We live in a world full of myths, prejudices and illusions. They have penetrated in almost every area of our daily life, and the area of Spanish learning is not an exception.
If you are contemplating learning this beautiful language, you are probably asking yourself: Is learning Spanish hard? In this article we´ll look at five common and coarse myths about learning Spanish, and I am sure that by the end of this article you will be eager to start!
The Spanish language: A global treasure
The Spanish language is a global language, it is among the world’s top five languages in terms of number of speakers, number of countries where it is official, and geographic extension.
It is an official language of the United Nations, and a language of reference in international relations. This could be probably the exhaustive answer to the question why to learn Spanish.
However, now the question is whether learning Spanish is difficult. Well, learning any language requires effort and persistence, although the complexity of the process depends on what your mother tongue is.
Spanish belongs to Latin languages, and if you speak French, Italian, Portuguese or Romanian, you will definitely find similarities in grammar and vocabulary. Let’s go a bit deeper and see the most common misconceptions in spanish:
Unraveling the complexities of Spanish grammar
“Spanish grammar is super difficult” is one of the most well-spread myths about learning Spanish.
Frankly, Spanish grammar is easier than any other grammar especially if you’ve studied other languages. Spanish grammar is somehow simple in many key aspects:
Genders: Spanish only has two genders: masculine and feminine, whilst German has three. It is easy to identify gender in Spanish: 99% of the words ending in A are feminine, whereas 99% of the words ending in O are masculine. Try to identify the gender of a noun in French or German. It is a real puzzle, thanks to the last letter.
Irregular Verbs: There are 46 irregular verbs in Spanish, 283 in English, 570 in French.
Declensions: There are no declensions in Spanish, sorry for those who decided to learn German or Russian. Declensions, inherited from Latin, are a series of variations applicable at the end of the words according to their function in the sentence.
There are no less than four declensions in German, which are applicable to articles, nouns, pronouns and adjectives. For example, the article “the” in masculine in German: Der, can become Den, Dem or Des depending on its function in the sentence.
Plurals: dead easy! 99% of plurals in Spanish consist of an S at the end. There are only three types of irregular plurals in Spanish. Try Arabic, the majority of plurals must be learnt as a different word.
“Spanish subjunctive is a torture” True, but not totally true: Subjunctive exists in all Latin languages. So, don’t blame it only on Spanish. Whichever Latin language you decide to learn you have to overcome the trauma of subjunctive.
Whether it’s French, Italian or Portuguese you will have to assimilate subjunctive. The key here is the same for all those languages: subjunctive will naturally become intuitive after an extended aural and reading exposure to the language.
Moreover, practice leads to perfection when it comes to subjunctive in Spanish, Portuguese or any other Latin language.
Pronunciation demystified: Mastering Spanish sounds
Another well-spread idea is that “Spanish phonetics is hard to pick up”: Hum… then taste Polish or Chinese and compare!
Spanish phonetics may not be so easy, but if you think about it, English vowels are particularly difficult for many foreigners; bead vs bid, read, vs rid, beach vs bitch (sorry, this one is irresistible for many non-English speakers).
What about Polish? How are you supposed to pronounce a word like Szczęście. Check some Polish words phonetically: it is a big challenge! What to say about Chinese, which has four different tones?
This means that depending on the way you pronounce the syllable [ba] it could mean: dad, eight, aim or pull.
Learning Spanish at any age: Busting the myth of language acquisition
Well, the younger you start learning a new language, the easier it will be to sound more native-like.
However, when it comes to fluency and communication, age is not a barrier at all, many people become fluent in Spanish and communicate successfully at any age. As for the accent, millions of people have them, and we believe that accents are beautiful!
Learning a language, and Spanish is not an exception, is not akin to climbing the Himalayas: it only requires motivation and a bit of perseverance. If you are contemplating learning Spanish, just go for it and don’t let yourself get intimidated by myths.
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