8 Ways to Make Yourself Sound Like a Spanish Expert
Talk Spanish Like a Pro. That's the goal. The more you can sound like a well-educated speaker of Spanish, the better. That's what I want to accomplish with this list. I want to give you some ways to sound better at Spanish. Here are some things to look at.
1. Use Proper Pronunciation
Proper pronunciation is an important step in moving to intermediate and advanced Spanish.
2. Learn the Spanish Idioms
Have you ever noticed how much we use idioms in English. I sometimes like to listen to people talk and pay attention to how much of what is said is idioms and not meant to be taken in literal form. Anyway, Spanish idioms are the Spanish people that people actually speak. Especially in informal situations. The sooner you know the most popular Spanish idioms, the quicker you'll be able to keep up in friendly conversations.
3. Get good at rolling your r
In Spanish there is a letter r and there is a letter rr. (it looks like 2 letters to us but they treat it as one) The rr letter is the one that gets rolled. Some people do the rolling of the r very easily and some have to work at it a little more. I can recall having a talk about rolling the r with a co-worker friend from Mexico City, and he told me his teachers in second grade made him practice this too. So everyone just has to practice and work on this and then they have it. And it will really show you as an accomplished Spanish speaker.
4. Avoid using slang and swear words
You hear the Spanish swear words more in some settings than others, and I remember learning most of the swear words my first few months of studying Spanish. I think it's good to know of them, but I would caution against using them in your conversations. There's a chance you'll use the word incorrectly or be misunderstood, so it's not worth it. Anyway, you'll find all these words in books about colloquial Spanish. If you want to learn more about slang and swear words check out colloquial spanish at your favorite bookstore.
5. Use the Usted formal form when appropriate
Usted is a formal way to say the word You in Spanish. It's used when speaking to older folk and people you don't know very well yet. Using Usted when it's required will show that you are respectful and that you are educated in Spanish customs.
6. Know and understand Cognates
Actually, you need to concern yourself with the False Cognates. (Words that look like familiar English words but mean something else) Using a false cognate in an incorrect way will detract from your expert Spanish speaking image. Some will be tempted to take a short cut here, and assume the meaning of a Spanish word is the English meaning. Cognates can make learning Spanish easier, but use care and always be sure of the meanings of all the words you use.
7. Read and Write, as well as Speak Spanish
If you do this, you'll be a happy Spanish speaker. At the same time you learn to talk and converse in Spanish, be sure to learn to spell, and read and write too. Learn how to spell (with puctuation, accents) every word you learn. It's easier to do this one word at a time as you're learning the words for the first time than to have to go back later after you've learned to speak thousands of words and have to learn how to spell them. You might be tempted to take a shortcut here, but I don't recommend it. Take the extra step and be completely literate in Spanish.
8. Understand the gender of nouns and the exceptions
Most people understand nouns that end in o use el and nouns that end in a use la. But this is similar to cognates, where it's the exceptions that'll hurt you. Be sure to learn the exception words like la mano. Anytime you learn a word like this, be sure to think of it as a special case.
So there it is. 8 tips to sound like an expert speaker of Spanish. I hope this list of tips for speaking Spanish was helpful to you and that it gets you closer to your goal of learning Spanish. Good luck.