Top 10 Exclusive Tips and Tricks to Avoid Losing Spanish Fluency
Have you ever felt on the top of the world because of your fluency in Spanish? Did you go to a Spanish-speaking country and hear compliments like “you speak perfect Spanish!” or “wow, where did you learn to speak Spanish? You’re so good.”? Comments like these make us feel proud of what we’ve accomplished and we want to hang on to our impressive skills. But what if you start to feel like you’re losing your Spanish fluency? Today we’ll explore 10 useful and effective tips for you to follow that will help you to stay fluent in Spanish!
Why Maintain Spanish Fluency?
But first, why do you have to actively maintain the language? Well, the reality is that you don’t have to, but you likely want to, because you know how useful it is to speak Spanish in the globally-minded world of today. What’s more, think back to the endless hours you put into learning this language, not to mention all the times you wanted to quit (like when you tried to figure out how to use ser and estar correctly). How long did it take you to master present tense conjugations? The truth is, you’ve made a colossal effort to be fluent and you know there’s no credible reason to give up now. Make those years of learning Spanish count and maintain your Spanish fluency with these tips!
10 Tips to Avoid Losing Spanish Fluency
1. Become friends with native speakers
Talking to a native speaker who was raised using the language allows us to hear colloquial language, practice our pronunciation, and learn words we didn’t know. If you go to a Latin country as an exchange student or volunteer, make friends with a native to help you practice and stay fluent in Spanish. You’ll have the chance to make video calls or text each other throughout the years, which will definitely help you avoid developing rusty Spanish. Plus, it will give you the benefit of absorbing the accent of an actual Spanish speaker and keeping your vocabulary up to date.
2. Travel abroad to refresh your skills
Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow, so if you keep traveling to Latin countries, you’ll be able to constantly remember how to order food in Spanish, say good morning and good night, say hi, ask someone for directions, etc. Traveling is refreshing and fun, so it’s the perfect excuse for you to keep practicing and expanding your Spanish skills.
3. Read newspapers online
Almost every major newspaper has a website, and most of them are available for free online. While the digital revolution may have bothered sticklers for print journalism, it’s great news for language learners like you. By reading in Spanish you’ll get a different point of view on a story, learn more about the culture and what’s happening on it, and you’ll expose yourself to international news. Here are some of the best online journals to visit:
- El País – Spanish newspaper with a global perspective
- El Tiempo – a Colombian newspaper
- El Universal – Mexican news
- La Nación – global news in Spanish
4. Listen to music in Spanish
Listen to Spanish music, not only because it’s the best in the world, but also because it will polish your pronunciation and listening skills. Avoid trying to use songs that are too fast or have expressions that aren’t necessarily good or appropriate or you risk learning poor quality Spanish. Listen to artists who tell a story in their songs and are easy to understand (but still very talented at the same time). Some of these kind of artists are: Reik, Fonseca, Carlos Vives, Carlos Baute, Juan Luis Guerra, Pablo Alborán, Chayanne, Luis Fonsi, and Morat. Check out How to Learn Spanish Through Music for song links and a lyrics study!
5. Serve as a tutor
It is proven that the best way of learning something is to teach it. If you want to keep it up with your Spanish fluency, being a tutor for children or teens will definitely help you to practice and constantly improve your skills. If you would like to become a Spanish tutor online, here are some websites you can visit that don’t require you to have previous professional experience as a tutor:
- BitDegree: their slogan goes by “we create opportunities to learn in-demand skills for each and every one”, so besides learning, you can sign up as a tutor and make some extra money by teaching Spanish!
- Chegg Tutors: This site offers help 24/7 in any subject, so you can become one of the online tutors available for Spanish lessons! Chegg Tutors is a recognized site that has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Yahoo, and Today.
- Tutor.com: This is one of the most popular websites for online tutoring. It combines tutoring with homework help and test preparation with powerful tools.
- Varsity Tutors: A mobile tutoring app that gives easy and quick access for learning different subjects. In fact, it has more than 150,000 clients interested in Spanish, so it’s the perfect opportunity to jump in and be their tutor!
6. Watch movies in Spanish
Countless Spanish movies exist which makes it easy for you to find one aligned to your interests, preferable accent, skill level, etc. Watching them can help you sharpen your ear and keep your skills fresh. In fact, there are plenty things you can do with movies to practice your Spanish, such as challenging yourself to write a summary about it, talking to a friend or a language partner about the main events in the movie, and making a small forum with a group of people to discuss what you found interesting. Here is a list of great movies in Spanish, go check it out!
7. Have a language buddy
You’re lucky if you have a friend who also loves to speak Spanish; make it “your thing” to text and talk to each other only in Spanish. In the case that you don’t know a native speaker, this option is the perfect substitute. In my experience, for example, I am a native Spanish speaker living in Guatemala who loves English, and I found a friend who does too, so one day we decided to talk to each other only in English! I will admit, it was weird at the beginning. People stared at us with confused expressions as we spoke to each other in a language other than Spanish, but we didn’t let it stop us. Now we have so much fun speaking English and it made us become even closer as friends. I promise that if you try this method, you’ll maintain Spanish fluency and have so much fun with your buddy!
8. Write in Spanish
This is probably one of the best methods because writing helps you stay close to the grammar and spelling of the language. This is important because knowing how words are written actually improves our memory of them and gives us a stronger foundation for speaking it. Some ways you can practice your writing are:
- Write short stories about a topic you’re interested in
- Get into writing contests of essays, poems, speeches, etc.
- When reading a book, take notes about it in Spanish
- Send texts or emails in Spanish to people that speak it too
9. Re-read your notes
When you learned Spanish for the first time, you likely wrote a bunch of notes and tips to remember words and rules. Re-read your annotations to refresh your mind on some important basics you may have overlooked (and enjoy seeing how much you’ve learned since the beginning!). Having a language journal helps you to record your progress and set goals regarding your Spanish fluency. Set goals such as mentioning 10 words you forgot you had in your notes in conversations with people during the week, or discussing with a friend 1 topic you learned some time ago per week. This way you’d be taking advantage of what you learned in the past and it’ll definitely help your fluency.
10. Revisit Spanish learning resources
The internet is the best resource to learn about anything your heart desires. Effective language tools like online classes, podcasts, audiobooks, and videos will keep you busy practicing your Spanish. These are some of the resources you can find on the internet:
- Audiria (website): it’s a podcast series for all levels of Spanish and every episode covers a variety of real life situations. There is a new Spanish podcast every single day, and the best of all, it’s free!
- Spanish Obsessed (iTunes – website): this podcast is made by an English/Colombian couple, and it’s for beginners, intermediates, and advanced speakers, so it can totally help you too! The couple uses conventional Spanish, giving you a glimpse into the usage of colloquial words and phrases. Perfect for you!
- Notes in Spanish (iTunes – website): this podcast is also made by a couple, only they’re from Madrid. What’s amazing about this project is that they use real conversational words and phrases to talk about real events and situations of life. The podcast is also accompanied by worksheets to practice what you learned. This podcast has been very popular through years, in fact, there have been more than 14 million downloads of the audios since 2005.
- Homeschool Spanish Academy: HSA offers online classes with Spanish-speaking teachers from Guatemala. Choose from a general adult class or get specific with our language programs in medical Spanish, construction, law enforcement, or preparing for mission trips. Keep your fluency up-to-date in real time with a real person!
We hope these tips were useful to keep yourself motivated and learning more Spanish. Remember you have to look for different ways to keep the conversation active in order to continue being a master! Sign up for a free trial class today to see if HSA can help you avoid losing your Spanish fluency. See you soon!
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