By Caitlin Cuneo
Photo: My dog will not learn Spanish by sitting on this textbook, and neither will you!
The most successful Spanish learners have many tools in their toolbox. This workbook will be a fantastic addition to your Spanish learning toolkit, as it gives students a solid foundation of grammar and the underlying structure of the Spanish language. Having this kind of foundation will allow students to incorporate new vocabulary and concepts more efficiently, and to handle curveballs that may be thrown at them in the classroom or in the Spanish-speaking world.
Learning a language is a complex and challenging process. Don’t be fooled by products that promise to make you fluent. It simply doesn’t work that way. But don’t be discouraged. Millions of people in this world speak more than one language, and you can too. With this workbook, the proper accompanying tools and some hard work and dedication, you will be well on your way to becoming a Spanish speaker!
Tips for Successful Use of the No Nonsense Spanish Workbook:
1) Study with a live person!
Bear in mind that the purpose of language is communication with others, so you need to do more than study alone with a book. This workbook will be a great addition to your Spanish learning repertoire, but you will get more out of it if you are also studying Spanish in a classroom, with a private tutor or in an immersive setting.
There are a number of tutoring agencies online that can help you find private tutors in your area. If you have friends who speak Spanish, ask them if they would be willing to tutor you, or if they know someone who gives classes.
2) Use supplementary media in order to increase your vocabulary.
There are so many words in the Spanish language that not an even a native speaker knows them all! My advice is to choose topics that interest you and to seek out vocabulary in that area. If you plan to travel, you may also choose to focus on a certain dialect from a specific country. Spanish from Spain, for example, differs greatly from Mexican, Puerto Rican or Argentine Spanish.
Sources for Spanish vocabulary:
- wordreference.com is a great tool for looking up new words, either from English to Spanish, or Spanish to English. Look up individual words, rather than trying to plug in entire sentences or paragraphs. Avoid google translate, as it is often inaccurate.
- Flashcards – You can find many apps for your phone or other devices. Take advantage of the thousands of premade flashcards or make your own.
- Newspaper and magazine articles – available online or in print. If you are traveling to Colombia, look for a Colombian newspaper. If you want to be able to communicate with the Spanish-speaking community in your part of the United States, find out where the majority of immigrants in your area are from. Look for publications from those countries. If you live in Miami, for example, you are likely to find a great deal of Cuban Spanish, and if you live in Arizona, you will find more Mexican Spanish.
- Facebook and Youtube – Liking facebook pages in Spanish or watching youtube in Spanish will cause there to be more Spanish in your newsfeed and suggested videos.
- Music – Create Pandora, Spotify or youtube stations in Spanish. When you find a song or artist you like, look up the lyrics and see if you can translate them.
- Movies – There are many movies and shows in Spanish available on Netflix and elsewhere. You can also watch with subtitles in English or in Spanish, depending on your level.
3) Study with friends.
Languages are meant to be spoken, so the more people you talk with, the more you will learn! Studying in groups can also help you encourage each other and hold each other accountable.
4) Study daily.
Spend at least 15 minutes a day reviewing your vocabulary, practicing grammar or reading an article. Fifteen minutes a day keeps your brain fresh and active, and is much more effective than cramming for 3 hours the night before your next class.
5) Stick with it!
Learning a new language is hard. It just is. So are most things in life that are worthwhile. If you are determined and motivated, you will learn. And once you get the ball rolling, it does get easier. And remember, languages are complex beasts. There is no one way to learn, and there is really no way to fail, unless you completely give up.
Best of luck to you as you embark upon the next level of your Spanish learning adventure. Together we can make the world a more bilingual place!
Need to purchase your No Nonsense Spanish Workbook? Click here to buy on amazon.
Stay tuned: Suggested Answers Key coming soon!