Before you dive into our free online Spanish course, let’s take a moment to talk about Spanish fluency. Lots of people begin their language studies with an aim to become fluent in Spanish. While that’s a great goal, it can be somewhat misguided- not because Spanish is hard, but because fluency is a myth.
Let me explain. Many people would argue that how to become fluent in Spanish is a function of immersion, with an aim of speaking like a native, but let’s unpack that for a moment.
Let’s think of a 3-year old girl, and for the sake of argument, let’s call her Maria. She was born in Mexico city, and is growing up speaking Spanish. No one would argue that she is not a native speaker.
But is Maria fluent in Spanish? Hardly. She doesn’t really know the alphabet all that well, her vocabulary is comprised of only a few hundred words, she makes grammar mistakes all the time, and she cannot read or write. So in this scenario, Maria is learning Spanish through immersion, and she’s a native speaker, but she’s not fluent.
Let’s use another example: Carlos is a 30-year old who grew up in Los Angeles. His mother and father are from Spain, but Carlos has never been outside the United States. Also, from the age of 3 onwards, Carlos attended a fancy private school, where the major language was English. His command of the Spanish language is strong, but he doesn’t feel like a native speaker. He knows all the words and phrases his parents know, he never makes any grammatical mistakes, but he has a slight accent, and he stammers when he speaks Spanish. In his heart, Carlos is always wondering how to become fluent in Spanish.
The truth is that there is no set definition fluency in Spanish or any other language. How to become fluent in Spanish is a rhetorical question like, “How do I become a better person?” There is always room for improvement, and your final goal will depend greatly on your reasons for learning Spanish.
For example, do you want to become fluent in Spanish so you can speak freely with others? Are you a translator who needs to become fluent in Spanish so you can work with written documents?
Your personal goals and circumstances will dictate your personal definition of fluency in a foreign language.
This is important to keep in mind so that you can maintain your motivation. For example, if you struggle to spell Spanish words properly, but your real goal is to speak to everyday people, then what’s the fuss? At the same time, if you cannot perfect your Spanish accent, but your aim is to work with written documents, then so what?
So before you begin OptiLingos’s free online Spanish course, ask yourself what you are looking to accomplish and how you would define Spanish fluency – if that’s even a goal at all- and chose the right set of Spanish lessons accordingly.
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