You’re a speed demon.
You like life in the fast lane.
You drive the slickest sports cars.
You only eat instant pudding.
So naturally, when you decided you wanted to learn Spanish, you wanted to learn it fast.
When learning a language, the process can seem drawn out. After all, most traditional courses are structured around years of study.
That isn’t a typo: years.
Luckily, there are faster ways to do it. All you have to do is choose the right study methods to learn Spanish quickly.
Here are a few tips and tricks to speed you toward fluency!
Why Learn Spanish Fast?
One popular reason to learn Spanish fast is for an impending trip. If you know you’re going to an exotic locale soon, chances are you’ll want to improve your language knowledge. At the very least, you’ll need to learn the basics to ensure you always get your free bar of soap and extra towels.
But if you’re not traveling, you still might want to learn Spanish quickly in order to get immediate results that’ll motivate you to learn in more depth. There’s no doubt about it: immediate results feel good. If you learn some Spanish very quickly, it just might kickstart your journey to fluency.
Finally, you might want to learn Spanish quickly in order to communicate with native speakers soon. For instance, if you have friends, colleagues or in-laws that speak Spanish, you might want and/or need to communicate with them sooner rather than later. There’s no time like the present to finally connect with Spanish speakers in their native tongue!
How to Speak Spanish Fast: Time-saving Tips for Rapid Learning
1. Immerse Yourself
“Immersion” is a common language learning technique that involves surrounding yourself with and using your target language as much as possible—whether through travel, language education schools or your own efforts. Research shows that immersion is highly effective for learning languages.
Immersion is also the most intuitive method for language learning. After all, we learn our native language through immersion. We’re surrounded by it from the moment we’re born. By sheer constant exposure, we’re eventually able to understand and speak it ourselves.
And if you’re looking to immerse yourself in Spanish, there’s no better option than traveling abroad to one of the many Spanish-speaking countries on the globe. Whether you’re shopping, eating out or even watching TV in your room, you’ll be getting a constant language lesson.
If you can’t go abroad right this minute, though, don’t panic! Here are some options for achieving immersion at home:
- Get to know the Spanish immersion software programs designed to get you thinking in Spanish and practicing consistently no matter where you are.
- Take the opportunity to use Spanish whenever you have downtime during your day. Having Spanish apps on hand is extremely helpful for this.
Check out In 24 Hours Learn to Speak Spanish, which aims to teach you the most common and useful words and phrases in a flash. It’s designed with recreational and business travelers in mind.
Learn Spanish Quickly offers more than 1,100 phrases broken down into easy categories, so you can quickly study the most important word categories (obviously food and shopping!) first. Quizzes and flashcards help you test your knowledge, while a favorites list helps you tag certain words for future review.
- Here are six more powerful ideas and resources for achieving Spanish immersion without getting on a plane.
2. Make Learning Fun
You’re bound to learn Spanish quicker if you actually enjoy studying. And the best way to enjoy studying is to make it fun.
A big problem that many people face when trying to learn Spanish quickly is that they lose focus. After all, once you get down the basics, delving into the nitty gritty can seem boring or frustrating.
Fortunately, it isn’t hard to make learning fun so you can get your motivation back up. Most people enjoy music, videos and other fun media. The same things you enjoy in your downtime can be great learning tools.
- Have you heard about watching movies in Spanish to boost your comprehension skills?
- How about stirring your heart with a Spanish novel while also advancing your reading level?
- Or if you’re a news junkie, you can keep up with current events and get in some regular Spanish practice, while also absorbing the issues and culture of the Spanish-speaking world.
- Did you know you can enjoy authentic, entertaining Spanish content while actively building your vocabulary and comprehension? FluentU transforms real-world Spanish videos like movie trailers, music videos, news and more into an engaging learning experience for Spanish students.
FluentU takes real-world videos, like music videos, commercials, news and inspiring talks, and turns them into Spanish learning experiences.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos—topics like soccer, TV shows, business, movies and even magical realism, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and it recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store for iOS and Android devices.
3. Practice Listening
Listening is essential to your speaking skills—the two are intrinsically linked. After all, if you never hear spoken Spanish, there’s no way you’ll be able to perfect your pronunciation or accent.
Like immersion, it’s an intuitive approach to learning a language since everyone learns his or her first language through listening (unless maybe a few super babies jump right in with textbook learning).
By listening to Spanish as often as possible, you’ll start picking up the rhythms of the language and internalizing grammar and vocabulary. The more you practice, the faster this process will be. But if you don’t have access to a big group of native Spanish-speaking friends, what are some options for getting consistent Spanish listening practice?
- KeRapido is a great source for listening practice. It’s run by a native Spanish speaker and offers MP3s and audiobooks to helps you fine tune your pronunciation of tricky sounds and improve your accent.
- Gritty Spanish promises realistic, entertaining Spanish dialogues, with a specific focus on learners who want to pick up Spanish quickly. With this audio resource, you’ll hear dialogues with actors that the publisher describes as “eccentric Spanish speaking people” from a range of Spanish-speaking countries.
If you’ve found yourself nodding off to other Spanish listening resources, this just might be the solution for you.
- SpanishListening also offers terrific listening activities featuring speakers from a wide array of Spanish-speaking countries. This will help familiarize you with regional accents and vocabulary variations.
- Spanish Resources has some great listening activities, plus accompanying practice materials. These include worksheets and quizzes to help you test your comprehension.
4. Change Your Phone Settings to Spanish
Many cell phones offer different language settings, which you can change in your the Settings menu.
Changing your cell phone’s language settings is a great way to improve your skills quickly since you’ll have no choice but to practice when you use your phone—and you probably spend a lot of time on your phone every day. Additionally, if you have a voice-enabled option, you can get extra speaking practice and learn some conversational skills.
For instance, did you know Siri can speak Spanish? Indeed. Just ask her about it on your iPhone and she’ll tell you how to change the settings. If, however, your relationship is currently strained, just go to Settings, click General and then click Siri to change her language.
5. Make Your Own Vocabulary Lists
Since only you know what words and phrases you’re inclined to use often, making your own vocabulary lists is an excellent way to ensure you focus on those words and learn them quickly. You won’t be wasting time on words you already know or that you’re unlikely to encounter.
Simply jot down any words or phrases you think would be useful to you. You can even brainstorm to think about the words and phrases you use most often in English to find their Spanish equivalents.
Meanwhile, while you’re reading, watching or listening to content in Spanish, take note of any unfamiliar words or phrases and add them to your lists.
Once you have your vocabulary lists ready to go, keep them handy to study during any spare minutes of your day. This will ensure that you’re making the most of your Spanish practice and retaining new words, so you can boost your vocabulary as quickly as possible.
If you need some help getting started on your vocabulary list, you might try Spanish Sentence Magic. This audio program focuses on teaching you “high-frequency vocabulary,” or common words that you’re likely to encounter often in Spanish. Plus, Spanish Sentence Magic provides the tools to put that vocabulary to use by building your own original sentences.
Most importantly, don’t give up if you’re not learning as quickly as you had hoped. Instead, try other methods. Learning a language can take time, but finding the best method for you is a fast track to success!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.