Printable version - Spanish (Vocabulary)
How to learn Spanish by yourself? Start with an easy and free online course!We have adopted an objective and efficient approach to learn how to speak a language easily and quickly: we suggest you to start by memorizing words, phrases and practical expressions that you can use in everyday life and that will be useful when traveling.
Getting used to pronounce words out loud, numbers for exemple, is an easy exercise that you can practice often and at anytime throughout the day.
It will help you to get used to the sounds of your chosen language and thus make it more familiar.
And once your vacation begins, in Spain, Argentina or in another Spanish-speaking country, you will be surprised how familiar and easy to understand it will seem.
Furthermore, using a pocket dictionary is always useful, particularly during a trip. It enables you to find the translation of new words and enrich your vocabulary.
Why speak Spanish while traveling?
Castilian is the third most spoken language in the worldAnd consequently one of the most used in business and in international communication, being spoken as much in Europe as in Africa, in the Americas as in Asia.
Spoken by more than 550 million people, of which nearly 470 million are native speakers. It is the official language of 25 countries, 19 of which are in America: Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. This is why it is not surprising that this language is a symbol of a globalized world.
A way into different culturesThe ethnic diversity of Spanish speakers is a plus for all who learn this language, as this learning opens up to a world of multiple cultures from which the gourmet gastronomy and the great literary works of authors such as Pablo Neruda (Chile), Gabriel García Márquez (Colombia) and Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru), all Nobel Prize laureates, are examples.
Beyond this rich and global culture, speaking this language opens the doors to all kinds of business around the world. After all, Spain is the ninth largest global economy and the United States has the second largest Spanish-speaking population in the world with no less than 53 million people. Expanding economic markets in South and Central America are another good reason to begin to memorize business vocabulary and advance your career.
How to start ?There are no good or bad techniques when you start learning a language by yourself : in essence, you need to trust yourself and let your instinct for discovery guide you through the learning process. The only thing you should never do is to lose sight of what motivated you to speak it: the desire to read Miguel de Cervantes or one of the eleven Spanish-speaking Nobel Prizes in literature in the original version, the crazy love that you fell for Enrico Macias or for the Barça team, the desire to settle in Barcelona, Madrid or in Latin America… Whatever it may be, keep this in mind and direct your beginner lessons around it as much as possible, so that your energy will stay intact.
If it's free, will it really be serious?If you have an Internet connection, you have a world of learning possibilities. Actually, there are very good free websites dedicated to teaching almost every language in the world — and you will find for Spanish many good resources to help beginners take their first steps. We particularly recommend this site, very rich and interesting:Veinte Mundos . So save your money for later, when you will want to move on to a higher level.
Make a success of your stay in a Spanish-speaking countryWhether you are going to spend a few days with friends for a leisure trip or if you are on a business trip, nothing will be more useful to you than to be able to slip a few words in the language of your interlocutors, who will appreciate your effort and will be certainly more willing to help.
How to succeed in having good pronunciation within a week to a month?
You can get by learning the alphabet and some rulesIf you learn to pronounce correctly all the letters of the alphabet and memorize the 3 essential rules to place thetonic accent correctly, then you will quickly have an adequate accent.
1. All letters are pronounced, except the « u » in the syllables « gue », « gui », « que » and « qui », unless this « u » bears an umlaut as in « vergüenza».
2. The « h » is also mute.
3. The tonic accent is very important, and the logic of its location on the word rests on a three essential rules easy enough to memorize :
When a word ends with a vowel, an « n » or an « s » the accent will be on the penultimate syllable.
When a word ends with a consonant it will be on the last syllable unless it is « n » or « s ».
Otherwise, the tonic vowel carries a sharp accent as in « aquí » (here).
There are still some subtleties to be seen about the place of the tonic accent, but this is already a good beginning.
The pronunciation will also vary between the Castilian of Europe and Latin America — but it should never stop you from making yourself understood.
We invite you to listen to the pronunciation of the letters by clicking on the following link: Spanish alphabet with audio.
What are the best websites to progress quickly?
100% Autonomous Learning - Online Resources→ Live Lingua
Level : beginner to intermediate (Level A1 to B1).
Services : the site provides 11 free lessons from the FSI method with e-books and audio files.
Our opinion : the different lessons will introduce you to the language of everyday life as well as the business specificities, all this with a method that highlights oral communication.
Resources to go further
→ Reverso Online Dictionary
Level : all levels
Services : online dictionary.
Our opinion : the interest of this dictionary is not to provide a simple translation, but also a whole cloud of results.
Language studies abroadStaying abroad is the best way to progress quickly and to consolidate your knowledge.
Level : all levels
Services : with EF Education you will find immersion courses in Spain and Costa Rica. Stays can last from 2 weeks to 12 months.
Our opinion : with more than 50 years of existence, which has allowed them to acquire unique experience and expertise, EF and its teams have all the skills to help you choose the destination and the formula that best suits you.