How should I learn Spanish?
You want to learn Spanish, but don´t really know how and where to
start? Read this article for inspiration – maybe you will speak
Spanish in a few weeks already?!
¡Buenas días! ¿Qué tal?
Many people in the world speak Spanish as their first language. However, many know Spanish
although it is not their mother tongue and speak it as their second or third language. Do you
also want to know Spanish? Or have you already tried to learn this passionate language, but
didn´t make a step big enough to keep the motivation to continue studying? You are not alone!
Many learners started to learn Spanish some time ago, but didn´t go on studying. The logic
consequence is that the learner forgets words and grammar rules that have been learned at
some point. But why is this the case? Even if we wouldn´t speak our mother tongue for some
years, we would still be able to understand and speak most of it. But if we do not use a foreign
language we have learned for some years, there is not much left afterwards.
The major reason for this is that foreign languages are mostly learned in a specific way which
does not allow the learned material to be placed in the long term memory. Think about it for a
second. How did you learn your second language? You probably think about grammar rules and
endless vocabulary lists. This is traditional language learning. “Learn the list by hard, we will
have a test next week!” So you had learned the words and rules for the test, but some days
after the test you have already forgotten most of it. The reason is that you have saved the
information in your short term memory only. If we want to learn something for the lifetime, we
need to place it into our long term memory. This will never work with the traditional learning
If you really want to learn Spanish – and want to know it still in some years – you need to apply
the proper language learning method! But which language learning technique is the right one?
There are several language learning approaches and language learning software programs that
use diverse techniques. Some focus on reading, some on listening comprehension, many on
vocabulary learning and others. You should find your personal right approach, however, there
are some methods that fit almost every learner. One of those is the Birkenbihl Approach to
foreign language learning.
Birkenbihl Approach: The best way to learn a language!
Vera F. Birkenbihl developed learning and teaching methods that facilitate brain-friendly and
sustainable learning. What is meant by brain-friendly? Brain-friendly means that the learner
learn something according to the abilities and advantages of the brain. Studying from
vocabulary lists, for example, is not brain-friendly, since this learning approach is not natural.
Human beings should not learn anything by such an approach.
Think about how you have learned your mother tongue as a child. Did you study vocabulary lists
or grammar? Of course not, Why would you? This would not at all be natural. A child learns the
first language by continuous listening, imitating and repeating. This is exactly how we should
learn our second, third, fourth, five or whatever language!
It is a fact that people learn a foreign language the quickest and easiest when they live in a
country where this language is spoken as a first language, the reason being constant exposure.
Living in another country is still the best way to learn a foreign language. But if there is not the
possibility to go abroad, we should imitate the situation. This is what we do with the Birkenbihl
Approach. The learner listens to the language to be learned for quite a long time – also without
paying conscious attention to it. At some point, you start speaking the language, but not until
you have listened to all the new sounds, words, to the melody of the language and so on. Your
brain needs to get familiar with all these new things. This takes time! Don´t start speaking a
foreign language to early, because you would most probably develop an accent that is hard to
get rid off.
The two steps of the Birkenbihl Approach are active listening and passive listening. Active
listening means that you listen to a recording of a, for example, Spanish text. However, you do
not read along the Spanish text. Instead, you read the translation of the text into your mother
tongue. This way, linkages between the foreign terms and meanings and usages of it are
created. If you know every word of the text, you can move on to the next step. Passive listening
means listening to the foreign text, mostly unconsciously, as often as you can. Best practice is to
listen to it day and night. Certainly, you can do other tasks and things meanwhile. This step
prepares you to speak the language. Spanish pronunciation will not at all be a problem any
The best way to learn Spanish is, among others, the Birkenbihl
Approach of active and passive listening. Speaking Spanish
language won´t be a challenge any more.