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A free guide developed as a collaborative project by James Manfield (high school teacher of Spanish) and Anna Van Varenberg (assistant professor of Spanish).

We have been teaching Spanish for years and we believe that we can be useful helping you to learn Spanish in the quickest way possible. The key to learning a language is motivation, and once you are motivated you need to choose a good dictionary, good books to learn with, good places to interact with native speakers, etc. In the next pages we will cover these topics, as well as other points that you should take into consideration if you want to be successful when learning Spanish.

Why learning Spanish?

p<>{color:#000;}. Spanish is a very widespread language spoken in 21 countries as a primary language and in several others as a communication vehicle or lingua franca.

p<>{color:#000;}. The amount of speakers keeps growing with time, as well as the number of people choosing it as a second language to speak with their clients, employees, in their holidays.

p<>{color:#000;}. Many of the world’s best places for holidays are in Spanish-speaking countries, so if you like to travel and discover new places, this is the most useful language for you.

p<>{color:#000;}. It’s superior to other languages in number of countries, number of speakers and relevance of those territories for business, politics, tourism, etc. so learning Spanish is a good investment of time and resources

p<>{color:#000;}. It’s easy. There are many difficult languages out there, but Spanish is easy to learn and it’s simpler to get to an advanced level.

Which materials to use?

In our experience, it’s better to use materials and books developed by natives. The best French teachers are in France, the best Russian teachers are in Russia, and the best Spanish teachers are in Spain. The people from the countries that invented those languages have a perfect knowledge about them, so play it safe and go for materials developed in Spain.

Inside the books made in Spain or by Spanish teachers, go for those who have explanations in English. It’s very difficult to learn Spanish without having anything explained to you in English. Even if English is not your first language you can be sure that no good Spanish teacher thought about publishing a book in Dutch, German, in Russian, in French, etc. If a teacher or a professor from Spain writes a book for foreigners, it will most likely be in English. Everything else you can find will not be written by a native expert and may contain lots of mistakes.

Among all the materials made by Spanish authors, make sure to pick those who have the best qualifications. It’s not enough to be native from Spain to teach Spanish perfectly. They need to be teachers or university lecturers with experience and specialized studies teaching Spanish.

James and I are both non-native teachers. He is American and I am Dutch. We are good teachers but no matter what we do, we could never be better than a Spanish professor from Spain in his field. There are many countries that used to be colonies of Spain in the past and have become Spanish-speaking countries with time, just like in Africa there are many countries speaking French as their first language and nobody would choose a teacher from Madagascar over a teacher from France when learning French.

There is nothing wrong with being a former colony, or not being a teacher from Spain, but when learning Spanish, go to the sources and try to avoid local mistakes or particular vocabulary and accents from other territories and former colonies. Authors from Spain are the safest and the best choice.

Which are the best books to learn Spanish?

It depends on your level of Spanish. The best thing you could do is to check the rankings and lists online and pick the best one for you.

The best thing to do is to check different sources, different lists, different rankings, and have a second, third or even fourth opinion about which books are the best ones for your level. They usually coincide, but there are slight differences in the positions of the books in the rankings:




[+ http://www.ranker.com/list/best-books-to-learn-spanish-v1/pattyyy+]


You can find other rankings in sites like Goodreads, for example. As a general rule, if they don’t have Spanish native authors in the first positions, don’t trust them… They will not be accurate.

Which books and novels should I read to improve?

The best lists you can find for this subject are in Librarything and in Goodreads. Both websites are very popular and trustworthy. The novels you choose should be modern, interesting, and if possible, written by Spanish authors in order to acquire good vocabulary and have perfect grammatical structures.

Where do I find natives to speak with?

If you are planning a trip to Spain, the best cities and areas to learn Spanish are:

Madrid, Salamanca, Toledo, Ávila, La Coruña, Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla la Mancha, Rioja and Aragón.

If you wish to find speakers on the internet, people from those areas will make the best partners because they speak correct regular Spanish without any local accent or wrong grammatical structures.

The places to AVOID are on the north east, next to France, because they have regional dialects that interfere with their Spanish skills, they also have a thick accent. Keep in mind that if you go to an area where the signs and billboards are NOT IN SPANISH you picked the wrong place to learn the language.

Which other places should I check?

These are some useful places to learn a bit more about the resources at your disposal:





We wish you luck in your learning adventure and we thank you for choosing this wonderful language that will be useful and an enriching experience in your life.

Anna and James


  • Author: Anna Van Varenberg
  • Published: 2017-03-07 03:05:13
  • Words: 978