This site is intended for English speakers that wish to learn more about the Spanish language. There are many, many web sites to aid you is learning more about grammar, increase your vocabulary and guide you through the learning process. We suggest that you utilize the sites that you find most helpful and approach the task with as many tools as you can.
Hopefully, Basics of Spanish may bring a new approach to the rules of grammar, help you tackle vocabulary and give you many examples to clarify each topic.
Learning a language
To learn a new language is a difficult and complicated task, but it can be very rewarding.
As an infant learning a language, everything is new anyway, so you don't have a lot of other previously learned words for things getting in the way. As adults, we tend to want to translate every word into English first, then connect it all together in our brain. This translation process takes time, which is acceptable if you are reading or writing Spanish, but the time for translation gets in the way during conversational Spanish. To be truly fluent in another language, you need to think in that language.
Elements of language
Reading - Leyendo
Reading a language is the most passive of the tasks for knowing another language. You can take your time to translate each word in your head to make sense of what you are seeing. Additionally, you can see each word as a separate entity, so they don't all run together. The words are already put together and all you need to do is translate.
Writing - Escribiendo
Writing is a bit more challenging than reading. You have to come up with the words, conjugate the verbs, put them all in the correct order, and be sure they are spelled correctly and have the proper accents when needed. You do still have the luxury of time to translate the words in your head before putting them down to paper or typing them onto your screen.
Speaking - Hablando
If in a conversation, you need to speed things up and you don't have the luxury of translation time. You can however phrase things in a way which you are most comfortable and use words in which you are most familiar. The spelling of those words is no longer important, though you do need to use the proper inflection in order to be understood.
Listening - Escuchando
This can be the most daunting of challenges, even for those that have studied the language for years. You have to think fast, there is no time for translation, you have no control over which words are used, and the words often seem to run together. Additionally, you have to deal with different accents and regional influences on the words that are used.
The best approach
The best approach is the approach that works best for you. Everyone has a different way of learning. Some people want to learn slowly and methodically, others want to dive right in. You may be someone that wants to know the rules of grammar while someone else is bored or frustrated by those rules.
Infants do not learn by rules, they learn by exposure. You may want to emulate that approach by reading children's' books and watching Spanish language television, where the words go along with the images and the action.
The Basics of Spanish website v. other sites
No one website can answer all the needs for learning a language. Our Resources pages may introduce you to other websites that we found to be especially helpful. Find sites where you can read news articles, read dialog, hear the language spoken by native speakers, learn the rules of grammar and see examples of realistic conversations.