As an English speaker learning Spanish, it's natural to feel nervous or uncomfortable when you are speaking with Spanish speakers, including native speakers. Try these tips to Speak Spanish with Confidence!
1. Try not to worry what other people think of you. Most of the time, everyone is more focused on themself then they are worried about other people.
2. How do you feel when someone makes an effort to communicate with you in English, when English is not their native language? You probably appreciate their effort, right? Now put yourself in their shoes.
3. Work through the "pain period," where it feels uncomfortable to speak Spanish. It's uncomfortable, and you might not be saying everything 100% right, but pushing through and continuing to speak during this pain period is the only way to get better. Studying grammar and the rules of the language alone won't get you to a conversational level- only practice will! Remember: if you can get your point across, even if you didn't say it 100% correctly, isn't that what communication is all about? Then you have successfully communicated!
4. Context is essential! Different words can mean different things in different context. When asking for clarification, be sure to give the full context. Example: ¿Cómo se dice 'used"? Used to talk- hablaba VS used car- carro usado
5. Try rephrasing what you want to say in English, to see if when you rephrase it triggers some Spanish knowledge that will help you communicate. Example: most of my friends = the majority of my friends = la mayoría de mis amigos
6. Use similar English words when you can, like mucho or grande to broaden your vocabulary.
Bonus tip: Memorize one phrase and practice it on a Spanish speaker to build confidence. Try "Hola, ¿cómo está usted?" for "Hi, how are you?"
To build your confidence, try traveling to a Spanish speaking country! Immersion is a great way to learn! 1 spot left for the Dominican Republic adventure immersion trip and registration closes 7/31/17. Sign up today to get a bonus of 4 free Spanish lessons, personalized to your level!
Here are some more great tips from FluentU on Spanish confidence!
With over ten years of teaching experience, Hannah Pinkerton helps students of all ages and skill levels gain the confidence and language abilities to speak Spanish with native speakers, through online personalized sessions and adventure immersion trips to Spanish speaking countries. Hannah teaches Spanish with patience and passion. As a native English speaker, she understands the difficulties faced by English speakers learning Spanish. With personalized Spanish sessions over video chat, Hannah can pinpoint areas of difficulty and tweak lessons to your learning style, background, and goals. She can help form and fine tune your Spanish abilities, regardless of your age or level of previous Spanish knowledge. Hannah is a Spanish teacher and digital nomad based in Alabama.