Two Main Approaches to Learning Spanish

There are lots of approaches to teaching and learning Spanish available today, but all those approaches fall within two main groups: ‘language learning’ and ‘language acquisition’ approaches.  Language learning is study of the language itself: the grammar, the vocabulary and the pronunciation of the language. Language learning requires intensive conscious focus.

Language acquisition is the automatic (and mostly unconscious) way we acquired or absorbed our first language as children. As we interacted with family members, hearing them speak and eventually speaking ourselves, we were focused on the world around us and on our desires and needs – not on language per se.  Language acquisition depends on our interested interaction with our environment where language is being spoken and it depends on the brain’s natural ability to acquire language and knowledge.

Learning Spanish Through Language Acquisition

According to linguist Stephen Krashen:

The results of studies done over the last few decades by a wide variety of researchers and published in scientific journals support this view: We do not master languages by hard study and memorization, or by producing it. Rather, we acquire language when we understand what people tell us and what we read, when we get “comprehensible input.” As we get comprehensible input through listening and reading, we acquire (or “absorb”) the grammar and vocabulary of the second language.

Krashen goes on to point out that even in classes with lots of grammar study and vocabulary drills, students are learning to understand and speak the new language because of ‘comprehensible input’ that is also part of the class. So, to get the best results, any Spanish program should attempt to maximize comprehensible input – which means lots of listening and / or reading, especially at first.  Focus on developing speaking ability should lag behind and depend upon a much larger ‘passive’ vocabulary that the student has previously acquired.

The ideal way to master Spanish is to live in a Spanish-speaking country for a period and interact daily only with Spanish speakers.  Our programs immerse you in a language acquisition environment that is also very effective, but much more limited than continual daily interactions in another country.  However, our programs are very convenient and do not require you to move abroad.

Two Ways to Learn

Pars Omni gives you two ways to progress towards conversational fluency in Spanish: classes and a software program.  Both expose you to thousands of words of vocabulary, spoken by native speakers, in a short time, and provide you with lots of comprehensible input in a positive emotional environment.

  • Spanish Classes: Our classes for organizations are intensive (3-hour sessions, 2 to 5 meetings per week) and require a small group (6 to 14 students, roughly matched to level). Acquisition of the language takes place in the classroom; little or no outside work is required. We offer 4 levels of classes, starting at beginner level. Most students who have previously studied Spanish in school are placed in the Foundation (beginning level) course, but soon find lots of the Spanish they thought they had forgotten being ‘reactivated’.
  • Spanish Voices Language Software: Our unique software allows you to immerse yourself in Spanish on your own schedule. It replicates being surrounded by Spanish speakers, which allows you to acquire Spanish easily. The Spanish Voices Language Software is perfect for those with a basic level of Spanish looking to move toward conversational fluency.You can read about and see some of the content of the Spanish Voices program, or, better yet, download the program and try it out (no cost or registration required for 30 days).