How Hard is Spanish?
Today, there are approximately 21 million people worldwide who are learning the Spanish language and it is the second most studied worldwide, right behind English. It is safe to say that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take up studying Spanish as a second language, but the million dollar question is, “is learning Spanish difficult?” This question does not have a simple, cut and dry answer. Learning any language has its challenges, but equally as many, if not more, benefits. In this article, we are going to be looking at the challenges of learning Spanish and discussing just how much effort it will take to learn the language as well as exploring some pro tips that will help you master the language in no time.
Important Factors to Consider
The reasons for which you decide to study Spanish will have an affect on how easy it is for you to learn the language and will greatly impact your chances of success. Learning Spanish online can be difficult for a lot of people if they are not motivated from within. Internal motivation means that you have chosen to learn the language because it will benefit you in some way. These reasons can range from wanting to open new career opportunities, because you want to travel, you would like to communicate with people on a deeper level, or maybe you just simply enjoy learning languages because it is fun. No matter the reason, all of these things will cause you to put more effort into your experience; therefore, producing a more efficient learning process. If you are truly interested and inspired to learn the language, you will find that it is much easier than you think.
Secondly, you must consider what languages you already know. You have probably heard that some people just have “the language learning gene“. In reality, everyone has the ability to learn a language if they put their mind to it, and they should not let things like this deter them. However, it is true that learning Spanish comes more naturally to some people, especially if they have learned another language before. This is because Spanish has many similarities to other languages such as Italian, French, and Portuguese. On the other hand, Spanish also has many similarities to English. No matter what language or languages you speak, there is nothing stopping you from learning Spanish.
How Hard is it Really to Learn Spanish?
As mentioned before, learning any language as a second language has its challenges, but Spanish has some interesting similarities that actually make it quite easy. It is inevitable that you will need to study and dedicate a significant amount of time if you want to attain fluency, but I am going to highlight some things that will show you that learning Spanish may be easier than you thought.
To start off, Spanish and English have almost the exact same written alphabet. The Spanish alphabet does have some characters that are different from English, for example the ñ, but they both utilize the latín alphabet. You may not realize that this is a great advantage unless you have studied a language like Russian or Japanese where they use a completely different alphabet altogether. Another advantage of this is that the majority of the letters share the same sounds between the two languages. The only characters that produce a different sound are the vowels. Bouncing off of this notion, an advantage that the Spanish language has is that the pronunciation matches the spelling. Once you learn how the phonetics of Spanish vowels differ from those of English, it is extremely easy to pronounce every word. This, in absolute, is an advantage that English does not have.
In addition to a similar alphabet and a straightforward pronunciation, the Spanish language also shares many cognates with the English language. Cognates are words that have the same linguistic derivation as another word from a different language. In other words, they look and sound the same, or very similar. Some examples of this would be calm and calmar or celebration and celebración. Spanish and English share countless verbs, nouns, and adjectives that are cognates, so as you can see, this makes learning a large part of the vocabulary a considerably painless process.
Talking about vocabulary, check this POR vs PARA Video
Pro Tips That Will Help Guide Your Path to Success
It is very common for people to think that learning Spanish to a sufficiently fluent level is near impossible without immersing themselves in a Spanish speaking world. While it is true that full immersion is the absolute best way to learn and gain fluency, there are many ways to simulate “the immersive experience” if you don’t have the means to move to a Spanish speaking country.
The best way to assure your success is to start immersing yourself from the very beginning. Learning the grammar and sentence structure is important, but many would argue that reading, watching TV series/movies with English subtitles (with Spanish subtitles is even better, if you are feeling adventurous), and giving your best attempt at speaking from day one, are the most effective ways to learn Spanish.
Finally, one of the best pieces of advice that I can give is to have confidence. It is normal to feel shy when learning a new language, and this can induce difficulty in actually putting your speaking skills (the most important) into practice. Learning a language is a humble process and it can be pretty difficult to feel comfortable expressing yourself in a language that is not your own. For this reason, it is so important to believe in yourself and put your best effort forward when learning Spanish because ultimately, you are investing in your own success. Your subsequent success in these areas will also allow you to communicate comfortably with native speakers, and demonstrating the fact that you are trying your best will give you the opportunity to communicate on a much deeper level.
As you can see, learning Spanish is not as hard as it seems. All you need to do is consider your goals and make a realistic plan, devote some extra time each day, and have confidence. Keeping these three things in mind, you are sure to accomplish your goals and master the Spanish language in no time! Of course, you can always make your life easier and sign up for our online Spanish courses in Toronto or our Online Spanish Classes in Argentina. Check our Argentina blog for more information.