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My first time speaking Spanish with two natives.

So since everybody is posting stories about their first time speaking Spanish with a native speaker, I guess I should too. :) My first time speaking Spanish with a native - two natives, actually - was a couple of months ago. My Indian friend and I were speaking in our native language in front of two Puerto Ricans and they were looking at us with the, "what are they even saying" look on their faces, and then they began to talk in Spanish. My friend just stared at them because she doesn't know Spanish at all, but I was looking at them with a smile because I had a pretty good idea of what they were saying, but they were going super fast, so I said: "Habla lentamente por favor?" Oh my God, the look on their face was PRICELESS! Their heads snapped to me almost immediately and then they looked at each other and I was like, "Si, si. Puedo hablar espanol un poco". Then we just laughed it off and went on to do our own thing, but I thought the whole incident was hilarious. I still don't know to this date if I said it correctly or not, but at least I attempted it. :)

May 25, 2014



Haha that's nice. I speak spanish and it is not hard to understand someone even if he or her is not saying everything as it should be, don't worry about that. Congratulations for the courage it takes to do it!


Muchas gracias! Yeah, I know! It really isn't as hard to understand Spanish as people think it is. Well, at least it isn't when native speakers talk slow enough. xD


That's probably my only difficulty with spanish now. Is hearing the words.


Haha, well done. Your story reminds me of one told to me by a girl from England with Austrian heritage I met once; she was on a train in London and a couple of German boys were speaking in German about her, sure that she was English and would not know any German- I'm sure you can imagine the type of thing they were saying. As she got off the train, she just looked at them and said "Ich verstehe" which means I understand. Apparently the look on their faces was priceless, and it hopefully taught them to be a little more respectful.


OMG! I wish I was there to see that! I would've died looking at their faces! xD It's always hilarious to see people get caught saying absurd things because they think others don't know the language they're speaking and then they eventually get slapped in the face. Haha! :)


Hi there!! Yes, it is so much fun being able to converse with the natives, even if on a pretty basic level, as I can just about do! But I do find the the locals really appreciate it if you do make the effort and they are so patient if you stumble on the odd word or phrase. Enjoy your new language!


Si! Es muy divertido hablar con los nativos porque pueden ensenarte mucho. I wish I had more Hispanic friends. It would be a lot easier. :) And thank you!


I had a similar experience on a train in Paris a few days ago. It's awesome when you can speak back and understand after struggling initially. I got talking to these two Spanish women on a train. They wanted me to take a picture of them and proffered the camera without saying anything. I said something along the lines of "Quiere una foto?" and they laughed. It's a nice feeling. Well done to you, medhadesai.


Oh wow! I bet the women were pleasantly surprised to hear you speak to them in Spanish! And yes, it always is a nice feeling to know you can hold up at least a basic conversation in the language you're learning. ^.^ Haha, gracias!


Absolutely! Yeah, they were a little surprised. I got to play translator as well as they asked my brother - who has no Spanish - a few questions, haha.


omg thats so cool now i want to talk español to everyone


Haha! You can talk in Spanish with me! I need to speak with some native speakers anyway. I need more exposure to real-life Spanish. :P


i am colombian so my native lenguage is spanish but i do the course to know how other people lern and help them here and your spanish is really good im amazed


OMG, really?! Thank you so much! :D That seriously just made my day! :D
Does the course teach Spanish differently than how it's actually spoken? Or is it on-point? I've always been curious about it because English and other languages are taught differently than how they're really spoken - mostly because people speak them incorrectly - but it's a question I've always wanted to ask native speakers.


no its actually really good how they teach it but there are 3 ways to speak formal,bad lenguage and how the spanish say it like vosotros vosotras but all the latin countys have they own way to say it like the mexicans talk diffreny to the colombian and the people of guatemala ect, but the most formal end the best spanish of all is colombian because doesnt have so much distance to the american accent like the others o is good( dont speak never bad lenguage in colombia the bad lenguage we call it ñiero and its really disgusting)


Oh wow, that's very interesting. Que es "bad language" y como es diferente que las otras? (Did I say that correctly?)


The "only" real difference I've noticed in spanish (from english) course is that we (spanish native speakers) use some different structures (most of the time incorrect) when it comes to prepositions and some other conjunctions in sentences. It is not that big of an issue but it is also because we are used to talk like that. I believe Duo's spanish course is really good.


Ah, so it's kind of like using slang in English? That makes sense. :) And yeah, I like Duo's course too. I actually tried out Rosetta Stone before using Duo and that thing is so repetitive. >.<


Ev'ry now an' nen, ya might come 'cross fokes dat ah-ways be tah-kin lahk dis, doe.


Bien hecho!! felicidades!! :)


Next time you'll be better using the sentence "Hablan (ustedes) lentamente, por favor" (or "Habláis (vosotros/-as) lentamente, por favor") when you are talking to a group of people - congratulations anyway.


As a native Spanish speaker I'd better use... "¿Pueden hablar más lentamente, por favor?" in Puerto Rico. And... "¿Podéis hablar más lentamente, por favor?" in Spain. Buen trabajo, ¡seguid así! :)


Puede/n hablar más despacio? or Puedes/podéis hablar más despacio? in Spain


hah great! but i didn't started to speaking yet!


Great story. Thanks for sharing!


Give moe just ONE lingot = YOU'RE AWESOME!


I just hit level 14 and want to try this! I need a situation but just curious what level you were at when you had this happen?


En realidad, yo no estuve usar Duolingo cuando esto sucedió. Estuve usando el conocimiento que he aprendido y usé ese. :)


If I may, I want to give you some suggestions to that sentence =)

  • En realidad, yo no estuve usar Duolingo -> ...yo no estaba usando (at that time)
  • Estuve usando el conocimiento que he aprendido -> Usé (at that specific moment).
  • el conocimiento que he aprendido -> (It feels more natural if you say) "Lo que he aprendido"


That sounds so much better. See, I just don't understand the difference between the two tenses. ¿Qué es la diferencia entre 'estuve' y 'estaba'? ¿Puedes explicarme ese por favor? And... please criticize everything I say in Spanish. I need that criticism. :)

  • Estaba usando - (Pretérito imperfecto continuo)

It is used to talk about something in the past with a non determined duration, for an unknown period of time (usually not short). The action could be related to the present since it is not finished in the past.

  • Estuve usando - (Pretérito simple continuo)

It is used to talk about something in the past but unlike the "imperfecto" it refers to something specific in the past, also the action is finished, it does not have any relation with the present.

When adding the "continuo" to the tense it becomes a narration of facts but keeping the difference which does not exist in English. In English you will always translate as "was + ing", the difference would be in the rest of the sentence. For example. "I was doing it for a long time" (pasado imperfecto continuo), "I was doing it when she arrived" (specific, pasado simple continuo).

Some verbs have an irregular imperfect form, you can see some here. Also have in mind that you can use simple past instead of the progressive imperfect and keep the meaning For example:

  • Estaba usando (at that specific moment) lo que he aprendido
  • Usé (at that specific moment) lo que he aprendido

It is also usual that some native speakers (I would include me hehe) don't know very well this difference and we tend to mix things very often when speaking.

Hope it helps.

One more thing, when asking about difference between things, in spanish we say the equivalent to "which (cuál) is the difference" and not "what (qué) is the difference".

  • Cual es la diferencia entre....


For example

  • I was listening to music when my mother entered into my room.

Would be

  • Yo estaba escuchando música cuando mi mamá entró a mi cuarto.

Notice how it is an action taking place in a specific moment (and is not finished in the past). Bold words make clear it is not simple past. And an example of "estuve" to contrast:

  • I was listening to music all day long
  • Yo estuve escuchando musica todo el dia

Long period of time


Oh.. So basically, "estaba" is used in specific moments, whereas "estuve" is indefinite. Examples definitely make life a bit easier. Gracias!


Yes indeed, you are right =)


Adoro esos ejemplos. Como nativo español no habría conseguido explicar tan bien la diferencia entre una forma y la otra. ¡Ahora ya lo sé por si alguien me lo pregunta! haha, un saludo ;)


Jaja honestamente tuve que leer bastante para explicarlo de manera clara, pero me encanta hacerlo porque yo también aprendo mucho.


Great story. What is your Spanish level nowadays? Have you been able to speak kinda fluent by the way.

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