Do you want to improve your level of oral Spanish? Is it difficult for you to speak Spanish because you feel embarrassed or insecure? Would you like to communicate effectively? I’ll give you five very effective tips that will help you to speak Spanish well as you put them into practice.
Expanding your vocabulary
Expanding your vocabulary is also important to be able to speak Spanish well and make yourself understood. Perhaps you have read that the best way to learn vocabulary is to look up all the new words you read or see in the dictionary, in order to find out what they mean.
Without a doubt, reading books, newspapers and articles will help you, but don’t forget to put the new words you learn into practice!
Whenever you learn a new word or expression, try to think up examples of phrases where you can use it and try to use it in the context of a real conversation. Only if you use the word or new expression, will you be able to memorize it and use it in future conversations.
One of the tricks to have a varied and rich vocabulary is to use synonyms of the most basic verbs like do, say, pass, etc. For example, synonyms of to do could be elaborate, produce, perform, etc; synonyms of to say: could be to sustain, to affirm; synonyms of to happen could be to occur, take place, etc. I also recommend that you avoid using “easy option” words such “thing” (“cosa”) as these will keep your Spanish at a very low level.
Some advice for you! Don’t be too demanding with the number of words you try to learn each day and don’t make great big long lists of words, your memory has its limits!
In addition to reading, I recommend that you listen carefully to the words you hear in the conversations going on around you; you should really listen out when you travel on public transport or when you’re out and about on the street.
One of my students always carries a notebook to write down what people say, and then asks me the meaning of the word in our classes! When you experience these real life conversations, then it will be a lot easier for you to memorize the new word or expression.
You can also watch series and movies in Spanish and write down the new expressions you hear. It will be most helpful if you write them down just as they are written, but it is also a good idea to write down the pronunciation next to it and repeat it out loud.
Speaking more naturally
One of the great tips you can follow is to use filler words when you speak. What are filler words? According to the DRAE, they are the words that you “habitually repeat frequently”.
What are they for? Above all, we use these words to help us while we are still thinking what we want to say (i.e. what I mean is etc.); to see if the person is following what we’re saying (did you know that ?, do you understand ?, do you get what I’m saying ?, etc.), or to conclude an idea: (well, anyway, etc.).
Why should you use these filler words when you’re speaking Spanish? Primarily because by using these words you show that you can speak Spanish well and in a very natural way. You also show that you can think in Spanish, and you sound a lot more fluent as you speak.
Gaining the confidence you need
One recommendation that I always give my students in order for them to learn to speak Spanish well is not to be afraid of making mistakes.
If for you the most important thing is that the natives understand you, then don’t get hung up over getting things wrong. Don’t t be afraid to make grammatical mistakes, because if you are petrified of making mistakes then you’ll never say anything! The most important thing is that you start practicing!
People will understand you even if you make some mistakes. Speaking good Spanish is not necessarily all about speaking it perfectly. And so, to improve fluency, my recommendation is that you don’t worry too much about grammatical correctness.
Speak as much as you can! Take advantage of any opportunity you get to practice, because having conversations is the best way to speak Spanish well.
The more you make mistakes, the more you’ll learn. Just remember that everyone’s started somewhere when they’ve taken on a new language! The locals will definitely value your efforts to speak Spanish, whatever level of vocabulary and grammar you may have.
Striving for perfection
If you are someone who doesn’t get on too well with personal study, and needs someone to guide them, or perhaps you don’t know who to practice Spanish with and you’d like an expert to correct you, then you’re in luck!
In my Spanish language school I’ve prepared conversation courses with step by step guidance, which will enrich your vocabulary. You’ll learn to speak Spanish more correctly, and, above all, you’ll set yourself free to speak Spanish fluently and with confidence.