Major topics covered on beginner Spanish tests include grammar, language function, pronunciation and vocabulary. Grammar is the set of rules that dictate how speakers form words and sentences in all natural languages, while vocabulary refers to the words used on particular occasions and in different spheres. Language function refers to speakers’ purposes for using language to communicate.
Beginning Spanish tests typically move from performing simple greetings and introductions to discussing increasingly complicated topics, including people, places, abilities and desires. This includes active vocabulary, which consists of words speakers use with confidence, and passive vocabulary, which are words most people understand but do not necessarily use in daily conversations. In general, language learning requires the continued practice of earlier elements to build a foundation for introducing new ones.
Language is used formally and informally, and each situation governs the grammatical rules and vocabulary items needed to carry out language functions. Some examples of these functions include: comparing and contrasting, persuading, forming and answering questions, and expressing likes and dislikes. Other functions – discussing cause and effect, summarizing and predicting – are also found on beginning-level Spanish tests.
The English alphabet contains 26 letters, but the Spanish alphabet, called "abecedario," has 30. The Spanish “c” is followed by the letter “ch,” the “l” is followed by the “ll,” the “n” is followed by the “ñ,” and after the “r” comes the “rr.” Each of these letters can change word meanings, so acquiring correct pronunciation is essential to understanding Spanish and being understood.