https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Danielconcasco

The first time I _needed_ Spanish to communicate

Today I finally used my Spanish in a situation where the other person couldn't understand my English.

I was on a job, painting a school while their usual cleaning crew was doing their thing. I was listening to the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Spanish, practicing answer the dialogues.

One of the women was cleaning the bathroom when I went on my break. My break was timed around painting drying, so I couldn't wait. I knocked and asked her if she was finished. A look of panic swept her face and she stumbled to find any words in English. I instantly said "¿Puedo usar el baño?" She smiled very brightly and answered in a mix of English and Spanish. I thanked her and started washing the paint from my hands.

It made me realize that I've made speaking Spanish into this immense task in my head. I didn't have time to be nervous and she clearly had more anxiety about speaking English than I ever have had speaking Spanish.

If you've been hesitating to use your Spanish, don't! It doesn't have to be a perfect time or place or sound like Complete Idiot’s Guide to Spanish. I had forgotten that the reason I had started learning in the first place was to make a human connection.

August 8, 2015

31 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pilgrim2k

You are absolutely right speak even if it isn't perfect. I have a Mexican restaurant that I eat at least once a week and the waitress that always waits on me noticed that I was doing a Duo lingo lesson while waiting for my meal. She ask me in English if I was learning Spanish and when I said yes she told me that she would only speak Spanish from then on and if I wanted anything I had to say it in Spanish. We have been doing this for about three months. I'm starting to get over my nervousness and speaking more freely and she has helped me so much. I have found that even if it isn't perfect people will help you and correct you. I learn at least one new phrase or word every week.

August 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/volcidash

That's wonderful omg I might have to start doing that! Doesn't it feel so nice to stop worrying so much though? Like really I don't care about making so many mistakes anymore because I know it's not the end of the world, I'll be understood as long as I try anyway. It's kind of like jumping into cold water I think? Like it's horrifying at first but once you get used to it you're totally fine

August 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pilgrim2k

Yes it is great and all of the sudden it just seems to come out of your mouth naturally even if you say something wrong. It's like you don't worry because you're with someone that understands what you're going through and they jump in to help you out. I love Spanish and the learning process. I won't miss a day of study. I just got my 638th day streak. It's a part of my life now. when I get up in the morning and have my cup of tea I do lessons for about 30 minutes, and then around noon, I try to study another 30 minutes and then at night I get in about an hour. I will continue this until I am fluent. Keep working on speaking every chance that you get, even if it's only little phrases. That's what I have been doing and then suddenly you will just connect a couple together and conversation will grow.

August 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Leslie_Duo

Good point about being with someone who understands what you're going through - it helps a lot to remember that! I remember it used to bother me to try & speak Spanish w/ someone whose English was obviously better than my Spanish. I don't worry about that so much anymore. Speaking a language is not brain surgery, after all. If we make a mistake, the results are not usually life-threatening. :) Quite often Spanish speakers take me under their wing & want to help me learn & practice more Spanish. ¡Genial!

August 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DUODELETED129

do someone wants to be my friend ?

August 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Viktor4ever

If you want to be mine, sure thing! ;)

October 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elizabeth261736

What a lovely person!

August 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/doctorbird

That's great, I want one of those liaisons

August 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ngarrang

Tres burritos pollo, por favor. :)

August 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eichgi

Lastly i 've been looking for people to practice english and other language, and I realized that's so interesting, i mean to meet people from other countries and places is nice. Another point for language learning.

August 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/itastudent

It's really great to be able to use Spanish in such an emergency situation.

I am wondering what would have happened if you had not been able to ask if you could use the bathroom.

August 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Danielconcasco

If I couldn't ask, I would have had to be rude and start washing up. Then she would have had a bad day :).

August 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ProfesorAntonnio

Es una historia interesante y algo cómica.

August 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Danimal67

Good for you! I do this at work all day long with my customers. I have had thousands of interactions exactly like this. I am so not afraid to speak Spanish anymore. Hispanic people are amazing and will always help you learn. I have found that when I am not at work and want to speak Spanish to someone I always ask, "Esta bien si yo practico mi Espanol con usted?" The answer is always yes. I don't care if they speak perfect English I want them to help me and they always do. In fact the people who speak English perfectly are easier to learn from because they can explain things to me in English! I have made more friends now that I speak Spanish then I could have ever imagined! It changed my life!

August 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/doctorbird

I am waiting for my moment, i hope it comes soon!

August 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/calicagey

Your experience gives me courage to jump in there--be courageous and humble--and use my Spanish now! Muchas gracias...

August 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daKanga
Mod
  • 203

Keep it up. This is a great community, and supports people from ALL backgrounds, ages and histories and locations around this world - to learn another language and have fun :) Feel free to drop me a line at any time in your language journey. I love to see people learning. And I am so honored to be be able to welcome you here. :)

August 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mattoleriver

It looks like learning Spanish has become a genuine business expense, now you can write off the cost of Duolingo on your taxes! :)

August 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JesusSaves...

This is so good. This is why I want to learn Spanish. To speak to people. To make them smile. That had to feel so good.

August 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Leaves13

You are so lucky, it's quite difficult for me to speak Spanish. I can read and understand the language very easily, but speaking seems to be another story.

August 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Danielconcasco

Speaking is still difficult for me. The only way I've become at all comfortable is to practice dialogues in my head. I try to practice the conversation starters and the first few responses. I also memorized a little paragraph explaining that I'm new to Spanish and confuse it with my Italian and Portuguese.

August 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Leaves13

I confuse some Spanish words with French words, that's alright when i think English - Spanish. I have been living in Spain for 7 months and it didn't help me at all (I was surrounded by foreigners though, that might have been the problem). But now it seems that there's some light at the end of the tunnel lol I think I will soon be ready to speak Spanish.

August 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SchipulCatherine

I can't tell you how many times I have mangled Spanish, but I can tell you every time I've done it I have made "a human connection" and I treasure all those memories and look forward to more.

August 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yahoo3579

Great story. I have taken Spanish in school and have the basics down, but not enough to be very fluent-and definitely not enough to carry on a good conversation.

August 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yadiselrodriguez

Hola. Vivo algo similar. Yo sé español, de hecho esa es mi área de estudio, mi especialidad. Estoy aprendiendo inglés y siento que mi progreso va poquito a poquito. Creo que lo importante es atreverse. De pronto, te puedo ayudar con tu español y a la vez aprendo inglés. Saludos

August 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/volcidash

It is the best feeling ever to communicate with someone using their native language, especially if they can't understand yours! It feels like you possess a key to a whole new dimension lol. Sadly I hesitate all the time because I can tell when people understand English and when they don't, and most of the time they do, so in order to avoid being rude and assuming I tend to follow the rule "don't talk to someone in Spanish unless they talk to me in it first." There are way too many exceptions to that rule though, like this one! Because really so many people who had to learn English to talk to us in our language are really thankful when we return the favor and try to talk to them in theirs.

August 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elizabeth261736

You can say, "I'm learning X language, do you mind if I practice"? That way you don't appear to assume that they don't speak English. Also, if some does not appear to speak English, you can ask "Habla Español?" or whatever language. If they say yes, then you can go ahead and speak.

The assumption can be rude, but if you ask, it seems fine.

August 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Viktor4ever

That's a great idea. I didn't think about asking them that, especially if they don't speak that language, but a similar one, and you had just launched into that language that they don't speak. Also, I had heard that some countries would rather English speakers not try and speak in their language, for we don't hit the notes right, but I think that that's because the English speakers just start off with speaking it instead of asking. I honestly think that if anyone wants to try and speak a different language to become more fluent, then don't try and tell them otherwise. They won't get learn and get better if they try and get some of it wrong. That's how our brains and vocabulary grow! :)

October 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JaspervanderMeer

"If you've been hesitating to use your Spanish, don't!" JUST bump into any situation where Spanish is normal. JUST.

August 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Danielconcasco

I'm not sure I understand what you mean.

August 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yadiselrodriguez

I can help you.

August 12, 2015
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