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...
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...
And it is a very interesting question as not only is there no simple answer, but also the answer may surprise you… because a huge part is really up to you!
Let me explain.
There are critical elements that will influence how long it will take you and most of them are actually within your control.
Let’s explore each of them in more depth:
If you live in Spain, how many *real* opportunities do you have daily to interact with people? Go through your day to day and identify the situations where the interactions are “easier and more predictable” and build it from there.
Most Spanish words that look the same (or very similar) in English are in fact very close in meaning. They’re called “cognates”. And when you’re learning another language, it is very uplifting to hear a new word and think… “YES! I know this”
These words are called “false friends”. And today I’m bringing you five of the most confusing ones for intermediate learners. Mastering these will help you speak Spanish more confidently
Sp. Actual - current, present day (Ex. Una noticia actual - Current news)
En. Actual in Spanish is “real, verdadero” (Ex. el coste real - The actual cost)
Sp. Realizar - “perform, make, do, carry out” (Ex. Ejercicios fáciles de realizar - Easy to perform exercises”)
En. Realise is...
Do you find them confusing too?
In this week’s video, we look at the main use of each of them. Of course, these verbs have more, but confusion partly happens when we look at too many meanings at once!
(the brain is more likely to get overwhelmed and not integrate any at all)
Watch our video to get clear on what their main use is so you can start using them comfortably straight away!
1. Stick to the meanings that we talk about in the video until you feel confident (in different tenses and persons too) ie. we stayed, he will stay, I am meeting up with, etc. Once you are happy with these, incorporate other meanings. This is crucial so the meanings don’t get mixed up!
2. Think of real examples, any situations where you would use each of them. I cannot...
Today is “el día de Reyes”, one of the most magical and special days for children (and adults) in Spain, when presents are opened and the delicious “roscón” is eaten!
And as we bring closure to the long Spanish Christmas celebrations, it seems the ideal day to reflect on how the magic happens.
And now that we are starting a new year, it is the perfect time to set goals and establish how much you want to improve your Spanish this year.
A little… A lot… Nothing at all… Be totally fluent… You get to decide!
But even when you know how much you'd like to improve it, sometimes it’s hard to know how to get there.
Maybe you had to pause your learning because life got busy or you haven’t been in contact with Spanish for a while and it seems like you’ve forgotten so much that you start feeling lost, discouraged and unsure on how to get back on track.
You sometimes even wonder whether in fact you may have forgotten everything!!!
If you have ever felt this way, I promise you’re not alone! This is one of the most common difficulties that I hear all the time, particularly after the summer holidays when many people take a break from learning.
And in case you’re still wondering… yes, everything is still there!
All that is needed to deal with this kind of overwhelm is to stop the loop of negative thoughts, take a step back and design a plan. This way we can build momentum, strengthen the neural connexions in our brains again and accelerate the recovery to keep moving forwards.
And it is a source of frustration for many of the people I work with because learning the language is important in their personal life. At least once a day, it’s not uncommon for me to hear...
“I’m so busy right now”, “work is crazy at the moment”, “I just don’t have enough time”...
Can you relate?
I mean, I totally get it. For most of us, life is extremely busy and we need to juggle so many things it’s not surprising that 24 hours a day doesn't seem like enough!
However, I can guarantee you that you can definitely fit learning Spanish within your busy schedule with a bit of creative thinking and planning.
Here are some ideas:
What is your reason for learning Spanish? Take a couple of minutes to think about this and how important this is for you. Because when our reasons are...