Native speakers, who have learned Spanish at a young age, can speak Spanish without any problems. However, the rest of us will have a problem with learning the language as quickly. Fortunately, we’re here to help.
These are the most common issues that you’ll face when learning Spanish and how you can get around them!
Students complain that spanish class is hard once they are introduced to conjugations. And there’s a reason why. One of the hardest lessons for new speakers is conjugation placement. Learning a Spanish verb entails more than just one word. Spanish verbs are conjugated by the number and the person.
This means that you’ll need to memorize around five (or six, if you’re learning Castilian Spanish) different verb endings for each. If that’s not already difficult, the conjugations can differ depending on if the verb has an -er, -ar, or -ir ending. And the verb tenses are conjugated differently. Because of this, understanding conjugations will take the majority of your time as a Spanish speaker.
Ser Vs. Estar
While both of these words mean "To be," they are entirely different in pronunciation and usage. For instance, the verb ser is used to describe permanent traits. You use estar for short-term, transient states. However, knowing the complexities between the two can't be summed up to one simple rule. Thus, knowing when to use the two words is a difficult task for most Spanish speakers.
Understanding Native Speakers
Learning Spanish’s grammatical rules is one thing. But learning the fast-paced conversations that native speakers have is another. For instance, studies have shown that native speakers speak a rapid 7.82 syllables per second. Compare this with English that has only 6.19 syllables per second.
While it can be hard to listen to native speakers, the only way you’ll learn is by continuously hearing the language. After a while, you’ll pick up the intricacies in their conversation and be able to speak to them just as fast. So keep studying!
Unlike English where the syllable stress is easy to understand, Spanish has more complex rules in regards to syllable stress. In some circumstances, the words need an accent on the syllable that’s stressed in the sentence.
However, to native speakers, it can be confusing to determine when the accent is needed. Most of the time, it will depend on what letter the word ended in, and if there isn't another word that's spelled identically. So knowing where the place the accent correctly, will take some time if you're just getting started.
One of the largest challenges about learning Spanish is the changing dialect depending on the location. For example, Spanish accents in Spain are different than in Columbia. This means that you’ll have to un-learn and re-learn a lot of Spanish vocabulary depending on what country you’re planning to go to.
This is a problem that can cause a myriad of issues for most beginner speakers but is a problem for others. Some people have the natural ability to roll the ‘R's in Spanish, which is necessary since this sound is highly common in Spanish words.
If you’re not able to roll the “R”s correctly, don’t get discouraged. You’ll still be able to be understood even if you’re unable to roll the “R” fluently. In fact, there are a few native Spanish speakers - such as the famous author Julio Cortázar - who find it difficult to roll their ‘R’s as well.
How To Solve It
Most first-time speakers tend to ask, “why is spanish so hard?”
Even if you are having a hard time learning Spanish, there are a few ways to help you get up to speed. Here are some ways to help you improve your overall comprehension, pronunciation, and speaking skills:
The first thing you need to do is focus on learning Spanish. To do this, start by learning 500 of the most commonly spoken words. If you devote your time speaking Spanish every day, you'll start to see a positive change in your speaking habits and pronunciation.
Don’t confuse yourself by knowing focusing heavily on the grammar (in the beginning), just take time to relax, accept the differences, and try to listen to the language. This will help improve your pronunciation with the language and help you speak it more fluently.
You should not be discouraged by the grammar. Pronouns and verb conjugations seem difficult at first if you're reading it out of the book, but if you just plan on talking and listening to them, they will sound normal. Basic speakers can devote some time watching telenovelas, and it will start to become easier for them to grasp the language.
Stick To Spanish (Don’t Switch To Another Language)
One issue that most Spanish speakers tend to have is that they want to know multiple languages at once. While this is possible, you won't be able to understand the language fully. That's why we suggest that you stay dedicated to learning Spanish if you want to speak like a native.
On average, you should spend at least 30 minutes - 1 hour a day studying Spanish. If you switch to another language such as French, your mind will be unable to process both pieces of information at once. Thus, keep learning Spanish and then switch to another language once you’ve mastered it.
The best way to learn Spanish is to stay in contact with Spanish speakers. Find someone that's willing to speak the language with you To become fully immersed, change the language of your phone to Spanish, and start speaking out loud immediately. The best way to learn Spanish is by interacting with humans, not books.
So how hard is spanish? It depends on your ability to digest information and the amount of formal training you have on the language.
The main reason why beginners wonder why spanish is so hard is due to the intricacies of the language. However, it's not difficult if you dedicate time to studying and understanding how to utilize the language to your advantage. Ultimately, stay immersed with the Spanish culture and continue studying so that you can speak like a native!