Many people decide to learn Spanish after encountering it in their day-to-day lives. Others learn Spanish because they plan to travel to or work in one of the twenty countries around the world where Spanish is spoken. Whether you’re learning it for a vacation, out of curiosity, or out of necessity, you can hit the ground running with Spanish by familiarizing yourself with some essential Spanish words and phrases. Learning these words and phrases is important, as the grammar alone won’t teach you how the language is used by the 437 million worldwide Spanish speakers.
The basics of Spanish are often quickly learned—especially if you already speak related languages like Italian and French—or even English. Both Italian and French are very closely related to Spanish, with all 3 coming directly from Latin—whereas English language makes extensive use of many French and Latin or Italian words and phrases that are cognates (close linguistic siblings of one another). That’s why you’ll frequently notice that there are a significant number of English words like “legal” that sound close in languages like French (légal/légale), Italian (legale), and Spanish (legal). Many new students of Spanish also find that the language has an accessible pronunciation system, with only a few irregularities. This is notably unlike in English (considered to be among the most difficult to master). The Spanish alphabet is also closely related to English and most other languages in Western Europe. There are only three more letters you’ll need to remember: ch (chay), and ll (elle), and ñ (eñe).
Rosetta Stone teaches you how to speak the language, not just memorize the words. That’s what makes us unique. We prepare you to use your new language in the real world. So it’s not just about the features, but what you’re able to do because of them. That way, you’ll be ready to handle any situation while sounding great.
By combining individual practice in the Rosetta Stone award-winning mobile app and practice with other Spanish speakers in Live Tutoring, you can have absolute control over your learning speed and, ultimately, your long-term progress.
Start to Understand Spanish
As a new Spanish language learner, your best bet to get on the path to success is to first focus on learning the words and short phrases that are the building blocks of common, everyday conversation. Learning these basic words and short phrases , including who, what, when, where, why, yes, no and please, will give you a great head start toward your goal of understanding and being understood in Spanish conversation. Here’s a list of some of the basic words and short phrases that are the building blocks of Spanish conversation. These are some of the words and phrases that you’ll want to learn first:
- Hola = Hello
- Adiós = Goodbye
- Me gusta = I like
- No me gusta = I don’t like
- Sí = Yes
- No = No
- Por favor = Please
- Gracias = Thank You
- Lo siento = Sorry
- Salud = Bless you
- ¿Quién? = Who?
- ¿Qué? = What?
- ¿Por qué? = Why?
- ¿Dónde? = Where?
As you may have noticed—Spanish does have a few crucial differences in pronunciation that can make it a bit of a challenge. One example is found with the letter r which is pronounced differently and takes some practice for most new learners. This distinct sound is formed by tapping the tip of the tongue on the roof of the mouth, about a third of the way back in the mouth. Some Spanish language experts counsel new Spanish learners to practice making the “tt” sound, as it sounds in the English word butter.
In order for you to develop accurate Spanish pronunciation skills, it’s essential that you receive real-time feedback on your pronunciation efforts. Precise and immediate feedback will help you to make corrections to your pronunciation. Once you’ve got your Spanish pronunciations just right, you’ll want to practice and practice until you can naturally produce the sounds that make up the Spanish language. A huge advantage to learning to Spanish is Rosetta Stone’s proven and patented speech-recognition engine. Called TruAccent, this engine is integrated into each and every Rosetta Stone language lesson. The powerful TruAccent engine offers the precise and immediate feedback on your pronunciation that is critical to perfecting your speech. TruAccent compares your pronunciation to the pronunciation of native and non-native Spanish speakers and then instantly gives you the guidance you need. Plus, TruAccent can be adjusted so you can fine-tune your Spanish accent. The TruAccent speech-recognition engine is based on close analysis and careful processing of the natural speech of native and non-native Spanish speakers. This strategic approach makes TruAccent one of the most powerful tools available anywhere to guide you to becoming a confident and capable Spanish speaker.
After you’ve learned the most common words, short phrases and pronunciations of the Spanish language, you’ll want to move on to the longer phrases that make up a great deal of everyday Spanish conversation. Rosetta Stone’s brief and bite-sized language lessons are built to help you do just that. Rosetta Stone language lessons are carefully designed to lead you to comfortably speak and converse in Spanish. You can be confident that Rosetta Stone will provide you with the learning strategies, tools, and tactics to help you speak and understand the Spanish language.
Try Our Award-Winning App
Surround yourself with Spanish whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app .
Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation .
The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.