When people decide to learn a new language often one of their main motivation is to be able to travel abroad and converse with the locals in their native language and to be able to live as close to an authentic experience of being abroad as possible open ourselves up to completely new experiences and meeting and understanding incredible people from a different culture.
What is strange however is that one of the least addressed aspects when learning a new language is Speaking. With the development of new pone apps and websites to help improve language skills its never been easier to practice reading , listening and even grammar but less so to improve our spoken language.
Thats not to say it isn’t important to practice those things, its essential to be able to speak well but learning a language without the aim of speaking it is like going shopping for ingredients then ordering a takeaway when you get home.
We can give ourselves all the foundations of a language with grammar and vocabulary but when we imagine ourselves using our newly developed language skills the idea that comes to mind is speaking it.
Many people get to a high level in the theory of a second language but when it comes to speak it triggers a panic and can be quite scary if we feel under pressure or underprepared. Is it impossible to improve your spoken spanish online? We don’t think so.
Here are some of our top tips to improve your spoken Spanish:
- Mimic– Just as you would when you’re teasing a friend by impersonating them find a series, podcast or even an interview online with subtitles of something you’re interested in and try and copy exactly what’s just been said but importantly in the WAY it was said. This is a great way to understand the sounds of the language and the tone.
- When you speak in your native language you realise that tone and emphasis on certain words can cane the whole context of a sentence. Watching an interview with subtitles and see ow the speaker uses and canes tone to emphathise certain points ives us an idea of the sound of a language in real life not just on paper. Sometimes sitting watching an interview in Spanish and pausing the video after a question is asked gives you a good way to see if you’ve understood the question and can try and answer it to yourself.
- Make an imaginary friend or talk to yourself – Okay, I know, this sounds totally ridiculous. But hear me out. You know when you’ve just had an argument and you play it back in your head for ours after imagining what you should have said. Well, if we create conversations in our head between us and a friend (real or fake) speaking Spanish we can develop our spoken language in the safety of our own company away from judgement and the listening ears of other people. You’ll quickly realise what subjects you’re knowledgeable about and where you have holes in your vocabulary. One think I find is if I don’t know a word in my “conversation” upon lookin it up seem to memorise it better. People spend many moments in the day thinking through dialogues they’ve ad or are about to have rehearsing situations in their head, if you could try and change one or two per day into Spanish you will start finding more flow to your spoken Spanish. Another method linked to the above tip is to watch an interview in Spanish and pausing the video after a question is asked gives you a good way to see if you’ve understood the question and can try and answer it to yourself.
- Bizarre high- tech tip- If you’re lucky (or unlucky) enough to have an amazon Alexa or google assistant you can cane the default language to Spanish. This gives you a chance to ask questions every day in Spanish and actually receive a (slightly scary) response. If you don’t ave te means for tis the main point im trying to make is immersion. If you surround yourself wit spoken Spanish day to day trout your normal daily routine normalise the idea of Spanish being spoken around you and it will lessen any anxiety you ave wen you ave the chance to speak Spanish in public.
- Persistence – Even native Spanish speakers make mistakes wit their language. Its essential to understand you’ll make mistakes as you speak Spanish, but the difference between those who achieve a good level of spoken Spanish to converse abroad and immerse yourself in Spanish culture and those who don’t is often quite simply they don’t give up. This tip is more about being kind to yourself, you’ll never be fluent in a day or a week if you keep your practice fun and interesting you’ll keep practicing and ten see improvements in your spoken Spanish. Find what works for you! one of the main reason people give up languages at school is its too formulaic and can be boring. With the internet you can personalise your practice to your motivations and skills, the main point is to keep practicing.
- Focus on situations – A problem for many is their confidence in attempting conversations abroad even if you feel competent with your Spoken Spanish the new situation can make people feel slightly nervous. An idea to help wit this is to focus on the main situations you’re likely to find yourself in wen you ave to speak Spanish. For example if you’re traveling on holiday soon and you’ll be going to restaurants study and prepare restaurant ordering and interactions as if you were preparing for a play in the theatre. This will give you confidence as wen you’re in a restaurant speaking Spanish you’ll understand the dynamic of the conversation easier and ave more confidence in what you want to say. If you apply this to live situations that are likely to happen it will give you a feeling of being prepared to speak Spanish with natives.
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