” Patiente is a tree of bitter roots and sweeter fruits”
There is a Spanish saying from the olden times ´ La letra con sangre entra´( It is also a famous painting by Francisco de Goya, a Spanish painter of the 18th- 19th century). In English the translation would be the softer and ultimaltely less strict ´No pain, no gain´.
In my opinion, I don´t feel that we must suffer in order to learn, specially when the task at hand relies on something as human and natural as the spoken word.
It is clear that everyone learns better and much more deeply when they enjoy what they are doing and end up doing it with more enthusiasm, optimism and creativity as a result.
That being said, I definitely believe in persistence, enthusiasm and creativity during the learning process. It certainly is a given that despite the fact we have to give an effort and challenge ourselves to comprehend, to listen, speak and be understod, that effort should be a pleasent one. A positive experience will be arguable more of a benefit in the future so long as one perseveres and enjoys the views along the way.
Not long ago I was having dinner with a friend and he asked my opinion about a program that ensured that one could ´ Learn Spanish in 10 days ´ under hypnosis no less. In my experience( wheter it be in Spanish or any other language), I have never witnessed any learning program, whether it be hypnosis or sleep training that could allow anyone to become proficient in anything at all, least of all 1 or 2 weeks. In truth I think the reality lies somewhere in the middle.
That being said if anyone knows an app or program that makes one fluent in so short a time, please do let me know, I would be more than happy to try it 🙂
“By taking control of your emotions, you will control your self- learning process”
The most common features about all human beings is that we all experience similar emotions, positive and negative ones. From Spain to China all humans also feel and behave similarly if not the same when we aim to learn a second language.
It is so important to start with an inner strength and firmly believe that “the sky´s the limit .
Your natural abilities for learning to speak Spanish will be already extremely high, chances are 100% and it is all just a matter of training your ears for at least 6 months. You are genetically programmed to listen and speak!!!
Then, how can I gain self – confidence? How can I make myself assume I will learn to speak Spanish by training my ear?
If we take control of our own self -learning process by following the next steps we can detect negative emotions and turn them into positive ones. We can remove anxiety, worry, apathy and boredom and turn them into arousal, flow, control and relaxation as long as we:
– Find a balance between skills and challenge
– Know what to do
– Know how to do it
– Know how well we are doing
– Know where would we like to get to
Once we have gained self -confidence, we will be super motivated and learn much faster and easier.
How do you feel about learning Spanish? What are your feelings about it?
“When learning Spanish, around 80% of the effort must be focused on intensive listening to real life conversations, recorded or spoken, by native speakers”.
Intensive listening is the keyword to learn how to speak Spanish effectively and successfully. What is the reason for this? It is the best possible way to acquire a language naturally, and to achieve the final goal of speaking fluently without thinking.
By listening, you will start to learn new sounds and the correct pronunciation of words, and you will be able to identify and use them in different contexts. The key to success is to listen to the same piece as a unit repetitively. It is faster and more efficient to learn sentences as a whole, rather than learning single words individually.
In the video below, Kike gives a great explanation about the importance of the listening process:
Were you able to understand the main idea of the message he is trying to transmit?
If you did, congratulations, keep going with the good work and never give up!!
To command a language means to possess the following 4 skills:
1- Listen and understanding
2 – Speaking
3 – Reading
You can evaluate your personal strengths and weaknesses in Spanish, based on the above four skills. Which one of the four do you need to work on the most? Is it speaking? When learning a language in class, listening skills are quite often overlooked and consequently, speaking and understanding that language becomes the real challenge to achieve.
It is at this point, when it is necessary to become an independent language learner. On a personal note, it is quite a weird situation when someone asks me – Can you speak French? My answer is – Well, not exactly. I can’t speak it, but I manage well to read and write, so we can have written correspondence.
I wish I had spoken French before reading and writing, because that would have been much more practical for me, but I am determined to learn it. I hope you are determined too to learn Spanish. Yes we can!!!
“Spanish is not a difficult language to learn, but the grammar can be quite challenging”.
This is the answer most Spanish learners give when asked about the difficulties they face.
The following are the most recurring issues:
– The use of prepositions (“para” and “por” seem to be the most difficult)
– A very high number of different verb forms (with the subjunctive tense being the hardest to understand)
– The distinction in the use of gender (this is particularly challenging with languages, such as English, where there is no distinction between masculine and feminine)
– The use of articles
– The use of pronouns
– Where to place the accents.
All of the above take many years of learning for a native Spanish speaker too. It is not easy for us to learn all the rules by heart either.
The good news is that learning the correct use of grammar becomes much easier by being able to first understand and speak a language fluently.
“What makes it so difficult for adults to learn a foreign language as children do? The answer is very simple: we are not exposed enough to the target language”
Some years ago I read an extremely interesting article about Dr. Paul Sulzberger, a researcher from Victoria University in New Zealand.
Dr. Sulzberger started his PhD research after he saw many students drop out of his Russian language classes because they were not making significant progress. He was interested to know what makes it so difficult to learn a foreign language when we are constantly learning new words in our native tongue.
He found the answer in the way the brain develops the appropiated neural tissue to learn new patterns of sounds:
– Children learn a language without conscious study since they are babies, they learn how to speak by listening to the sound of mother talking.
– Neural tissue required to learn and understand a new language will develop automatically from simple exposure to the language, which is how babies learn their first language. -He says-.
Dr. Sulzberger searched for ways to make the learning process easier for students, giving the following advices:
– To learn a language, you have to grow the appropiate brain tissue, and you get this by doing lots of listening. Frequently listening to Spanish language will dramatically boost your ability to pick up the language.
– One hour a day of studying Spanish text in a classroom is not enough, but an extra hour of listening to Spanish on an Ipod will make a huge difference-.
It may sound crazy, but the simply exposure to the language will not only help you progress. You can really learn Spanish by just listening.
Many language teachers will not agree with his revealing research and conclusions, but they are based on facts. No, It does not sound crazy at all Dr. Sulzberger. We all need to rethink from top to bottom the way languages are being taught. Our rigid system of teaching languages does not help much.
Before starting the «Learn Real Spanish» project, the following questions were making our heads spin:
Why children learn to speak before studying grammar?
Do children have a special and magical power to acquire a language without effort?
Why are adults not fluent speakers after years of «studying» a language?
Is it necessary to learn all Spanish verb tenses and vocabulary by heart?
Which methods are more efficient to learn Spanish or any other language?
What makes it so difficult to pronounce and repeat new patterns of sounds?
Why is the proccess of learning with grammar so long and boring?
How do I get to the point of no longer needing a teacher? How can I become a self-directed learner?
How can I learn Spanish if I don´t have time for it?
What inspires me to learn? What is my main motivation to learn Spanish?
The answer to all of the above questions is so simple, so factual, so real and so logical that it opened our minds to a different approach to language learning.