There is a common consensus among language learners that Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn, especially for English speakers.
How true is that?
There is no doubt that Spanish is accepted as a simple language to study. Considering the benefits of Spanish, its global presence, and its importance in business, this is great for those who wish to learn this beautiful tongue.
But as we know, language learning is a complex process, and Spanish is no exception. How you study, your approach, available resources, and many other language factors can make it easy and challenging to master.
As an outcome, there is no exact answer to whether Spanish is simple or difficult to learn.
This article covers all the details of what makes Spanish straightforward or hard. So, let’s jump right in.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Is Spanish an easy language to learn?
- What makes Spanish challenging to learn?
- Does learning Spanish take a long time?
- Final Words: Is Spanish hard?
Is Spanish an easy language to learn?
Spanish is among the most beautiful, widely spoken, and most taught languages in the world. As an effect, today, many people are interested in studying Spanish.
And before you start the fascinating journey of exploring this language, you may wonder how easy or tough it is to learn.
The difficulty of learning a language can differ depending on a person’s prior language experience. Also, on how much time and effort you can devote to study. It also depends on help and resources.
When you already know a second language, you have an advantage in mastering Spanish quickly and easily. Likewise, third languages become much easier when you understand a second language.
1. Spanish pronunciation is straightforward
Spanish has a consistent spelling and pronunciation system, making learning the initial part more effortless. Spanish is a phonetic language. Thus, all consonants and vowels are pronounced the same way you expect.
But as with any language, it takes commitment, time, and practice to be proficient in written and spoken Spanish.
You will initially find Spanish words very familiar if you listen to people speak Spanish quickly, making it easier and more enjoyable to learn.
Although Spanish speakers speak fast, don’t confuse speed with complexity. The sounds and pronunciation of Spanish are remarkably similar to its spelling, making it extremely easy to pronounce.
Most learners can learn Spanish online at the primary level and on their own using useful websites and apps since it is manageable initially. But as you move ahead, it has its own set of unique difficulties.
2. It is easy when you know a similar language
This is the most crucial factor that makes a language uncomplicated or tough.
How close your mother tongue is to Spanish defines how quickly you can understand it. It is because they are linguistically similar.
Spanish belongs to the Romance language group and shares roots with French, Romanian, Italian, and Portuguese.
And because of its Latin origins, it partly resembles Germanic family groups like English, German, Dutch, and Scandinavian tongues.
So if you speak one of the European languages of Latin roots, Spanish is more effortless to understand. So you shouldn’t be surprised by this pick if you intend to learn a relatively less complex yet valuable language.
Phonetic languages sound the same as written, and Spanish is one of them. Thus, pronunciation is mostly the same since vowels and consonants are pronounced the same, and only the letter h is silent.
Spanish’s practicality and broad reach have always made it a popular choice for English speakers to learn. It’s also easy to understand, as both have many similarities in terms of grammar and vocabulary.
As your journey progresses, many Spanish terms and phrases can be compared with their English translations.
English is a Germanic language but was also heavily influenced by French since, like Spanish, it is a Romance language with roots in Latin.
3. Spanish alphabets, words, and grammar are simple
There are two prevalent language families within the largest Indo-European group — Germanic and Romance. Historically, they have followed similar routes.
A language family that is ‘related’ often has quite a few linguistic similarities, particularly in vocabulary.
Like other European languages, Spanish uses the same Latin alphabet. So, you can understand quickly with not-so-complicated pronunciation rules and speak in no time.
English speakers are not exempt from learning Spanish grammar, and you’ll need to pay careful attention to specific topics.
The nouns in Spanish agree in gender with their adjectives and articles, meaning that every Spanish noun has either a masculine or feminine gender.
Every word, whether a thing or a person, has a gender — masculine or feminine.
For example: ‘la Madre, the mother, is feminine, while ‘el padre,’ the father, is masculine. Likewise, ‘la casa, the house, is feminine, while ‘el Coche,’ the car, is masculine. Plus, you also must conjugate correctly to speak Spanish rightly.
A good deal of regularity can be found in Spanish grammar. So, learning and following various rules and patterns to communicate effectively in Spanish is possible. However, every word doesn’t follow the designs.
It is common in daily speech to use verbs like ‘ser’ (to be) and ‘Haber’ (to have), for instance, as irregular verbs. However, you must pay special attention to their conjugation since they differ from regular verbs.
The subjunctive mood means subjectivity and uncertainty. It is well known that the subjunctive tense is challenging for Spanish learners.
Doubts, desires, requirements, possibilities, and judgments are expressed this way. With some exceptions, it just takes time to learn the patterns and rules, then practice them enough.
4. Tons of easily accessible resources to learn Spanish
You’ve probably heard that Spanish is the third most spoken native language after Chinese and Hindi. But while Chinese and Hindi speakers are mainly found in China and India, Spanish speakers are everywhere!
With over 500 million speakers, Spanish is the official language of 20 countries like Spain, Mexico, and Argentina. It also has a large Spanish-speaking population across the globe, including the USA.
A considerable number of Spanish speakers means you’ll readily find people who know, understand, and speak Spanish.
The study of Spanish is easily accessible from a resource standpoint thanks to its popularity and widespread. You can find an abundance of study material across the internet and offline and online stores.
From Netflix and Amazon Prime originals to tons of podcasts and songs, you will always have some great options at your fingertips.
There is a vast library of books, audio lessons, radio channels, music, apps for learning Spanish, TV shows, and films. The list is endless.
What makes Spanish challenging to learn?
Learning Spanish from scratch takes time and effort. Yet, it can be hard because of its richness and variety.
There are also many tricky skills to master in Spanish because of its lengthy grammar, never-ending vocabulary, tenses, and dialects. Whether native or learners, all find it tough to cope with its unique characteristics.
Some of the most challenging parts are essential before you learn them.
- Learning the subjunctive verb forms is easy; the problem is applying them correctly. Unfortunately, it is often problematic for Spanish learners to pick the right time to use them. It’s obvious sometimes, but not always.
- Both verbs “Ser” and “Estar” have the same meaning in English, “to be.” Spanish has two different types. The non-native speaker needs help to differentiate between the two. There are many other tricky differences, like “Por” and “Para.”
- Learners need to catch up for accents here. In Spanish, contrary to English, many words are accented, such as “día” (Day) or “avión” (airplane). Correctly putting these accents is crucial. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find it’s easier than it seems.
- Wide Spanish varieties are spoken in different parts of Spanish-speaking countries. Even though there are different kinds of Spanish globally, most speakers can communicate easily with each other.
- There are some tricky sounds for newbies. For example, at the start, you may be unfamiliar with double R and L, and V, J, G, Y, and Ñ.
- One should not take idioms literally since they are expressions, and the meaning differs from translation and changes. E.g., “Ponerse las Botas” literally means “to put on the boots.” But it can have multiple meanings as per region. It is also a way to express well-eaten.
Don’t give up just because the language doesn’t always come naturally to you. If you need help with something, do more research or change your focus.
Some days, you might be stuck in a particular aspect, but keep going! You can take a break if things are unclear and you want to start afresh.
Spanish is typically considered lengthy to learn if one does not immerse oneself in a Spanish-speaking environment.
The immersion experience can be simulated by moving to a Hispanic nation. Yet, even without that, you can get involved by creating Spanish-learning surroundings where you live.
Being comfortable expressing yourself in a foreign language takes a lot of work. Engaging from the beginning will increase your chances of success.
Watch Spanish TV series for learners, movies, and videos with subtitles in your mother tongue. But, of course, it’s better if you see it with Spanish subtitles, and you must give your best effort to learn it from the start.
Listening to music, and podcasts, talking with natives, and reading books are some of the other effective ways to improve Spanish.
Does learning Spanish take a long time?
Ask yourself, “What is it about this language that I want to learn?”
Language learning is a challenging process. To be successful, you must have a clear purpose in mind so that you can devote enough time and effort.
Some creative methods can also help you learn Spanish in a shorter duration. But unfortunately, for most learners, speaking good Spanish or becoming fluent takes a long time. And many are yet to be successful.
The sheer pleasure of knowing Spanish, passion for the language, and curiosity lead to more rapid progress than constantly struggling to find the motivation to learn Spanish.
You can reach an intermediate-level Spanish language test in 1 year if you are a motivated learner and have the right motivation and time management techniques.
When learning Spanish, it is easier to estimate the time it will take if you speak English.
According to the research of FSI (Foreign Service Institute of the US government), Spanish belongs to category I. This is considered the easiest language group and is more similar to English.
To achieve advanced proficiency, like C1 of SIELE and DELE, it will take 24 weeks, i.e., 600 hours of classroom studies. A 1:1 recommended self-study and class ratio will equal 1200 hours to attain a higher level.
A regular 15-20 hours of weekly study can help you reach your goal in 18 months. And if you do an intensive Spanish course, you may get it within a year.
We also need time to get used to the structures of a new language.
Spanish tenses, for example, can be explained because personal pronouns are often omitted. The only way to learn these new structures is to hear and read enough Spanish.
A clear vision of the result should guide your learning process. For instance, you can read books and watch television series and movies to improve your Spanish.
Your language skills will take off once you engage in these activities, even if they start imperfectly.
Final Words: Is Spanish hard?
Learning Spanish opens a world of opportunities and can help you get success in your personal and professional field.
Several factors make Spanish an easy language to learn. Still, there are some challenging aspects. All you need to do is work hard, make an effort, and study regularly.
Check out some excellent resources for language learning. You can also find an experienced teacher or Spanish learning center. Plus, try different methods and see what works for you.
You can speak Spanish in no time if you use the right approach and techniques. And you can also maintain your language skills over the long term through practice and study.
Do you have any questions or want to convey your views? Write in the comments below!