Conversational Spanish Tips

Read these 12 Conversational Spanish Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Spanish tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How can I practice speaking if I'm not in a conversation course?

Helpful Practice Tips

Ok. So the best way to learn a language is to practice as much as possible. Obviously, immersion is the best way to practice a language, but even if you can't afford to go to a Spanish speaking country, you can get some mini immersion right here in the states. Here's how:

1. Get an ‘intercambio' (exchange partner) right here in the US. Either through someone you know, or online, you can find a partner to converse with (or type with) in Spanish. This is excellent practice. There are programs across the country for volunteer exchange (check out your local college or university for their programs) where native Spanish speakers who want to practice their English are willing to split time between you practicing your Spanish with them and them practicing their English with you.

2. Date a native Spanish speaker. Whether you are living abroad or in the US the best way to practice Spanish is to date someone who is a native speaker. This is NOT a suggestion to date someone JUST because they are a native speaker. I do not presume to make suggestions about your love life. However, it is very useful as far as practicing the language goes. Even after living in Spain for a year, my Spanish would not have reached true native fluency had I not come back with a Spanish boyfriend. In fact, my Spanish continued to improve the entire time we were together, even once I was back in the states.

3. Speak with any native Spanish speakers you come across at work, at your school, at your kids' school, in the grocery store, etc. Most people are happy to help you practice, although be wary of insulting people by trying to speak to them in Spanish even once they insist that you speak in English, and that their English is better than your Spanish. As long as you make it clear that you want to practice your Spanish, and improve, people should be friendly about it. But, there are non native English speakers who will take offense if you insist on addressing them in Spanish when their English is perfectly good and your Spanish is not.

4. Talk to yourself and think to yourself in Spanish. Ok, I know you might feel funny talking to yourself in a language that is not your own, but it helps and it can be less embarrassing than trying to talk to someone else and getting flustered with your mistakes. When you talk to yourself you're the only one who hears you and you can correct yourself all you want without making yourself feel bad. Don't want to do it out loud? Then just think to yourself in Spanish, it's great practice too, and then no one else wonders why you're mumbling to yourself in Spanish. Ideally when you are truly immersed in a language you should be thinking in that language automatically. In the meantime, make yourself think in Spanish so that you can practice whenever, and wherever you want.

   
What will I learn in an intermediate or advanced conversational Spanish course?

Advanced Spanish Learning

An intermediate or advanced conversational Spanish course will aim to give students a thorough grounding in Spanish grammar and common slang. If common verb forms have not been covered at basic level, an intermediate conversational course might cover: * 'ser' and 'estar' (which both mean 'to be', but are used in different contexts * 'tener' (to have or to hold) * 'hacer' (to do or make) * 'ir' (to go). An intermediate or advanced conversational Spanish course might cover past and future tenses. Such a course will also concentrate on reading and writing Spanish, as well as conversational Spanish.

   
Why should I take conversational Spanish lessons?

Get Started With Conversational Spanish

There are many good reasons to take conversational Spanish lessons. Learning Spanish is ideal if you are thinking of traveling to Spain, South America, Latin America, the Canary Islands or another Spanish-speaking region. Conversational Spanish lessons can help travelers to feel confident about arranging hotel rooms and car hire, asking directions and ordering food. For those who are considering moving to a Spanish-speaking country, conversational Spanish lessons can be a good first step. Conversational Spanish lessons are also useful for people who meet Spanish speakers in their work. However, people who work regularly with Spanish-speaking people may wish to consider an advanced Spanish language course as well.

   
How can I practice conversational Spanish?

Find a conversation partner

There are many Spanish-speakers living all over the US. Find out where they may be offering English as a Second Language classes in your community and volunteer to help or put up an ad that you're interested in practicing Spanish. Meet with your new partner and speak for a half hour in English and a half hour in Spanish. Picking a couple of topics before the meeting will help it go smoothly. Do you want to discuss favorite foods, movies, or perhaps your families? You will both benefit from the experience and you're likely to make a new friend in the process.

   
What resources will help me learn conversational Spanish?

Conversational Spanish Resources

The resources you need will depend on the type of conversational Spanish course you are following. All taught courses are likely to have one of the following to help you learn conversational Spanish: * course books (these may include separate grammar books and workbooks, depending on the level of the course) * audio tapes, CDs or radio to improve listening and Spanish comprehension * video tapes or DVDs Spanish education can be extended by reading Spanish-language newspapers and magazines. A good dictionary is essential to support a conversational Spanish course. This enables learners to find the words for items not covered by the regular course content. Finally, conversational Spanish courses can be enhanced by using the wealth of free information that is available online. This includes pronunciation guides, vocabulary lists, grammatical tips and much more.

   
Where can I get help with Spanish pronunciation?

Help Me Speak Spanish

Spanish travel guides often include a pronunciation guide which is aimed at non-Spanish speakers. This will help with conversational Spanish. It is a good option to those who are new to speaking Spanish. Most Spanish or Spanish-English dictionaries have a pronunciation guide. This usually uses phonetic spelling, which can sometimes be difficult to understand. This option is easier for those who already know how to ready phonetic symbols. There is also a third option, which will help both new and advanced students of conversational Spanish. The solution is to use audio tapes, CDs and DVDs to learn Spanish pronunciation from native speakers. It is also possible to listen to conversational Spanish online via MP3s on sites that offer free Spanish lessons.

   
Will an immersion course help me learn conversational Spanish?

Getting Immersed in Spanish Conversation

An immersion course definitely helps people to learn conversational Spanish. An immersion course will also help people learn about Spanish history, art, music, dance and food as well. An immersion course will teach conversational Spanish as it is spoken by native speakers. That includes the slang. An immersion course is a good way of going beyond conversational Spanish so that people can speak Spanish like a native speaker. This will help to broaden cultural horizons. Students will feel a real sense of accomplishment after completing an immersion course in conversational Spanish.

   
How can I test my knowledge of conversational Spanish?

Time To Test Conversational Spanish

Testing your knowledge of conversational Spanish is easy. In a classroom setting, the tutor will set tests to assess your progress in speaking Spanish. Many of the free online Spanish courses have quizzes to test grammar, vocabulary and conversation. Consider renting a Spanish film to see how much of the conversation you understand. This will provide a good self-test. The ultimate test is to speak Spanish with native speakers. If you can understand what they say and be understood, then you can be sure that your ability to speak conversational Spanish is progressing nicely.

   
What will I learn in a basic conversational Spanish course?

Basic Spanish Learning

The content of a basic conversational Spanish course can vary. Some courses focus on giving new Spanish speakers useful phrases relating to home and family, life, getting around, shopping and so on. Other conversational Spanish courses concentrate on increasing knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. Such courses might include: * the Spanish alphabet (which has a few more characters than the English alphabet) * days of the week and months of the year * counting and numbers * telling the time * colors * everyday greetings (good morning, good afternoon, good evening, goodbye) While every conversational Spanish course will be slightly different, the areas listed are commonly used to build fluency when learning Spanish.

   
How can I learn conversational Spanish without spending money?

Let's Get Conversational - For Free!

There are hundreds of websites that offer free lessons to help people improve their conversational Spanish. Some of these lessons are teasers for a more advanced program, while others are freely available. There are several types of conversational Spanish lessons available. * There are text-based lessons, which consist of an online worksheet. This may be illustrated to help with comprehension. * There may be online presentations, using Flash or another presentation technology. * There may be video presentations showing conversational Spanish in various situations. Most of the sites that offer free conversational Spanish lessons contain links to other resources to help those who are learning Spanish. It is worth browsing through these links, as they may lead to other free resources.

   
Can I learn conversational Spanish without going to a classroom?

Take Spanish Conversation Out Of The Classroom

You don't have to enter a classroom to learn conversational Spanish. Instead, consider taking one of the courses that is available on the Internet. Some courses use the latest Internet technology, such as Flash video presentations, MP3 audio files and interactive whiteboards, to support teaching and learning. Some conversational Spanish courses use audio conferencing and others video conferencing, so that students and teachers can communicate while following the lesson. Some of these online courses are taught by native speakers of Spanish. The courses cover the same type of content as classroom-based content and are supported by books, audio and video material.

   
How will a conversational Spanish course help me when I travel?

Conversational Spanish For Travelers

If you're traveling to a Spanish-speaking country but don't know a single word of Spanish, you might need a conversational Spanish course for travelers. These are typically crash courses which last only a short time. Conversational Spanish courses for travelers help them learn enough Spanish to: * find their way around * ask for directions * book accommodation * read a basic menu * order food and drinks * hire a car * organize travel (by bus, coach or train, for example) * be polite to the people they meet (greetings) A crash course in conversational Spanish gives travelers the tools they need to be confident when visiting a Spanish-speaking country.

   
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William Pirraglia