Man raising his hand to ask a question during a spanish lesson in NYC.

Language Learning or Language Acquisition?

To be proficient in Spanish we need to do both

When it comes to learning a new language, understanding the process and the theory to become proficient is essential. Language learning and language acquisition are two different approaches, but the combination of both is instrumental for adult students. Let’s see what they are and how we can improve our new language greatly.

Language Acquisition

Spanish lessons in NYC. Friends talking in cafe in New York, NY, speaking SpanishLanguage acquisition occurs when a person is continually exposed to a language so that the person has “no choice” but to learn that language. This is the natural way to learn, and this is how we acquire our own first language. The acquisition process occurs subconsciously: we are not aware of grammatical rules or sentence construction, and the words and sounds come from different sources: father, mother caregiver, and they occur constantly and in diverse communication situations. If the sources speak different languages, a person will learn them. One example of this is my friend’s daughter, who was born in New York City. My friend and his wife decided that he will speak to their daughter only in Spanish his native language, her mother will speak only in Russian, her native language while family visitors, relatives, and school that would, of course, happen in English. The result, at age 6 she speaks 3 different languages fluently. It’s important to note that none of the sources included explanations or corrections, they just communicated with the young girl; they transmitted the language but did not teach it to her.

Language learning

Language Learning is the result of deliberate instruction, with organized content, grammatical rules, pronunciation practice, multiple meanings of the same words, etc. Basic knowledge of the native language is presupposed to be able to create relations and comparisons between the different language systems. This organized instruction allows the student to understand what he hears or reads and to produce answers that are clear enough to make the communication happen.

To speak a new language fluently as adults both approaches are to be combined. It is true that language learning and language acquisition are different processes; they even occur at different parts of the brain. But if we were to concentrate only on learning through studying how it works, consciously and deliberately, it will not be enough to generate the ability to think in the target language and react spontaneously and immediately. That is why we need to expose ourselves to the language constantly; we need to use all the opportunities around us to use the new language; either because we live in a community that uses it or because we use technology platforms like apps, cable channels, and real-life situations with other people to create those environments.

So how can adults integrate the process of conscious deliberate learning with more natural, subconscious real-life experiences in a way that is effective and rewarding? Here are a few ways to do it:

Stay Curious

Man raising his hand to ask a question during a spanish lesson in NYC.Turn your mind from a passive into an active mode whenever you run into a new language. We hear it or read it when we are out of our homes or when we are connected to tech gadgets. Business signs, music, people in the street, restaurants, etc. Questioning and searching for answers brings a lot of new knowledge too, from pronunciation to word use to comprehension, all of which will improve our confidence. Here’s an example of a simple English question, “Do you work?”; in Spanish may be translated as, “Trabajas?” then you may ask how come a question that takes 3 words in English is just one word in Spanish. The answer to that question will teach us a lot. This is just an example of the many situations we run into in our daily lives, especially in the United States where over 41 million people speak Spanish.

Listen to Music in the Target Language

Music is just a click or a voice command away on our electronic devices. You have probably heard one or more songs in Spanish that call your attention; get the lyrics, listen to the song, use a translator app or dictionary, and most importantly enjoy the process, sing it to your friends in karaoke or sing it in the shower!

Watch the News

Watching, reading, or listening to the news you’ve already heard is a great exercise when you have acquired some language. Newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post have an online Spanish section, and Spanish networks like Univision offer news in Spanish 24 hours a day, every day.

Watch Movies

Most movies and series offer captions; either same language caption, translation subtitles, or both. We may combine techniques: no caption, target language subtitles, or English subtitles to confirm meaning and combine different possibilities as we feel more comfortable with understanding.


There are thousands of possibilities on Youtube; from watching a specific grammatical topic to documentaries, street talk, ted talks, music, and much more coming out every day.

I wish you the best in the learning-acquiring process, this is how I learned my English and how I’m being able to speak another new language.


Person seated on a couch watching tv, movies, and YouTube. Watching tv to learn spanish and other languages is one language learning method.

To Speak a New Language We Just Need STAF



You think you will never be able to speak a new language fluently? Think again.

Speak spanish fluently with Spanish NYC's STAF system. Learn to speak spanish easily with this simple method.It is true that as adults we have limitations compared to children, or teenagers but, not the limitations you think. Adults have limited time, responsibilities, work and other personal circumstances. However, the biggest obstacle is the misconception that children are fantastic language learners while adults are somehow poor learners. This is just not true, except probably, when we consider having a native accent, which can mostly be achieved at a young age. Everybody has an accent, but as long as the pronunciation is good enough for others to understand, you will be able to communicate effectively. Also, children acquire the native language because they are surrounded by it intensely; children are not being tested or are afraid to make mistakes or sound foolish. Children learn a language because they have to. If a child is born in an English-speaking family, he will speak English but if he has to move to Germany at the age of 5 or 6 he will definitely have no choice but to speak German.

We adults, after we make a deliberate decision to learn a language, with the right amount of time and the right plan, can perform even better than children. Studies have shown that most polyglots have learned their many languages after the age of 20.  It is true that adults don’t have the same amount of time or are exposed to the new language compared to children but we have many other capabilities that can compensate and even surpass many other young learners. We adults can understand and use patterns and structures and apply them rationally and correctly. With attention and repetition, we can know much more vocabulary than children do, we can create our own ways to master the language, we learn differently but we can be fantastic learners too!

A language is an ability, not a profession, and abilities are learned through repetition, repetition, repetition; like playing the piano at the Carnegie Hall, remember how to get there?

So how to get to speak Spanish fluently? The answer may vary because everybody learns differently, and students’ circumstances vary a lot, however, as adults we all have a way to master any language with the right conditions and the right amount of time.

We need STAF System, Technique, Attitude, and a Facilitator.

A System

Think of your own particular circumstances and set up a group of things that, working together, will keep you connected to acquiring the language. For example, if you travel a lot or have more than one home, buy several copies of your books, dictionaries, verbs lists, etc., and keep copies everywhere. There are literally thousands of language learning apps, find one that you like and start enjoying it, get your only Spanish small notebook or start one on your mobile notes app, if you are attracted to a song or singer in Spanish get his music with lyrics, if your employees or colleagues speak Spanish practice the word or phrase of the day, etc., etc., in other words, use all the mechanisms around you to expose yourself to the language as much as you can when you can.

A Technique

Be creative, learning a language is something you can do virtually anytime, anywhere. It is said that when the student is ready the teacher shows up. You can look at the objects around and name them, describe in your mind or loudly what you are doing at the moment, try to sing a song in Spanish even if you don’t understand each and every word. One of my students uses only Spanish to talk to her dogs. Use voice assistants available, they translate immediately for you.

The Attitude

What is the right attitude to learn an ability? A positive joyful attitude. Know that you can do it. Remember you can learn anytime, anywhere as long as you keep an open mind and a positive attitude. Mistakes are a normal part of any learning process, in fact, learning a language like any ability is a trial an error process, so take it easy and remember that anything worthwhile takes time. The right attitude will help you relax, remember more and focus more. The right attitude will make the learning process enjoyable and produce better results.

The Facilitator

Most people don’t read manuals; they are boring and confusing; except for the engineers who wrote them. Something similar occurs with textbooks; grammatical explanations and terminology are not part of our natural way of speaking. A facilitator, call it a spanish tutor, a teacher or a coach, can tell you in simple words and right away how a tense is constructed, discuss cultural aspects of the language or answer your specific questions and through deliberate and intentional conversation, help you use the language in real life situations, discussing the topics that you enjoy talking about. Also, the facilitator is a real person with whom you agree to meet on a regular basis, creating the commitment to come back and stay in the learning process.

With STAF we can master Spanish or any other language we want; let’s make a conscious choice and take the deliberate steps to acquire it. Contact us today to learn about how you can join our Spanish lessons online.

Picture of Latin American Catholic Church from the rooftop in Cartegena, Colombia. Taking NYC Spanish classes for travel.

Take NYC’s Best Spanish Classes Before a Business Trip

If you need to win new business in Latin America and build relationships with clients, there is no substitute for speaking the language. If you’re located in the New York City area, it’s easy to sign up for the best Spanish classes NYC has to offer, no matter what your level. With the recent expansion of online classes to augment its in-person sessions, we have the right class for any individual or small group at Spanish NYC. You’ll learn with seasoned instructors who have corporate backgrounds and understand the unique language needs you face. All sessions are custom-tailored to help you succeed. Read more

Learn Business Spanish Easily with the Best Method

Given the importance of learning to speak Spanish for business, there are a lot of New York City language schools making promises to prospective students. Most claim to have the quickest way to learn; sometimes even resorting to practice sessions on smartphones. But we know from experience that the most effective Spanish classes NYC has to offer for business and corporate professionals, online or in-person, require custom content and outstanding instructors. They also require a proven effective method for teaching Spanish like our proprietary Natural Conversational Approach (NCA).

We offer NYC’s best Spanish lessons for corporate professionals because our instructors have corporate experience themselves. We understand the situations you’ll face – Zoom and Skype meetings, business travel to Latin America, supervising international staff – and the Spanish you’ll need to speak and understand . Not many places to learn business Spanish in NYC can match the results you’ll have with us. We make it quick and efficient for you to learn because we teach you what you need to know. Others with more generalized programs take up your time with vocabulary and details you may never need.

Our Business Spanish Classes Bring Quick Results

In business time is money and we understand than when you enroll in online Spanish lessons for businesspeople, or choose to learn in-person, you have specific goals. It’s why every individual or small group learning at SpanishNYC, receives a personalized approach. Instructors inquire about specific needs and make sure classes are focused on what students need to know. Also, there is value in our lessons from day one; mastering even the basics of business Spanish can be helpful to you and your company. It’s a far cry from old-fashioned Classes with general content and outdated textbooks.

We maintain a unique Spanish language school in NYC with a one-of-a-kind philosophy. Our classes provide an enjoyable learning-by-doing atmosphere that will have you speaking (and practicing) Spanish immediately. We earn top ratings from past students who have enjoyed their experience with us and been surprised by how quickly they were able to learn a new language. From online business Spanish lessons to in-person classes for small groups and individuals, we bring consistently excellent results. Our instructors love what they do and go out of their way to help each student individually.

Business Spanish Classes with the Natural Conversational Approach (NCA)

The amount of time and effort it takes for you to pick up business Spanish depends in are part on how you learn. At SpanishNYC, we know from years of successful experience that our proprietary Natural Conversational Approach works the best. It creates an active, participatory learning environment in which each student practices during class. The Spanish conversational skills you learn naturally are a boon to busy corporate professionals who need to add language skills in shorter amounts of time. We also add enjoyable out-of-class enrichment activities drawing on Spanish-language media.

No matter what your reason for learning, you won’t find business Spanish classes in New York City that are more effective than ours. We’re an excellent choice for people at all levels and ages right up to CEOs and senior-level corporate executives. Our instructors take a personal interest in their students’ success, and we’ll make sure the time you spend learning Spanish with us is productive and well spent. If you have questions or need more information, please reach out. We have business Spanish lessons at all levels and can be flexible with scheduling. You can learn with us in a group or as an individual.

Tips to improve your Spanish pronunciation by a private Spanish tutor in NYC.

Simple tips to improve your Spanish pronunciation.

Spanish is a language that is quite literal in its pronunciation. All the vowels and consonants combined always have their own distinct sound as syllables and this sound never changes no matter how they are put together.  For instance, the syllable “que” always sounds the same no matter if we are saying: “parque” (park) or “queso” (cheese). The good thing about this is that once you get the sound of the syllables that means you have the ability to pronounce them correctly in any given word or sentence. Read more

Private Spanish lessons NYC. A slow pronunciation and a special attention to syllables

Three Reasons Why Most of Our Students Prefer Private Lessons at SpanishNYC

Private Spanish Lessons are Always Better; Here’s Why

Besides the obvious reason that a private student gets 100% of the instructor’s attention, the following are three reasons why our students prefer private Spanish lessons in our NYC school.

1 – They feel more at ease

It is true that group lessons in Spanish, 3 to 6 students, are still very effective and they may be very fun when the instructor is good at using group activities such as games, role-playing, music, presentations, etc. But what may be fun and productive for some, may be somewhat overwhelming for others. Some students prefer not to have their mistakes corrected in front of the class, or to be in the spot as they struggle to use the correct word with the right pronunciation and at the right place in a sentence. Other students prefer to hear only native Spanish from a native speaker and not mispronunciation or wrong sentences from their classmates. Also, it is not uncommon that one student in a group loves talking and participating more than the rest of the group; that, for some may mean less opportunity to speak and therefore be corrected. Many times I begin the private lesson by asking my student, “bueno, dime quéquierespracticar hoy, qué no estásuficientementeclaro o quieresmejorar.” – “ok tell me what you want to practice today, what is not clear enough or you want to improve.”

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Three Reasons to Learn Spanish in New York City and the US

Besides the obvious reasons why anybody should speak at least two languages: improved ability to switch tasks, better cross-cultural communication, enhanced oral and written expression, etc., etc. there are at least 3 specific reasons why you should learn Spanish in Los Estados Unidos de America and more specifically, learn Spanish in New York City. Read more

Effective tips for learning Spanish. Advice for students taking Spanish classes in NYC. Spanish lessons NYC

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Opening his doors in 2001, Luis Cardozo began teaching students how to master Spanish quickly & effectively by with his Natural Conversational Approach to teaching custom Spanish classes in NYC.

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Limitless Advantages to Learning Spanish as a Second Language

Learning a new language opens many doors throughout a person’s life while enhancing their perspective of the world around them. When someone knows a second language they can communicate with a larger variety of people and it also comes in handy when traveling the world. Learning a second language allows a person to immerse themselves into other cultures, learning from a hands-on approach which allows for deeper understanding and appreciation of nations different from their own. Read more