So, finally, you have made up your mind. After many months — maybe years! of daydreaming about how nice would it be to interact fluently with your Spain‑based acquaintances, watch that catchy series on Netflix without having to worry about subtitles or daring to switch into Spanish to order some food in a terraza (something involving more complexity than una cerveza and tapas, that is) you have enrolled in that Spanish course. Now you feel both excited and eager to delve into the joy of learning a new language. However, you might want to know that there are several mistakes each and every language learner is bound to make. Despite that this fact can look like a gloomy prospect, knowing how to both identify and deal with some of them will prove extremely encouraging and useful in the short term.
Yes, we all agree that a new learning process may, and will be, stressful. Too many rules, new words, pronunciation differences… However, bear in mind that from the moment you state that yo no sé hablar español, you are already speaking Spanish! Language is about communication and if two human beings want to understand each other, they will do it no matter what.
2. Refraining from interacting with other Spanish speakers
Sure, you are proud of your communication skills in your mother tongue. Even if you are not, few of us feel comfortable going into an unknown area, particularly if we are adults and there are other adults around. However, you will have to learn that, as it is usually said, practice makes perfect. This said, don’t miss a chance to practise your Spanish in any possible occasion.
3. Keeping your Spanish confined to the classroom
There are plenty of tips and tricks to make the most of all the knowledge you are gaining in class. Use Post-it notes to place some Spanish words in visible places at home so you can practise vocabulary, attend language tandems held in your area… Don’t keep your Spanish grounded inside the classroom, let it go out and play!
This is one of the main causes of mistake number 2 and number 3. Language learners tend to feel ashamed of their broken skills when trying to communicate in the language they are learning. Again, relax! What most people think when they see a foreigner trying to express themselves in their language is that they are making a big effort to be understood — an attitude deserving the utmost respect, no more, no less.
5. Wanting it all and wanting it now
Learning a language is the closest thing I know to engaging in a long‑term relationship — everything looks amazing, exciting and thrilling at the beginning, but making it last is a true labour of love. Sure that juggling with all the new words, verb tenses, noun endings and agreements, and so on will put your patience to the test, but remember: take one step at a time, have fun, and enjoy the ride!