How to Speak Spanish with Confidence: 21 Ways to Beat Your Fear and Just Start Speaking
Do you remember learning how to read when you were a child? Chances are you sounded words out, letter by letter. Spanish language learners can do that very same thing with absolute success.
1. Take Spanish Classes
Taking Spanish courses in person is one of the quickest ways to learn and practice new vocabulary. To boost your confidence and increase your learning, refrain from speaking any language other than Spanish during class, even if you feel tempted to ask a question in your native tongue.
You might also consider taking one-on-one lessons if you’d like a little extra attention during class. You can search for Spanish classes and conversation groups in your local area with meetup.com or consider taking a Skype lesson if there aren’t any classes being offered near you.
2. Watch Movies and Telenovelas
Watching movies and telenovelas in Spanish is a great way to familiarize yourself with conversational dialogue. Even if you’re a beginner, you should still be able to pick up a wealth of information from visual cues and body language.
You might also try watching with subtitles to help improve your understanding. The more you watch, the more you’ll become familiar with the accent and tone of voice commonly used in Spanish. The more Spanish you hear, the more confident you’ll be when it comes time for you to speak.
3. Listen to Music and Sing in Spanish
Have you ever noticed that it’s much easier for your brain to remember something when put to a song? To help increase your vocabulary and to better familiarize yourself with the language, start listening to music in Spanish as much as possible.
Listen with the lyrics in front of you so you can sing along. Try memorizing the lyrics and practice speaking them as well as singing them. Doing this won’t only prove to be an enjoyable practice, but it’ll also help boost your confidence and make you feel more comfortable speaking in Spanish.
4. Start Thinking in Spanish
There’s no doubt about it, once you can successfully think in Spanish, you’ll find that your confidence in your speaking ability will drastically increase. It’s easy to feel nervous when you find yourself stumbling for words and thinking too long about what to say next.
In the early stages of learning a language, you have to translate what you want to say in your head before you speak, which can make it difficult to carry a conversation at a regular pace. Fortunately, this process gets easier the more you’re exposed to the language. Eventually, you’ll find yourself able to think in Spanish without having to translate first.
5. Read out Loud
Another effective way to boost your Spanish speaking confidence is to start reading to yourself out loud in Spanish. Try waiting until after you’ve finished a paragraph before you look up any words.
In doing so, you’ll allow the words to flow out of your mouth more naturally, which will help you prepare for the authentic flow of a real conversation. Try reading books, magazines or newspapers in Spanish. You can also find many Spanish websites and blogs online as well.
6. Record Yourself Speaking Spanish
Try recording yourself having a conversation or reading in Spanish. By recording yourself and playing it back, you’ll have a chance to hear what you sound like and notice if there’s any room for improvement. Consider recording yourself on a regular basis so you can track your progress.
7. Get a Language Buddy
Having a language partner to practice with will encourage and inspire you to start speaking more. You can practice with another language learner so you feel more comfortable making mistakes or try practicing with a native speaker who can help correct you. Don’t be shy when speaking with native speakers.
Most people will be glad you have taken an interest in their language, so they’ll likely be patient and won’t mind slowing down the pace a bit for you. If you don’t know someone to practice with, try finding a partner using italki.
8. Educate Yourself on Common Mistakes
Most anxieties and insecurities are due to a lack of understanding and awareness of the Spanish language. If you familiarize yourself with the common mistakes Spanish language learners make, you’ll feel more knowledgeable and thus more comfortable when speaking.
9. Learn New Vocabulary Every Single Day
It’s hard to feel confident speaking in Spanish if you don’t have a strong vocabulary. Help increase your confidence by making it a point to learn new Spanish words every single day.
You can learn new words simply by reading a book or magazine and looking up the unfamiliar words you come across. You might also consider using flashcards to help you remember new words and phrases.
Our first advice: LISTEN
Listening, that is how anyone who wants to learn a language should begin. The language they speak best is our mother tongue, did not we learned by listening? No one told us: “Son, this toy is for you to learn how to conjugate the subjunctive.”It would be absurd !. We learned to talk by listening to our parents, family and friends. And this is the only way to master Spanish or any other language: LISTEN.
The key to success in anything, including learning Spanish is to practice a lot. When you hear some Spanish, try it again. Listen again to the audio. No need to be away, you can do it later or the next day. But listen again. That will help your brain in the learning process.
Children just learning to speak many times they hear the same words, phrases or expressions. His first words are often mom or dad because they are some of the words most heard. Moreover, they are easy to pronounce.
A Short Break, And Some Unexpected Magic
Martyn was still exhausted, but you could see the excitement bubbling up to the surface. He started to reach for more to say – more little moments of communication – and he was understanding most of what I was saying back to him. It encouraged both of us. A few simple moments of real communication – speaking real Spanish – and suddenly all the worry that the method wouldn’t work disappeared.
Martyn was still making mistakes. Mountains of them. At a guess, he was getting about 10% of the target phrases right before he heard Rosa. But it didn’t matter any more. We could both see that he was genuinely learning.
He was starting to fine-tune, as well. ‘Usted habla lo’ became ‘usted lo habla’ (you speak it) without any clues from me, and then ‘Puede usted lo decir?’ switched itself back to ‘Puede usted decirlo?’ (Can you say it?). I kept wanting to high-five him.
I’d decided, more or less at random, that the first 25 sessions we’d built were our ‘Level One’. Martyn had session 22 finished by half-past three – and despite his new enthusiasm, he was yawning too much to answer at least half the time.
In less than 24 hours, Gaby was going to call him on Skype, and speak Spanish at him. And we were going to record it. Martyn obviously felt a little stressed about this, and I can’t say I was calm. I imagined finishing this experiment with a video showing Martyn failing to remember any Spanish. Pressure can make anyone crack, and it’s worse for a brand new learner.
Speak Spanish in Four Days: Day Four
I used to teach languages in a British high school, and I can still remember the sense of helpless worry I’d get when my students were going into exams. It’s a horrible feeling. You want to freeze time so that you can give them a month or two of last minute reminders. But you worry that if you throw any extra details at them, it’ll push the other stuff out of their brains.
I’d emailed Gaby asking him to use questions that Martyn had covered in Level One. I know how easily fluent speakers can start talking about things that a learner doesn’t understand! Martyn and I decided that we’d just finish Level One by doing the last three sessions, and we wouldn’t move onto Level Two.
By 1:00pm we’d finished three sessions, and Martyn was consistently speaking in groups of five or six words together. This would have been impossible on Day Two. Even on the particularly difficult last session, which revises everything we’d done in the whole of Level One, he was doing better than on Day Three.
We decided to take the last couple of hours as a chance to relax on the sofas in his living room. We played around with possible questions, and tried out different answers. Martyn was starting to achieve real communication in Spanish – talking about real things, about the process he’d been going through, about what he wanted to do. It felt like much more than you’d expect from a standard beginner who’d only be learning how to speak Spanish for four days.
There’s a moment when something you’re worrying about becomes inevitable, and time suddenly accelerates. It’s like the moment on a roller-coaster, at the top of the climb, when your fear gives way to excitement, and everything becomes a blur.
Ready… ready… ready! I pressed play on the camera, and suddenly there was Gaby throwing Spanish words at Martyn. I knew for a fact Martyn had never heard these words in his life. It’s all going to fall to pieces! But no… wait… what’s this?
Martyn does not freeze in front of the camera. In fact, the camera seems to inspire him. He’s putting words together in ways he hasn’t tried before . That’s the final ingredient that turns speaking a new language into a magical experience.
I thought that I would record 10 minutes or so of Martyn speaking, and choose the best two or three minutes. That didn’t happen. I only recorded the first 3 minutes, and left it at that. By the time they’d finished speaking, Gaby and Martyn had arranged to meet up and have a Welsh/Spanish intercambio (language exchange) in the Welsh National Eisteddfod in August. To be fair, by that point the Skype conversation had become something of a Welsh/Spanish intercambio itself. When Gaby switched to speaking Welsh, Martyn said he’d never in his life been so relieved to hear a language he really understood!