Learning a second language is a rewarding but often challenging endeavor. For some people language-learning comes very easy, but for others it is more of a struggle. Spanish is an ideal choice, however, as it is similar to English in many ways and the pronunciation is simple once the basic vowel sounds have been learned. One excellent way to speed up your Spanish progress is to memorize a text, one paragraph at a time, adding more as your vocabulary improves.
Translate the paragraph you want to memorize into English. Memorization will be easier if the text has meaning to you, as opposed to being essentially a collection of unfamiliar sounds. Google Translate is a useful free tool for this, however, the ideal way is to ask a bilingual Spanish speaker to talk you through it. Also, you can look up words one-by-one on an online Spanish dictionary.
Check the pronunciation of all the words in the paragraph. SpanishDict.com is a free resource that gives the proper pronunciation of the words.
Record the paragraph using a Dictaphone, using proper pronunciation, or ask a native Spanish speaker to read it for you.
Play the recording back, and set the Dictaphone to repeat, so that the paragraph loops over and over. As it plays, follow the audio with the written transcription. Use your finger to move over each word as it is being said, and say the words out loud at the same time. Brute repetition is a key to memorization, so do this continuously in 10- to 15-minute intervals, giving yourself a 10-minute break in between.
Read the paragraph out loud. The pronunciation should have become second nature by now. If there are any parts you are struggling with, go back to your audio for reference. Again, use mass repetition to your advantage with the same interval scheme as before.
Test yourself. Turn the transcription over and attempt to write out the entire passage. After each attempt, check the transcription to see if you missed anything. Then cover up the transcription again, and repeat until you can reproduce it perfectly.
Test your self verbally. Use the Dictaphone to record a recital of the paragraph, without referring to a transcription. When done, listen back and check for mistakes. Repeat until you can recite it perfectly.
- Give these exercises your full attention. Stay focused on the task and do not let your mind wander.
- Depending on how much time you have, it is a good idea to take a break of a few hours or overnight, before testing yourself again.
Warren Davies has been writing since 2007, focusing on bespoke projects for online clients such as PsyT and The Institute of Coaching. This has been alongside work in research, web design and blogging. A Linux user and gamer, warren trains in martial arts as a hobby. He has a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in psychology, and further qualifications in statistics and business studies.