Even if you never visit a Spanish-speaking country, a good working knowledge of the language can be to your advantage in many ways. Many employers look for someone who knows a second language, and may even pay a higher salary to a bilingual employee. If you live in an area with lots of Hispanic residents, you will be able to speak to them in their own language -- which can be useful for many reasons, from common courtesy to helping with a medical emergency. Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn, and can be a gateway to learning other languages. So, how can you learn Spanish quickly and easily?
You Already Know Some Spanish!
You may know more Spanish than you think you do. Hispanic culture is everywhere, not just in the southwestern and southeastern states. You've heard and used Spanish words at restaurants, perhaps heard a bit more from television or movies. In larger cities, many signs are now bilingual. Spanish is one of the easiest languages to pick up.
Spanish is also easy to learn quickly because it has a huge number of cognates with English -- that is, words that are the same or similar in both languages. With a small change in spelling and pronunciation, you already know thousands of Spanish words!
Listen And Repeat
Some people really do learn Spanish and other languages most easily in a classroom setting. It's always possible to find a course in Spanish at your local university extension or community college. Check for Spanish classes at the library. Look in the classified ads for private persons giving Spanish lessons at home.
It is easy to learn Spanish independently. There are numerous websites giving free introductory Spanish lessons. Such lessons are also frequently given on public television. If children can learn Spanish quickly from public television, so can you. Your library's audio-visual section should have popular language instruction recordings such as Living Language, Berlitz, or perhaps Pimsleur. You can buy Rosetta Stone or Teach Yourself Spanish courses. Choose a series that you like and work with it every day, and you will see how easily you learn Spanish.
Immerse Yourself in Spanish
Whether you teach yourself or take lessons with a class or tutor, don't limit learning Spanish to certain set periods during the day. Immersion is one of the quickest and easiest ways to learn a language. Play your Spanish CDs or tapes over and over while you're doing other things -- even overnight, at low volume, for sleep learning. Tune in to Spanish-language television and radio stations in your area. Watch television or DVDs in Spanish with the English subtitles turned on, or vice versa. When you hear people in the grocery store or laundrette speaking Spanish, see if you can understand them. Try to read Spanish-language novels, magazines, and newspapers. When you hear people speaking English, mentally translate what they are saying into Spanish.
Practice these things diligently and you might be amazed at how quickly you've learned basic Spanish. It's much easier than you might think!