10 Things Beginners Should Know About Learning Spanish
1. False Cognates
Spanish False cognates are words that are spelled very similar to words in English. For example 'atender' and attend mean the same thing, right?Learning should be simple, right? Be careful here. Not all of these words mean the same thing in both languages.
2. Yo, Tu, El, Nosotros, Ellos
In English grammar a noun or pronoun is required at the beginning of a sentence. Spanish does require a noun or pronoun to be present is usually understood by the context of the sentence. Although technically it’s not incorrect to include the noun or pronoun determining when to use them correctly is often a challenge for beginners.
3. How many “Times” confusion
There are 3 words that mean time in Spanish and they are not interchangeable:
- Occasion or period - Vez, veces i.e. cuantas veces
- Hour of day – Telling/asking the time. i.e. Que hora es?
- Other instances – i.e. No tengo tiempo.
4. The Subjunctive Mood
The subjective mood is commonly used in the Spanish language to explain how you as the speaker feel about the verb being used. i.e. Espero que no llueva. This sentence expresses a wish but does not mean that it will not rain.
5. Article Usage (el, la, un, una, los, las)
Article usage is more common is Spanish than in English and comes before the noun.
6. Being afraid to speak the language with native speakers
For many beginners of the Spanish language it is sometimes difficult to break the fear of using the language with native speakers.
7. Placing the noun before the adjective
In English grammar an adjective is used to describe, modify or qualify a noun. For example:
- The black cat
- The Yellow car
- The small house
In Spanish the adjective usually comes after the noun in most cases. For example:
- Los huevos verde y jamon
However, there are times when the adjective will come after the noun as in the case of numbers i.e. la primera estacion – the first station or with descriptive adjectives i.e. un buen restaurant.
8. Days of the week
In Spanish-speaking countries the days of the week begin on Monday. When naming the days of the week you normally include the definite articles el or los.
9. The letter ‘H’
In Spanish, the letter H is ‘always’ silent.
10. I am American
Latin Americans consider everyone from North and South America to be an American. If you are from the United States use ‘Soy de los Estados Unidos' – I am from the United States, ‘Soy de Norte America'
– I am from North America.