So you've decided you want to Learn Latin American Spanish? You've made a great decision as Spanish is considered as the second most widely spoken language in the world – second only to Mandarin, with 330 million and 900 million speakers respectively.
The Latin American countries are emerging both economically, industrially and politically, and it there before makes sense to want to learn Latin American Spanish, and find out how to speak this beautiful and romantic language. With a knowledge of English and Spanish you can get by pretty much anywhere in the world.
So, without much further ado, here are my top 5 tips on how to learn Latin American Spanish:
1 / Find A Great Teacher / Program This is top tip number one. If you are serious about wanting to learn Latin Spanish, you must understand that you can not just go out and find any Spanish course and begin learning right away. There are subtle differences between the Spanish spoken on the mainland and that spoken in Latin America. Differences in accent, pronunciation, and even the use of different words, make this the critical starting point for any beginner. As someone who learned mainland 'castellano' Spanish, and then moved on to learn Latin American Spanish, I had had first hand experience of this difference, and at the time found myself almost 'unlearning' some of the things I had learned from my lessons in castellano. The fundamentals like verb structure are still the same, however, it's the minority differences that you need to learn in order to speak like a true Latin American.
2 / Practice For At Least An Hour A Day This is essential if you want to get good at speaking and understanding Latin Spanish. An hour is not that much when you think about it. Do you commute to work? If you do then maybe you can read up on some vocabulary or listen to some tapes during that time. Try to find the time to do a little every day, you'll be really glad you did.
3 / Go To The Country Or Surround Yourself With Native Speakers
Once you've got the hang of things and know some vocabulary and sentence structures, going to the country and immersing yourself among its people is the best thing to do when learning any language, not to mention being able to sample the gastronomic, cultural and historical delights. Although it's not always practical to go to the country, you should try to find native speakers and surround yourself with them to accelerate your learning. Maybe try finding some forums or groups on the internet, where you can join in Latin American conversations.
4 / Listen To Latin American Radio Stations
Why not log on to some Latin American Radio stations / TV stations and try to follow along what they say? This is great, especially if you are able to listen to them at work or at other times during your day, as you will be picking up words, pronunciation, grammar and colloquial phrases that are used every day by Latin Americans.
5 / Watch Latin American / Spanish Movies And DVDs
Not only are there some great Latin American movies, actors and directors, but you'll also have the benefit of watching with subtitles so you can learn faster (especially on DVDs where you can also pause / rewind). A tip I used to use was to find a Spanish / Latin American version of a film I really liked and knew very well in English, and then I could follow along and pick up words and phrases as I went. The benefit of this was I knew pretty much off by heart what they said in the English version, and could there before concentrate on how they said it in the Spanish version. With a dictionary on hand, I could see how the sentences were different but the meaning was the same. This was a very important factor in taking my language ability to the next level. This is great for the slightly more advanced you who already have a grasp of the basics.