1. Start learning Spanish for fun -- not for necessity.
Surely, you have been trying to learn other languages without success; surely you get bored when you are trying to follow that advice: “Learn ten words per day.” When I started to learn English, I used to hear same thing from my classmates when the teacher would ask: “Why are you learning English?”
Almost everybody replied with one of two answers, which were essentially the same:
“I am learning English because it is necessary for my job.”
“I am learning English because it is necessary for my career.”
OK, you can be pretty motivated if you enjoy your job or career, but when something is “necessary,” it’s often not fun. Even if you need Spanish for your career, find ways to make it fun and enjoyable. If you want to learn Spanish and have fun, you must be emotional. Yes, be emotional, my friend.
What do I mean by being emotional? Make it personal. You’ll be more successful learning Spanish if you start by doing the kinds of things you enjoy. You will never say again: “I am learning Spanish because it is necessary for me.” Now, say: “I am learning Spanish because I love salsa music” or “I love Spanish people” and better yet, “I want to fall in love with a Spanish speaker.”
When you see Hispanic people, you see happy people, even in the worst moments, making jokes about everything, dancing, smiling and singing all the time. Seeing it this way, it's hard not to fall in love with the language.
2. Invest money, pay for lessons
How would you feel if you lost a $100 bill? You would never forget it. And, what about finding a $100 bill on the sidewalk? You would not forget that either. When you pay to learn, you assume a commitment. And, a commitment is what you need to get you through the work to your goal.
People can be happy with or without money; it is not a malefic invention of the capitalistic evil society. Think of this: One man has a cow and he needs a bed, he goes to the carpenter in order to exchange his cow for a bed, but, the carpenter does not want a cow, he wants beans because he is vegetarian and is honest enough to know the cow is more valuable than one bed. Then, the first man goes to the market and exchanges his cow with a man who has beans. Now he has more beans than he needs to buy the bed and the beans are like money in this case.
The point is that people are willing to make an exchange when what they get will be worth it, no matter whether it is money, or time, or objects of value. Take account of your resources. If you exchange something of value, you will value what you get in return and be more committed to it.
The Mesoamerican prehispanic civilizations used cacao seeds like money.
3. One helpful insight about the evolution of language:
Have you ever thought who has invented language? The answer is: nobody. Language is the most beautiful spontaneous consensus between people. Nobody has decided what to call everything; it has just been part of human evolution interacting with the environment. In order to learn Spanish, you have to consider our environment and society. Learn about it and interact with it.
4. The translator should be your last option
When you don’t understand something, try NOT using the translator if you want to become fluent. Instead, open your favorite browser and look for images about the word you are looking for. This educates your brain to think of images instead of trying to translate. Because our brain has evolved visually to think and remember images, not letters, this is the basis of the mnemonics theory that many people use to efficiently memorize words.
5. Do not be afraid of making mistakes
Nobody is waiting with a gun to blow your head off when you make a mistake! I love it when someone says "I speak Spanish" even if he only knows how to ask for food, because it means that person is not afraid to make mistakes; they have made a decision. Fear is the wall between you and well-spoken Spanish.
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