I speak with a lot of people who want to speak Spanish, most of whom ask questions about the language and wanting my recommendations for an effective Spanish course. It’s common for these people to be curious about how difficult it is to learn Spanish. They aren’t asking how difficult it is to learn the language in full. What they really want to know is ‘how long will it take me to learn enough Spanish to feel comfortable getting around in a foreign country or in a light conversation with a native Spanish speaker?’
How long it takes you to learn conversational Spanish depends on you. Are you someone who can recognize patterns, enjoys music, and understands basic math? If you said yes, then your chances of learning Spanish quickly are very good.
Having an appreciation for patterns, music, and math are important because they help you understand the building blocks of the Spanish language—Verbs. Spanish Verbs, along with subjects, are some of the most basic elements of the Spanish language and having a clear understanding of them will help you speak Spanish more than any other concept. And once you understand the relationship between subjects and verbs, you ability to speak and grasp the more advanced concepts greatly improves.
When setting out on their journey to learn Spanish, many students ask ‘where do I begin?’ Formal Spanish language courses taught by your community college or in a textbook will start by teaching you how to say things like ‘the’, ‘a’, and ‘and’. Then you’ll advance to—dare I say—nouns! By the end of week one you’ll be saying things like, ‘the dog’, ‘the food’, and ‘the house’. My Beginner Spanish course takes a different approach, however. The first four lessons of Beginner Spanish aim to solidify the student’s ability to match a subject with a verb and then create a basic sentence. After just an hour you’ll be saying things like ‘I eat the cookie’ and ‘we watch the movie.’ Shortly thereafter you’ll be able to ask and answer questions in complete sentences.
This type of verb-based learning has two benefits. First, it puts a lot of Spanish words into your vocabulary very quickly so as to prepare you for actual conversations you might have. Second, it establishes a foundation in your brain that helps you understand all the subsequent Spanish language concepts that you will learn.
This is where we chat about all things Spanish. Feel free to ask a question, challenge me, passionately disagree, or rant about whatever. Just make it interesting.