You’ve probably heard people talking about how “easy” Spanish is.
“It’s much easier than English!”
“It’s so easy to pronounce the Spanish vowels!”
“You can basically add a Spanish ending like -ción, -ista, -o or -a to English words, and you’re already speaking the language.”
Well, tell that to those of us who’ve tried a million times to start learning, only to fall back into our usual, Spanish-free routines. Tell that to the less confident among us would-be learners, who believe they truly can’t learn a language or that they’re “bad at languages.”
The truth is, Spanish isn’t an inherently easy or difficult language to learn. No language is truly easy to learn unless you have the right mindset. Every language is a challenge to learn if you’re walking in with the wrong mindset.
And here’s the kicker. Getting to that right mindset isn’t an overnight process—it’s an endless, ongoing one.
I can attest to this firsthand, as someone who’s been speaking Spanish more or less fluently for the past 5 years. After studying Spanish formally in classrooms and libraries for a solid 8 years, I went on my first trip abroad, to spend 8 months living in Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. I’d go on to spend another 3 years living in Ecuador after this trip. Even though Spanish was rolling off my tongue smoothly after the first few weeks of my time abroad, living in Spanish meant that I’d bump into all sorts of language-related challenges all the time.
Looking back, I really wish that someone had handed me “Why Spanish Is Easy” by Benny Lewis from Fluent in 3 Months (FI3M) before I ever went abroad.
Not only that, but I wish I’d had a chance to delve into the whole collection of resources on FI3M. (This might have required some kind of time travel device, as I don’t think any of this existed back then.)
Luckily, you don’t need any kind of time-and-space-bending gadgets.
Who Should Read “Why Spanish Is Easy”?
First of all, “Why Spanish Is Easy” is a powerful e-book because it targets a very specific group of language learners.
If you’re already at an intermediate or advanced level of Spanish, you’re going to want to head directly to FI3M Premium.
However, there are a few exceptions to this.
I’d recommend that intermediate and advanced learners flip through this book in the following cases:
- You need to brush up on your basic grammar. This e-book has a nice, neat overview to some simple and complex grammar rules in Spanish, which is a nice memory boost if you’re looking for one. Revisiting those trickier details like ser and estar or por and para is often very beneficial for intermediate and advanced learners. I mean, if J. Lo can still mix up ser and estar after a lifetime of exposure to Spanish, then nobody’s safe.
- You’re sick and tired of your learning materials and want something that gets you excited. Have you only learned Spanish in a classroom or with a textbook so far? Have you left your big pile of flashcards to collect dust on your desk for the past three weeks? This e-book can open your mind and your heart to Spanish learning resources that tap into your interests, hobbies, passions and learning goals.
- You feel shy, nervous, afraid or embarrassed when speaking with natives. This reaction is all too common among Spanish learners. If you’ve got issues when it comes to vocalizing your Spanish knowledge, this book will direct you to some great solutions.
- You’re a complete perfectionist. Oh man, if this is you, I get it. This problem can actually get worse as you improve your overall fluency. The more fluent in Spanish you are, the harder you cringe when you make a mistake. This book is worth a read for anyone who feels physical pain upon making a Spanish mistake, especially if that pain is hindering you from having fun, relaxed conversations and building real relationships with native speakers.
What You’ll Learn from “Why Spanish Is Easy”
There are three main things you’ll learn from this e-book.
- How to think about learning. The beginning of the book hammers home some big ideas about perspective and mindset, as well as how these seemingly abstract ideas can really help you advance farther faster with the Spanish language. Benny revisits these ideas frequently throughout the entire text, and won’t let you forget about them. Any Spanish learner at any skill level can benefit from these mind-power lessons, especially if you’ve only been taught Spanish in very conventional ways.
- How to learn. This is very open-ended but definitely less abstract than thinking about learning. Benny will walk you through a massive brainstorming session that describes dozens upon dozens of ideas for learning materials and methods. For example, what’s the benefit of watching TV shows in Spanish? Which shows should you try watching, and how can you find them? Benny will let you know where to go next. Again, I’d recommend reading about these materials and methods at any level of Spanish.
- Lessons on Spanish pronunciation and grammar. This book covers far more ground in terms of actual Spanish lessons than I would have thought possible. Benny gives a very quick, comprehensive overview of Spanish pronunciation, accents, dialects, sentence structure, verb conjugations and tricky details for English speakers. I would not necessarily recommend these lessons for absolute beginners as they might be overwhelming at this level—they read like cliff-notes, and are more appropriate to provide a refresher and touch-up course for upper-beginners, intermediate learners and beyond.
If you like how that sounds, you’ll love what’s next. Let’s go into a special sneak preview of the e-book that will provide a little more detail about what it’s made of.
Peek Inside: The Contents of “Why Spanish Is Easy”
Now, see for yourself exactly what you can discover in this great e-book—and keep in mind that this is only the first page of the table of contents, so there’s even more to find once you’ve got your own copy on hand.
Part One: Getting Started
This part recaps some of Benny’s own personal experiences with traveling and learning languages. The trial and error process he’s been through—often involving more error than trial—may feel all too familiar to you. You’ll learn about important mistakes to avoid, as well as recommendations from the master for putting your best foot forward with Spanish today.
If you love his ideas about getting over the “speaking hump” and building momentum towards full, fluent conversations with natives, then you’re definitely going to want to continue with Conversation Countdown.
I’d actually recommend that you take a break from reading after part one. Jump right into Conversation Countdown directly from part one of this e-book. Many of the same ideas overlap between the two, so you’ll feel even more prepared to get up and running with Spanish conversations.
Once you’ve completed Conversation Countdown, then come back to this e-book and finish reading the following three sections.
Part Two: Speaking Spanish
Here’s where we start getting into the more hands-on stuff. In this part, you’ll learn about attuning your ear to the sounds of Spanish, pronunciation, dialects and practicing with native speakers.
This is a perfect follow-up once you’ve completed your week-long Conversation Countdown experience. This part of the e-book contains numerous tips that zero in on great listening and speaking resources, as well as how to incorporate them into your study routine.
Read this carefully, read the pronunciation lessons here out loud, and you’ll go back to your language exchange dates more prepared to speak fluidly.
Part Three: Grammar
Benny notes throughout this e-book that he didn’t intend to provide a full-on Spanish course, but this part might lead you to believe otherwise—it has a very “crash course” or “cliff-notes” kind of vibe.
The information here is certainly accurate and useful, and it’s all worth noting when you’re stepping up to bat in your language exchanges. Presented within this part of the e-book are numerous Spanish grammar rules that, once mastered, will allow you to speak properly and sound more like a true blue native speaker.
However, I’d recommend that this part be put to use in the following three ways: (1) as a general “what to expect” guide for beginners (2) a refresher for intermediate and advanced students and (3) a reference that you can look back on later.
As a beginner, I would have found this lineup of information—plunked down without much in-depth explanation—to be overwhelming all at once, when I’m still grappling with the prospect of starting Spanish. The nice thing is that Benny highlights all the easiest parts of Spanish, so you can look forward to the linguistic victories on the horizon and realize that Spanish truly is easy.
Part Four: Words
This short, sweet and simple part of the book will assist you in the vocabulary realm. Beginners, quickly glaze over part three and hop right over to this part. Here you’ll find a description of Spanish words that share similarities or linguistic origins with English words.
Have you tried using mnemonics before in any subject? Part four will get you up to speed on Spanish mnemonic devices and how to use them to boost your vocabulary quickly. This is yet another excellent stop for beginner learners, who will undoubtedly be looking to stuff more vocabulary into their brains before getting into more conversation practice.
That’s the end, but that’s not all “Why Spanish Is Easy” has to offer you!
The Spanish Online Immersion Sample Daily Schedule illustrates a clear picture of what a day in the life of a dedicated Spanish learner might look like. It pinpoints all the spare moments in your day that you can be filling with Spanish immersion. While you don’t need to follow this to a T, it’s a model schedule for anyone striving towards Spanish fluency. Try to create your own personalized study schedule based on this.
This e-book comes with two more intriguing features. The Spanish Digital Immersion Setup Guide is a totally separate e-book that walks you step-by-step through the process of changing all your technological gadgets into Spanish immersion tools, including your internet browsers, Kindles and smartphones. Not to mention, it’s written with ample screenshots and detailed directions, so even the least tech-savvy learner can make this digital immersion setup a reality.
The Final Word on “Why Spanish Is Easy”
This e-book is a fun ride through the first steps of learning Spanish. Beginners, employ this e-book to develop the right mindset and attitude for your future of Spanish learning. Intermediate and advanced learners, reflect on how you’ve been thinking and feeling about Spanish, and keep this e-book on hand as a refresher and reference guide.
To all Spanish learners from newbie to fluent, reward your decision to learn Spanish with this essential study tool. It’s all too easy to see that Spanish isn’t an objectively easy language to learn—it becomes easy and enjoyable when you’ve prepared yourself properly at every stage of the learning journey.
In combination with the entire FI3M Premium program and the Conversation Countdown starter guide, there’s no telling how fast “Why Spanish Is Easy” will allow you to achieve Spanish fluency.
Maureen Stimola is a Vermont native, serial expat and language addict who has learned Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese and Kichwa. Request her writing, editing and translation services on Hola Translation.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.