Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world with over 437 million people who speak Spanish as a first language. This makes learning to speak Spanish incredibly beneficial in a wide variety of professions and for personal reasons like travel and the arts. As one of the six official languages of the United Nations and the third most frequently used language in media, speaking Spanish doesn’t just make you more employable. It also makes you more attuned to cultural connections and influences both at home and abroad.
It is important, however, to distinguish which type of Spanish is the most beneficial to speak. The kind of traditional Spanish spoken in Spain, sometimes called Castilian Spanish, differs from the Spanish spoken throughout large parts of Latin America . While speakers would certainly be able to understand one another, there are some differences in pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar that make each variety of español unique.
Rosetta Stone offers the ability to tailor your language learning experience either towards speaking Castilian Spanish or Latin American Spanish, so you can focus on learning the subtleties and colloquialisms of the region that is most useful to you. Whichever variety of Spanish you choose to speak, the differences are relatively minor, so you can feel confident that you’ll be able to understand and be understood as a Spanish speaker whether you’re on the streets of Spain or in the markets of Mexico City.
Learn How to Speak Spanish Words?
Before you can walk, you have to crawl and learning to speak a language is no different. Your introduction to speaking Spanish should start with some of the more common conversational phrases and greetings. This provides the opportunity to start speaking Spanish right away and gives beginners the chance to get comfortable with Spanish sounds and pronunciations.
Memorizing vocabulary lists or parroting words is not, however, the goal of language learning. Learning to speak Spanish involves feeling comfortable and confident engaging in everyday situations and conversations. Language learners are most successful when they can learn common greetings and vocabulary in the context of real-world interactions.
That’s why Rosetta Stone encourages language learners to start speaking Spanish from the very first lesson, offering bite-sized practice sessions that are rich with audio and visual cues. That way beginners learn Spanish vocabulary words in the context of real-world conversations, from saying “Buenas noches” at the theater to greeting your friend in the street with “¿Cómo te va?” or “muy buenas.” Rosetta Stone also incorporates a handy reference tool called Phrasebook that contains dozens of the most commonly used Spanish conversational phrases for quick access (find it in the app under Extended Learning).
How To Speak Spanish: What You’ll Learn
Learning how to speak Spanish means getting to know all the components of the Spanish language: pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar, among others. Each is essential in its own way to mastering Spanish! Keep reading to learn more.
How To Speak Spanish: Spelling And Pronouncing Spanish Words
One of the most important things to do when you want to know how to speak Spanish is to learn about Spanish pronunciation. After all, you can’t actually speak the language if you don’t know how to speak Spanish out loud!
Luckily for those learning how to speak Spanish, each letter of the Spanish alphabet typically has one and only one pronunciation. This makes Spanish spelling much more uniform than that of English, which can be inconsistent and totally nonsensical sometimes. (Think about how a non-English speaker might struggle with words like “cough,” “colonel” and “knight.”) That makes it easy to know how to say a Spanish word aloud just by looking at it.
There are some sounds in Spanish you’ll need to learn that don’t exist in English — like the rolled rr sound. And there are a few spelling rules that require a little extra practice, too, like how certain letters change sounds when combined with other particular letters. (For example, the letter g before a, o, or u sounds like the hard “g” sound in the English “gate,” but it sounds like the “h” sound in English when before e or i in words like género or girafa.)
How To Speak Spanish: Vocabulary In Spanish
Learning a new language means you’ve got to get really familiar with the words that make up that language. If you want to know how to speak Spanish, you’re of course going to have to get familiar with Spanish vocabulary. After all, you can’t actually use a new language without knowing the words, expressions and phrases that make up that language! The more Spanish vocabulary you know, the more you’re able to talk about everything in your world — from what you do for work to your hobbies to your favorite colors and foods to the weather outside and everything in between. Plus, if you know authentic Spanish phrases, you’ll sound just like a native speaker.
The most effective way to remember Spanish vocabulary and phrases is to focus on the words and expressions that interest you the most instead of wasting time on vocabulary you find boring or will never actually use. You can tailor your Spanish vocabulary to your careers, hobbies, passions and everyday experiences and fill in the gaps where you want more words. This could include Spanish for business or the medical profession. Or perhaps you like talking about sports, the entertainment industry or politics. You can create your own specialized Spanish vocabulary depending on what’s important to you in your learning journey.
How To Speak Spanish: Grammar In Spanish
Learning the grammar of any foreign language can be tricky, especially if it’s very different from the grammar of the language or languages you already speak. Naturally, if you want to know how to speak Spanish, you’re going to have to get to know Spanish grammar. Luckily, many parts of Spanish grammar are easy to understand once you get a grasp on them.
There are, however, some elements of Spanish grammar that are known to be more difficult for learners than others are — especially those elements that are more unfamiliar to native English speakers, like complex verb conjugations or the subjunctive mood, tricky concepts many Spanish learners have trouble mastering.
You might struggle with some aspects of Spanish grammar and breeze through others. A lot of what you’ll find easy depends on the language or languages you already speak and how similar they are to Spanish. And you can’t forget that everyone learns differently, so the parts of Spanish grammar that give you trouble might be a piece of cake for someone else, and vice versa.
How To Speak Spanish: The Best Methods For Learning Spanish
If you want to know how to speak Spanish, you might be overwhelmed by all the choices out there for how to get started. But it’s important to remember that there’s no right answer. Each method for learning how to speak Spanish has its own advantages and limitations, so you should choose the methods that work best for you!
- Classroom learning and tutoring — You’ll get more regular, personalized feedback from an instructor and be able to practice speaking, but it can take a regular commitment of time and often money, and you might not be able to work at your own pace.
- Immersion learning — You’ll be challenged and required to adapt more quickly to a new language and culture, but the investment is quite extreme and requires money, time and the willingness to overcome major adversity.
- Software and apps — You can work at your own pace and choose content that works for you, but you don’t get as much practice in conversations with actual speakers, and you won’t get individualized interaction with native speakers.
- Spanish-language media — Through Spanish books, movies, TV shows, songs and podcasts, you get to hear and read the Spanish language as it’s used by native speakers in real situations (and often for free), but you don’t get to practice speaking or learn the underlying rules and nuances of the language.
Of course, the best way to learn Spanish is finding the right mix of all these elements that work well for you. And there’s no wrong answer! Part of learning how to speak Spanish is figuring out which methods fit your schedule, budget, and learning style.
Spanish accents from around the world
Spanish is the official language of 20 countries. With such a far reach, it’s no surprise that it sometimes sounds different from one region to another. Let’s see what are the most popular Spanish accents around the world:
● Castilian Spanish: spoken in the north of Spain.
● Andalusian Spanish: found in the south of Spain and spread out beyond Andalusia.
● Canarian Spanish: spoken throughout the Canary Islands; has a lot in common with Andalusian Spanish.
● Caribbean Spanish: introduced to the Caribbean region with the voyages of Christopher Columbus; is more similar to Canarian and Andalusian Spanish than Castilian Spanish.
● Mexican Spanish: refers to a variety of dialects of the Spanish language spoken in Mexican territory.
● Austral (Rioplatense) Spanish: spoken mainly in and around the Río de la Plata Basin of Argentina and Uruguay, but also found in south and eastern Bolivia and Paraguay.
● Chilean Spanish: spoken in most of Chile.
Speaking Spanish has major benefits
Being able to speak with over 570 million Spanish speakers
Spanish is the 3rd most spoken language worldwide, so you’ll definitely have a lot to gain by learning conversational Spanish. For example, you’ll be able to interact with people anytime you visit Peru, Argentina or Spain.
Traveling to Spanish speaking countries gets way better
Whether you plan to travel to Mexico, Spain or Colombia, speaking Spanish will enhance your experience significantly. You will be able to experience Spanish speaking countries like a native and have an authentic experience in the process.
Speaking Spanish can save your career
Being able to speak Spanish increases your employability significantly and makes you stand out from the crowd. This means that you will have better chances of getting a well paid job in the first place, better chances of getting promoted or getting a better job in a Spanish speaking country.
Speaking Spanish makes you smarter
Studies indicate that being bilingual or a polyglot increases the grey matter in your brain. This means that speaking Spanish makes you smarter than you currently are. So, what are you waiting for?