People who learn Spanish have some common difficulties. Today we will discuss a few of them that drive some people mad but turns out to be a minor concern with a few tips.
As mentioned in our last post on our blog, being one of the most spoken languages worldwide, we are here to give you a hand.
We will show you that SPANISH, being one of the easiest to learn, should NEVER SCARE YOU AWAY.
So let’s introduce you some of the scariest difficulties, and why our students did not find them hard at all 🙂
This is the scariest sound when people learn Spanish! Did you try to imitate those sounds from “Despacito”, or Spanish soap operas? 😉 Do not worry, everybody does!
We use to roll our tongues since we first learn our mother tongue and that doesn’t occur to be a challenge. We Spaniards do not go to tongue boot camps, get surgery or have tongues with superpowers.
Here we show you to reasons why you should not worry much about it:
- We do not have any similar sound to RRRRRR so even if you do not pronounce it perfectly, everybody will understand you.
Actually, you may even sound so cute!
- The tongue is a muscle. Train it! No need to buy special weights or start eating protein shakes, but practice. After a while you will be able to read out loud our famous tongue twister:
“El perro de San Roque no tiene rabo porque Ramón Ramírez se lo ha cortado.”
2) To be or not to be
Nah… We are not going to talk Shakespeare, 🙂 This is a very common surprise for the new learners. “Why would you guys have two verbs to express our verb “to be”?” is a recurrent question from our students. Most foreigners do not differentiate between “ser” and “estar”, cause both mean “to be”.
A quick explanation is as follows (it does not cover all the scenarios, but is a useful rule of thumb to start with. Remember, Spanish is a very rich language full of surprises).
- “Ser” expresses permanent features. When and where an action takes place, who takes action or dates and times.
- “Estar” refers to temporary states and location of people and things.
(*There are many more meanings and uses for each of the verbs. Contexts will determine the use of one or another in some cases).
As an example, this is a common mistake among students: “Soy en clase” instead of “Estoy en clase” (I am in class). So here is a quick reference to the use of our verb “to be” when referring to the location of someone. We use “estar”, but not “ser”.
3) Spanish grammar and its tenses.
Yes. We know most of the people learning Spanish think it is all about grammar and tenses. Ok. Spanish grammar has many tenses that you need to learn how to conjugate. But we have GOOD NEWS for you:
- It may sound difficult at first, but we have rules for the conjugation of our verbs. It only needs some practice to get them right.
- All our infinitive forms only have three possible endings: -ar, -er, -ir
- Language is all about communication. Everybody would love to master all Spanish tenses from the very beginning. Assuming this is impossible, enjoy learning Spanish, and take it as a game. even if you cannot use all the tenses you will understand most of the meaning from the context.
In order to learn Spanish grammar, you can find out more about our courses for all ages and levels here — > www.thespanishacademy.hk
4) Intonation and accents.
To learn Spanish intonation is quite easy.
We do not have tones like Chinese, but always have to stress one of the syllables of each word.
Two important tips:
- If you see an accent (á é í ó ú), the stress is there! Not all words have accents, but that helps!
- Same advice we gave you for the RRRRRR. We do not have similar words with different stress. This means that even if a mispronounced word may sound a bit weird, it won’t affect the communication.
5) Body language
Have you been to Spain or Latin America? Have you watched Narcos? Did you see some Spanish famous video clips? Of course, you did! So you know what we are talking about 😉
Spanish speakers are very expressive. Not only speaking but also using their body to convince, to argue or to show affection. (and an endless list of many other feelings). That is why if you learn Spanish, you should also learn this amazing side of it.
Let’s not go into the sociological part of it, but we will mention some facts below for a better understanding.
- When greeting, it is very common within men to embrace or shake hands, and men and women will kiss in their cheeks. (even acquaintances will kiss the first time they meet).
- When talking, Spaniards and Latin American stand very close. To a point that it can become a bit uncomfortable to those who are not used to it.
- Yes, Spanish speakers use a lot of their hands and gestures during their conversations. It is part of our language and we use it to reinforce our ideas. Thus do not be afraid to try it! Our students have so much FUN.
So, it is a shocking discovery at first. But little by little, our students get the feeling and apply it to their conversations. AND THEY END UP LOVING IT!
Besides all the above mentioned, other tricky parts of our language may be our use of double meanings. When speaking, irony is a common resource to explain things or express ourselves. You have to get used to it, :). Ah! We also use many proverbs and sayings in our daily conversations. (feel free to contact us for the funnier ones, :))
With all this said, we recommend you to learn Spanish as a fun process. You will master one of the most useful and beautiful languages in the world!