Watch Spanish Television via satellite or online. I know you tend to get distracted by the pictures rather than listening to the sound, but it’s still a good way to start and see stories not covered by your local TV company. Listen to Spanish radio, it all sounds a bit frenetic at first, but just let it wash over you until you get tuned into the language.
Invest in Spanish language lessons on line, why online? Well most, like Rocket Spanish can be downloaded to IPod’s and mp3 players, so can be used wherever your are.
Have Spanish days during the week, and no this doesn’t mean you have to don a sombrero and or prepare a giant pan of paella. Speak as much Spanish as possible, do a Spanish Spanish Magazine crossword which can be found in many of the English language Spanish lifestyle magazines. Check out all the leaflets you brought back from your last trip to a Spanish speaking country.
Use fridge magnets to make up words and phrases. There are some Spanish alphabet magnetic words and phrases on the market at the moment to help you. See who can make up the longest sentence (that makes sense!)
Buy a Spanish language newspaper everyday, you’ll might get some strange looks down at your local Starbucks but who cares. Just pray a Spanish speaking family doesn’t sit down beside you, actually come to think of it that would be a great way to see how your conversational Spanish is coming along.
If you’re off on holiday to a Spanish speaking area, speak the language at every opportunity. Yes I know the they love to speak English, it can be frustrating for you , but remember they’re trying something different as well. so praise them, gently help them if they don’t quite get it right.
They’ll do the same for you believe me! I remember a couple of years ago telling a French couple who had invited us into their home that the pleasure was all THEIRS rather than ours (got my notres mixed up with my votres) We had a good laugh about it and another round of drinks to toast my little indiscretion.
Visit supermarkets and DIY stores, pick up every leaflet they have, collect estate agents papers, free newspapers, business cards, tourist brochures. They all have pictures on them with the Spanish names beside them of course. This will help build up your vocabulary and help identify the strange things in jars on the supermarket shelves.
And finally never turn down an invitation to visit the Spanish at home. Even if you can only say fantastico or magnifico, it’s not to be missed. Mentally exhausting as you try desperately to understand what’s going on, but the experience is worth its weight in gold.
I’m a UK based radio journalist with a wife and five cats to support.