Language learning

Why you should join an intercambio

How do you practise Spanish? Do you practise in a class, with a Spanish friend, when you go to Spain? Or, perhaps, you don’t actually practise at all… Getting Spanish practice (AKA talking!) is crucial – it’s the reason we learn Spanish, and it has no substitute. Yet many of us struggle to actually use the language we spend so long studying. One solution is the “intercambio”, where speakers of both languages come together to practise each other’s language.

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Language learning

37 practical and effective activities to boost your Spanish

Learning by yourself is the most effective way to learn Spanish, but can be difficult without guidance. If you learn by yourself, you’ll be familiar with the feeling that you’re not quite sure you’re on the right path.  To learn autonomously you need both motivation and a good idea of what to actually do, and where to focus your efforts.

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Language learning

8 reasons why learning a language is like learning an instrument

Aside from language, one of my (Rob) principal joys is of playing the piano. Having started at six years old, music has consistently been a part of my life since then. It wasn’t easy to learn, and I feel that I’m still learning and will do as long as I continue playing. I don’t believe there’s any point of perfection whereby you can learn no more, which is what makes the whole process so enjoyable. When I started learning Spanish, I saw various parallels between learning language and learning music, with a broad overlap in necessary skill-sets.

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Language learning

Why you don’t need a perfect native Spanish accent

What does it take to get a perfect, native accent? Which of the myriad accents of Spanish would you choose, and why? Our accent when we talk any language makes a big difference in how we we are perceived by others, as well as how we perceive ourselves. Accents are tied in deeply with questions and assumptions of identity and background. Speaking Spanish with a perfect native accent is what many people aspire to, but why? And is it really necessary?

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Language learning

Español de la cama: Does a Spanish girlfriend really help you learn faster?

“Oh, you’re learning Spanish? Well, in that case, get a Spanish girlfriend! You’ll pick it up in a couple of months!” That was advice from my friend Maria, given to me soon after moving to Valencia. It took me over a year (sniff!) to manage to follow through on her advice, and I have to say that Maria wasn’t wrong. I was pretty competent in Spanish by that time, but hooking up with a Spanish girl definitely put me on turbo charge.

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Language learning

Even more memory tricks

I’ve spent a good deal of my language learning life trying to learn vocabulary and phrases, and actually get them to stick in my long term memory. While there are so many ways to go about it, in this post I wanted to focus on “spaced repetition” systems, and how to get more out of them.

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