Spanish is a very useful language to learn as it is the world's second most popular language.
Outside of the popular coastal tourist resorts a basic knowledge of Spanish is invaluable. Even in the tourist resorts you will find the Spanish will not go out of their way to speak English to you. If you try a few words and get stuck you tend to find they suddenly can speak a bit of English!
The bottom line is that if you are moving to Spain and looking for work you might as well not bother if you don't learn the language. If you are a tourist then obviously you don't have to learn the language, you will get by, but learning a few basic words or expressions will actually add to the enjoyment of your holiday as you delight the locals (and yourself).
I don't think it is fair to describe learning any language as easy but if it's any consolation, there are hundreds of English words that are virtually identical in Spanish - so you already know a lot of Spanish vocabulary!
TIPS ON LEARNING SPANISH
* Get motivated. The best way to do this is to imagine your ideal outcome. If you don't do this you will most likely fail when you start hitting a few inevitable hurdles. We all go though this stage but if you have burned into your mind the positive results that will follow then you will succeed where thousands have failed. Imagine something like getting a job in your dream destination or having a relationship with a handsome Spaniard or meeting a pretty Senorita!
* Take baby steps to build your confidence. Remember that the first objective is to master a few basic words like hello, goodbye, thank you etc. This will give you confidence to go forward - DO NOT start learning long and complex words.
* Buy a good book or better still a good tape series where you can hear the language and how it sounds. Obviously you need to buy this but there are books that you will waste months on and get nowhere and there are books where you will start to be able to speak and learn Spanish very quickly.
* Don't be afraid. Fear is a terrible emotion. You have to try and speak Spanish to people otherwise you won't know how you are progressing. It really doesn't matter that you will make mistakes, it is only by making mistakes that you will learn. The worst that can happen is that the person who are talking to will not understand you, yes it's frustrating but don't beat yourself up about it.
* Go to Spain. Visiting Spain itself is a great motivator to learn the language. If you don't keep practising what you have learned then you will be surprised at how quickly it is forgotten.
* As much as you want to learn Spanish, there must be other people who are equally keen to learn English - place an ad and try finding someone who you can trade with.
* Spanish grammar is different to English - leave it at that. Don't keep trying to make sense of it in English terms - just concentrate on being able to communicate with people - otherwise you will end up confusing yourself.
* There may be thousands of Spanish words but you only need to learn a fraction of them. If you analysed your own vocabulary during the day you would be surprised to find that you are not speaking like a dictionary but instead use a very limited amount of words. Spanish is the same, you just need to know the most commonly used words.
* Turn wasted time into valuable time. Learning Spanish is great when you are doing things like driving, jogging, waiting for someone, ironing, cooking the dinner etc. The more time you practice the quicker you will accelerate your learning.
Copyright Mark Eastwood. Feel free to use this article online and in your email newsletters as long as you leave it intact and do not alter it in anyway. The byline and biography must remain in the article.
Mark Eastwood lives on the Costa Blanca coast of Spain and is the publisher of http://www.CostaBlancaUncovered.com - The site for tourists visiting the Costa Blanca coast of Spain as well as residents and people considering moving to this popular area known as the 'California of Europe'.