10 most common mistakes that Spanish learners make

It is not easy to be self-taught student for many reasons, one of which is ignorance of effective techniques and the inevitable commission of many mistakes concerning the process of studying the material itself.

Today Spanish&Valencia describes in detail common misconceptions that can lead to a weakening of the student’s motivation and stop trying to learn Spanish if they are not corrected in time.

Let’s imagine a person who likes to learn independently, who is able to organize his time and exercise self-control, who does not need any tutor. Do you think this is some kind of superman?

Such people exist and they combine:

  • Willpower;
  • Thirst for knowledge;
  • Ability to focus on the work being done;
  • Motivation for the acquisition of certain knowledge.

But even these people, who once took up foreign language studies, can make mistakes that make it difficult to approach their cherished goal. There are only 10 such mistakes:

  1. Too many materials to study.
  2. Focusing on vocabulary learning.
  3. Focusing on grammar learning.
  4. Focusing on audio materials.
  5. Confidence in the beneficial effects of the environment.
  6. Confidence in the beneficial effects of movies with subtitles.
  7. Rewriting texts.
  8. Reading books in original with dictionary.
  9. Selection of courses “Spanish language in 3 days”, etc.
  10. Selection of textbooks without audio support.
Mistake 1: Too many materials to study.

It would seem: the more, the better. But not this time. A few textbooks, several audio materials, online tests, songs in Spanish, mobile apps, books in the original, movies with subtitles… where to begin? A self-taught student takes up a little bit of everything, jumping from textbook to video, from video to tests, from tests to reading, and as a result barely progresses in their classes, but does not stop looking for new materials.

Mistake 2: Focusing on vocabulary learning.

Students learning Spanish on their own usually start by memorizing extensive dictionary tables, either on their own or from a textbook… It is assumed that learning grammar and everything else makes sense if you have a good vocabulary, but as a result they just get bored.

Mistake 3: Paying attention to the grammar learning.

Often independent study begins with a serious approach to grammar. Many people are very successful in this, surprised at how well the classes are progressing and what good results they give. Grammar exercises are performed without any mistake. The tests are striking with their high results. But time passes, and they are not able to understand by ear the simplest dialogues.

Mistake 4: Buying audio materials.

There are also students who buy an audio CD with Spanish course and listen to it in the car, while walking around the city, at dinner, before going to bed and in other free time. As a result, they accumulate passive knowledge, which is then quite difficult to convert into active use of the language.

Mistake 5: Confidence in the beneficial effects of the environment.

If the self-taught student lives in an environment of native speakers, he often literally hopes for the environment itself, for immersion in foreign words that he hears from everywhere, and does not seek to support the received information in any way by studying the linguistic structure. In this case, people eventually begin to speak fluently, but with numerous errors, and at the same time write illiterate.

Mistake 6: Confidence in the beneficial effects of movies with subtitles.

Unable or unwilling to learn the language properly, the self-taught student decides to create an artificial immersion in Spanish environment by watching movies in the original with subtitles. As a result, they read subtitles in their native language, and this activity is almost useless.

Mistake 7: Rewriting texts.

Some students take a notebook and write texts there, hoping for visual and motor memory. This way they really remember a large number of words, as well as some basic rules of grammar, but they can not get fluent in the language, because they don’t include other types of exercises in their classes.

Mistake 8: Reading books in original with dictionary.

It’s certainly that this is a very exciting activity that only the most diligent and patient can do. They will be able to learn a lot, but it will be passive knowledge that will eventually allow them to do only this type of exercise.

Mistake 9: Selection of courses “Spanish language in 3 days”, etc.

It is no secret that such courses attract accessible explanations, examples and colorful design of pages, but they are very rarely aimed at getting a good knowledge of the language grammatical system, and one day a self-taught student who has passed such a course will have to start studying the same topics again to understand them properly.

Mistake 10: Selection of textbooks without audio support.

If earlier many textbooks were released without any discs (and until then, records and cassettes) and we had no choice but to buy them, although now Spanish learners should avoid such publications, be sure to purchase audio materials. After all, everyone who learns foreign words needs to listen to good pronunciation and engage in listening, as if they were attending classes with a teacher.

What to do being a self-taught student:

  • Take one textbook with the accompanying CD and only after thoroughly studying it, to chart the way forward for language learning.
  • Study hard and not be lazy.
  • Practise 4 basic skills daily: pronunciation, reading, writing and listening.

And then everything will work out!

Text : Mariia Lisafina.

Photo by Abigail Keenan on Unsplash

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