Learning to speak Spanish should be a priority for all traveling men. Being able to speak Spanish is as close as you can get to a magic bullet when travel, lifestyle, and dating merge. The reality is, the level of English in Spain is poor (due to poor teaching) and English knowledge in Latin America is very low due to poverty and economic inequality. If you can have a passable conversation with a Hispanic girl, the entire American continent from the Texas Border downwards will become your playground.
And there’s even better news…
Learning to speak Spanish is not that hard. So in this article, I’ll give you ten tips that will help you get to the point where you can converse with locals, go on dates, approach during the day, and pull from the nightclub…all in Spanish.
Having great Spanish pronunciation comes down to only two factors:
a) stress and
The way Spanish differentiates between words that are spelled the same like esta and está, or hablo and habló is with stress. If you put the stress on the wrong syllable, you will not be understood. The difference between saying a word correctly and uttering a word that doesn’t exist is in the stress. This is the area of Spanish pronunciation that nobody pays attention to.
Spanish has the same vowels as English a, e, i, o, u, but they are pronounced differently. Getting your vowels correct is the 80/20 of Spanish pronunciation. Final tip: focus on the Spanish “r” sound because it is the sound that gringos butcher most.
Cognates are words that have the same spelling and meaning in Spanish and English. The only difference is in the pronunciation.
Cognates can give you a few hundred words in your Spanish vocabulary before you even take your first class. And because the meaning of the words and the spelling are identical, you are free to focus 100% on your accent.
Set specific objectives.
“I want to be fluent in Spanish” is a terrible goal. It is akin to saying: “I want to be healthy” or “I want to lose weight”. Many people fail to achieve these goals because they are so vague and nebulous. “I want to be conversational” is equally as bad.
What I suggest is working backward from your ideal objective to arrive at the specific Spanish you need to learn. If you’re learning to speak Spanish fast, this is the absolute best way to do it.
Before you decide how you are going to learn Spanish, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who do I want to talk to (in Spanish)?
- What do I want to be able to say (in Spanish)?
- What do I want to do in the country?
Once you have those questions answered, you can then zero in on specific vocabulary and phrases you’ll need to meet your objectives. It’s also a lot faster than trying to swallow a whole dictionary.
Modal verbs will be your best friends.
Modal are verbs like:
want, need, have to, should, etc.
- Quiero, necesito, tengo que, debo, etc.
The great thing about modals is that you can use lean on 5/6 verbs rather than having to conjugate 1000’s of Spanish verbs. All you need to do is tag an infinitive verb on the end of the modal and, hey presto, you can say virtually anything you want on Spanish with just 4 verbs.
- tengo que comer I have to eat.
- tengo que ir I have to go
These are the keys that open up the whole language.
Do what you love… in Spanish.
Most students get bored when learning a second language because they are forced to read and talk about stuff that they have no interest in. The key to sticking with anything challenging is enjoyment. Mastery is often a long hard road and if it’s not fun, you’ll quit.
Take an inventory of everything you like to do. Clue: where does your interest drift when there is no boss or parent telling you what to do? If you like watching sports, playing computer games, watching movies – do them in Spanish. Speaking of using your interests as a vehicle for learning Spanish…
Music is the food of life.
The single best way I have found to get good at Spanish is by listening to Latin music. “Listening” makes the process sound more passive than it actually is – music will make you feel good, you will link emotion to what you are learning (very powerful), you will improve you accent by singing along and you will connect with Hispanic speakers when you ask them what the lyrics mean.
Every Spanish-speaking country has its own music: Bachata in the Dominican Republic, Champeta in Colombia, Banda in Mexico. It is an outstanding vehicle for connecting with the local girls.
If you really want to get serious and reach an advanced level, find a Spanish speaker that you admire (there are plenty of bilingual celebrities in the US) and watch a few YouTube videos of them. Pay attention to their facial expressions and gestures. Communication is much more than words and if you want to talk like Hispanic people, your whole body needs to be congruent.
Hire (the right) teacher on Skype.
Having a virtual teacher is the best low-pressure, low-stress way of learning. It’s just the two of you so you don’t have to worry about making mistakes in front of an audience. Tell your tutor that you do not want to speak any English and ask him/her to correct you all the time.
My recommendation is to hire a native speaker to help you with your pronunciation/accent and hire a native English-speaker (who has mastered Spanish) to teach you grammar. The reason for this is that grammar structures can be incredibly complex and you need someone who can explain them to you in your own language and draw parallels with English.
Have a strong reason.
As the saying goes, “the why is more important than the how”. Money (survive) and women (replicate) are the two strongest drivers. If learning Spanish will lead to a job promotion, help you win a bet or allow you to expand your business in Latin America, you will get good – trust me. Same if you love Latin women and you dream of traveling around the Caribbean banging girls with big booties (my motivation).
Invest in a good course.
I don’t recommend Rosetta Stone because they don’t use any English in their courses (this lowers their production cost) and they claim you will “learn like a baby”. When people ask me what courses I recommend, I tell them: Michel Thomas, Madrigal’s Magical Key to Spanish, or Pickup Spanish.
Pay to Pay attention
I advise against getting torrent versions of these courses because…if you got it free, you won’t value it. If you don’t value it, you won’t take it seriously. If you don’t take it seriously, you’ll never get good. This doesn’t mean you should blow your disposable income on a bunch of courses – that will just overwhelm you. Pick one good course, invest time, money and effort in it, and reap the rewards.
Seduction is all about communication. Forget your clothes, your money or your muscles. Your voice and the words you use are what the game is all about. The benefits of learning Spanish are as underestimated as the difficulty is overestimated.