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Tips On Learning Spanish Vocabulary
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After English, Spanish is the second most in-demand language for language learners.  It’s no mystery why, with the world of opportunities available those who speak fluent Spanish rapidly expanding.  With the rise in wealth among Latin American countries comes opportunity in business.  The Spanish music market is second only to that of English.  The plethora of travel destinations that lie in Spanish speaking countries make Spanish especially valuable for anyone who loves traveling.  But whatever your interest in the Latino world may be, one can not understate the importance of learning the correct Spanish vocabulary for your situation.

In order to communicate effectively, one could argue that vocabulary may in fact be the most important element to learn.  One who has not mastered grammar or pronunciation of Spanish may come across as less graceful in conversation, but it is very often possible to make one’s self understood never the less.  A lack of vocabulary, on the other hand can present greater hurdles.  Imagine you walk into a hardware store looking for a specific kind and size of bolt.  It’s not going to be easy for you to explain what you need if you don’t know that the word is Spanish is tornillo.  You’re options at this point would be to find a way to explain using other words that you know, or failing that, resorting to playing charades with the store clerk.

Spanish vocabulary will also take much longer to master than grammar or pronunciation.  The necessary points of grammar can be learned from a light textbook.  Pronunciation is mostly a matter of practice and of upbringing, but the theory is extremely simple.  The list of Spanish vocabulary on the other hand, is more than 300,000 word long!  Obviously, nobody is going to need that many words to get by in daily life, but it goes to show just how expansive the world of vocabulary is.

A vocabulary of several thousand words should be enough to make a person proficient in speaking Spanish.  Certain verbs, nouns and adjectives will be common in all situations.  These are the words often taught to beginners.  To move beyond that however, one must consider their individual goals in learning Spanish.  A record producer with aspirations of working in the Latin music market would be wise to learn the names of all the instruments, the names of the notes, and the parts of a song.  Any traveler wanting to delve deeper into the local culture by doing a home-stay would need to know how to talk about all kinds of household items and actions.  The romantic with their eye on that Latina beauty would probably want to know all the different words that can mean beautiful, and when best to use them.

Another important point to take into consideration is where one decides to learn Spanish.  If one wishes to move beyond the lever of beginner in speaking Spanish, the only real way to do it is to be in an environment where Spanish is primarily spoken.  But one must be cautioned, even the common words that used every day can vary from place to place.  To walk into a restaurant and order lunch in Colombia, one orders almuerzo.  In Peru, one would order a menu.  In Ecuador, it would be a merienda. 

Let’s take a close look at neighboring Bolivia, where one can actually find one of the best environments for a beginner to learn Spanish.  There are several reasons for this:  For one, there are fewer people there who speak English, making speaking Spanish that much more essential.  Second, there tends to be less slang spoken in culturally conservative Bolivia than in the more modern parts of Latin America.  More to the point though, the average Bolivian only speaks about 5000 words of Spanish, meaning that the Spanish student in Bolivia will be able to concentrate on a much more basic and focused set of vocabulary.

So, to sum it up for the learner of Spanish vocabulary, the beginner will want to concentrate on the core set of words and phrases.  Most beginner courses are designed around these terms, and the best ones will teach the words that are most common and most versatile.  As one advances, they will want to learn a bit more independently, focusing on specific vocabulary that will be most useful to them in their particular situation.


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