One, Two, skip a few, 99, you’re fluent! It takes one step at a time to learn a language. Paso a Paso figuratively means one step at a time. Literally it means step by step! The difference between learning most skills and a language is often most skills can be learned in a year, or a short time. Languages can take much more time, depending on how much practice and immersion you have in the new language. For me it took high school, college, a study abroad trip to Spain, more college classes, then living in Argentina for six months to really call myself fluent! Whew! However don’t be dismayed! For some, whose goal is to just be conversational, it’s possible to become that in much less time! Yay!
Remember if you’re learning a language to think of it this way: A child understands their language and many words before they can even speak it. It takes most kids two to three years before they begin speaking at all. Children go from one word phrases like “No, Mama, Dada”, used around age 1, to two word phrases by age 2, like “No way!” Or “Oh no!”
Imagine studying your second language for 2 years and STILL not knowing how to say anything. That is closer to how a child learns. However their comprehension is high. So know that you will understand something before being able to conjure up the word for yourself. Comprehension comes BEFORE vocalization!
That being said, as an adult who already has a concept of language, aka what things are, 2 consistent years of learning a language can do the trick. One step at a time is all it takes. PASO a PASO. Just remember those 2 years are going to come and go in your life no matter what. So if they are going to pass either way, in two years time don’t you want to say you speak Spanish instead of not?
Brittany is a bilingual Spanish teacher who has lived in Spain and Argentina. Through this blog, she hopes to relate her travels, insights, and Spanish speaking journey!