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Learning Spanish
By GRACIE HART 292 views
EDUCATION

How Does Learning Spanish Improve Your English?

Many people see learning a new language, like Spanish, as a completely separate skill from their native tongue, English. But surprisingly, there are many benefits to your English fluency when you start a Spanish learning journey.

In this article, we will explore how studying Spanish can improve your English. So, let’s get started!

10 Ways in which Learning Spanish Improves Your English

Here’s how learning Spanish is great for your English skills:

1. It strengthens your grammar grasp:

Imagine English grammar as a set of building blocks. Learning Spanish introduces you to a whole new building set with some similar pieces.

By figuring out how Spanish grammar works, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of how your own English grammar works too. It’s like seeing things from a new perspective and suddenly the rules click!

Example:  Let’s look at verb conjugations. In English, we say “I speak,” “you speak,” and “he/she speaks.” In Spanish, it’s “hablo” (I speak), “hablas” (you speak), and “habla” (he/she speaks).  By understanding these conjugations in both languages, you gain a stronger grasp of verb tense consistency.

The same goes for mastering possessive adjectives in Spanish, such as “mi” (my), “tu” (your), and “su” (his/her), which is essential for accurately describing relationships and possessions. These adjectives agree in gender and number with the nouns they modify, adding another layer of complexity to Spanish grammar. Learning how to use possessive adjectives correctly not only improves your ability to express yourself clearly but also deepens your understanding of Spanish sentence structure.

2. It expands vocabulary:

As you learn Spanish words, you’ll encounter cognates – words similar to English words due to shared Latin roots. Examples include “navigation” (English) and “navegación” (Spanish). This similarity can help you remember new English words as well. Plus, you’ll be learning a whole new set of words to express yourself!

Example:  Learning “rojo” (Spanish) for “red” reinforces the memory of the English word, while also providing a new vocabulary term.

3. It also boosts your cognitive skills:

Your brain is like a muscle. The more you challenge it, the stronger it gets. Learning a new language, like Spanish, is a great workout for your brain.

It improves your memory, attention span, and problem-solving skills, which are beneficial for everything you do, not just languages.

A study published in Psychology and Aging found that bilingualism can delay the onset of dementia.

Example:  Learning irregular Spanish verb conjugations challenges your memory, while translating sentences requires problem-solving skills to find the best word choices.

4. It increases metalinguistic awareness:

This means becoming more aware of how language itself works. By comparing Spanish to English, you’ll start to notice things about your own language that you never really thought about before. It’s like being able to see the mechanics behind the magic of language.

Language and Cognition found that bilinguals outperform monolinguals in tasks requiring metalinguistic awareness.

Example:  You might realize the concept of gendered nouns exists in Spanish (e.g., “la mesa” – the table [feminine], “el libro” – the book [masculine]) but not typically in English. This newfound awareness can make you more appreciative of the nuances of language.

5. It sharpens your communication skills:

The more you practice communicating in Spanish, the better you’ll get at communicating in general. You’ll learn to be clearer, more concise, and more creative with your words, which will benefit you when speaking and writing in English as well.

In her book “The Bilingual Advantage,” Dr. Bialystok argues that bilingualism enhances executive function, which is crucial for effective communication.

Example:  While struggling to find the right Spanish word, you might simplify your message, leading to clearer communication in English as well.

6. It provides a reference point:

When you learn Spanish, you have another language as a reference point. This can help you clear up any confusion you might have about English grammar or usage. It’s like having a built-in cheat sheet to compare things to.

Example: In English, we have a subject-verb agreement, where the verb conjugates based on the subject (e.g., “I speak,” “she speaks”). Spanish follows a similar rule but also conjugates verbs based on formality (e.g., “hablo” – informal “I speak,” “hablo” – formal “I speak”). Understanding both can solidify your grasp of subject-verb agreement in English.

7. It improves pronunciation:

By training your mouth and ears to form the sounds of Spanish, you’ll also improve your control over your own English pronunciation. You might even find yourself noticing subtle differences in sounds that you never noticed before.

Example: Learning the trilled “r” sound in Spanish can improve your pronunciation of words like “very” or “merry” in English, where a slight trill can sometimes be present.

8. It also enhances your cultural understanding:

Language and culture go hand in hand. As you learn Spanish, you’ll also gain a deeper appreciation for Spanish culture and traditions. This can broaden your perspective and make you a more well-rounded person.

Example: Learning the importance of “siesta” (afternoon nap) in Spanish culture can provide context for greetings or scheduling conversations, and fosters a greater understanding of Spanish daily life.

9. It increases brain plasticity:

This is a fancy way of saying that learning Spanish keeps your brain young and adaptable. It helps your brain form new connections and stay flexible, which is important for overall brain health.

A study published in Neuroscience found that bilingualism can increase gray matter density in the brain, which is associated with cognitive function.

10. It motivates lifelong learning:

Learning a new language can be a fun and rewarding challenge. It shows you what you’re capable of and can inspire you to keep learning and growing throughout your life. After conquering Spanish, who knows what other challenges you might take on?

Would The Benefits Of Learning Spanish For English Skills Be Similar For Someone Learning Another Language With A Different Grammatical Structure, Like Mandarin Chinese?

benefits of learning Spanish for English skills would likely be similar for someone learning another language with a different grammatical structure, like Mandarin Chinese. Because

Firstly, learning any new language, regardless of structure, challenges your brain in similar ways.

It strengthens memory, improves attention span, and enhances problem-solving skills – all of which benefit your native language as well.

Secondly, the process of analyzing and comparing two languages, even vastly different ones, increases your awareness of how language itself functions.

You’ll start noticing grammatical rules and structures in your native tongue you never realized were there.

Lastly, the core aspects of communication – clarity, conciseness, and creativity – are honed through language practice.

Regardless of the language you’re learning, striving to express yourself effectively will translate to better communication skills in English as well.

However, there might be some differences in the specific ways these benefits manifest:

  • With Spanish sharing Latin roots with English, there are more cognates to leverage for vocabulary building. This wouldn’t be as prevalent with Mandarin Chinese, which has a completely different root system.
  • While analyzing grammar across any two languages can be insightful, comparing Spanish and English grammar might reveal some surprising similarities due to their shared Indo-European heritage. This wouldn’t necessarily be the case with Mandarin Chinese’s unique grammatical structure.

Overall, the core benefits of learning another language for your native tongue hold true regardless of the target language’s structure.

Conclusion

Learning Spanish is more than just acquiring a new language; it’s a journey that strengthens your English, sharpens your mind, and broadens your horizons.

You might be surprised at how much easier it is to pick up Spanish! If you’re interested in taking the plunge, explore the possibilities of online learning and discover English classes near me or Spanish classes near me on AmazingTalker today!

With a vast pool of talented tutors from around the world, you can find the perfect instructor to guide you on your path to fluency.

Gracie Hart
Author
GRACIE HART

Freelance Writer, Digital Marketer, and Content Writer