1) Do not learn a lot of content words.
We remember from school that "el bolígrafo esta en la mesa" and "Madrid es la capital de España", but when we met a foreigner / Spanish speaking person, this and similar vocabulary did not help us at all.
First of all, we need to learn functional words.
What are the functional words?
The most important words are interrogative participles: who? where to? what for? why? How much? etc.
Then the pronouns.
Then conjunctions and prepositions.
Then verbs and participles.
And at the very end, nouns.
2) Do not try to memorize a single word or, God forbid, a list of words.
Words must be studied as part of sentences. Sentences should be the questions and the answers to them. And be short.
Who are you? I am her brother.
Who is she? She is my sister.
Where are children? They are at school.
And so on.
It is believed that our brain stores all the information ever perceived by it in one form or another.
The problem is to retrieve this information.
Nobody really knows how the human memory works.
But the most popular is the network model, such as the Internet. According to this model, all objects in human memory:
all concepts, words, sensations, smells, pictures, emotions are linked to each other. The more links to a word, the easier it is to retrieve it.
So, if you remember a three-word sentence, you have 3 links to each word (from other words and the sentence itself).
Listening to the sentences, we must imagine ourselves as an active participants in a real dialogue.
This will add more “links”: a picture of the place where the dialogue takes place, the image of the person we are talking to, emotions that arise in the process.
3) Do not learn 10 minutes a day.
To catch something in 7 days, we need to work with complete immersion.
Remove all information that is not in Spanish. Do not speak with anyone except in Spanish, listen and watch nothing but in Spanish.
Almost all the time, in one form or another, to devote to the study of language.
Usually, sellers/popularizers of programs, online courses, etc. claim that from 10 minutes a day there will be visible benefits.
It will be useful, but for them, and not for you, since for them 10,000 users who use the site or application 10 minutes a day is much better than 500 who use it 2 hours a day.
But it is much simpler to convince the average person to sacrifice 10 min a day, then the whole week.
From 10 minutes a day, there will be no practical benefit.
At least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.
And out of 30 minutes, twenty should be devoted to repeating past material. (see paragraph 6)
Well, it’s clear that if you do 1 hour a day instead of 10 hours, then the course mastering time will increase accordingly.
4) Do not listen passively.
It is necessary to listen and repeat. Aloud(!).
5) Do not translate.
The translation is necessary but evil.
When we start practice with a new sentence and we don't know the meaning of it, we look at translation.
And never look at it again. (Never listen to it as well.)
We should bound foreign phrases in our brain, not to translations but some pictures, concepts, imaginations.
Paradox, but good translators do not translate. They read/listen sentence in one language, understand its meaning and create a sentence with the same meaning in another language.
Machine translators, yes, translate. This is why machine translation is so bad.
6) Do not go on to the next lesson all the time, then to the next, etc.
We must go back. Repeating is the mother of learning.
Some courses, for example, Pimsleur has a feature called spaced repetition. Learning material repeats itself with increased intervals of time.
Our basic course does not have such a feature and we should manage repetition by ourselves.
The repetition pattern is something like this (each digit is a lesson number):
I.e. learn one lesson, return one lesson back and repeat, reach the lesson multiple of five, return five lessons, and repeat lessons from 1 to 5 (6 - 10, 11 - 15 and so on), reach the lesson multiple of ten, return ten lessons and repeat lessons from 1 to 10 (or 11 to 20).
7) Do not learn grammar.
If you like to read books on the grammar of languages (I like them very much), read and enjoy.
But, memorizing grammar rules is not worth it.
The grammar you need at the beginning, you will learn from the sentences.
The exception is the conjugation of verbs.
Not all languages have it, but in Spanish, unfortunately, there are many.
The study of conjugations of the Spanish verb is a separate topic, highlighted, more or less, in another article.
The minimum necessary for us is the verb form given in the course (it is also the most common) and the infinitive.
This will allow you to communicate in style: Do you read (interrogative pause) this book? The partner will correct it.
Over time, you will remember the correct forms of conjugations.
But it’s better to spend several hours learning the rules of conjugations. For they are the same for each verb from each of three groups of verbs in Spanish. To be honest, not really, as there are many exceptions.
8) Do not learn to read and write.
Learning to read and write in some languages (Chinese, Thai, Japanese) can take a very long time.
But even in languages that use the familiar writing system (Latin, Cyrillic) such as Spanish, the ability to read, at first, will not greatly help you in your conversation.
And it may interfere. For example, you saw a word somewhere and read it. With the wrong pronunciation.
And with the same pronunciation, they safely remembered for the rest of their lives.
Now, hearing this word in a conversation, you are not able to perceive it by ear.
It took me years to correct the incorrect pronunciation that I learned from the texts I read at school.
Ideally, when studying with language courses and programs, we should not read texts at all, but only listen.
This statement has a completely scientific, or at least science-like explanation: the human brain seeks to get information in the simplest possible way and these are eyes, not ears.
It is also reflected in folklore: it is easier (better) to see once than to hear a hundred times.
But we want to speak and speak in the shortest possible time, so we must train the ability of listening comprehension, not reading.
9) Don't use programs such as Rosetta Stone, Anki, Duolingo, etc.
They create a sense of employment and progress. But progress is only in sensations. They will not teach to speak.
The only skill they train is "guessing words by pictures".
Interesting fact: according to Wikipedia, CEO of Duolingo was not able to answer "Hablas Espanol?" question after 6 months of practicing with Duolingo Spanish course.
We need to train the right skill directly. Learning to swim - swimming, learning to talk - talking.
But to start swimming, we must first learn to stay on the water, so to start talking, we must first learn a few hundred of the most common phrases.
We should use programs/courses specifically designed to master basic speaking skills.
First of all, our course "Spanish in 7 days."
10) Do not get tired.
We need to rest. Take a break for 15 minutes every 45 minutes. Take a break for an hour every 3 hours.
During breaks, you can simply passively listen to Spanish songs and watch TV shows or cartoons.
11) Do not be afraid / hesitate to speak a new language.
You will make mistakes and your Spanish friends/partners will sometimes laugh.
But. We can laugh in different ways. We can laugh on and we can laugh together.
Anyone who looks down on a foreigner trying to speak his native language, an absolute, complete moron, and we should not take him seriously.
We must start talking on the first day. If you do not live in a Spanish-speaking country, you need to find someone online.
Now some many sites/applications are dedicated specifically to the search for foreign partners for conversational practice.