If you have decided to learn or brush up on your Spanish before next year’s holiday but are now wondering how you are going to find the time to do this, here are some ideas for easy, enjoyable ways to use the language every day. Ok, so you don’t have time to sit over a Spanish grammar book for 2 hours a day, no problem, there are many other ways to learn a language which are much more enjoyable:
1. Download Spanish songs onto your iPod and listen in your car. Songs often repeat the same words over and over again, like in the chorus. This way they will “stick” for longer.
2. Use a Spanish sat-nav in your car. This will help you revise asking for and understanding directions vocabulary.
3. Label household items and rooms. As long as this doesn’t annoy people you live with by seeing Spanish stickers everywhere, you will retain the words for longer.
4. Write a diary in Spanish. This will help you remember every day words that you would use if you were talking to a Spanish friend. It is also a good way to revise past tense verbs.
5. “Think” in Spanish. When shopping think of the Spanish word for each item you put in your trolley or basket. When paying, think of the numbers in Spanish. When driving practice the Spanish alphabet and numbers by trying to recite the registration plate of the car in front of you.
6. Set your home page to Spanish. By doing this you will see all the latest news from Spain and all over the world. You will probably have already seen what is going on in the news here so this will help you see how the same stories are being reported in Spanish.
7. Read a Spanish book or magazine. Follow your hobbies as you would do normally but get the Spanish equivalent text. Maybe you like sports, fashion, crime or romance novels. These are all available on Amazon or Kindle e-books. You can find popular titles such as “El Hobbit”, Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone – “Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal”, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – “Charlie y la Fábrica de Chocolate” as paperback books or Kindle readers.
8. Make a Spanish dish by following a Spanish recipe. You may need to look up a few words before starting. By using the language through doing something you enjoy, you will remember the new word more easily in the long-term.
9. Television/DVDs. Watch a DVD and change the language to Spanish. Most DVD rental companies have a “World Cinema” section where you can rent foreign films. You can set the subtitles to Spanish or English. Watch a DVD that interests you as this will keep you engaged for longer.
10. Use the Internet. When browsing the internet read a Spanish newspaper online such as El País, or watch Spanish television online or listen to live Spanish radio, such as Radio Nacional, Cadena Ser or a music channel such as Los Cuarenta Principales. (To listen live, click on “En directo” or “Oír”/”Escuchar” (listen).) Download podcasts in Spanish to listen to in the car, at the gym or doing housework.