Many time when people want to learn Spanish they think about what should do…
But rarely do we ask, “What shouldn’t we do if we want to learn Spanish?”
Today we are going to discuss 3 things that you must stop doing immediately if you truly want to learn Spanish faster.
These things may surprise you but trust me they are extremely important if you’re looking to improve your conversational ability.
Not only will I tell you what not to do…
But I’m also going to be showing you what you can do instead so that you can improve your speaking and comprehension ability.
Before I get into these tips though…
I want to share with you a great comment I received from a subscriber with some great advice that can help you with your Spanish.
Those are a few great things you can add to your Spanish learning regimen to help you.
The more tools and exercises you have, the better.
That’s why when people ask me about Spanish learning apps, I’m not 100% against them because I believe the more time you are involved with Spanish the better.
The more you will learn.
But at the same time those methods definitely can’t be the ONLY methods you use.
My job here isn’t to give you a fish but it’s to teach you how to fish.
Let’s jump right into the 3 tips to learn Spanish.
So the first thing you should avoid when you’re trying to learn to speak Spanish is trying to speak with too many different accents.
One day, you want to have a Spanish accent one day, you want to have a Caribbean accent.
One day you want to have an accent, like someone from Argentina.
When you do this it makes it very difficult to build consistency and fluency.
When it comes to speaking Spanish, I recommend that you dial in, study and learn one form of the language.
For example, let’s say you don’t know any English, but you are moving to England.
Would it make more sense to only study American english speakers or would it make more sense to study English from England?
Probably the English from England right.
But if you master English in general, you’ll probably be able to understand the majority of American English. Spanish is the same way.
Dial in on ONE Spanish.
Master that Spanish.
I recommend choosing a Spanish that you’ll be interacting with most.
So let’s say I’m working at a restaurant and I want to be able to talk to all the cooks that speak only Spanish.
Let’s say they are all Mexicans.
If my goal is more short term and I want to speak Spanish so I can simply communicate with them in Spanish then I should probably spend my free time learning “Mexican” Spanish.
It’s the same thing if you’re visiting a specific country and you just want to be able to speak Spanish while you’re in that country.
Then learn the Spanish of that country.
But what if your goal is more long term.
Let’s go to that first example, and yes you want to learn Spanish, which will help you communicate with the Mexican cooks, but your goals of learning Spanish are more long term.
You truly want to be fluent and you want to have a particular accent.
Let’s say a Dominican accent.
Then you should study and learn as much of that Spanish as possible.
The beauty is, you’ll still be able to communicate with the cooks, but you’ll also be mastering the type of Spanish you want to speak.
I hope that makes sense.
But to simplify, don’t try to have a Mexican accent this week, a Spanish accent next week, and a Dominican accent the week after.
This will only lead to confusion, insecurity, and it will destroy your confidence.
Because each type of Spanish is like its own language.
And if you bounce around to different ones, you’ll never master any of them.
But on the contrary, I highly recommend picking an accent.
Don’t just learn Spanish.
Learn a TYPE of Spanish dialect and accent.
No matter which country it is, this will help you sound more like a native.
How do you pick one?
Well, listen to accents from all different countries and see which one you like.
For example, if I didn’t speak Spanish already and didn’t have my accent…
I’d probably study the Medellin, Colombia accent.
I love their accent.
It’s so smooth and just sounds really good.
Not taking away anything from any other Spanish accent or dialect but we all have our personal preferences.
So find the accent you like and stick to it.
This will make learning Spanish fun.
The next thing you need to stop doing if you really want to learn Spanish is stop watching Spanish TV with subtitles…
Regardless if those subtitles are English, or Spanish.
Now don’t get me wrong…
Subtitles can be great in some instances, and I’ll explain when in just a second…
But the first reason why you should avoid using the subtitles is because you’ll subconsciously read them the entire time and not even pay attention to what’s actually being said.
I don’t know about you but when I watch something with subtitles it’s like the subtitles are a magnet and they pull in ALL my attention.
So instead of watching the movie or even listening to what’s being said, I find myself reading all the subtitles to myself.
Again this takes away from listening and having to comprehend what’s being said. It also takes away from learning how to actually say the words and phrases properly.
So even if there are subtitles, what I recommend doing is closing your eyes, listening to what was said and then maybe looking at the subtitles to see if you got it right.
A lot of people think that because they watch a bunch of Spanish TV with subtitles that they’re learning Spanish, but what they’re doing is they’re continuing to learn how to read Spanish similar to what we do in school.
But when it’s time for conversations, guess what… there are no subtitles for your conversations with people.
You have to actually be able to comprehend, and be able to respond back in real time.
Another thing you can do, in addition to ignoring the subtitles, is to shadow the speakers.
What I mean by this is, repeating everything you hear immediately after you hear it.
So essentially following along with what is being said. It’s kind of like you’re translating the conversation but you’re just saying it in Spanish.
For instance, let’s say there is a speaker giving a presentation in a foreign language and the people that can’t understand that language will have on headphones and listen to someone that is translating as the speaker is speaking.
So the translator is shadowing what is being said and translating it in real time.
You will essentially be doing the same exact thing, except you won’t be translating it, you’ll just be repeating what’s being said in Spanish.
This will help your speaking and comprehension ability.
And then you can always go back and check the subtitles so that you can see kind of what was being said, or, try to learn actual Spanish that you were speaking.
But again, if you really want to learn a Spanish, stop watching and reading the subtitles all the time..
The next thing you need to stop doing if you want to learn Spanish faster is to stop immediately looking up the lyrics when listening to music in Spanish.
Instead, listen to the song a few times and really try to comprehend what’s being said.
Try to pick out words and sounds.
Of course, you’re not going to be able to understand every single word. But you can try to understand as much as possible, try to figure out what the song is doing.
What is it talking about?
What are they saying?
Try to figure all that stuff out before you look at the lyrics.
And then if you’re stumped or if you feel you have a good idea of what the song is about you can then look up the lyrics to check your work.
The mistake I see a lot of people make is they’ll go straight to the lyrics, they’ll hear the song wants, go straight to the lyrics, and then they’ll focus and they’ll sing the lyrics with the song. It’s easy to “hear” the word and phrases once you look up the lyrics.
But again in real conversations you don’t have the luxury of looking up what the person said before they said it.
You have to react to the sounds and not the words.
What then happens is you will sing along with the song in your Spanish, rather than sounding just like the native.
And if your accent isn’t great, it will be disguised as you sing along.
But guess what, in real conversations there is no one singing to disguise your accent.
Remember the first two tips that I gave you at the beginning of the video.
Start watching Ted Talks and listening to Podcasts in Spanish.
These things, with intelligent voices, will really help you increase your vocabulary.
You can even use the shadowing method I revealed today while listening and watching those.
And then of course we covered the three things that you should stop doing today if you want to truly learn Spanish.
Number one is to pick an accent and stick to it.
Remember that learning any type of particular Spanish is a language within itself.
So find an accent you like or that you will be interacting with a lot and master that specific type of Spanish.
Number two is to stop reading subtitles or watching tv with subtitles.
Instead try to hear what they are saying and even shadow what they say.
This will help your speaking and comprehension ability.
Number three is to stop reading the lyrics to Spanish songs so quickly.
Instead try to listen to the song numerous times and really try to understand it to the best of your ability before you look up the lyrics.