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How to memorise a Spanish paragraph fast

For some lucky people, learning a second language comes very naturally, whereas for others it is a challenge. However, the result is rewarding and often seen as a great pursuit. Learning Spanish is a good choice as it is a useful language which is the second-most-spoken language in the world. Some of the vocabulary is very similar to English, and pronunciation is easier than many other Latin-based languages. A helpful way to improve your Spanish learning and pronunciation is to memorize a text, paragraph by paragraph and add more vocabulary as your learning improves.

Translate for meaning

Begin by translating the paragraph you particularly want to memorise into English. Memorisation is easier if the text makes sense to you.

Enlist the help of a native Spanish speaker. The best way to do this is with support from a bilingual person, however Google Translate can be used to help with the translation too (see Resources).

Look up any words that do not make sense to you individually using a dictionary. Wordreference is a useful free online source (see Resources).

Pronunciation

Record yourself reading the paragraph using a Dictaphone and listen back. To check the pronunciation of each of the words in the paragraph, use online dictionary SpanishDict to check how they should sound (see Resources).

Repeat this several times, until you are happy with how the text sounds. The guidance of a Spanish speaker would be beneficial

Play the recording back and follow the audio using the transcribed text. Go over each word as it is being said and say the words aloud as you do so. After a few slow rounds, set the Dictaphone to repeat and the paragraph audio should loop over and over. The key to memorisation is repetition, so continue the task of following the audio and transcription at 10 minute intervals. Give yourself a break in between each session.

Reading aloud

Once it feels as though you have the hang of the pronunciation, test yourself by reading it aloud without the audio. If you struggle with any parts seek guidance from the audio. Repeat until it becomes more fluid.

If you feel you can remember the text, test yourself by turning the transcription over and writing out the entire passage. After each attempt, check the transcription to see if you missed anything and then cover it up again. Repeat until you can reproduce it word for word.

Next, try testing yourself verbally. Without referring to the transcription, record yourself with the Dictaphone. Listen back and check for mistakes, and repeat until you have recited it perfectly. Give yourself a break, and test yourself again the following day.

Tip

Give yourself plenty of time for the exercise and stay focused on the task itself.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper and pen
  • Dictaphone
  • Spanish/English dictionary
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About the Author

Helen Tickner is a writer and researcher. Since graduating from a degree in Literature and International Relations in 2009 she has written about subjects including politics and sustainability. She has worked for a range of independent newspapers, art and design magazines, and human rights NGO’s.