How to Learn Spanish online
Learning Spanish online can also be a valuable asset. As the second most widely spoken language in the world, Spanish has more than 400 million speakers and is the native tongue in 20 different countries. The largest population of Spanish speakers reside in Central and South America, but there is also a considerable number of Spanish speakers, more than 40 million, in the United States. Spanish is also the second most widely spoken language in the US, and there are more Spanish speakers in America than live in Spain.
Picking up some basics in Spanish is relatively easy for beginners, especially those who speak a language like English, French, or Italian. Languages of the same family often share words that are cognates or have similarities because they are derived from the same mother tongue. This is why you’ll find English words like “red” that sound remarkably similar in French (rouge), Italian (rosso), and Spanish (rojo). In addition to familiar-sounding vocabulary, you’ll discover Spanish also has a straightforward system of pronunciation, fewer irregularities than many other languages, and an alphabet similar to the English one.
Rosetta Stone understands that beginners need to learn Spanish in context, building naturally towards speaking Spanish phrases and gaining confidence with the pronunciation. That’s why our Spanish language software focuses on an immersion-based learning method that teaches words alongside visual and audio cues, helping beginners learn basic conversational phrases in the context of real-world situations. Rosetta Stone’s award-winning mobile app allows you to practise anywhere, syncs across all your devices, and offers downloadable lessons to support offline learning.
Learn the Spanish Alphabet and Numbers
One of the first steps in learning Spanish for beginners is to tackle the pronunciation of the alphabet and the words that represent numbers. For English speakers, learning the Spanish alphabet is simple because the differences are minor. There are just three additional letters you’ll need to master: ch (chay), ll (elle), and ñ (eñe).
To learn the Spanish alphabet and numbers, you’ll need to focus on pronunciation. Some of the letters in the Spanish alphabet will have familiar sounds, while others may be entirely different. For instance, the letter “j” in Spanish would be pronounced as jota, where the j sounds much like a hard “h” in English.
One of the most effective ways to learn the building blocks of Spanish is in the context of conversations rather than static vocabulary drills. That’s why Rosetta Stone designs language learning as bite-sized lessons that deliver concepts as part of a broader set of conversational phrases. For instance, in a unit designed to teach numbers, you might practice words like dos (similar to the word dose in English) or tres (similar to trace) alongside a real-world situation such as paying a bill or ordering in a restaurant. The advantage of this immersion method is that beginners learn not only Spanish vocabulary, but also get a feel for the flow of the language and develop an ear for the accent.
Learn to Pronounce Words in Spanish
Focusing on pronunciation rather than vocabulary acquisition is the key to learning to speak Spanish with confidence. Often, language learners may get distracted trying to master long lists of phrases or flashcard decks full of words, but find themselves unable to understand or be understood in actual conversations. That’s why learning to pronounce and understand commonly used phrases in Spanish will go a long way towards helping you feel more comfortable engaging with locals.
Spanish does have some pronunciation distinctions that can make it a challenge for language learners. One of the most frequently discussed is the rolling of r’s, which is takes some practice to replicate. Spanish has a trilling sound made by pushing air with your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Some language experts encourage beginners to focus on making the “tt” sound in the word butter as the closest equivalent.
Honing your pronunciation means getting feedback and making corrections, practicing, and persisting until your mouth can get a feel for how to shape the sounds that make up the Spanish language. Rosetta Stone embeds a patented speech recognition engine called TruAccent into every lesson to provide feedback and recommend corrections to align your accent with that of a local speaker. Developed by scanning and integrating the speech of thousands of native Spanish speakers, TruAccent can be a powerful tool in helping you learn to understand and be understood in Spanish.