6 tips for hacking Spanish in one week
So you are going to a Spanish-speaking country soon, and you need to pack as much Spanish learning as possible in one week! What should you do?
Fear not, follow below tips and you are guaranteed to learn the essential Spanish that you will need for the trip in no time!
1.Know the characteristics of the language
Before learning a new language it is always good to know the characteristics of the language, as it will help you understand how it works quicker. Spanish is a Romance language, so if you speak French, Portuguese or Italian, or you have learned Latin in school, you are off to a good start!
There are 2 genders in Spanish: masculine and feminine. The articles for masculine and feminine nouns are “el” and “la” (e.g. El niño (the boy); la niña (the girl)).
Spanish is a language pronounced phonetically which means you speak what you write! But be aware that the letter “h” is silent.
2. Learn the essential vocabulary first
Think about what are the words you can’t live without, and start learning them first. Those may be words like “baño” (restroom), “carta” (the menu of restaurant), “agua” (water) etc.
3. Learn the greetings
You will always need greeting words like “hola” (hello), “¿cómo estás?” (how are you?), “gracias” (thank you) and “adiós” (goodbye) wherever you go!
4. Learn more words quicker with cognates
Cognates are words from different languages that share an ancestor, so they look similar. Some examples are “televisión (television), “teléfono” (telephone), “fotos” (photos). Learning cognates would help to expand your vocabulary faster. But be careful with false cognates such as “embarazada” (looks like “embarrassed”, but it actually means pregnant!).
5. Use podcasts
Podcasts are a great tool for learning languages, especially when you are on the road. “Notes in Spanish” is a popular Spanish learning podcast which offers podcasts for beginner level. It is free for download to listen, but if you want to read the transcript, you will need to purchase their worksheet. Listening to podcasts will help you to practice Spanish listening, as well as learning the pronunciation of useful phrases!
6. Downloading an offline Spanish dictionary
Remember to download an offline Spanish dictionary on your phone before your trip! As you may not always have internet data on your phone or access to WIFI, downloading a dictionary that works offline would allow you to find meanings of unknown word whenever you need it!
Spandict and Google translator are 2 great free apps.
Spandict ( iphone app/android app) is Spanish-English dictionary which works even if you are offline, it also has a “word of the day” function, which shows a new word and its meaning for you every day- great for expanding your vocabulary!
Needless to say, Google translate ( iphone app/android app) is the most used online translator. But did you know that the App provides translation when you are offline? What makes it even more powerful is that it has a camera-translation function- when you open the camera function in the app and focus it to the foreign words, it will display the translation on the screen. Download it and try!
If you need a quick boost of your Spanish, you can book a travel Spanish class with one of our tutors!