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It is currently estimated that there are more than 527 million Spanish speakers across the world. Not only is this one of the most well-known languages, but appreciating the basics will certainly come in handy if you plan on visiting South America or Spain itself. Thankfully, there are many options to consider if you wish to hone your skills or learn new phrases. The good news is that the Internet offers countless possibilities and if you know where to look, picking up the basics can be a cinch. From virtual conversational classes in Spanish to more technically oriented information, why not use the resources at your disposal? Let’s therefore examine some of the most effective ways to enhance your skills if you are planning a trip in the near future.
Targeted Virtual Seminars
Most professionals agree that conversing with a native speaker is an extremely effective method. The online community offers a number of options in this sense; especially in the form of one-on-one classes.
These classes are taught by qualified instructors and as a result, you will be receiving a top-notch education without leaving the comfort of your home. Online tutors are also great alternatives in the event that you do not have the time to take traditional courses at a local university.
Films and Television Shows
Passive learning is another technique used by experts. As opposed to classroom settings, you can choose to perfect your Spanish skills by watching a movie which contains familiar dialogue. Simply modify the settings to provide Spanish voice overs alongside English subtitles. You will then be able to pick up additional phrases and even more colloquial expressions. This method is also quite effective if you feel that you already possess moderately strong linguistic skills.
This is a more advanced technique and yet, it can work wonders. There is a profound difference between face-to-face conversations in a foreign language and those conducted over the phone. This essentially results from the fact that you will be unable to view expressions or lip movements. In other words, you will be forced to rely solely upon your auditory senses. Let us also remember that there may be times when you are unable to see the other person when holding a conversation. The phone technique forces your mind to work in a different manner and as a result, your skills will inevitably improve.
Let us assume that you have used all of the methods above. However, perhaps you wish to learn highly specific words or phrases (such as if you are travelling abroad for technical or business purposes). In this case, online Spanish forums will represent a powerful resource. You can register for free and browse through the numerous categories found within each forum. Members will be happy to help and if a certain topic is not available, the chances are high that they will be able to point you in the right direction.
Have a Time Frame in Mind
It is unrealistic to expect to learn conversational Spanish within a few weeks. This is why it is important to plan your itinerary well in advance. In theory, try to begin at least three months before the intended departure date. Although you will not become an expert, you will still be able to absorb the most relevant words and phrases. Although many Spanish-speaking countries offer some services in English, never rely upon this assumption; particularly if you happen to be travelling to more rural areas. In other words, a bit of foresight and preparation will go a long way towards success.