Hola amigos! Salut! Hallo! Konnichiwa!
Are you looking to learn a new language to make the most of an upcoming overseas trip? Or looking to fulfil a promise to dive into the beautiful world of languages and become bilingual?
Whatever your drive, learning a new language can be an incredibly rewarding experience. But where do you start? Well to get you started, we've come up with this 6-month plan to help you learn a language from scratch. While we'll focus on learning Spanish in this guide, the structure generally applies to learning any new language.
Month 1: Let's get started!
The first month of learning any language can be daunting, but don't worry, you can ease into it. Start with the basics: learn the Spanish alphabet, pronunciation, and common Spanish greetings. It's also important to learn some common Spanish words and phrases related to everyday life, such as numbers, colors, days of the week, months, and seasons that you will use more frequently.
For month 1, we recommend practicing for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week and leverage books, apps like Duolingo, Memrise, and Babbel or connect with a language tutor on a platform like Learnmate to reinforce what you've learned.
Month 2: Getting comfortable with grammar
Now that you've got some basic vocabulary under your belt, it's time to tackle grammar. Learn more grammar concepts such as adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and pronouns. Learn how to ask and answer questions using the most common question words in Spanish. It's also a good idea to learn common vocabulary related to food, travel, and family. You'll start to feel more comfortable with the language and be able to construct basic sentences.
Try to maintain consistency and continue to practice 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. If you're gaining momentum and have the time to do more each day, push yourself to do 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
Month 3: Building on your foundation
By this point, you've built a solid foundation of vocabulary and grammar. Now it's time to start using more complex verb tenses like the past tense and future tense. Practice describing people, places, and things using adjectives and other descriptive words. Learn vocabulary related to work and daily routines. Start reading short stories, news articles, or children's books in Spanish to improve your reading comprehension.
By this point, you may find it easier to practice more each day and can push yourself to an hour or so per day by beginning to do everyday tasks like reading a book, listening to a podcast or scanning the newspaper in your new language.
One of the most effective ways of consolidating what you've learned and putting your skills to the test is to find a language partner who you can chat with on a regular basis.
Month 4: Putting your skills to the test
Now that you've got a good grasp of the language, it's time to start using it in real-life situations. Find local restaurants or grocery stores near you where the staff are likely to be native language speakers and try ordering food or buying something at the store. If you're planning to travel, try to focus on vocabulary related to travel and tourism, such as how to book a hotel room or asking for directions.
Alternatively, you can challenge your new skills from the comfort of your home by listening to podcasts in your new language or watching movies or TV shows with and without subtitles. If you want to push yourself, test your self conversationally by completing lessons with a tutor or using an app that can challenge you.
Month 5: Improving your fluency
By now, you're starting to feel pretty comfortable with the language. To improve your fluency, focus on understanding Spanish or the language you have learned spoken at a natural pace. One way to help do this is through recorded media such as podcasts, movies or TV shows that you can slow down or listen to at normal pace. It may also be helpful to learn idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms, which may not make complete sense when translated to English, but also to sound more like a native speaker. Practice writing and speaking in Spanish through journaling or recording yourself.
If you haven't already, this stage of your journey is the perfect time to find a language partner to practice with on a regular basis. If you haven't engaged a tutor but just want someone to speak with casually, some tutors on Learnmate offer 'Conversational' level language who you can practice with.
Month 6: Celebrate your progress!
Congratulations, you've made it to the final month! It's time to review and practice everything you've learned so far, focusing on your weak areas. Learn more complex grammar concepts such as subjunctive mood and conditional tense. Improve your fluency and accuracy by speaking with native speakers or taking a language immersion trip. Most importantly, celebrate your progress and set new goals for your continued Spanish learning journey.
Learning a new language is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time and dedication, but the rewards are incredible. With this 6-month plan and a positive attitude, you'll be speaking Spanish or another language in no time. ¡Vamos!