Learn to Speak Spanish | Rosetta Stone®

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Speak Spanish

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 Pronounce Words in Spanish

 

One of the most critical aspects of learning to speak Spanish has nothing to do with grammar rules or vocabulary lists. It's about pronunciation and being able not only to mimic the accent of a native Spanish speaker but to understand a real-world conversation in Spanish. One of the most common complaints of those who have learned a language in a traditional academic setting is that, when faced with actual conversations, it can be a struggle to understand native speakers who are using different dialects, slang, or speaking too rapidly. That's why language learners have to get very comfortable with pronouncing and understanding Spanish words.

Practice does make perfect, but without feedback, it may be hard to correct your pronunciation. That's why successful language learning programs incorporate the ability to practice speaking and to receive feedback in order to create confident Spanish speakers who are comfortable with using the language in everyday interactions. While there are accent or diacritic marks in Spanish to guide pronunciation, it can be tough to tell if you are rolling your r's or stressing the right syllables.

Rosetta Stone has designed a Spanish language learning program that encourages beginners to speak from the very first lesson as well as incorporated the ability to get feedback on your pronunciation. TruAccent is the adjustable patented speech recognition engine that is built into every exercise and compares your accent to that of thousands of native Spanish speakers, enabling you to fine-tune your pronunciation before moving on to the next language learning unit.

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Learn how to say "What is your recommendation?" from a native Spanish speaker.
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How to Speak in Spanish for Beginners

Beginners may be anxious about perfecting an accent or studying every nuance of the language before engaging in a real-world conversation. However, the best way to get comfortable speaking Spanish is to roll up your sleeves (and your tongue) and jump in. It's okay to make mistakes. As long as you incorporate practice into your daily routine, you'll make steady progress towards becoming a confident Spanish speaker.

Here are some other tips to keep in mind as you begin your journey speaking Spanish.

1. Start with speaking Spanish conversational phrases

It makes sense to begin your language-learning journey with the things you'll most often need to ask about in everyday situations–eating out, asking for directions, or greeting a passerby. Rosetta Stone makes figuring out the most common conversational phrases in Spanish easy with lessons that focus on the word you'll need to know taught in the context of real-world situations.

2. Practice how to speak Spanish words daily

Setting aside time to not only practice vocabulary but to speak it out loud daily is one of the most important commitments you can make in learning to speak Spanish. Rosetta Stone's Spanish language learning program makes this convenient with bite-sized lessons that sync across all your devices and an award-winning mobile app that lets you speak Spanish where and when it's convenient for you.

3. Speak and listen to Spanish in real conversations

Daily practice is essential, but the confidence you'll get from impromptu conversations is invaluable. Interacting with the Spanish language through immersion techniques like watching Spanish soap operas with the subtitles off or cooking a Spanish recipe from your favorite Latina chef can expose language learners to the colloquialisms and slang of common usage.

4. Speak Spanish with a partner

Once you've picked up conversational Spanish and are feeling more comfortable with the language, it's time to partner up and get beyond basics. If you can't find a Spanish native speaker to practice with, you can also explore options for connecting with other language learners online. Rosetta Stone has a language community where users can connect, chat, and have conversations with others who are learning how to speak Spanish.

How to Speak in Spanish with Confidence

Once you've learned to speak Spanish phrases and gotten comfortable with pronunciation, you'll be ready to take your language learning journey to the next level. Because learning a language well enough to speak with confidence takes time, there are no real shortcuts to speaking Spanish. There are, however, some ways you can work smarter instead of harder to optimize your learning and boost your confidence with the language.

Here are just a few tips that can accelerate your endeavor to speak Spanish with confidence.

Get comfortable with Spanish connectors

Connectors are often overlooked ways to expand a conversation. Words like y (and), porque (because), pero (but), para (for), and asi que (so) can help language learners take the Spanish vocabulary they already know and turn those words into more complex thoughts that become the cornerstones of conversations. For example, if you know the words for time, bus and a few pronouns and connectors, you can create a more sophisticated answer to a question in Spanish.

¿A dónde va ella? (Where is she going?)
Ella tiene más tiempo así que toma el autobús para ir al trabajo. (She has more time so she's taking the bus to work)

Jumpstart your vocabulary with Spanish cognates

You may discover as you begin to learn Spanish that some words sound familiar. Curioso (curious), hospital (hospital), fantástico (fantastic), and terrible (terrible) may have slightly different pronunciations but sound, look and mean something very similar in both English and Spanish. These words are called cognates, and they are the closely related words that Spanish, English, and other languages share because they have similar linguistic roots. Once you get comfortable speaking a few conversational phrases, common greetings, and connectors, adding Spanish cognates will accelerate your ability to have better, longer conversations and expand your vocabulary.

Focus on speaking Spanish in the present

This sounds like a philosophical point, but we're just talking about verb tenses here. As you advance your learning, you'll find verbs that look familiar but don't exactly match. Focus on learning the present tense of Spanish verbs first so you can spot them and then see the variations on the root action word. For instance, one of the most common verbs in Spanish is hablar (to talk or speak). When we conjugate the verb in the present tense, it becomes yo hablo (I speak), tú hablas (you speak), él habla (he speaks), or nosotros hablamos (we speak). Once you see the pattern in how the verbs ending in -ar are conjugated, you can begin to pick up the patterns in other verbs ending in -ir or -er more quickly.

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How to Speak Spanish in Real Conversations

 

Whether you're working in your language learning app or labeling objects around the house to learn vocabulary, say the Spanish words you're learning out loud. While you might find it a bit disconcerting at first to talk to yourself, you'll find the practice gets you feeling less anxious about having real conversations in Spanish. Rosetta Stone also offers a way to build confidence speaking Spanish with live tutoring sessions. Tutors fluent in both Spanish and your native language offer constructive, individualized feedback to help you practice speaking conversational Spanish before you take it to the streets in real-world settings.

Here are few ways you can practice speaking Spanish and incorporate it into your daily routine.

Speak Spanish out loud

Whether you're working in your language learning app or labeling objects around the house to learn vocabulary, say the Spanish words you're learning out loud. While you might find it a bit disconcerting at first to talk to yourself, you'll find the practice gets you feeling less anxious about having real conversations in Spanish. Rosetta Stone also offers a way to build confidence speaking Spanish with live tutoring sessions. Tutors fluent in both Spanish and your native language offer constructive, individualized feedback to help you practice speaking conversational Spanish before you take it to the streets in real-world settings.

Immerse yourself in Spanish

Get serious about finding ways to fit speaking and listening to Spanish into your daily routine. Listen to Spanish radio on the way to work, watch TV news at night in Spanish on the Telemundo channel, or order from your favorite taco stand in Spanish. Find a local Spanish or Latino community and hang out there, shop there, and get comfy having conversations with native speakers. You can even change Alexa and Siri to speak to you in Spanish and shift all your computer and browser settings to Spanish to get in a little extra practice. You'll be amazed how even this tiny shift can get you reading, speaking, and even thinking in Spanish.

Travel to Spanish speaking destinations

If you can afford actual travel to destinations in Latin America or Spain, that's fantastic. If you can't quite fit that into your budget, there are other ways to virtually travel. Pick a destination that appeals to you like Cabo or Colombia and spend a weekend immersed in that culture. Make an authentic recipe that has roots in that city or the surrounding countryside, research the people and culture, and watch travel videos or browse Instagram for pictures from tourists or natives. Even virtual travel can keep you focused and excited about your goal to speak Spanish.

Practicing speaking Spanish is more important than perfection

Don't wait until you think your Spanish pronunciation is perfect. While textbook Spanish might be the language you've studied, the slang, colloquialisms, and local dialects of everyday Spanish make up the language you'll hear and use in actual conversations. Real language is messy so be open to making mistakes, picking up slang, and listening and speaking with an open mind and good intentions. You'll find that taking the plunge and speaking Spanish in a real-world conversation will do more to build your confidence than hours of perfecting verb conjugations or gendered nouns.

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