¿Te gusta el otoño? - Do you like autumn?
I personally think it’s a fascinating season! Observing the changes in nature, the light, the warm colours - ocres, amarillos, marrones, naranjas, rojizos.
And autumn is a time for harvest too.
Manzanas, peras, calabazas, uvas, castañas, higos…
And because Spanish is a very rich language full of wonderful expressions, today I'm sharing with you 3 that are very commonly used in daily life situations and refer to a typical autumn food.
“Higos” and “brevas” are both the fruit from the fig tree. The first ones are the fruits from the end of summer/autumn and the “brevas” (bigger, but less sweet) are the ones at the end of the following spring, 8-9 months after.
Hence the expression “de higos a brevas” to refer to something which doesn’t happen frequently.
Ex. No nos vemos casi nunca,...
You’ve been working hard at your Spanish and really look forward to practising, but when the moment comes… you get blocked, the words won’t come out and your frustration leads to discouragement.
Has this ever happened to you? If this is the case, here are 5 practical tips for how to deal with conversation overwhelm.
This is where a lot of people struggle. When the focus is on not making mistakes, it is very easy to get blocked because as soon as we don’t know how to say something “properly”, we’re out of sorts.
Instead, when the focus is on communication, we allow the language and the conversation to flow much easier.
Any practice, no matter how little, is better than nothing. This will help with confidence and familiarity as it will reduce the feelings of stress at the thought of speaking with someone in Spanish.
¿Te gusta el café? - Do you like coffee?
If the answer is yes, then Spain is the right place for you because Spaniards LOVE coffee! And knowing how to order coffee in Spain is an essential part of daily life.
Whether you’re on the go or have time to sit and enjoy a coffee in a local “cafetería” or “terraza” (definitely the preferred options in Spain), it is a good idea to know exactly what you’re ordering, and what your options are in case you want to change things now and again!
So, what types of coffee are most popular in Spain?
A strong espresso shot, typically taken after the main meal in the middle of the day. It is sometimes offered instead of a dessert as part of a "menu del día".
This is the closest to filtered coffee that you’ll find in Spain.
This is an espresso with a splash of steamed milk.
Once you’ve got to grips with the basics of Spanish, and you’re ready to move it on to the next level…
The world of street slang is waiting for you!
This is a really fun part because it helps you get beyond the more formal side of the language and connect with people more casually. Everyone uses slang when speaking their own language, so it makes sense to learn some words and phrases in Spanish too.
Here are some of the most common Spanish slang words used in Spain.
To say that something is great informally.
Ex. ¡Qué guay! me encanta el plan - How cool! I love the plan
Tapas are a huge part of Spanish culture, and Spaniards go out for tapas so often that there’s an actual verb for it!
Ex. Este bar es un buen sitio para tapear - This bar is a good place for tapas
This is a very natural way of...
Many people visit or even move to Spain hoping to practice Spanish non-stop. But then, they face a very frustrating and disappointing situation…
Despite their efforts to speak Spanish, they frequently get a reply in English straight away!
So they lose confidence, gradually stop trying and, in the end, they struggle to practice.
And without practice, one cannot become fluent.
Has this ever happened to you? If the answer is “SÍ!” then, it's important that you keep reading.
Because daily life interactions are a huge part of developing the confidence and fluency that you need to master Spanish.
You really need the real-world practice.
And sometimes Spaniards might just want to be polite and make it quick and easy for you… And sometimes, they may take it as an opportunity for them to practice English!
Either way, the truth is that if you want to become fluent, you need to get past this challenge.
Well, once you...
If you know a bit of Spanish, you will be familiar with the verb "tener", which literally means “to have”. Like in English, we use this verb to express possession, for example “tengo una casa en España” (I have a house in Spain)
"Tener" is one of the most common and useful verbs in Spanish, and as well as expressing possession, it has some other uses too...
Today, I’m bringing you 13 very common expressions with "tener" for everyday situations.
These expressions frequently cause confusion for English speakers because in English they are used with “to be” (they are states of being), but in Spanish they are always formed with "tener".
Whether you know some, most or none of these, why not take a look at them and pick the ones that you can use straight away:
Listening to catchy songs in Spanish can greatly help you improve your accent. But not only that. It's an excellent way to develop vocabulary, grammar, fluency and confidence too!
Well, firstly, it’s fun! And the brain learns better when we’re enjoying what we’re doing. And songs are a very natural way to get an ear for the language.
Listening to songs in Spanish help you retain more vocabulary because of the catchy lyrics and rhythm. After just a couple of repetitions, you get familiar with the sounds, the intonation and the pace.
And if it’s a song that you like, it will get stuck in your head… which is a great thing for learning Spanish! Follow along with the lyrics and the connection between sounds and words will be instant
Because no matter what level you’re at, songs will help you improve pronunciation, broaden vocabulary and deepen grammar understanding.
Manu Chao - Me gustas...
“I want to sound more natural, more native…”
This is something that I hear all the time the first time I speak with someone who has been learning for a while, but is stuck and not happy with the way their progress is going.
Can you relate?
Granted each person is unique and there will be specific things that they can do to improve and develop which need further exploring, but one of the things that will definitely help is to start adding Spanish expressions, just like Spaniards do… all the time!
They will help you sound more fluent and native as they will instantly let the other person know that you are confident and relaxed with your speaking and not sound like a walking textbook!
However, it’s important that you learn how to identify the most frequently used ones though (there are lots and lots!) and the techniques for incorporating them naturally and exactly at the right time!
Many people think that learning another language is about studying the vocabulary, the rules, the expressions…
And yes, that is absolutely necessary, but there are *often overlooked critical skills* that you need to make peace with and develop if you want to be fluent and competent.
Because once we start the journey, we usually find other unexpected challenges that we need to know how to overcome. Otherwise, they can slow us down, block us or even make us quit!
But we really don’t want that to happen. So, what does it really take to speak Spanish naturally and confidently?
Remember energy flows where attention goes. If your attention is on mistakes, your brain will often freeze when not sure how to say something as the focus is on “not making mistakes”. If your attention is on communication, your brain will relax...
Finding the correct Spanish words to express anger and frustration without being rude or sounding inappropriate is definitely an important skill to have.
And in your quest to speak fluent Spanish, you’ll need to equip yourself with common words that allow you to express your feelings and thoughts appropriately.
So, I’m sure today’s vocabulary will be very useful, whether you use it yourself or you recognise when someone is voicing anger and frustration in Spanish too!
The easiest way is by using the following formula:
Estoy harta del tráfico - "I’m fed up with the traffic"
¡Estoy enfadado porque ha subido el precio de la gasolina otra vez! - "I’m angry because the price of petrol has gone up again!"