10 Secrets to Learning Spanish Like Crazy
If you want to learn a language quickly and inexpensively,
you have picked the right language. With the exception of English,
Spanish is spoken more than any other language in the U.S. You
will have plenty of opportunities to practice your Spanish with
native speakers of Spanish and even Americans that learned Spanish
as their first language.
The ability to speak Spanish also opens many career or business
opportunities. As an attorney, the ability to speak Spanish has
enabled me to represent many clients simply because I spoke their
Of course, if you live in certain cities or states you will
have more opportunities to practice your Spanish. For example,
if you live in New York you can find many Puerto Ricans, Dominicans,
Colombians, Ecuadorians, Peruvians, Mexicans, and other Latin
Americans an Latinos to practice your Spanish. If you live in
Texas or California you may find a lot of Mexicans that can help
you with your Spanish. In Florida, there are many Cubans.
My objective is to give you a multitude of tips and techniques
to help you speed up your learning of Spanish. I also want to
reveal a number of things that you can do to make your learning
experience as inexpensive as possible.
Numero Uno: Immerse Yourself
If you really want to learn Spanish, you need to immerse yourself
in the language and the culture. Do you know why you learned
English so easily? Its not just because you were a child
when you embarked on your study of the English language. Its
mainly because you were immersed in it. As a child you heard
English 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
If you could hear and speak Spanish 24 hours a day and 7 days
a week you would also learn Spanish incredibly fast. Although
it may be difficult for you to hear and speak Spanish 24 hours
a day and 7 days a week, there are things you can do to help
immerse yourself in the language.
Instead of listening to your favorite music station when youre
driving in your car, play a Spanish instructional CD. Of course,
if your favorite music station happens to be a Salsa or Merengue
radio station, you can listen to the Spanish lessons CD some
When youre home watching TV, try substituting MTV or
the Discovery Channel for Univision or Telefutura. If you are
jogging, working out in the gym, taking a walk, or just waiting
in the doctors office, play a cassette or CD from your
favorite Spanish course. If you are waiting on line in the supermarket,
instead of reading that gossipy tabloid, press play
on your your cassette player and listen to a Spanish vocabulary
tape or some other Spanish lessons tape or CD.
Have you ever met a Hispanic person that has lived in the
U.S. for many decades and is still unable to speak English? Thats
because he or she has little or no exposure to English and is
constantly immersed in Spanish. Thats what you must try
to emulate. Expose yourself and immerse yourself as much as possible
in the Spanish language and Latin American Culture.
Numero Dos: Develop the Right Habits
This is probably the most important advice that I can give
you about learning Spanish or any other foreign language. More
than anything else, your habits will determine how quickly you
learn Spanish. In fact, your habits will determine if you actually
learn the language or not.
Of course it helps if you have a language learning aptitude.
Unfortunately, I didnt have a language learning aptitude.
In fact, I couldnt speak English until I was four years
old despite the fact that English was my first language and the
only language spoken in my home as a child. However, my desire
to learn Spanish was strong enough for me to develop the necessary
habits for learning Spanish.
Out of habit, every time I turned on my television it was
tuned to Unvision, Telefutura or HBO Latino. Out of habit, every
time I got in my car the radio dial was set to the Latino radio
station Latino Mix. If not, then a CD or cassette from a Spanish
course was playing.
Out of habit, if I went out to a club it was a Salsa or Merengue
club. If I went out to a restaurant, it was probably a Latin
American restaurant. Not that Latino food es mi plato favorito.
But if I go get a steak at Outback, I am probably not going to
get a chance to practice my Spanish with the waiter.
In fact, if I was dating someone, she was either a native
of a Spanish speaking country or she learned Spanish as her first
language here in the U.S.
If you develop and cultivate these habits, you will learn
Spanish extremely fast.
Numero Tres: Learn Spanish the Same Way that You
This may come as a shock to you, but in the high schools and
colleges in the U.S., the method that they are using to teach
Spanish is all wrong.
If you want to learn Spanish, you must learn it the same way
that you learned English. Let me you ask you a question. Which
did you learn first: How to speak English or how to read and
write English? Of course you learned how to speak it first.
Then why are they teaching the students in the high schools
and colleges to read and write Spanish first? Thats because
they dont expect the students to ever be able to speak
Spanish. And thats exactly what happens. Students take
several years of Spanish, graduate, and cannot even speak Spanish.
Theres another problem with learning to read and write
Spanish before you learn to speak it. By default, you subconsciously
learn how to pronounce the Spanish words the way you would pronounce
them in English.
I made that same catastrophic mistake. It took me countless
hours and countless dollars in private instruction to correct
the error. After much wasted time and money, I discovered that
the mistake could have been avoided. I should not have learned
to read and write Spanish until I had at least reached the intermediate
level of conversational Spanish.
You are going to have to trust me on this one
sounds more excruciating to Latin American ears than a Gringo
with a thick American accent speaking Spanish. How do I know?
Because now that I speak Spanish fluently, every time I hear
an American with a strong American accent speaking Spanish it
makes me cringe.
Numero Cuatro: Relate to What You Already Know
Many words in Spanish are related to English. When you learn
words in Spanish and you relate them to words in English, it
is much easier to remember the Spanish words. For example, the
word beber means to drink. If you make a mental note
or written note that the word beber is related to
the English word beverage it is easier to remember.
Heres another example. The word vegetales is
related to the English word vegetables. If you make
a note of this, the Spanish word vegetales will be
much easier to remember.
Numero Cinco: Make Use of On-Line Resources
There are a number of on-line resources that can assist you
in learning Spanish. Many of them are free. One of my favorites
is www.MyLanguageExchange.com. My Language Exchange is an on-line
community of language learners. You can meet people who are learning
virtually any language at www.MyLanguageExchange.com.
Since you are studying Spanish you would try to meet someone
at My Language Exchange thats a native speaker of Spanish
and is trying to learn English. You could become pen pals with
the person. But I recommend that you become more than just pen
pals. As I mentioned earlier, the only way that you can learn
how to speak Spanish is by actually speaking it.
At My Language Exchange, you can meet people that are interested
in doing voice chat. Voice Chat permits you to have
a live audio chat session with one or more persons on-line. This
is one of my favorite techniques for learning Spanish. I have
practiced with people from Mexico, Spain and Colombia at My Language
Normally, I would help them with English for 30-45 minutes.
In exchange, they would help me for the equivalent amount of
time with my Spanish.
The last time I checked, My Language Exchange was offering
two memberships. Theres a Free membership. And theres
a Gold membership. The Gold membership costs only $12 for a full
year. That averages out to just $1 per month.
Numero Seis: Become an Imitator
From the very beginning of your learning-Spanish journey,
try your best to imitate native speakers. Try to imitate their
pronunciations, their intonations, etc. This is not something
that you should delay. In fact, this is one of the most important
facets of learning any language.
Have you ever had someone come up to you and speak in what
sounded like a foreign language. Maybe the person was asking
for directions or some other information. And after the person
rambled on for a while, you realized that the person was not,
in fact, speaking a foreign language. He or she was actually
speaking English. But his or her accent was so thick that you
initially believed that the person was speaking a foreign language.
This can happen to you as a student of Spanish if you are
not careful. You must make a purposeful effort to sound like
native speakers. I know many Americans who claim that they speak
Spanish fluently but their accents are awful. When I hear them
speak, I say to myself what a Gringo. So I can only
imagine what a native speaker of Spanish says about the person.
If you wait until you reach the intermediate level to start
sounding like native speakers it will be too late to break the
chains of habit. Make a deliberate effort to start now. It will
begin to pay off when you start noticing how many native speakers
of Spanish tell you how great your accent sounds.
Numero Siete: Practice Makes Perfect
Practice Makes Perfect is more than just a saying. Its
a language-learning reality. When we were children we were completely
unaware of the emotion called embarrassment.
Throughout my teenage years and adult life, my mother would
tell me about a story a true one that when I was
four years old I had wanted a drink of water, and I asked wah
wah wah wah. My sister, on the other hand, barely
two years old at the time would say mother may I have a
glass of water please.
Despite the fact that a child not much more than a toddler
was speaking perfect English and I was grunting like a caveman,
I never became discouraged or embarrassed. I kept at it until
I got it right. And now I can say water in two different languages
actually three if I include Portuguese.
You have to take the same child-like attitude toward learning
Spanish. You will make many mistakes. You will mispronounce words.
You will use the wrong vocabulary. And you will make grammatical
errors. But never let this hold you back from practicing your
Spanish with a native speaker even if the native is a
You must accept the reality that making mistakes is a part
of learning any language. If you are not making mistakes, its
because you are not speaking Spanish to anyone. And if you are
not speaking, then you are not learning.
Keep in mind that Rome was not built in a day. And neither
was Madrid, San Juan, Santo Domingo, Cali, Mexico City, Colón,
Havana or Buenos Aires.
Numero Ocho: But First You Must Believe . .
I dont know if it was Peter Pan who first said this
one, but I am going to borrow it. It is imperative that you believe
in yourself and your ability to learn this beautiful language.
I cannot overemphasize this point.
I am a strong believer in the power of thought. This is a
technique that has not only helped me to learn Spanish, but it
has also helped me immensely in everything that I have ever set
out to do in life. I encourage you to use this same technique
not only in learning Spanish but with any goal
that you wish to accomplish.
In anything that I am striving to accomplish, I first visualize
the successful outcome of the goal.
After I have visualized the successful outcome of the goal,
in this case speaking Spanish fluently, I then map out the steps
that I must take in order to arrive at the accomplishment of
my goal. For example, the steps may involve practicing Spanish
everyday for one hour. I then put in writing the steps that I
need to take on a daily basis to accomplish my goal. Then I take
action. Not sporadic action or inconsistent action. I take daily,
consistent, tremendous action until my goal is accomplished.
Numero Nueve: And now for my favorite Learning-Spanish
Get a Latin Amor
This technique may get you in a lot of trouble if you are
already married or otherwise in a committed relationship. In
other words, this suggestion is only for the single people.
If you really want to learn Spanish quickly, find a significant
other thats a native of a Spanish speaking country.
Preferably, someone that speaks very little or no English. This
way you will be forced to listen to and speak Spanish.
Numero Diez: Last but Certainly Not Least:
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER Give UP
If you stay focused you will surely accomplish your goal of
speaking Spanish proficiently or fluently. And you have total
control over whether you reach that goal in a year or two or
a decade or two. I hope that the techniques that I have outlined
in this report will enable you to accomplish your goal as quickly
as you desire.
You are also welcome to pass this report on to anyone who
you think may benefit from this report. However, I do ask that
you do not make any changes to this report if you pass it on
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Patrick Jackson is the Founder of the Learning Spanish Like
Crazy system of learning Spanish. To learn more about his system
of learning Spanish visit his web site: Learning
Spanish Like Crazy