Self-Teaching: Can I Learn Spanish By Myself? (Tips)

Self-Teaching Spanish


Self-Teaching: Can I Learn Spanish By Myself? (Tips)


Can I learn Spanish by myself? (meaning without the help of a teacher?) The short answer to this question is: Yes. You can. Now, there are good news and bad news. The good news is that there’s a lot of resources (free and paid). The bad news is that it’s a lot of work. I wouldn’t say hard work, but it takes time, patience, persistence and determination. This is the reason why so many people fail. Whether you succeed is up to you.


Self-teaching is a lot like going to the gym. Anybody could have a great body, slim, muscular, whatever your vision of “good body” means. People have the desire, the goal to achieve, they sign up to a gym or start working out at home, and after a couple of weeks, they “forget about it”.


The truth is, learning Spanish, or any language requires DEDICATION. If you keep up your motivation and keep spending time on the language, you will learn it. The actual methods and materials you use are secondary, though obviously some are more efficient than others.


Now, with that out of the way, let’s go to the question that really matters here: HOW can I learn Spanish by myself? Here, some tips to guide you on your Spanish self-teaching:


Where to start?



Self-Teaching: Can I Learn Spanish By Myself? (Tips)


If you are new to the language, start by wondering who are you in terms of learning. This means Do you enjoy watching  and go straight to trying to speak? or, are you a more traditional learner and prefer having a grammar book and take notes in a notebook?

Use the your favorite way of learning but also combine it with other activities. This will help you learn. For instance, instead of simply filling the gaps in a sentence, try making new sentences with the word that you needed to write. Instead of listening passively to a podcast, answer aloud, or in written, the questions that you might hear.


Learn Common Sentences.


Finding your way around phrase books (you can find one for free here) can be a great help to start getting familiar with new sentences. They are usually expected things to say like giving thanks, greeting, or asking for a favor.

The main benefit of phrase books is that you can learn the essential phrases as one block each (not necessarily understanding individual words) and you will get your message across. Even though they do not cover grammar, the priority in learning a language should always be on communication and not on intensively studying each part of the language to perfection. Grammar, in my personal experience, helps people perfect their newly acquired language, and if you are like me, (a more traditional student) this is a necessary process that comes AFTER you’ve learned BASIC phrases.


Focus on One Variant of Spanish


Initially, find a variant of Spanish you enjoy listening to, (What’s the best Spanish to learn?) and look for a YouTube channel where you can learn from zero about the new language, from vocabulary to grammar, to expressions. Here’s a link to the WhyNotSpanish YouTube channel.

As you might now, since Spanish is spoken in so many countries, there is a difference mostly in vocabulary, but the grammar will be the same, for the most part. So, learn the variation of Spanish that better fits your needs or your likes.

Passive Listening


Self-Teaching: Can I Learn Spanish By Myself? (Tips)


(Paying attention, interpreting, or making sense of what we hear) is a good exercise to get used to the sounds of Spanish. Look for authentic material (news, podcasts, songs) once you’re familiar with more sentences and are able to identify words within a context. How to Improve Your Listening Skill?


Participate in Forums


Self-Teaching: Can I Learn Spanish By Myself? (Tips)


There are forums like Reddit, where you can practice writing or responding to someone else about anything you want and our suggestion is always ask for corrections (and apply them later). Other apps, like Tandem are great for chatting with people who speak the language you want to learn.

Letting go of the fear


Self-Teaching: Can I Learn Spanish By Myself? (Tips)


It is one of the biggest steps you need to take before you really start speaking a language (you can learn about grammar, vocabulary etc but if you don’t speak, you’ll be mute in Spanish). Once you let go of that fear, find a way to have conversations with native speakers. There are websites like Italki or Verbling, where you can pay a small amount of money (some from five dollars an hour!).


What do you think about these tips? Most of them are based on personal experience (I’m self teaching Italian now). What other tips do you have? Write them in the comments below.



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