Are you interested in learning Spanish but don’t know where to start?
Whether it’s for travel, work, or personal enrichment, learning a new language is always a great and fun challenge that is also valuable. Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and is the official language of 21 countries.
In this ultimate guide, we will provide you with all the tips and resources you need to get started on how to speak Spanish like a native! In the meantime, check out this fantastic video where Paulísima from Spring Languages (a project I’m a co-founder) talks you through the 3 best tips to start speaking Spanish:
1. Why Learn Spanish?
Before we start, let’s talk about why learning to speak Spanish could be so good for you.
We’ve already mentioned it but it’s never enough to state this:
Spanish is one of the most spoken languages in the world and learning it allows you to communicate with people from all around the world.
Many businesses also need employees who speak Spanish, especially in tourism and international trade.
And of course, there’s always the excitement of learning a language, so even if you don’t want to learn Spanish because of professional reasons, it might still be a good and fun challenge! Read on to learn how to speak Spanish!
2. Improve your Spanish speaking fluency with these basic phrases
Now that you’re sold on the idea of learning Spanish, let’s start with the basics on how to speak Spanish!
Every language has a set of essential phrases that you should learn right away, and Spanish is no exception.
Here are a few basic Spanish phrases to get you started:
|Hola, ¿cómo estás?||Hello, how are you?|
|Lo siento||I’m sorry|
|No entiendo||I don’t understand|
|¿Dónde está el baño?||Where is the bathroom?|
|¿Cuánto cuesta?||How much does it cost?|
You could also check out our dedicated article for the top 50 basic Spanish words and phrases for beginners or Spanish conversation starters that could come in handy if you want to start speaking right away!
3. Spanish pronunciation rules every Spanish speaker should know
Spanish pronunciation can be a bit tricky but with practice, it can be mastered.
Here are some key rules to keep in mind:
- The Spanish alphabet has 27 letters.
- Spanish is a syllable-timed language, which means that each syllable gets an equal amount of time to pronounce it.
- The letter r is pronounced differently in Spanish than in English. It is rolled or trilled with the tip of the tongue. You can read more on how to roll your rs in Spanish.
- The letter j is pronounced as an H sound, as in “hola.” More on j in Spanish on Effortless Conversations.
- The accent marks in Spanish indicate which syllable should be stressed.
A fun and challenging way of practicing your Spanish pronunciation could be to check out the hard Spanish words article on our website.
You could also check out Speechling and our Speechling review! It is a freemium language platform that focuses on… speech and on how to speak Spanish like a native!
After you sign up on the platform, you can listen to phrases and repeat them, or answer questions!
Your recordings will be sent to a real coach who will give you feedback on how well you pronounce the Spanish expressions.
4. Understanding the grammar of the Spanish language
Grammar can be hard when learning a language, but understanding the basics is essential to progress.
Here are a few key Spanish grammar rules to get you started:
- Spanish nouns are either feminine or masculine, and the article (el or la) must agree with the noun’s gender.
- Adjectives in Spanish usually come after the noun they describe and they agree in gender and number with the nouns they modify.
- The verb conjugation in Spanish changes depending on the subject pronoun (yo, tú, él/ella, nosotros, vosotros, ellos/ellas).
- In Spanish, there are two verbs that both translate to “to be”: ser is used for permanent characteristics and general descriptions; while estar is used for temporary states, emotions and conditions. Ser vs estar is essential to learn Spanish.
Grammar is important but we have a method for you where you can learn the grammar rules without actually spending a lot of time memorizing them.
It’s called Conversation Based Chunking method.
By observing locals, you become familiar with word combinations or “chunks” that they use naturally.
Instead of solely learning individual words, it is more effective to learn these word combinations right from the beginning. This approach allows you to bypass many grammar rules while you still learn them – and you might not even feel like you’re learning grammar!
Check out our article with a step-by-step guide dedicated for Spanish beginners.
5. Learn how to speak Spanish fluently with expanded vocabulary
Once you’re comfortable with the basics, it’s time to start expanding your vocabulary.
One of the best ways to learn new words is to read and watch content in Spanish. You can also use flashcards or apps to memorize new vocabulary.
Here are a few Spanish words and phrases to get you started:
|¿Puedo tener la cuenta, por favor?||Can I have the bill, please?|
|Me gustaría una cerveza, por favor.||I would like a beer, please.|
|¿Dónde puedo encontrar una farmacia?||Where can I find a pharmacy?|
|Perdón, ¿habla inglés?||Excuse me, do you speak English?|
|¿Qué hora es?||What time is it?|
|¿Cuál es tu nombre?||What is your name?|
6. Tips for Spanish conversation practice: look for native speakers!
One of the most important aspects of how to speak Spanish is practicing speaking with native speakers.
Here are some tips for finding conversation practice opportunities:
- Look for language exchange programs in your area.
- Use learning apps that allow you to connect with native speakers.
- Attend cultural events and meetups in your community.
- Watch Spanish TV shows and movies, and try to have conversations with the characters.
- Practice speaking with Spanish-speaking friends or coworkers.
7. Learn Spanish today: become fluent with these apps
Technology has made language learning more accessible than ever.
How to speak Spanish? Here are some of the best Spanish learning apps and tools available!
Babbel is a learning platform that offers interactive lessons in different languages, including Spanish!
The lessons are personalized based on your skill level, so you can make steady progress.
Babbel provides exercises for grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, as well as real-life conversations to prepare you on how to speak Spanish.
With voice recognition technology, Babbel helps you improve your pronunciation.
SpanishPod101 is an innovative and fun platform for learning Spanish, catering to learners at all levels.
It provides a vast array of audio and video lessons, along with a suite of learning tools to enhance comprehension
Each lesson incorporates actual conversations, making language acquisition more realistic and engaging. I wrote a SpanishPod101 review article that explains and reviews this approach.
SpanishPod101’s approach makes learning an enjoyable challenge and the good news is that it can also be combined with Conversation Based Chunking. With this combination, the question of how to speak Spanish will be just part of the past in no time!
Click the button below to learn more about this approach!
SpanishDict provides a comprehensive dictionary, translation tools, and interactive lessons for vocabulary and grammar.
With plenty of examples, regional variations, and audio pronunciations, learners can easily grasp and remember words.
Quizzes and flashcards reinforce learning, making it a dynamic platform for learning Spanish.
Mondly is an award-winning platform that offers an engaging approach to mastering different languages.
With an interactive chatbot and augmented reality (AR), Mondly makes learning even more fun than it already is.
The app offers 33 languages, including Spanish, and focuses on practical vocabulary and authentic conversations.
Lessons mimic real-life situations, making the process relatable and engaging.
Daily lessons, challenges, and quizzes help track progress.
8. Practice section – General Spanish language quiz
Learn more about the Spanish language with this quiz!
- What is the second most spoken language in the world, by number of native speakers?
A. English B. Hindi C. Mandarin D. Spanish
- In which country is Spanish NOT an official language?
A. Mexico B. Brazil C. Argentina D. Spain
- What does the Spanish word “mañana” mean in English?
A. Tomorrow B. Morning C. Evening D. Both A and B
- What is the Spanish word for “goodbye”?
A. Hola B. Adiós C. Buenos días D. Noche
- What does the word “usted” refer to in Spanish?
A. We B. You (formal) C. I D. He/She
- How do you say “thank you” in Spanish?
A. Por favor B. Hola C. Gracias D. Si
- What is the Spanish term for “Internet”?
A. Internet B. Computadora C. Pantalla D. Teléfono
- How do you say “100” in Spanish?
A. Diez B. Cien C. Ciento D. Mil
- What does “¿Cómo estás?” mean in English?
A. What’s your name? B. Where are you? C. How are you? D. What’s the weather like?
- How do you ask for the bill in Spanish?
A. ¿Puedo tener la cuenta, por favor? B. Qué hora es? C. ¿Dónde está el baño? D. ¿Dónde puedo encontrar una farmacia?
This is just one of our many examples of how you can practice Spanish. Click the button and get access to our Practice Worksheet Library!
9. Learn to speak Spanish today with Conversation Based Chunking
So, now that you know all about the best Spanish learning resources and apps, try out this interactive roleplay with Paulísima to SPEAK:
Here’s how you can leverage the Conversation Based Chunking method to speak Spanish:
Step 1: Input
Get enough input of the language through reading and by listening to locals speaking the language
Dialogues prove particularly beneficial as they show conversational language, full of slang, idioms and real-time interactions.
An added benefit of this substantial exposure is the heightened cultural understanding!
Step 2: Improve Listening Skills
Next, you enhance your listening skills by practicing with various inputs.
This helps you better understand native speakers. It’s important to listen at regular speed, preferably with a transcript.
Don’t worry if it feels challenging – if you persist, you’ll see faster progress compared to always listening to slowed-down audio!
Step 3: Identify (or Discover) Chunks
Next, in the third step, you recognize patterns in everything you read and hear: the common word combinations that locals use, which make their speech sound natural.
These are the chunks! You should begin incorporating these chunks into your own language use.
Step 4: Imprint The Chunks On Your Brain
In the fourth step, you remember these chunks so that you can easily use them in conversations.
You can use techniques like flashcards and memory tricks to learn chunks.
The only difference is that this time, you’re memorizing chunks that you can instantly use in conversations, instead of having to construct sentences from scratch!
Step 5: Speak Using Chunks
In the fifth step you start speaking, and you implement what you’ve learned.
Yes, you’ll be having actual conversations…!
And the longer you follow these 5 steps, the more effortless they’ll become!
We hope that this ultimate guide has provided you with the tips and motivation you need to get started on your Spanish language learning journey.
So, what are you waiting for? Click the button below to receive your first Spanish Chunking Starter Pack and start speaking this beautiful language right away!
¡Buena suerte! (Good luck!)