Would you like to learn to speak in Spanish confidently with your teacher, your classmates or native speakers?
During our conversational Spanish lessons, many students may feel fear, embarrassment, unsettling nerves or anxiety when they speak Spanish. I feel the same when I’m about to speak English to a native speaker. So, you are not alone. Speaking a language that is not our native language is a huge challenge.
Emotions and thoughts during Conversational Spanish lessons
Imagine that you are in a Spanish conversation lesson with your teacher and your classmates. There are probably eight or ten people in class. It is your turn to speak in Spanish. How do you feel?
In this situation your most common thoughts might be:
- You are making a lot of mistakes.
- Your pronunciation is very bad.
- They don’t understand you when you speak.
When you have a conversation in Spanish, you also may feel frustrated because:
- You don’t remember the exact words that you want to say.
- You want to speak Spanish with the same expressions that you use in your native language.
As beautiful as this language is, when you learn to speak in Spanish your self confidence may be tested.
When I was studying my masters in Alberta (Canada), every time I had to talk to a teacher, make a presentation in class, or talk to my classmates during the lunch break, all these emotions and thoughts crossed my mind as well.
I share with you my personal experience so that you can see that all these fears and insecurities are totally normal and very common among non-native Spanish speakers. Don’t think for a second that you are the only one who feels this way.
In this article you will discover eight tips so you can relax and enjoy as you learn to speak in Spanish.
Tips to learn to speak in Spanish for beginners
The first four tips are for those of you who are starting to learn Spanish. If you are at that point in which you know some basic Spanish expressions for beginners, then pay attention to these tips.
Your teacher and your classmates know that you are learning Spanish. They know that you are going to make mistakes and that your pronunciation is not going to be perfect. So calm down. There is no pressure.
Try to breathe deeply and speak slowly. Once you feel better, express your fear or weakness. Your classmates feel like you and this can help you connect with them and relax.
Speak Spanish aloud when you are alone: while cooking, while driving, in front of the mirror, while taking a shower…
When you speak in Spanish, you get used to hearing your own voice in Spanish. This is very beneficial because it will help you become familiar and comfortable listening to your own voice in Spanish.
If you practice a little every day, it will be much easier for you to talk with your teacher and with your classmates in your conversational Spanish lessons or with Spanish native speakers in other situations.
Speaking is generating a speech with your voice. Writing is generating a speech with your writing. When you write in Spanish, you are practicing the way of saying things, of communicating things. This will help you a lot to express yourself orally.
You can write texts as part of your activities in Spanish class. But you can also write more personal texts if you like, for example, writing a journal in Spanish. One of my favourite moments in my life was when I lived abroad a few years ago, going to a cafeteria, sitting at a table with a cup of tea and my journal, and writing my thoughts in English.
Many beginner Spanish students try to speak in Spanish as they would in their native language. This is not the right way for a number of reasons.
First of all, you probably don’t have advanced vocabulary and grammar yet. It is better to use easy grammar structures and vocabulary that you know.
And secondly, grammar structures, word order in sentences, and expressions change among different languages. Therefore, you have to learn to “think in Spanish” (tip number 5).
Tips to learn to speak in Spanish for intermediate students
The last four tips are for those of you who are intermediate level students. You’ve been studying Spanish for a while and you have a good knowledge of Spanish grammar and vocabulary. Personally, I give this advice to my own students in our online Spanish conversation classes and… it works!
As we have said before, the grammar structures, the order of the words, the pronunciation of the letters and the expressions change among the different languages.
For this reason, it is very important to start “thinking in Spanish”.
It is a big step. It is the “click” that occurs in your brain when you relax and begin to flow with the new language you are learning.
It is leaving your comfort zone (which is your native language) and entering a state of mental relaxation in which you are open to embracing all the differences, nuances and particularities of Spanish.
You don’t need the vocabulary or grammar of a native speaker to start speaking Spanish.
Start small, with the vocabulary you know and using grammar that you are comfortable with. You can start by speaking to yourself and practicing out loud verbally as we have said in tip number 2.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! It is absolutely normal when we try to speak a language that is not our native language. Focus only on the message you want to communicate and go for it.
Besides, it may seem like a cliché, but it is the simple truth: making mistakes is how we learn.
It is true that when you speak with a native Spanish speaker, he or she is not going to stop the conversation to correct your mistakes because he or she is probably understanding perfectly the message you want to communicate.
However, in our online Spanish conversation classes it is good to see the mistakes that each student makes in order to work on them and improve their conversation.
Do you have an international friend who speaks your language and has an accent? I love the accent of my students when they speak Spanish.
Sometimes the pronunciation is not correct and we have to practice that only. But in general, although all my students have accents (more or less strong) I can understand them perfectly when they speak.
Would you like to learn Conversational Spanish while enjoying it?
The last piece of advice I’m going to give you in this article is something that works well for many things, not just speaking Spanish:
According to the British Psychological Society, several scientific studies have shown that being able to laugh at oneself has benefits on our health and wellbeing.
At Your Spanish Hub we have designed our individual online Spanish conversation classes to create a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere in which you feel comfortable to speak in Spanish.
Laugh a lot at yourself and don’t give too much importance to your mistakes. We all make mistakes, and those mistakes help us learn. Enjoy learning Spanish and book your trial lesson with one of our expert native teachers. And above all, keep speaking, speaking and speaking… Go for it!