So you want to learn Spanish. In today’s world, the more languages you know, the more valuable you become. As more people become connected globally, a second language can broaden your horizons. Learning Spanish is perhaps the best place to start. Spoken by 329 million people and is the official language of 21 countries and many IGO’s including the U.N. Spanish can open gates to new businesses, markets, and jobs, as well as new friendships, relationships and ideas both here in the U.S. and abroad.
To begin with there are a few tips that you can find useful when not just learning Spanish, but many other languages:
- Start learning Spanish by learning how to speak ONLY!
- Learn basic grammar – learn the minimum grammar necessary to assemble complete thoughts. Spend about 10-15 minutes a day learning grammar until you feel comfortable.
- Learn basic vocabulary – Learn the minimum necessary to use basic grammar. A good place to start is the 100 most used spoken words of the language. Learn 5 words per day.
- Speak – Put basic grammar and words together as soon as you can.
- Reading – Read text with 9:1 density of dialogue to description (i.e., more characters talking than showing). This will allow you to anticipate and interpret the language. I would suggest finding Spanish-language screenplays and books translated from English, preferably on a subject or story you enjoy.
Three useful points:
- The less you have to think about a language, the more rapidly you’ll learn it.
- Just think in the language
- Context will clarify what you don’t understand
Focus on the simplicities, not the complexities. Here are some basic phrases in Spanish.
- Hello- Hola
- How do you say ________ in Spanish? – ¿Cómo se dice ________ en español?
- How are you? – ¿Cómo éstas usted? Fine, thank you. And yourself? – Bien gracias, ¿y usted?
- Where are you from? – ¿De dónde es usted? I am from… – Soy de…
- What is your name? – ¿Como se llama usted? My name is.. – Me llamo..(I’m called..), Mi nombre es..(My name is…)
- Pleased to meet you – Mucho gusto; Encantado
- Good Morning – Buenos días
- Good afternoon/evening – Buenas tardes
- Good evening/night – Buenas noches
- Cheers! – ¡Salud!
- I don’t understand – No enteindo; No comprendo
- Please speak more slowly. – Por favor hable más despacio.
- Excuse me – ¡Perdón! ; ¡Discúlpe!
- How much is this? – ¿Cúanto questa (esto)?
- Sorry – ¡Perdón!, ¡Discúlpe!, ¡Lo siento!
- Thank you – Gracías Your welcome – De nada
- Goodbye – Adíos; Hasta luego Have a nice day – Que pase un buen día