A lot of people start studying Spanish completely from scratch and after a few months they cover all of the basics. To get by in a language you need to know roughly —– words. At this level you know the key nouns, verbs and can express your needs and wants and communicate with native speakers in a simple way.
Once people reach this stage they wonder how to move on and start to study as an intermediate learner.
This blog post will give you ideas as to how to break out of the beginner stages of language learning and to move to an intermediate level.
1) Increase vocabulary
One of the best and most obvious ways to progress to a higher level in a language is to simply learn more words! This way you can express yourself more easily and fully. You can talk about things in more detail and let people know more about you and your personality.
2) Study with authentic material
As a beginner learner you tend to stick to beginner textbooks, CDs and flashcards. To begin with you just want to memorise the basic everyday objects and actions. To move beyond this, you want to learn more about how people speak in real life. The best way to do this is by watching television programmes and series or films in the target language. Often natives use a lot of slang words and idiomatic expressions that would not make sense as a beginner learner.
3) Start a language exchange
Now that you have mastered the basics you will want to start putting into practise what you have learnt and you should start to feel a bit more confident about speaking to a native. By starting to chat to a native speaker regularly you will really improve your speaking as well as listening skills. You will pick up new phrases that people use in everyday life that you wouldn’t find in your textbook or the dictionary. You can also ask questions about the culture and the country.
4) Use more difficult resources
Beginner learners need to stick with simple materials that they can follow and understand completely. However, if you continue doing this you will find that you will not be making as much progress as you may like. To progress to higher levels, you need to start studying material that is more challenging. That is to say, texts that you do not understand everything and so you have to look up certain words and phrases. You have to study more grammar rules to understand how they are made up.
5) Active learning v passive learning
Try to “use” the language rather than just absorb it. This means, doing an exercise like, writing an email to a friend in Spanish, following a Spanish recipe, translating an article, writing your shopping list or diary in Spanish. This way you are actively using the language which will make you engage more with it which will make you memorise it more in the long-term.
6) Daily learning
Try to get into the habit of doing some sort of Spanish studying every single day. Some days you won’t have the time to sit and study for a whole hour or more. You may just have a spare 10 minutes to use your flashcard app. Even if you have just a few minutes during the day where you can learn Spanish, you could do any of these learning activities:
– Listen to a Spanish song
– Read the headlines of an online Spanish newspaper such as El País.
– Listen to Spanish radio online.
– Send a quick text to a Spanish friend, relative or colleague.
– Use a language learning app such as Duolingo.
– Review new vocabulary.
– Go through your flashcard app.