As someone who speaks 5 languages, I know there’s only one way and one way only to learn a language very quickly. It’s quick because it’s fun and it’s fun because it’s quick:
A. Ban your mother tongue for a month!
Be a PRO. For one month only. Refuse to use your mother tongue.
You set your Facebook to Spanish, and only look at Spanish newspapers. Your partner and you agree to only communicate in Spanish. You email your expat friends in Spanish.
Sure, you will feel like a frustrated toddler, not being able to say what you want! Exactly how you learned your mother tongue.
You will be glued to Google Translate, and work with pointing and gestures. Well, talking with your hands and face is already very Andalusian.
Only 2 weeks in, and you will be dreaming in Spanish, 3 weeks in and you hear yourself say something while you think: que? where did I get that expression from??
One month down the line: you can say you speak Spanish. Castilian that is, castellano, for obviously Spain has got more languages than this one of the main plains in the middle of the peninsula. We only use the word ‘Spanish’ for reasons of ease: it’s the most spoken language and the one that crossed the oceans to the new world (and the Philippines, etc).
B. The second best option: enthusiasm
There’s no motor as enthusiasm.
Ergo: provide yourself with the fuel of enthusiasm.
Learn those few expressions of politeness and courtesy: nothing triggers a positive response as courtesy – and will make you feel positive in turn. Learn a few phrases that will astonish people.
For example: “Lo siento, no hablo la idioma de Cervantes ya“.
(‘I am sorry, I do not yet speak the language of Cervantes’).
Such a phrase is a win-win-win situation for at one and the same time you transmit: an apology, respect for and knowledge of the culture, and that you will learn. All 2 are a very big compliment to the person you are talking to and – should you throw in non-verbal Spanish at the same time (gestures), you will already see what it means to be taken as part of the social fabric... instead of tourist number 85,000.
Nothing generates friendliness and enthusiasm as friendliness and enthusiasm.
It’s the oil of your motivation.
E. That itinerary most people take: a weekly class
“I go to Spanish conversation once a week“.
As likeable as that makes you, and as any bit helps… if you learn a language by one-hour-a-week it will take you 500 years before you speak it as well as your mother tongue. I did the math!
Just as it will take you 200 years to get a degree as engineer if you would study it one hour a week, this is a hopeless affair too.
Z. “I don’t learn any Spanish at all”
Well, that’s just a pity. You will never know what bilinguals mean when they say “it’s like possessing a second soul“, or the difference in friendliness and helpfulness between ‘tourist’… and ‘a person who will become part of my social fabric’.
If often say that Moorish castles etc are not the highlight of Andalusia – if anything, they are the least so. The highlight of Andalusia is its people, its duende, its social fabric, its freedom of the body.
Every time you learn another language, you discover a new personality in yourself.