In the last article; ‘Anybody can learn Spanish’ I talked about the different reasons why people might decide to learn Spanish. I also talked about the great sense of achievement that learning another language can bring you. In this article I am going to talk about the different things you should consider before embarking on such a crusade.
I think a lot of people believe that learning another language won’t actually be that difficult. Well, maybe it won’t be for some, but if like me you have never tried to learn a foreign language before then it may well turn out to be one of the most challenging things that you are ever likely to attempt. Of course I don’t want to put anybody off, after all, in my last article I said that anybody can do it. Well, I absolutely believe this, but I also believe that you should realistically think about how and when learning Spanish can be achieved for you.
Of course not everyone is the same. Some of us are better at doing some things than other people are. So, it stands to reason that learning Spanish might be easier for one person than it is for another. The truth is that learning a new language can be achieved by possessing any number of different skills. There is no proven formula for learning a new language that 100% works for everybody! What you need to think about is what methods work best for you.
When I first started to think about how and when I would learn Spanish I honestly thought it was going to be easier than it actually was. I think one reason was because I was comparing myself to the millions of Europeans that fluently speak English. Anyone who has been to Germany, or Scandinavia will know that pretty much everybody can speak English. I thought if so many of them can learn a new language then it couldn’t be that difficult!
Now, when I think about Europeans speaking English I realise that they are so good at it because they have been learning it practically since they started to learn their own languages. This is certainly one of the key things that you need to realise about learning Spanish. It will not happen overnight. It is a process that can literally takes years.
Some languages might be considered more difficult to learn than others but of course this is all relative. It is true however, that the structure and functionality of some languages are more similar to each other than they are to others. The structure of the French language for example more closely mimics the structure of the Spanish language than it does English.
I spent a few days on a trip to ‘El salar de Uyuni’ (a salt lake), in Bolivia with a French girl. Most of the time we spoke in English but we were able to have basic conversations in Spanish too. I didn’t realise until the end of the trip that she had only been learning Spanish for a month and yet she was almost as good as I was!!
If you can already speak another language then perhaps learning Spanish will be easier for you. Even if it isn’t then at least you will already be prepared for the learning experience that you are about to embark on.
At this stage you might well be thinking, how can I prepare myself for the learning experience that I am about to embark of if I have never tried to learn a different language before? How can I prepare myself for the challenges ahead if I don’t even know what the challenges are? The reality is that your not going to know how difficult or easy learning Spanish might be until you actually get started. All I really want to emphasise at this point is that you shouldn’t underestimate how difficult and frustrating it might turn out to be. Patience is the key!
Of course you should be very positive and excited about learning Spanish, after all if you don’t enjoy doing it then what is the point! Learning Spanish could be one of the most amazing and fulfilling experiences that you have ever had. It certainly has been for me. Believe me, learning Spanish could open new doors in your life that you had never before thought possible.
In the next article I intend to talk about some of the first steps that I took in my path to learning Spanish. I mentioned in the previous article that one of the main reasons I wanted to learn Spanish was because I was about to embark on a long trip to Central and South America. My first steps began before this trip was about to take place. I didn’t want to leave England without knowing anything!
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