So you’re thinking about learning Spanish or maybe you’ve already started? But you don’t want to waste time making mistakes with your learning process. You want your learning to be as efficient as possible and you want to start speaking as soon as you can.
Learning a language takes time and effort, but there are definitely some tricks you can do to speed up your language learning so that you can be speaking Spanish much sooner. Give these Spanish tips for beginners a go and you’ll see improvements in your Spanish much more quickly.
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Let’s have a look at some Spanish tips for beginners.
Learn the most commonly spoken words first
You don’t want to be wasting your time learning vocabulary to describe what’s in your pencil case first because realistically you’re not going to need it straight away.
Although there are thousands of words in Spanish, they are not spoken every day. The best thing to do is to look for a list of the 1000 most commonly spoken words in a language and learn that list first. That way you’ll have the vocabulary for everyday conversations and you’ll be able to start speaking quicker.
If you learn medicinal vocabulary that’s great, but it’s not going to help you start conversations.
Don’t run before you can walk.
Look for similar words in English
Spanish shares so many words with English because a lot of their words both come from Latin. So it’s easy to find words that are similar in English to boost your vocabulary. Here are some examples:
Words that ends in tion
If a word ends in tion in English, it normally ends in ción in Spanish. Learning this trick will add to your vocabulary list very quickly.
- information – información
- nation – nación
- abdication – abdicación
- emigration – emigración
- civilisation – civilización
So if it’s a -tion word in English, change it to -ción and add a Spanish accent
Beware of false friends
But do be aware of false friends! A false friend is a word that looks incredibly similar to an English word so you use it thinking you understand the meaning and it means something completely different.
It’s very easy to get tripped up with false friends, let’s take a look at some examples together:
What do you think this means? Because it looks a lot like ‘I’m constipated.’ It actually means I’m congested, like when you have a cold.
A lot of people also think ‘estoy embarazada‘ means I’m embarrassed but it actually means I’m pregnant.
There are some common false friends that you’ll learn quickly and others you’ll encounter as you learn Spanish. Just if you learn a new word, it’s best to check if it does mean what you think it means or if it’s actually a false friend.
Learn conjugation in the present tense
If you’re a beginner learning Spanish, then one of the things that probably seems daunting to you is all of the conjugation.
- Tengo – I have
- Tienes – You have
- Tiene -he/she/it has
- Tenemos – we have
- Tenéis – you (pl) have
- Tienen They have
It seems like a lot right? And then you have to learn it in the past? The future? The conditional? It can all be a bit overwhelming.
Our recommendation would be to learn conjugation in the present tense to start. Don’t worry about the other tenses at first or it’s just going to be a bit much. The best thing to do would be to learn conjugation in the present tense with the most commonly used verbs.
That way you’ll be able to start having conversations straight away as the majority of conversations take place in the present tense.
Learn some specific phrases
If you know you’re going to be saying certain things over and over again, it could be useful learning those phrases straight away. If you’re going on holiday to Spain then maybe you want to learn some phrases that you know will be useful in the tourist area. If you like museums or activities you’re going to want to learn how to buy tickets. If you like food and drink you’re going to want to learn some phrases that will allow you to be comfortable in a restaurant environment.
Obviously in the long term you want to be constructing your own sentences and not just memorising phrases to repeat, but in the early days this can be more useful than you would’ve thought.
Learn these verb tricks
These verb tricks will allow you to say more complicated sentences without having to learn more complicated grammar.
Voy a + infinitive
Voy means I go in Spanish. If you use voy a with the infinitive you can say I am going to.
- Voy a nadar – I am going to swim
- Voy a comer – I am going to eat
- Voy a bailar – I am going to dance
This way you’re talking about future plans without learning the future tense. It’s a great way to speed up your conversational skills.
Tengo que + infinitive
This is the Spanish equivalent of ‘I have to’ in English.
- Tengo que ir – I have to go
- Tengo que limpiar la casa – I have to tidy the house
- Tengo que estudiar – I have to study
Quiero + infinitive
This is a way to express that you want to do something.
- Quiero salir – I want to go out
- Quiero comer una paella – I want to eat a paella
- Quiero ir a la playa – I want to go to the beach
As you can see, if you learn these you can express a lot in Spanish without having to learn complicated grammar or ridiculous amounts of vocabulary. It’s a great way to get your speaking much more quickly.
Forgive your mistakes
Probably the most important one: you have to learn to forgive your mistakes. You’re not going to speak perfectly straight away and you are going to make mistakes. It’s important to remember that this is a natural part of a language learning process. At the end of the day Spanish isn’t your maternal language, why would you be able to speak it perfectly?
If you make a mistake in Spanish forgive yourself and move on. The best that you can do is to think why you made that mistake, learn from it and work to correct it in the future.
Learning mistakes is a natural part of the language learning process and without mistakes we wouldn’t be able to learn what was correct or not and we wouldn’t be able to progress.
It’s easy to beat yourself up if you conjugate incorrectly or if you forget the word for coffee, but at the end of the day it’s not going to help you. What is going to help you is learning from them and moving forward.
Try Reading Spanish Children’s Books
Spanish Children’s books can be a great way to expose you to Spanish without it being too overwhelming or difficult.
If you start reading children’s books in Spanish you’ll be exposed to the language in a similar way children are when they’re learning it as their mother tongue.
And the faster you improve your Spanish comprehension, the sooner you can move onto more exciting things.
We hope you’ve found these Spanish tips for beginners useful. Are you a beginner? Or are you thinking about learning Spanish? Or do you think you have some useful tips that could help Spanish beginners? If so then let us know in the comments below. We always love to hear from you especially if your information can help other Spanish students.
And if you want anyone to talk to about your Spanish learning experiences then check out our favourite Spanish forums here.