Summer 2021 is already shaping up to be as The One in Which We Return to Society: from trial concerts to parties like it’s the end of Prohibition.
However, for some of us, the jump back into the social arena must still hold off a little – either because of where you live, or because you’re still an essential worker drowning under PPE.
So does that mean that your plans to learn a new language need to wait any further?
If you find the right method to learn Spanish, then that won’t be necessary.
In fact, there’s still time for you to become conversational in Spanish before your next vacation starts – and just like we’ve been saying all along, you don’t actually need other people.
So how do you go about finding a good language-learning method?
What Makes a Method Good?
In order to really teach you a language, you need to choose a method that teaches all basic language skills – reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
Neurolinguistics experts now know more about the way your brain processes words and meanings, or about the best ways to memorize them. You can read our longer article about this.
Today, we are going to focus on four methods that:
- Don’t require any other people
- Don’t demand more than an hour or two a day
- Don’t feel like a chore
- Can be progressively expanded on a budget
4 Ways to Learn Spanish on your Own
#1 – Start a collection of Spanish books
And we don’t mean dusty grammar tomes! In fact, they don’t even have to be physical books – ebooks or the best Spanish audiobooks will work just as well.
Rather than theoretical, boring tomes, you should choose a novel where you can follow the story and still slowly gain the vocabulary or infer any verb forms or rules.
For absolute beginners, children’s books work best – and many have beautiful adult-friendly plots as well.
Our personal recommendation? Goig, by Peruvian author Alfredo Bryce Echenique. It’s a short, sweet labour of love about a dog who follows his human across an ocean.
If you already have some background, try re-reading a book you already read in English. The Harry Potter series will take you from a 6th grade level to full adult proficiency in… a few years.
#2 – Choose an app and stick with it
At this point, there is no shortage of apps, free and not, that can help you play your way into basic grammar.
Most of these apps are only require a one-time, small fee, and are designed to provide mini lessons of 5 to 10 minutes each. This makes them ideal for when you are waiting at the bank or spending your morning 10 minutes at the throne.
And some of them don’t even bother stalking you with surprisingly manipulative notifications!
#3 – Download the Spanish voice package of your favorite game
Most AAA video games now come with voice packages in at least 6 languages, if not more. As one of the most widely spoken languages around the world, a Spanish version is almost ensures on any hot new release.
Simply remember to click “Spanish” when installing (or re-installing, if you are revisiting an old classic) and get ready to laugh at the awkward voice acting.
The amount of content and vocabulary that you can learn with a videogame will vary depending on the genre. Story-based games usually include more complex dialogues than First Person Shooters, so they may be suited for a replay.
When you are ready to jump onto speaking, you can also try this with an MMO and join a foreign language guild or club.
This technically still counts as “flying solo”!
#4 – Watch TV and movies in Spanish
Watching subtitled TV series and movies in a foreign language can work in a very similar way as reading a Spanish novel: it will suck you into a plot and let you infer the grammar rules that lie beneath.
However, watching TV comes with an extra perk: it will also let you practice your listening comprehension ability – with a dash of natural-sounding accents thrown in. This will help you learn Mexican Spanish and get used to its quirky sounds, or help you use Argentinian slang naturally.
Ways to Learn Spanish on your Own - Final Thoughts
Sometimes, personality and life circumstances contradict the old adage about “the more the merrier.”
If you would rather undertake your Spanish-learning journey without company, then try out any of the methods to learn Spanish we listed above. Or better yet, try to combine them!
Why not even throw listening to the best Spanish radio stations into the mix too?