The “Secret” to becoming Fluent in Spanish

Last night nine of us Spanish enthusiasts celebrated 1 year of meeting at Mestizo to speak and hear Spanish. It was a fun evening. And this morning I discovered something interesting … it was exactly 2 years ago on the first Tuesday in February that I began learning Spanish; that was the first night of my adult education class in Beginner Spanish at East High School.

Which brings me to the topic for today: For as long as you enjoy the Spanish language, it is important to remain positive and upbeat about your progress toward fluency. Yes, set some aggressive goals and mark your milestones, but don’t let your goals become unrealistic expectations that discourage you from continuing.

Notice I said, “For as long as you enjoy the Spanish language.” No one can force you to enjoy learning Spanish – it is something you either enjoy, or you don’t. If you don’t enjoy it, I’m thinking that you should find something else to do, find something you enjoy doing.

But if you genuinely enjoy the Spanish language, keep moving forward … even if it means you stopped for awhile, and now find yourself starting over … even if it means taking baby steps for awhile … even if it seems that you are not progressing nearly as rapidly as you thought you would, or as rapidly as you would like. At the very least, you’re moving around a few neutrons or protons or whatever in your brain on occasion, particles that you would not be moving around if you were not learning Spanish, and this language-learning-particle-movement has to be better than mindlessly watching TV, window shopping, or hoping that you win the lottery (which would require driving to another state just to buy a ticket).

Seriously though … be hopeful for rapid advancement, but at the same time be at peace with, and grateful for, gradual progress. Yeah, it is work … and it will take continual effort over a fair amount time to become fluent … but lots of people have done it, are doing it, and will do it. Us too!

Despite what some bloggers, hucksters, and snake-oil salesmen want you to believe …. language learning experts say that the process of becoming fluent in a second language requires time on task over several years, especially if you are not currently living in a Spanish speaking country. The more years you spend dedicated to the task, the more fluent you will be. (Me too! I may be saying “you,” but I am speaking to myself as well). SPEAK SPANISH AND HEAR SPANISH AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, and at the same time continue doing your grammatical studies and reading Spanish.

So today I am looking at what Spanish I think I need to learn next, and I am formulating some goals for the next year … then I will start making steps toward those goals …. and periodically I will gauge my progress …. and if necessary, I will re-assess and keep moving forward … and during the first week of February 2012, Lord willing I live that long, I will probably re-assess and continue. As the personal growth guru Anthony Roberts says, here are those 4 simple steps toward reaching something you desire … in our case, Spanish fluency:

1.Set a goal
2.Take action toward your goal
3.Periodically, assess the results of your actions
4.If necessary, change your approach and continue toward your goal

I do believe that there is an energy, or power, or spirit, or whatever you want to call it, that accompanies INTENT … that if you make it your INTENTION to be or do something, that somehow or another the right opportunities and people and whatnot will show up in your life to assist you in fulfilling your INTENTION.

¡Que le vaya bien!