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What Is The Best Way To Learn Spanish?

The desire to learn Spanish is common when it comes to travelling and mastering a new language and, unsurprisingly, there a number of different options available to teach you with many different approaches to learning. This wide selection can be confusing so which approach to language learning is the best way to learn Spanish? This guide will look at different, recommended methods to studying languages to look at the pros and cons and determine whether they can help in your quest to speak Spanish.

Continual use and repetition for ideal retention

There are many schools of thought on the subject of the best way to learn a new language, with some linguists devising scientific new programs and others turning normal classroom behaviour on its head; however, there is one basic principle to language study that many teachers and students are in agreement over – consistency and repetition can aid the retention of the information. To be fair, this idea can be applied to any academic discipline to an extent but it seems that this simple measure really is one of the best ways to get vocabulary and phrases to stick in a student’s mind. Luckily, it is also one of the easiest methods to undertake – if you have the commitment – because all you need is a portable source of material, such as a flashcard app on your phone or a pocket phrase book. As long as you refresh the information regularly and continue to work on the phrasing and pronunciation it should be ready to use whenever you need it.

Forced speech and conventional learning VS. unconventional, comprehensible input

Anybody that studied a second language as part of their school curriculum, which is the majority of schoolchildren, will remember the classes well – although perhaps not that fondly. We were quite happy to learn phrases out of books and use visual clues but when it came to speaking the language out loud in front of our classmates it was a different story. Speaking is an essential part of language learning but there is some debate between the merit of forced speech in classrooms and other methods where students are encouraged to have silent periods and are only taught material based on comprehensible input. Essentially, comprehensible input means allowing students the chance to make logical connections and learn new words based on what they can already understand. The method has its detractors but it is praised for the way is encourages learning and takes the pressure out of the classroom, a factor that it particularly important given the suggestions that stress can actually decrease the ability to develop language skills.

Grammar-Translation VS. Audio-Lingual

The methods mentioned above may have a impact when you choose to learn Spanish in a classroom environment, where the course is more structured and there are the influences of other students and teachers, but what about the numerous methods for learning where there are no teachers to provide this input? If you choose an option where you will be self-taught then the methods become very different and are often split between the grammar-translation approach and the audio-lingual one. As the names suggest, the former deals more with reading and writing while the latter focuses on the listening and speaking side of learning. There are definite benefits and disadvantages to both; grammar-translation lets people get a better idea of grammar, structure and overall comprehension – making it ideal for those that want to be fluent – whereas the audio-lingual method offers a much faster approach for learning and pronouncing specialised phrases and has no use for grammar and structure.

Is the Pimsleur approach the best way to learn Spanish

From the advantages and flaws of the methods mentioned above, some people would understandably question whether the Pimsleur approach to learning language is the best one to try. This somewhat unconventional and questionable product definitely has a lot of potential because it exhibits some of the styles previously highlighted. The idea that repetition and retention is a necessity is shared with this program and seen in the structured lessons that encourage people to go over new material while slowly introducing them to new words and helping them progress. Additionally, the files provided are all MP3s that show the benefit of this Audio-Lingual approach to fast learning and there is also link between the way the material is introduced, the student’s understanding and the principles of comprehensible input.

Summary

The Pimsleur approach is not without its critics – partly for its expensive lesson plan – but while some users may see the audio focus and the lack of other materials and guidance as a hindrance, others find that they learn quickly and easily with this carefully crafted structure. The point here is that this combination of audio-lingual methods and the focus on retention may be the best way to learn Spanish for some students but it will not necessarily be for everyone. The important thing to remember is that there are different approaches and even the most unconventional sounding system could end up appealing to your learning style and getting you towards your goals.

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