Is it possible to learn Spanish in a month? This might be the million dollar question for thousands of learners out there. But the answer is YES! Following the steps we’re about to explain, you will find yourself communicating in Spanish like a native in only a few weeks.
Step #1: Commit to your goals.
Before you start your lessons, you must commit to your goal of learning Spanish in a month (or 3 or 6 months, whichever is your goal). Set up a plan that includes how many hours a day you will spend studying Spanish, and which exercises you will focus on.
If you succeed in following the plan, give a reward to yourself (a trip to Latin America, for example?). But in case you don’t, put something at stake: maybe make a bet with a friend, stop eating ice cream for a month or don’t go on vacation. Speaking of friends, don't forget to tell them what you’re attempting to do. The fear of failing to them will keep you on the right track and sticking to the plan. Someone has to hold you accountable.
Step #2: Don’t be afraid of making mistakes.
You must start off this plan without being afraid of making mistakes. Your goal must always be communicating effectively, rather than become a Spanish grammar guru. Also, you will hardly communicate with natives if you’re too afraid of making mistakes.
Step #3: Focus on common words and minimal grammar.
Of course grammar is an essential part of the language. But focusing too much time and energy on memorizing tables of verbs, pronouns, feminine and masculine words will not do any good to learn Spanish in a month.
Instead, we advise you to focus on minimal grammar. Learn a few verbs (eg.: tener, ir, estar, ser, hacer, poner) and use only one past tense, the present and only one future tense. Another trick? Use “going to” + infinitive verb (“ir a…” + infinitive) to express something that will happen in the future. In the end, it all comes down to two tenses.
What you should focus on, however, is vocabulary. In the first weeks, your best bet are common words that will help you in a variety of contexts. Skip the lessons about clothes and family vocab and go straight to words you will use in daily life like “how much does it cost?”, “how are you?”, “could you speak slower?”, “which way is the train station?”.
Another safe bet is to master a few sentence-changing connectors, like ‘before’, ‘after’ or ‘yet’.
In time, expand your vocabulary by creating an even bigger exposure. Follow our tips and increase your Spanish by the day!
Step #4: Train your memory.
You might learn something in the first week of classes and forget it by the third. It’s important to train your memory so that words are recognized by your brain. You can use spaced repetition system to achieve this.
Spaced repetition is a technique that focuses on reviewing words you already now in increased intervals of time. Confusing? Imagine that you got the word “helado” (ice cream) right on the sixth day of your Spanish in a month lessons. That word will appear again on the next day, and you get it again. The word will then appear again only after three days, and if you get it right only after a week, and then only once every fifteen days. If you don’t remember what “helado” is at some point of the process, the word will start appearing more often again.
Step #5: Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Learning Spanish in a month is a complicated process and you shouldn’t be afraid of asking for help. Enlist friends, tutors and teachers to get the amount of daily practice you need. You can find great teachers online that will fit their classes to your schedule, or private tutors if you’re already in a country where the language is spoken.
Make the most out of technology and instead of writing to your teacher and tutors, use the sound recording features of your messaging apps (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp).
Step #6: Perfect your pronunciation.
Speaking like a native, with a correct pronunciation and intonation, is a very important step to communicate with others in Spanish. In fact, getting on point with your own pronunciation will help you improve your listening skills. If you are trying to improve your pronunciation of some tricky consonants (like ‘c’, ‘s’ and ‘z’) you’re more likely to tune in when you’re speaking with natives. After all, there’s no use in reading and writing perfectly if you cannot understand simple sentences when spoken by Spanish speaker.
One of the best ways to improve your pronunciation is to mimic native singers and speakers. Try to focus on a few sentences or music lyrics and train yourself to say them syllable by syllable like the original singer. Choosing to focus on each syllable, rather than on each word, will claim your attention to specific sounds.
Step #7: Practice with natives.
There are thousands of communities online where you can talk with natives and put your skills to test. If you make mistakes, remind yourself that every learner makes them. It’s only natural. Don’t get frustrated! Bit by bit, your vocabulary will improve. And yes, it’s okay to worry about grammar now.