I want to share with you my best language learning experience so far.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to visit Japan for a few months. I knew that, for the trip to be worth while, I had to learn some of the language. So, I followed my own learning tips. I got myself a Japanese course with audio; a course that suited me. I went through all the lessons, I reviewed them frequently, and I did all the drills.
My stay in Japan became one of the most memorable events of my life, and knowing some of the language was what made it so memorable.
Learning Spanish the right way
Later, on reflection, I realized that another thing that had helped me immensely was what I did not do. From day one, I avoided what I consider to be the top language learning mistakes; three of them in particular:
- Wasting time looking for what to do next
- Making lists of words
- Ignoring the grammar – Click to Tweet
In my view, and in my experience, these learning mistakes will make your Spanish language project a lot less enjoyable, they’ll kill your motivation, and they’ll eventually lead you to failure. Let’s see why.
Don’t waste your time looking for what to do next
Whether you’re at a beginners’ or an advanced level, figuring out what to study next isn’t an easy task. How do you know which verbs to focus on? Where do you get reliable speaking drills? Which expressions should you learn today?
To avoid wasting your time looking for what to do next, the simplest thing is to use a good Spanish course. That way all you need to do to learn more Spanish is turn a page, click on the next lesson, or play the next audio track.
In other words, to save yourself precious time and energy, you need to avoid having to create your own Spanish course as you go along. I believe that’s why I was able to learn a reasonable amount of Japanese so fast, and enjoy it so much.
Don’t make lists of words
When I first started learning English, I used to make carefully crafted lists of words that I collected from various sources. I had them neatly laid out in columns, in alphabetical order, and they would invariably end up abandoned in a drawer.
Years later, when I set out to learn some Japanese, I never made any lists of word. Instead, I trusted my course and learned the vocabulary as it came up in the lessons. If I needed to review it, I knew where it was. All I had to do was open my book.
If you’ve ever tried learning lists of words, with no context, even in your own language, you’ll know what a pointless task that is. If you have a list of, say, twenty words, the odds of you remembering even three of them a week later are practically null.
That’s why my lists always ended up in a drawer. The effort wasn’t worth it. Vocabulary needs to be learned in context, within dialogs or narration, and preferably with the help of audio recordings.
Don’t ignore the grammar
The third big Spanish learning mistake is to skip the grammar.
Grammar is the skeleton of the language. Without it, everything falls apart. If you don’t have at least a basic knowledge of grammar, you won’t be able to say very much.
With the right tools, grammar can be learned fast, and it doesn’t have to be dull or overwhelming. Grammar also helps you understand the language better, and make much faster progress.
What do you think? How do you like learning Spanish? Let me know!