Spanish is the most commonly spoken language in the Western Hemisphere. Approximately 470 million people speak Spanish as their first language. In addition to Spain and Mexico, the language is spoken throughout Latin and South America. One of the Romance languages, Spanish shares a common linguistic heritage with Italian, French, and Portuguese. Spanish uses almost the same Latin alphabet as English. Native English speakers can supplement and modify their existing alphabet without having to learn an entirely new one. Spanish sentences flow left to right, the same as in English, and punctuation is nearly the same, the most notable additions being inverted question marks and exclamation points at the beginning of sentences. Since Spanish and English share many common Latin roots, many similarly spelt words have the same or similar meanings in both languages.
Spanish’s similarity to English can actually create some challenges for native English speakers learning the language. While similar looking words do usually have a similar meaning, there are many exceptions. For example, “embarazada” usually means “pregnant” rather than “embarrassed.” English sentences usually require a clear subject. In Spanish, the subject is often implied and should be omitted. Prepositions can be challenging as well; the context in which they are used takes precedence over what they literally mean. English sentence structure can usually be followed, but the position of the subject can subtly change its meaning. Finally, Spanish is a more gendered language than English. Inanimate objects and adjectives are assigned female and male genders in a way that can often seem random and arbitrary to native English speakers.
The Language Island offers comprehensive, one-on-one instruction for students at every point on their journey to learning Spanish. Tutors work with a student to develop an individualized lesson plan tailored to his or her needs. Our tutors are passionate, caring and native speakers or highly fluent in the languages they teach. They pride themselves on connecting with their students and being able to carry on fluent, natural sounding conversations entirely immersed in the language being taught. Entry-level classes are taught in both Spanish and English, with an increasing amount of Spanish being used as the student becomes more comfortable with the new language. Intermediate and advanced-level students can take advantage of full-immersion classes, where the course is taught entirely in Spanish. Our tutors use only the best materials available. They have sorted through the fads and gimmicks to find the most effective techniques that have truly stood the test of time.