How To Speak Spanish
History of the Language
Spanish is one of the five main Romance languages – along with French, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian. The term Romance has nothing to do with how romantic the Spanish are (although they do have their reputation), but instead refers to the Latin phrase “romanica loqui”, meaning "to speak in Roman fashion.” When Latin speakers first began settling in the far corners of the Roman empire, their language collided with indigenous languages and the resulting mix formed new Latin dialects. When the Roman empire was in decline and Rome finally lost control over the provinces, these dialects finally diverged into distinct languages.
Since its humble origin as a provincial dialect of Latin, Spanish has developed into a global language, officially spoken in 20 countries on four continents. Beginning in the 15th century, the Spanish empire expanded its reach, bringing its language to new colonies far from Europe. In the same way that Spanish first emerged from Latin, several Spanish dialects are now spoken around the globe: in Spain, most of North and South America, the Caribbean and West Africa. Spanish is the second most-spoken language on earth, after Mandarin. Learn how to speak Spanish and join the 470 million people around the world who speak Spanish fluently as their native or second language.
El Amigo Elegante De Inglés
English is historically a Germanic language, but, because it borrows more than half of its vocabulary from French and Latin, it is very close to a Romance language in practice. As a result, English and Spanish share thousands of “true friends”: words that sound the similar and have the same meaning. Most English words that came from French have a Spanish counterpart, so you would probably understand someone who told you, “”. English has also directly borrowed hundreds of Spanish words. There are the obvious transplants like adobe, fiesta, piñata and avocado, but you might be surprised to learn that words like barbecue, potato, tomato, chocolate, vanilla, breeze, hurricane, tornado, canyon, ranch, and suave also have a Spanish origin – not to mention the names of several US states: California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Texas, Florida and Montana.
Pronunciation and Grammar
Pronunciation is the biggest difference between Spanish words and their English cousins. For beginners trying to learn Spanish, correctly pronouncing words can be a significant challenge. You probably recognize Spanish words like jalapeño, Mexico, llama and burro, but the pronunciation of j, x, ll, and rr may be unfamiliar. Pronouncing rr (erre doble) is notoriously difficult for native English speakers. With the help of Babbel’s speech recognition feature you will be able to practice your accent and help ensure that your Spanish is understandable.
Spanish grammar may at first seem strange to an English-speaker, but its rules are actually easier and less irregular than English grammar. Once you have a handle on Spanish grammar, the rules are effectively unchanged for French, Italian and Portuguese. Since they are all derived from Latin, the Romance languages have several grammar rules in common: adjectives come after the noun they modify, all verbs are conjugated, the subject-verb order is inverted when asking a question, and all nouns have a gender designation. Being familiar with one Romance language will allow you to pick up others more easily.
Ways to Learn Spanish
Spanish is the most popular language of study in North America. Over 60 million people today speak Spanish as a second language. There are several options available when learning how to speak Spanish: hiring a private tutor, enrolling in a language course (in school or online), studying alone with a CD-ROM or audio course, joining an exchange program, or practicing conversational Spanish with a native speaker (a so-called tandem partner). All of these strategies can be effective, although some (tutors and CD-ROMS) can be expensive, while classes and exchange programs are also a huge time commitment. The fastest way to pick up Spanish – and the biggest commitment by far – is still immersion. Moving to a Spanish-speaking country requires you to pick up the language in order to live day-to-day. This survival pressure usually produces fluency within a few months. If you do plan to immerse yourself in Spanish, it’s not a bad idea to prepare beforehand with one of the methods mentioned above. If you don’t have much spare time, an online program like Babbel may be your best bet.
Learn Spanish the Babbel Way
Babbel’s Spanish course is affordable, accessible online and via mobile devices mobile, and proven to strengthen your reading, listening, speaking and comprehension skills. As a Babbel user, you have access to a diverse program of grammar, conjugation, pronunciation, listening comprehension and writing exercises. You can practice online or via your iPhone or Android device. Whether you are too busy for a language class, a complete beginner, needing to brush up before a vacation or business trip, or wanting to re-learn everything you forgot in high school, Babbel can be customized to your needs.
Try your first Spanish lesson for free and discover Babbel’s easy and intuitive course system which determines your individual level and accommodates different learning styles. You can learn at your own pace, set your own lesson plans and receive helpful hints whenever you need them. You will also be joining an entire community of learners. Babbel users can easily share questions, experiences and advice via message boards and chat, and the Babbel support team is always only a message away. Take the test to see your current level of Spanish.