Here we outline 10 easy ways to improve your Spanish on a daily basis. So fast and easy, there’s no excuse not to!
- A Spanish Word or Idiom of the Day is one of the easiest ways to learn vocabulary. While often it is important to learn a vocabulary set of a particular topic, whether it be for work or leisure, it can also be useful to ad just one ‘random’ word each day to your repertoire. For this to be an effective method of learning, we encourage you to try to use this new word 10 times in that day for maximum retention. Even if that just means writing it down in different sentences. Idioms are great ways to learn vocabulary and remember it by the funny images they bring to mind! Here are a few resources for your word of the day:
- Spanish Institute Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SpanishInstitute
- Dictionary.com: http://dictionary.reference.com/wordoftheday/es/
- Listening to the RADIO can be one of the easiest ways to learn a new language. In today’s world everyone is constantly on-the-go, but luckily for us, we have technology to keep us productive in such a fast paced lifestyle. Whether you’re going for a run, driving in the car, or sitting at your office desk, the radio is always at our fingertips. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t understand everything you hear or if it seems to fast, because whether or not you understand it all, you’re still learning and with time you will understand more. So turn on those radios and smart phones and TUNE-IN to these great local stations:
- FM 92.1 , FM 96.5 The Peak , AM 1280 , AM 1650 (religious) , AM 1090 just to name a few!
- Watching TV isn’t something us Colorado folk love to do often, but if you’re going to, might as well be practicing your Spanish! With the demographics rapidly changing here on the Front Range we are getting more and more Latino tv networks on the air. Not only will this fill a gap in your news world, it provides an opportunity to learn about another culture from the comfort of your own home. Choose from sports, news, movies, soap operas, and much more! This is one time when talking to yourself (or the TV) is not considered taboo. I have found it extremely helpful to try and repeat what is said, and if you have the ability to stop/pause/rewind it can be that much more useful! Here are a few of the Spanish Institute’s favorites:
- Go to a local Latino grocery store, or should we say El Supermercado, to buy your tomatillos for your next Mexican themed dinner! This is a great opportunity to practice face to face with native Spanish speakers and boost your food vocabulary all at the same time. Try going to AB Fruteria & Carniceria for your next Taco Tuesday!
- Local events that attract native Spanish-speakers are a great way to not only practice your Spanish, but to learn about another culture. This might include going to local Salsa dancing nights, concerts or finding something completely different through Boulder’s Events Page or Denver’s Events Page.
- Eat out at a local Latino restaurant. With all this great Latin American food in Boulder County how can you not find yourself in a position to practice your Spanish. Even ordering your favorite plato in Spanish at one of these fine restaurants is an easy way to practice.
- Make some new friends that speak the language! We all know that making new friends is not always the easiest, but once you do, you’ll be glad you did. If you haven’t met anyone at one of the local Latino events you’ve attended, try volunteering. Volunteering is not only self rewarding, but can be yet another great way to practice, practice, practice! Call up one of your local Hispanic dominant schools to see how you can get involved. Another great resource is volunteering to teach English with Intercambio de Comunidades .
- At the end of a long day, right before you’re going to bed, kiss your sweetie goodnight and start thinking Spanish! Studying vocabulary and just plain thinking in Spanish has proven to be an effective way at retaining a way of Spanish thinking. If you can completely focus your brain on Spanish you are more likely to dream in Spanish and thus essentially using Spanish for a chunk of your sleep.
- Read, read, read! Reading is one of the most effective ways to getting your brain working in Spanish. For many years I had the excuse that Spanish literature is too difficult to read and that I just don’t have time. Boy was I wrong! With so many native Spanish speakers being born in the United States there is a growing number of literature being translated from English to Spanish at all reading levels. This includes from pre-school age books (which I’ve read), Harry Potter, and up through the most advanced books. With books for all ages, abilities, and of all generes, there is absolutely no excuse not to pick one up!
- Spanish conversation groups are all over Boulder and the Front Range. This is a great way to meet other people learning the language and many groups also have native speakers that attend. We all know how nerve racking it can be to speak in a classroom setting, but that feeling is eliminated in one of these relaxed and fun group settings. Especially if you have some food and a margarita to go with it!
Of course, one great way to improve your Spanish is to take one of our classes and talk with teachers and other students! Check out our upcoming Standard Courses and for the busiest among us, check out Spanish for Busy People!