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https://www.duolingo.com/StueyU

Speaking Spanish...

StueyU
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Buenos dias a todos!

I'm after a little bit of advice...

I've completed my Spanish tree, and I'm on my way to completing the reverse tree. I am confident in my ability to read and write basic Spanish.

But... When it comes to having a conversation, it all goes horribly wrong!! I can never think of replies quickly enough, even if I have the vocabulary and it's a fairly simple question or conversation.

So, how can I improve this? I know the standard response is to have more conversations!! But, for somebody who gets incredibly nervous (and isn't even very good at small talk in my native English!) this isn't such a simple answer.

So does anybody have any tips on how to improve my conversational 'skills' before I bite the bullet and attend a local Spanish conversational group?

Gracias :)

3 years ago

16 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/beadspitter

Well...the first thing you should know is, it's never an easy answer. (It's simple. 'Go have more conversations' is very simple. It's just not easy.) You have a whhhhoooooolllle lot of company in getting the nervous stammers when it comes to doing as much as saying '¿Qué pasa?' to a Spanish-speaker. I believe you when you say that you're incredibly nervous, and I'm not trying to downplay that. I'm just saying, if there's any comfort in knowing it really, really isn't just you - it isn't.

Things that can help:

  • Read aloud in Spanish, especially dialogue, when you're alone. Get used to how it feels in your mouth, not just how it looks.

  • Watch Spanish-language movies with the audio in Spanish and the subtitles also in Spanish, and try to say at least one of the actors' lines along with them, as they come up on the screen. (You will stumble horribly and never be able to finish at the same time as them. That's because you're learning, and they're native speakers. It's okay.)

  • If you have a friend who doesn't know Spanish and is tolerant, speak Spanish to them. It's not as intimidating if it's not their language, and you can get used to saying, "¿Cómo estás?" without it being a big deal.

  • Narrate your life, out loud whenever possible, as you putter through your daily routines. ("Qué quiero comer? Qué puedo comer? Puedo hacer -- es 'hacer' la palabra correcta? -- un emparedado. No quiero. Comé un emparadado ayer. Entonces, qué? Puedo cocinar huevos..." etc..) Thrilling stuff, it's not, but what it does is just get you that much more in the habit of speaking, and hearing the words out loud, not in a lesson, not in a computerized voice. (Edited to add: also, have imaginary conversations with yourself, or someone who isn't there.)

  • Make sure anyone you have a conversation in Spanish with knows right from the beginning that you're new at this, and nervous. Make sure they're okay with it. They should be friendly and encouraging. If they seem impatient or if they aren't able to operate at your level, then politely end that conversation and find someone else.

Also, just accept the fluster and nerves as an inevitable part of beginning this part of learning. They don't feel good, but they're not bad. You're just brave for pushing on through it, and should feel proud of yourself for every fumbling word of it. I mean that.

Good luck!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FaRiha4
FaRiha4
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Great idea!Do you know any site where I can watch Spanish videos with Spanish subtitles?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/beadspitter

Unfortunately, I don't watch streaming video much, so I just know it's possible with DVDs. But if you can get streaming video anywhere that lets you pick language, it should be possible. Otherwise - Netflix dvds!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StueyU
StueyU
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Thanks for your reply, very helpful indeed! I am aware it is something that I need to do, so just wanted a few pointers to prepare for the inevitable, and your advice is great. As FaRiha4 says, any idea of a good place to get Spanish language movies/TV shoes that actually have Spanish subtitles. I've been able to find quite a few, but they always seem to have no subtitles or only English, which is very annoying!

Anyway, thanks again, have a lingot for your troubles :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Lrtward
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The "Extr@ in Spanish" series is a good intermediate level show, designed for students of Spanish. This playlist has subtítulos.

I find it also helps a lot to say all the phrases in the Duo lessons along with the robot. It really highlights my errors in pronunciation and makes me work through difficult (unfamiliar) sound combinations.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StueyU
StueyU
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Thanks for that, I will check the videos out later :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kastreitor
Kastreitor
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Necesitas practicar.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/K.S.Bulgar

I had the same problem but with English. I had studied english for maybe 15 years but when i had to speak i wasn't confident enough. But then i found a job where 50% of the clients were english speaking and now i have a good progress, I don't need time to think before i answer, you just need to practice, so the answer is really one.. just speak.. :/

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/italianvonne
italianvonne
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you can use a Spanish keyboard and use your voice to type. On my phone I have Swype keyboard and I've been using the voice feature to type in my answers on duo. (It has a Spanish dictionary along with the keyboard. I also have the Italian and French keyboards.) The voice feature is not perfect at picking up words so sometimes you will have to correct a word or two, but it gives good practice in thinking and speaking in real time. So maybe you have something similar on your phone or computer. I wonder if you switch your phone or computer to another language, will you be able to give voice commands/voice type in that language as well. I've never tried it, but something to think about.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/javierdelgado11

hola si necesitas alguien con quien practicar tu español puedes contar conmigo, yo necesito a alguien que hable ingles a la perfeccion para fortalecer mi ingles

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paulaha88

I talk to my cat in Spanish. He doesn't notice my mistakes - he never listens to me, neither in Spanish nor English. I talked to my dog in Spanish. He noticed my mistakes but was always too polite to point them out to me.

What helps me is to wake up my "Spanish brain." I'm what Simone describes as a happy babbler, but even with that, if someone speaks to me in Spanish when I'm not expecting it, I'm pretty awkward at first. OTOH, if I warm up with a few "narrate your life" sentences first, then my Spanish brain wakes up and I can happily chatter my grammatically awful Spanish. (I'm not picking on Simone; she's right.)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

Rehearse conversations in your head. I am always stunned when I see some one enter a restaurant and be asked "What would you like?" and the person looked totally shocked. What did you think they'd ask you? Of course a tax drier will ask where you want to go. If you as a store owner if the have mangos, you should have a pretty good idea what she is going to say to you. ;)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StueyU
StueyU
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Ah yes, this is good advice :)

I generally don't have a problem in situations where I need to ask for something, or I know what I'm going to be asked... The problem arises when I am totally unprepared, and rather than thinking about what has been said, and how to formulate a response, I tend to blurt out something stupid about how I don't speak Spanish. This even happens with simple requests if I'm not expecting it...

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/1848emilyb
1848emilyb
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When I know that I'm going to have a conversation in another language I write down ideas for things to say beforehand. For example, I'm visiting Quebec right now so before I go to a restaurant I look at my list of things to say in French before I go. If you know what your conversation is going to be about this can help immensely. It can be very robotic at first because you're parroting planned answers, but it helps with the nervousness (I'm pretty shy too!). Other than that, just be prepared to mess up sometimes. The other day I was asked if I had a good meal and alas...manger (to eat) sounded like change to me and I thought she was asking if I wanted change...to which I said "Non!" with a big ole smile. It was really embarrassing when I realized what I'd done, but I can guarantee that I will never confuse the two words again haha.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chaered
chaered
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Learn a bunch of filler phrases ("Right!", "Yeah?" "Wow.", "You think so?", "Oh really.", "Sounds like it.", "Guess so."), which give you the time to think more.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/javierdelgado11

hola si necesitas alguien con quien practicar tu español puedes contar conmigo, yo necesito a alguien que hable ingles a la perfeccion para fortalecer mi ingles

3 years ago