Living in the United States today, there have never been more reasons to speak Spanish. Even if you can’t devote the time to be perfectly fluent, a little bit of Spanish goes a long way and the benefits are undeniable.
Know your football from your fútbol. Knowledge of Spanish will allow you to keep up with the Latino influence on popular culture which is already a significant part and is growing every year
Learning another language keeps your brain sharp – Research indicates that knowing and using two languages reduces your chances of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease
Spanish will completely change the way you travel – just one language can provide easier access to more than 20 countries
Learning Spanish will even improve the way you speak English, not only understanding grammar structure better, but also knowing English vocabulary that is Latin based.
Learning Spanish is fun! Not only is it an exciting process to learn a language, but it opens the doors to friendships with warm and fun loving people.
Now that we understand why to learn Spanish, let’s take a look at how someone can go about learning the language. There are many avenues available, so be sure and pick the methods that work best for your learning style.
Recognize that learning another language is a lifelong process that never really ends. Keep in mind that it’s better to study a little bit every day than going on a studying marathon every month.
Take a course at a local community college. Native Spanish speakers will rarely correct you out of courtesy so it’s important to take a class where the teacher will catch mistakes. At Portland Community College (PCC) for example, it’s inexpensive and offers beginner level Spanish courses year round. For resident tuition, it’s just $316.
Immerse yourself. Apart from Spain, Spanish-speaking countries have a much cheaper cost of living than the United States, making extended stays fairly cost accessible. The major Latin American cities offer Spanish instruction for tourists as well, which tend to be cheaper and better than the classes found stateside.
Keep a “New Word Journal”. When you find words that you don’t know, immediately look them up and then write them down in an ongoing journal.
Watch Spanish television with the closed captioning turned on. From newscasts to variety shows to juicy dramas, you’re always likely to find programming that will entertain you while introducing you to new words and phrases. Don’t worry about the entire meaning, just focus on short words and phrases in their context. Turn on closed captioning, which is available for most shows and greatly helps understanding by showing Spanish subtitles underneath. The three top Spanish TV stations in Oregon are:
Univision – Channel 31 on Comcast
Telemundo – Channel 30 on Comcast
Estrella TV – Channel 82 on Comcast
Take advantage of the many online resources that provide great instruction and reference. Here are a few recommended by us but don’t be afraid to do some searching on your own. You will learn best from a variety of sources rather than sticking to just one.