One of the best ways to ensure you learn Spanish—or any language—and keep it is to learn it the same way you learned your first language: By association. At home, put labels on everything you can—walls, doors, objects, utensils, cupboard doors and drawers. Soon, you will not be thinking of the objects in your desk drawers as pencils and pens but lápices y plumas (or bolígrafos).
You will also want to buy quite a few packs of the 3×5 cards and create your own vocabulary flash cards. Carry a few of these cards with you wherever you go, so if you have a bit of downtime—on the elevator, waiting for your lunch at a restaurant, or stuck in traffic.
Try and find word, image, or concept associations wherever you can (then write these on your flash cards). Here are a few examples:
The verb firmar means “to sign” (a document, your signature, etc.). The association would be: “Sign firmly”.
La playa is “the beach”. The association? “You play at the beach.”
Sanitario is a Spanish word for toilet. The association is: “You go to the bathroom to be sanitary”.
Lavamanos is a compound word that means “sink” in English. The word is made up of two, lava (wash, cleanse) and manos (hands). The association: “You wash your hands in the sink (with Lava soap).”
Another of the many keys to success is to find a native Spanish speaker to assist you with the development of your conversational skills through repeated practice. Finding a native Spanish speaker who is attempting to develop speaking skills in English is optimum. Put an ad in a Spanish-language newspaper that an English student is wanted for cultural exchange. You’ll speak Spanish, they’ll speak English – and together you’ll learn over coffee and pastry. It’s a great method to find another and help each other achieve language improvement goals through filling each others’ needs.
Learn Spanish! It’s easy, it’s fun, you’ll make friends and enjoy greater vacations and business successes around the globe.