¿Cuál es su propósito de Año Nuevo? (What is your New Year’s resolution?) I’m sure your answer is, “Mi resolución de Año Nuevo es aprender español” (My New Year’s resolution is to learn Spanish.” The beginning of the year is a time that many people resolve to learn a new language. Unfortunately, many give up halfway for one reason or another. Here are some tips and resources to make sure you can succeed with your resolution to learn Spanish in 2018.
Learn the Alphabet
We all have to start somewhere, and if you’re new to Spanish that means focusing on el alfabeto (the alphabet). Follow this video to learn the 27 letters of the Spanish alphabet plus two common digraphs that used to be letters. Each one gives a Spanish word as an example as well.
Once you’ve got the alphabet down, you can follow this lesson from Laura about how to spell names for more practice. Give it a try with your own name first!
- ¿Cómo se escribe/deletrea su nombre? (How do you write/spell your name?)
- ¿Cómo se escribe/deletrea su apellido? (How do you write/spell your surname?)
Meet and Greet
In order to start practicing Spanish, you need to meet and greet people. It can be intimidating at first to try and talk to people in a language you’re not comfortable with, but thankfully people in Spanish-speaking countries are generally quite friendly. Don’t be shy, smile, and greet them with a nice “Buenas tardes! ¿Cómo está?” and you’ll be practicing your Spanish with locals. Get started with this video to learn some common greetings:
Here are some more great posts to get you more familiar with how to greet people in Spanish:
Even if your Spanish is rough around the edges (like mine), it’s important to make an effort to speak whenever you can. Especially if you’re traveling or living in a Spanish-speaking country, the least you can do is greet people in their language. The rest will come with time!
Master Some Survival Phrases
We’ve all been there before – traveling to a new country and having absolutely no idea how to communicate with people. While it’s true that you’ll find English speakers in countries like Spain, Argentina, and Mexico, it’s not as prevalent as you may think. A much better idea is to learn some survival phrases in Spanish before you go. Here’s a list you can copy and paste to study, and a video where you can follow along with a native speaker to practice:
- Hola = Hello
- ¿Cómo está? = How are you?
- Estoy bien. = I’m fine.
- ¿Cómo se llama? = What’s your name?
- Me llamo… = My name is…
- Mucho gusto = Nice to meet yo
- ¡Adiós! = Goodbye!
- Por favor = Please
- Gracias = Thank you
- De nada = You’re welcome
- Sí = Yes
- Quizás = Maybe
- No = No
- Disculpe/con permiso = Excuse me
- Lo siento = I’m sorry
- No hay problema = No problem
- ¿Qué es esto? = What’s this?
- ¿Habla inglés? = Do you speak English?
- Yo solo hablo un poco de español. = I only speak a little Spanish.
- No lo entiendo. = I don’t understand.
- ¿Puede hablar más despacio, por favor? = Can you speak slowly, please?
- ¿Dónde está…? = Where is…?
- ¿Dónde está el baño? = Where is the bathroom?
- ¿Cuánto cuesta? = How much is the cost?
- ¿Cuánto es? = How much?
- ¿Puede ayudarme? = Can you help me?
Make it Fun
Conjugating verbs and reviewing which noun is masculine or feminine isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. These things are important, but they’re definitely not fun. In order to persevere with your New Year’s resolution to learn Spanish, you have to make it fun! Take a break from the textbooks and try learning some Spanish songs or watching a movie in Spanish with English subtitles if need be. The more you’re hearing the language, the better! Here are a few great posts we have that can make your Spanish studies more fun this year:
By incorporating some music, TV shows, and movies into your study routine, you’ll enjoy it a lot more. After all, la variedad es la sal de la vida (Variety is the spice of life).
Spanish is the official or national language in 20 different countries with a combined population of around 450 million. What better way to practice your Spanish than to travel? Mexico, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, and even Equatorial Guinea are waiting for you to come and practice your Spanish. Book that trip to go trekking in Patagonia in Chile and Argentina or that beach getaway in Costa Rica and put your Spanish skills to use. Better yet, go to a Spanish-speaking country and take classes for a few weeks. I had a great time studying Spanish in Medellín last year and would highly recommend it. If you’re American and can’t pull of that big international trip this year, surely you don’t have to go far to find Spanish speakers. Even though it’s not an official language, over 50 million Spanish speakers live in the US!
In addition to this very blog you’re reading, we have several FREE (yes, free!) resources for you to learn Spanish this year:
With so many great resources available to you, there’s no reason 2018 can’t be the year you finally learn Spanish.
Is your New Year’s resolution to learn Spanish this year? How will you do it? Do you have any tips to share? Leave a comment and let us know!
About the Author:sasha
Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they’re currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.
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