We asked
Spanish tutors

What are misconceptions about learning Spanish?

We asked Spanish online tutors to address common misconceptions beginners might have about learning Spanish. Here's their answers.

Kieran Ball

A common misconception is that there are some people who just aren’t very good at learning languages, and this is rubbish. If you speak your own language, then you can learn another; it’s as simple as that.

Jennifer Corralizza

Certainly, there is a common misconception that equates fluency with absolute mastery of a language. Contrary to this belief, being proficient in a language doesn’t necessitate knowing every single word, having flawless pronunciation, or never making grammatical errors—especially when compared to one’s native tongue.

Understanding the distinction between fluency and proficiency is essential. Proficiency levels are defined across a spectrum, ranging from novice to advanced, as outlined by organizations like the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). These proficiency levels gauge your ability to effectively communicate and convey your message. The crucial factor is whether you can successfully convey your point, irrespective of the degree of accuracy in your delivery.

It’s worth noting that proficiency isn’t an all-or-nothing concept. There are varying levels of proficiency, each with its own set of skills and expectations. For instance, certain government positions require an intermediate-high proficiency level, which allows for successful communication within specific contexts. Students can achieve this level of proficiency by mastering the top 200 highest frequently used words.

In essence, being proficient in a language is about effective communication rather than flawless execution. By grasping this nuanced perspective, learners can approach their language journey with a realistic outlook, celebrating their progress based on their ability to communicate and connect, rather than aspiring to an unattainable level of perfection.

Octavio Olenik Giaccaglia

There are plenty, but I’d like to address one in particular: people will always tell you to listen to music or to watch films, which is an amazing idea overall, but one needs to take into account that a passive role towards content will do pretty much nothing for someone. An active approach is essential for making the most of the content: reading the lyrics/subtitles, actively trying to comprehend what’s being said and trying to grasp as much as possible on what’s going on is the actual and smart way to learn a language by consuming media.