7 Helpful Tips for Language & Life

I offer up these seven helpful tips for language and life.

 

  1. Practice EVERY day.
    • I suggest at least a couple hours practice each day although I have heard that it is entirely possible to learn a fair amount of any language with as little as 15 minutes a day.
    • When I say practice, I do not mean study grammar every day or just do Duolingo every day either. I mean practice Spanish. Do Duolingo or whatever program you are using, but practice Spanish by using it in your every day life.
    • Are you doing the dreaded task of accounting for your store’s inventory? Count in Spanish! Are you making a request? Repeat it in your head (or out loud) in Spanish. Even if you are only lying on a blanket contemplating the universe, why not try posing your inner musings to yourself in Spanish?
    • Just about any opportunity is a good opportunity to practice! This is true of any endeavor really.
  2. Listen!
    • If you are using Duolingo’s exercises for example, try listening to the question, without looking at how it is written, and translate it by ear before reading it.
    • While you’re at it, why not listen to a novela, or a Spanish or Latino radio station while you are practicing? Listening is one of the keys, if not the key to learning a language, quickly and well.
    • Reading is also important but with reading you can translate at your leisure, while with listening to a live broadcast for instance, you have to keep pace or at least translate while it’s still fresh in your mind.
    • Remember, listening is at least half of what pure communication requires. This skill is certainly worth mastering, even if only for life in general.
  3. Interact (a.k.a, Participate)!
    • Are you in grade school or college? Then use your class for all it’s worth and participate. Those teachers are being paid to help you learn, don’t waste their desire to help or the opportunity. Many people don’t get it.
    • Do you have access to Spanish clubs or even better yet, Spanish or Latino friends? Spend as much time there or with them as you can, participating in the activities and interacting with people who have a similar passion.
  4. Cultivate your passion. 
    • Even if you are only mildly interested in learning another language, take the time to cultivate this into a full blown passion.
    • Passion is the vehicle that carries you through those frustrating and aggravating periods of grammatical hell. It is the fuel that sustains you when your head hurts from beating it against a textbook.
    • When you are standing at the finish line, flushed and fluent in your new language, this passion you’ve cultivated, this will be what you point back to when you’re telling your story of how you mastered another language.
    • Passion inspires those around you and draws people to you and it is very contagious, so infect people with it!
  5. Believe! 
    • Believe that this goal is achievable because it is! Don’t doubt it.
    • Whatever your goal and no matter your circumstance, whatever your obstacle or insecurity, just remember that the only thing that can stop you from succeeding, is quitting.
    • (P.S. This advice comes from someone with a lot of experience in quitting and except for dropping bad habits, it has never paid off.)
  6. Don’t quit! 
    • You really only have one day, this one. This is no guarantee of another. Make this one count.
    • I’m sure you have heard all this before but think about this: There are only two choices in life really, stay where you are or continue forward. You already know what it’s like where you are and you don’t like it, so just keep moving forward.
    • ¡Avanza!
  7. Help those who ask.
    • This perhaps, is the most effective learning tool in any classroom or life for that matter.
    • You don’t have to know everything to help those who are struggling, you only have know one pertinent thing they don’t. Many times, it isn’t even what you know or do but simply the fact that you stopped to help that ends up being the greatest aid.
    • Personally, as a rule, I’m not a big fan of people because of our tendency to be petty, shortsighted and mean. However, I have noticed that when I am gracious in spite of this, and help those who ask, it is I who ends up reaping the greatest reward.
    • Compassion in my mind then isn’t a sacrifice but rather an investment, not only in others but in ourselves as well.
    • So stop, take a little extra time to help the ones who are struggling because it helps you too!

 

That’s it! Nothing too fancy or terribly complex, just some simple, practical and sage advice.

 

I hope my passion inspires you and you find these tips useful in every area of your life not just Spanish!

 

¡Feliz aprendizaje!

 

Santiago

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