One of the most important factors that determine your rate of progress in your target language is exposure: hearing the language, speaking practice and more generally, linguistic immersion. Taking your studies into your own hands outside of the classroom can heighten your confidence, improve your knowledge of your target language and spur you on in your studies. Here are a few ways to increase your contact with a language, in this case your Spanish. Tricks to learn Spanish:
#1. Radio & TV
Improving listening comprehension isn´t the easiest of tasks, but you can do so by creating some simple habits. For example, whilst you are cooking or doing the washing up you can put on some Spanish radio using a worldwide radio app like TuneIn. Even if you don´t understand everything, listening to Spanish radio is still beneficial because it tunes your listening skills and helps you to decipher Spanish talk into individual words, as well as improving your pronunciation. Another way to do this is to watch Spanish films, or to change the language of your series or film into Spanish (with English or Spanish subtitles if necessary). If you are looking for a good podcast that teaches Spanish, I love the Coffee Break Spanish podcast from Radio Lingua. The episodes gradually get more challenging, so you can listen at any level (find it on Acast or Spotify). They use daily situations and explain the language used in a comprehensible way.
#2. Doing weekly activities in your target language
If you are living in Spain or a Spanish-speaking country and not practising your Spanish as much as you would like, it is a good idea to sign up to or get involved in a weekly activity so that you have regular contact with the language and get to know native speakers. For example, I signed up for bi-weekly salsa classes at a local dance school, and it gives me both a language and a social fix (whilst I have a great time and embarrass myself a little).
#3. Encourage the use of Spanish in your friendship circles
One of the easiest ways to motivate yourself to improve your Spanish is to do it with your friends! That´s the best tricks to learn Spanish. Whether that´s joining a class and doing your homework together over coffee, or whilst in Spain simply encouraging your English-speaking friends to speak Spanish and helping each other, your Spanish will thank you. Doing it with your friends means that you can support each other and help each other to stay motivated. Take it a step further and make a pact: to only speak Spanish to one another! This is one of my favorites tricks to learn Spanish.
#4. Language Apps
In today´s world where there is an app for just about anything, on your app store you will find language apps galore that will help you to fit in a bit of language work on the go. One of my favourites in Duolingo. Set aside a small portion of your day: on your commute to work or whilst waiting to pick up your children and set yourself daily or weekly targets. Even just having little moments of linguistic curiosity can help your language skills enormously, for example having a dictionary app on your phone and thinking I wonder what ________ is in Spanish? now and again, and making a note of new words.
Attaining regular contact with your target language doesn´t have to be a chore; by incorporating one or a couple of these things into your routine and forming habits, all aspects of your language ability will improve, as well as your confidence. The most important thing is to stay inspired and to remember the reasons why you´re learning a language and the many benefits that it brings.