner, but who says you need to learn a language step by step. After all, learning and relaxing simultaneously is not a bad thing, is it. By the way, it’s a good way to check how many percentages you can understand.
A Spanish thrill teen drama web television series. Élite explores concepts associated with teen dramas, but also features more progressive issues and other sides to its clichés. These include many diverse sexual themes.(from Wiki)
2. La casa de papel
A Spanish series narrating a long-prepared, multi-day assault on the Royal Mint of Spain in Madrid, where 8 robbers take hostages as part of their plan to print and escape with €2.4 billion.
3. Skam españa
A Spanish series narrating a portrait of the generation of boys and girls: Their problems, feeling, what they think and want, and what they don’t say and what they are shamed of.
Hope you guys enjoy this Spanish-Learning journey