Language Frustrations

The 10 Most Frustrating Things About Learning Spanish

Before reading this please find yourself a salt shaker, and take a pinch.

We are not saying that these struggles are exclusive to the Spanish language, nor that these should keep you from learning it. We at The Foreign Language Collective try to be there for you in your language learning process, and that means we also share your frustrations.

I love Spanish but learning it isn’t always a walk in the park. Here are some of the biggest frustrations most people have to deal with when learning Spanish.

1. So many verb tenses

Seriously, why do you need them all?

confused math GIF by CBC

2. Speaking of one – el subjuntivo.

Seriously, is there anything worse than learning something that doesn’t exist in your native language?

Or at least something that isn’t used in the same way?

And it’s not just there in the present tense – it’s there in the past, and it’s there in the future.

frustrated denzel washington GIF

3. Gendered words

Another great argument for moving towards

Why do tables, socks, and refrigerators even need genders anyway?

4. Native speakers speak so fast

Like, slow down! Is there somewhere you need to be?

tired good night GIF

5. There are so many accents

And while a one on one conversation will probably be okay, chances are as soon as two native speakers from another country start speaking to each other there are going to be some words you never heard before (or not in that context)

confused titus andromedon GIF by Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

6. The fact that words can mean something completely different in another country

And it is always something bad or dirty.

 fox fox tv fox broadcasting disbelief unbelievable GIF

Words like paja, pajerocoger, concha, pillatortillera may seem very harmless in certain countries, but be careful when using them in more international speaking Spanish crowds.

Speaking of dirty things

7. You can now understand reggeaton, and it’s not as romantic as people think

uncomfortable donald glover GIF

8. The fact that everybody is learning it these days, so when you tell people you speak it native speakers expect you are a beginner

No me subestimen por ser gringa.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor ay no por favor gif

9. .. but people who don’t speak it will start saying random words like “Despacito”, “Tequila” and “Caramba”

please stop bbc three GIF by BBC

10. But despite all of the frustrations, you keep coming back to it

Like the forbidden love shown in all the novelas, you just can’t stay away from each other.

Te Amo Gracias GIF


What frustrations would you add to this list? 

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  • Reply Prof Gonzalez December 24, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Clearly written by someone who has very limited knowledge of the Spanish language.

    1) If you leave the subjunctive mood aside for the moment. Spanish does not have many more verbal tenses than English at all. Some European languages have many more.

    2) Yes the subjunctive is a tricky part of the Spanish language for the English speaker. You will soon get a feel for it though and yes a future and future perfect subjunctive exist in Spanish, but you will only ever come across them in legal texts for example. You can learn Spanish to fluency and never have to know about these two tenses (unlike Portuguese where the future subjunctive is used in everyday language).

    3) At least it only has two genders unlike German or the Slavonic languages and with a few rules you can make an educated guess around 90% of the time as to the gender of any word.

    4) All scientific studies show that Spanish is not spoken any quicker than English; however, unlike English it is a syllable timed language which gives it the distinct staccato feel. Listen to music and movies and your ear will adapt very quickly.

    5) Yes there are many accents and dialects as it is a world language. However the differences between most of the dialects, with a few exceptions are not vast. More variety can be found within Italy, Germany or even the UK.

    Spanish is in fact one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn and those who endeavour to do so have access to such a wide range of resources and plethora of native speakers. Spoilt for choice. Rather than concentrate on perceived negatives the author should have done some basic research and set out to dispel myths. Let’s encourage one another instead of spreading untruths about language learning!!

    • Reply AmarensElise December 24, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      Clearly, you have not read the post or the disclaimer that was put in front of it.

      Many of your arguments are based on the fact that there are other languages who have the same, or who have it worse. That is not the point of this post. Just because in German they have 4 genders, that does not mean it can not be a struggle to dominate the genders in the Spanish language. Even if you come from a language that already has genders, it still adds a level of complexity.

      No where in this post are we trying to claim Spanish is the hardest language, or that Spanish is the only language that has these struggles. That does not mean however there struggles are not there. These things should never discourage anyone from learning a language, as also mentioned in the post. However, those who are learning Spanish might find comic relieve and comfort in the fact they are not the only ones.

      Please read what is actually being said before trying to argue arguments that were never made.

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