When travelling around the world, one of the most difficult and important skills to master is the art of being able to communicate with the locals of your travel destination, today we’ll be focusing on Spanish. You may be wondering, what are some of the best ways to learn conversational Spanish?
What are some of the most important subject matters to be familiar with? In this context, conversational Spanish would refer to the ability to carry a conversation with a Spanish speaker about everyday topics such as the weather, current entertainment or world affairs.
Step 1: Listen to the Natives Online
One of the best ways to learn any language is to immerse yourself in the lives of the locals. By doing so you would learn the intricacies of regional dialects, slang and any modern phrases. Spanish, like many languages, can vary from region to region and so this is one of the best ways to do so.
Some of the things you could do to achieve this goal would be to watch popular Spanish TV shows or films, listen to Spanish music and perhaps even follow Spanish speaking content creators online on platforms such as Youtube and Tik Tok. Some possible examples will be listed below including links to follow.
- Money Heist TV show
As one of 2017’s most popular releases, Money Heist is a Spanish language TV show that follows the plot of a group of criminal masterminds who decide to carry out one of history’s biggest heists. Although the show has been dubbed over in English, watching it in its native Spanish would be much more beneficial.
- Top Spanish songs on spotify
This playlist will feature some of the current year’s hottest and most popular Spanish releases, listening to this will help acquaint you with a more colloquial version of the Spanish language as well as familiarise you with any popular slang.
- Yuya – A popular Spanish speaking YouTuber
A popular beauty and lifestyle content creator on the Youtube Platform, Yuya takes her followers through her day to day life. This is a great way to immerse yourself in the way in which the average Spanish speaker would speak about the generally mundane topics that persist in everyday life.
- News in Slow Spanish Podcast – Spotify
This popular podcast is especially fantastic for those learning to speak Spanish, it discusses a variety of day to day topics in slow, deliberate Spanish helping all listeners to better understand and comprehend the language and its nuances as well as keeping them up to date with the latest news.
Step 2: Find Natives Near You
This step might actually be considered the hardest, and that is finding people you could converse with in Spanish. Not only does this mean you may have to conquer any lingering shyness but it also might be difficult to find Spanish speakers in your area if you’re in a Spanish speaking city or country. Speaking to native Spanish speakers is a key method to improving your own understanding of the language and diction. If you find yourself struggling to find a Spanish speaking buddy, here are some alternatives you might try.
- HelloTalk – Apps
A popular language exchange app, HelloTalk allows you to connect with Spanish speakers from around the world, all without having to leave the comfort of your own home.
- Coffee Break- Twitter
Catering specifically to those wishing to learn and practice their Spanish, this page is perfect to help you connect to Spanish speakers and find out what the trending topics are in Spanish speaking countries as well as local preferences when discussing them.
- Tandem – App
Allowing you to become friends with native Spanish speakers, this app allows you to form close bonds with Spanish speakers while improving your own skills at the same time!
Lastly, another great way of finding Spanish speakers in your area is to research any Spanish Expat communities, local Spanish speaking communities as well as looking up if any activities that are popular in Spanish speaking countries are being hosted in your area.
Step 3: Break the Ice
Now that you’ve started your journey on learning conversational Spanish it’s time to tackle one of the hardest parts…public speaking. Yes unfortunately this part is unavoidable, in order to perfect your pronunciation and get comfortable with the language it’s best to actually speak it in everyday life. But not to worry, we’re here to guide you through ten, easy to master phrases that will help you break the ice the next time you meet a native Spanish speaker.
- Where are you from?
“¿De dónde eres?”
This would obviously be a great conversation starter when meeting someone new
- What do you think of this place?
“¿Qué opinas de este lugar?”
This is a great conversation starter as it not only helps when visiting a new location but also invites the fellow speaker to share their personal opinion, opening them up to deeper conversation.
- What’s your favourite season?
“¿Cuál es tu estación favorita?”
Again, inviting conversational partners to share personal opinions is always a great idea as this provides a springboard for flowing conversation.
- Did you hear/read about X?
“¿Escuchaste/leíste sobre X?”
As stated prior, current affairs make conversation starters are they are often topics the general public are familiar with
- Where did you grow up?
A great question when meeting a potential friend, this allows the conversation to flow on a deeper level.
- What do you do for a living?
“¿A qué te dedicas?”
Generally one of the most common daily topics, this question is one of the easiest ways to start a conversation with someone.
- Where have you travelled recently?
“¿Adónde has viajado recientemente?”
Especially relevant now, with the rise in the digital nomad movement, this question has become important to those travelling to new countries and allows for the potential of finding new travel destinations.
- What’s your favourite kind of music?
“¿Qué tipo de música más te gusta?”
With most people enjoying music, this question opens the floor up to a great way for people who just met to bond.
- What show or movie have you seen recently?
“¿Qué serie o película has visto recientemente?”
For the cinephiles and movie buffs, this would be a great question and allow the speakers to bond over their love of cinema or certain films.
- Are you on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat?
Once any of the above questions have been asked and conversations have been had, this is a great way to keep that conversation going. This question not only allows speakers to connect online but to discuss the pros and cons of their preferred social media platforms.
Step 4: Take notes
It’s important while having these conversations to be mindful. It’s understandable that at first, it may seem difficult to keep up with fluent Spanish speakers, however, one practice that can be helpful during this time would be to take notes, whether it be pen on paper or on a smartphone, taking notes will help keep track of any new words and phrases that may pop up in conversation. Trust us, there will be many.
Due to the fact that new words and phrases will pop up, making notes will help ease any conversational anxiety and help you get used to the flow and speed of speaking Spanish on a daily basis. Therefore it’s encouraged that once you’ve made your notes, a regular review of them should be done including a practice session.
Step 5: Repeat
One of the hardest things to master when it comes to learning any new skill is dedication. It’s normal to want to give up when things get hard, however, perseverance is of the utmost importance when it comes to understanding conversational Spanish. Remember why you wanted to do this in the first place, think about how rewarding it would feel when you’re finally able to say that you fluently speak Spanish.
Remember that it’s completely worthwhile to pursue this goal, so even if you need to take a break try and return to it. Continuing to work on your conversational Spanish speaking skills will only help you the more you practice and eventually with continuous practice, you’ll be able to discuss more complex topics of conversation such as the sciences, literature, politics and the human condition.
Mastering the everyday conversation
Mastering these skills will have you planning your next trip with a smile on your face, knowing that you are now familiar with the art of breaking the ice and no longer have to fear starting a conversation. Remember to do your research on all current topics when visiting a new country as this will give you some great ideas about the popular conversational topics and how to navigate them. For more tips on mastering the Spanish language or if you wish to take a complete, personalised course including live teaching sessions, visit the AmazingTalker website and sign up for your class today.