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TIps and tricks when you are learning Spanish

05 October, 2017

Advice for all the levels!
Learning a new language is hard, I won’t deny it, sometimes even boring (I’m thinking about those never ending grammar lessons...), but it isn’t all that. Here you have a few pieces of advice that will help you with your Spanish in a nice light way; it doesn’t matter if you’ve just started! Let’s have a look:

1. Listen to music in Spanish.
You can listen to any music style in Spanish, there’s thousands of options. Here you have some of my personal recommendations, depending on which music style you enjoy the most! Explore, have a listen, try to find a song or a band that you really like and sing along. It doesn’t matter if you don’t really understand the whole thing, but you’ll practice pronunciation and sure you’ll learn a bit of new vocabulary.

Rock
Héroes del Silencio, “Entre dos tierras”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0plw9jzbejk
Radio Futura, “Veneno en la piel”
Youtube

M-Clan, “Llamando a la Tierra”
Youtube

Pop
Amaral, “El universo sobre mi”
Youtube

Manolo García, “Pájaros de barro”
Youtube

Jesse&Joy, “La de la mala suerte”
Youtube

Rap
Rayden, “A mi yo de ayer”
Youtube

Mala Rodríguez, “Lluvia”
Youtube

SFDK, “Volver”
Youtube

Indie
Zahara, “Con las ganas”
Youtube

Vetusta Morla, “Maldita dulzura”
Youtube

Izal, “La mujer de verde”
Youtube


Punk
Boikot, “Cualquier día”
Youtube

La Polla Records, “Ya no quiero ser yo”
Youtube

Los de Marras, “Hoy”
Youtube


Latina
Enrique Iglesias, “Bailando”
Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsb1Y_j10Hw
Shakira, “Suerte”
Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOClbDkLego
Juanes, “Volverte a ver”
Youtube

Movies
Comedy
My Big Night (2015)
An unemployed man gets a job as an extra at the shooting of a New Year’s Eve TV special that’s beset by crises and seems to go on forever.
Youtube

Romantic Comedy
Off Course
Fed up with the uselessness of their degrees and swayed by a TV commercial, two Spaniards head to Berlin for work but find it not quite advertised.
Youtube

Drama
Palm Trees in the Snow
Finding a tantalizing clue in an old letter, a young woman journeys to her family’s tropical plantation to uncover generations of secrets.
Youtube

History
Allende
This film dramatizes the final seven hours of socialist Chilean president Salvador Allende, who died during a military coup on Sept. 11, 1973.
Youtube

Crime
The Invisible Guest
After waking next to his new-dead lover in a hotel room, a young businessman hires a prominent lawyer to figure out how he ended up a murder suspect.
Youtube

Horror
Resurrection
In the 19th century, a young Argentine priest returns home during a yellow fever epidemic and discovers a frightening connection to the supernatural.


Series
Las chicas del cable
Youtube

Velvet
Youtube


Estocolmo
Youtube

Movies
Comedy
My Big Night (2015)
An unemployed man gets a job as an extra at the shooting of a New Year’s Eve TV special that’s beset by crises and seems to go on forever.
Youtube

Romantic Comedy
Off Course
Fed up with the uselessness of their degrees and swayed by a TV commercial, two Spaniards head to Berlin for work but find it not quite advertised.
Youtube

Drama
Palm Trees in the Snow
Finding a tantalizing clue in an old letter, a young woman journeys to her family’s tropical plantation to uncover generations of secrets.
Youtube

History
Allende
This film dramatizes the final seven hours of socialist Chilean president Salvador Allende, who died during a military coup on Sept. 11, 1973.
Youtube

Crime
The Invisible Guest
After waking next to his new-dead lover in a hotel room, a young businessman hires a prominent lawyer to figure out how he ended up a murder suspect.
Youtube

Horror
Resurrection
In the 19th century, a young Argentine priest returns home during a yellow fever epidemic and discovers a frightening connection to the supernatural.

Series
Las chicas del cable
Youtube

Velvet
Youtube

Estocolmo
Youtube


2. Watch movies, TV series and documentaries in Spanish or about a Spanish speaking country.
Here you have a few recommendations that you can find on Netflix. You can turn on the subtitles in Spanish (so you can read what they’re saying) or in your own language, this is useful if you’ve just started studying Spanish and want to get used to the speed and the pronunciation of the language, you’ll learn a few words as well for sure! (Synopsis given by Wikipedia)
Movies
Movies
Comedy
My Big Night (2015)
An unemployed man gets a job as an extra at the shooting of a New Year’s Eve TV special that’s beset by crises and seems to go on forever.
Youtube

Romantic Comedy
Off Course
Fed up with the uselessness of their degrees and swayed by a TV commercial, two Spaniards head to Berlin for work but find it not quite advertised.
Youtube

Drama
Palm Trees in the Snow
Finding a tantalizing clue in an old letter, a young woman journeys to her family’s tropical plantation to uncover generations of secrets.
Youtube

History
Allende
This film dramatizes the final seven hours of socialist Chilean president Salvador Allende, who died during a military coup on Sept. 11, 1973.
Youtube

Crime
The Invisible Guest
After waking next to his new-dead lover in a hotel room, a young businessman hires a prominent lawyer to figure out how he ended up a murder suspect.
Youtube

Horror
Resurrection
In the 19th century, a young Argentine priest returns home during a yellow fever epidemic and discovers a frightening connection to the supernatural.

Series
Las chicas del cable
Youtube

Velvet
Youtube

Estocolmo
Youtube

Documentaries
When Two Worlds Collide
This documentary takes a hard look at how indigenous peoples clashed violently with the Peruvian government over land and economics in the Amazon.
El fin de ETA
This documentary chronicles the decade-long process that led to the end of the ETA, a Basque terrorist group that operated for more than 50 years.

3. Read, read, read and read.
Books, articles, novels (anything!) related to a Spanish speaking country that you’re interested in. It doesn’t have to be in Spanish, you can read in your own language and you’ll learn lots of things about culture, lifestyle, history and curiosities in general. Here you have some of my personal recommendations, novels located in different countries and in different times. (Synopsis given by Amazon)
The House of the Spirits
Author: Isabel Allende
Located in: Chile (19th century – 1970s)
Spanning four generations, Isabel Allende's magnificent family saga is populated by a memorable, often eccentric cast of characters. Together, men and women, spirits, the forces of nature, and of history, converge in an unforgettable, wholly absorbing and brilliantly realised novel that is as richly entertaining as it is a masterpiece of modern literature.
The Sleeping Voice
Author: Dulce Chacón
Located in: Spain, after the civil war (1939).
It is 1939. In the Ventas prison in Madrid a group of women have been incarcerated. Their crime is to have supported or fought on the Republican side in Spain's cruel and devastating Civil War. Chief among them are Hortensia, who fought with the militia and is pregnant by her husband Felipe - a man still at large and fighting against Franco's dictatorship - and who lives with the knowledge that she will be shot after she gives birth; sixteen-year-old Elvira, who tried to leave Spain with her mother, but was arrested by the Falangists while she was boarding their ship; Tomasa, whose husband, four sons and daughter-in-law were thrown off a bridge; and Pepita, Hortensia's sister, who from outside the prison acts as messenger between her and her husband.
Captain Alatriste: A Swashbuckling Tale of Action and Adventure (The Adventures of Captain Alatriste)
Author: Arturo Pérez-Reverte
Located in: Spain, 1620s.
Captain Alatriste is a swordsman for hire in Spain in the 1620s - a time when Court intrigue is high and the decadent young king has dragged the country into a series of disastrous wars. As a hired 'blade', Alatriste becomes involved in many political plots and must live by his wits. He comes face to face with hired assassins, court players, political moles, smugglers, pirates and of course, the infamous Spanish Inquisition...
Like Water for Chocolate
Author: Laura Esquiel
Located in: México, during the Mexican revolution (1910s).
A sumptuous feast of a novel, it relates the bizarre history of the all-female De La Garza family. Tita, the youngest daughter of the house, has been forbidden to marry, condemned by Mexican tradition to look after her mother until she dies. But Tita falls in love with Pedro, and he is seduced by the magical food she cooks.
Death in the Andes
Author: Mario Vargas Llosa
Located in: Peru, 1980s.
In an isolated community in the Peruvian Andes, a series of mysterious disappearances has occurred. Army corporal Lituma and his deputy Tomás believe the Shining Path guerrillas are responsible, but the townspeople have their own ideas about the forces that claimed the bodies of the missing men. This riveting novel is filled with unforgettable characters, among them disenfranchised Indians, eccentric local folk, and a couple performing strange cannibalistic sacrifices. As the investigation progresses, Tomás entertains Lituma with the surreal tale of a precarious love affair.

4. APPs
There are a bunch of APPs to learn and practise Spanish from your mobile phone or laptop; here you have the pros and cons of the ones I’ve tried. (All of them are available in the AppStore)
Duolingo
In this app you can choose your daily goal, from casual (which is 5 munutes a day) to insane (20 minutes a day), and every day you achieve your daily goal you’ll get points which you can exchange for rewards.
When you first get it, there are two options: start studying the language from the beginning or taking a 5 minutes test to check your level.
Pros:
- Very easy to use and intuitive.
- Useful to practise vocabulary, concordance and structures.
- You can add your achievements in this App in Linkedin.
Cons:
- Some of the sentences don’t sound natural for a native speaker.
Wlingua
You can learn Spanish from English, Russian, Italian, Portuguese or French with this APP, and it gives you the option of learning Spanish from Spain (Castillian) or Spanish from Mexico (Latin America).
Like with Duolingo, there is an option of taking an assessment or select a level if you don’t need to start from the beginning.
It offers a vocabulary list plus its pronunciation before every lesson.
Pros:
- The lessons are better explained than in Duolingo.
Contras:
- It’s not very intuitive or easy to use.
- Only up to level B1.
Spanish for Beginners
This app consists of a screen with a list of different lessons. For example, in lesson 1 you’ll learn the alphabet and its pronunciation. Furthermore, if offers a tests for every lesson.
Saving your progress is not allowed in this app, but I think it could be useful so the beginners can learn and practise basic vocabulary.
Pros:
- It’s offline.
- Intuitive and easy.
Cons:
- Only up to basic and intermediate level.
- It doesn’t have explanations or activities to practise structures.

5. Speak!
Last but not least, if you have a friend, a neighbour, a customer or know someone who is a native speaker or can speak a bit of Spanish, talk to them! Don’t be afraid! Tell them what you’ve just learnt or ask them about where they come from; it’s the quickest way to learn.
And remember that learning a language is not an easy road; it’s an everyday process even for the native speakers, who commit mistakes everyday as well. So my final advise is don’t feel frustrated and keep trying every da

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