Posts Tagged ‘Improve Your Spanish’

8 Tips to improve your spoken Spanish

Friday, August 25, 2017 8:37

Categories - Argentina Travel Info, Spanish, Spanish Classes, Student Stories - 0 Comments

Want to know why learning to speak fluently in Spanish is so hard? Native Spanish speakers don’t always speak correctly! Spanish lessons aim to give you the knowledge and foundation to speak, read, write and listen in Spanish—but even the best Spanish lessons in Argentina (or in any country, for that matter) cannot perfect your spoken Spanish skills if you don’t practice outside of the classroom.  Here are 8 tips on how to improve your spoken Spanish so you can start making some porteño friends. 8 Tips to improve your spoken Spanish

Enroll in classes that take a Communicative Approach

Practice makes perfect. And as I briefly mentioned above, even the best Spanish lessons in Argentina can’t force you to practice outside of the classroom (which is where a lot of a student’s knowledge of Spanish is actually put into real-time effort). The simplest way to improve your spoken Spanish is to communicate out loud. That’s why it is important, when enrolling in classes, that you choose a school that takes a Communicative Approach. What is that? It is a method that puts an emphasis on orality, encouraging students to talk. That means you can first begin speaking in the classroom where you feel comfortable. You can also ask if the school has courses designed for extra oral language practice!


Focus on being conversationally fluent

Let grammar go out the window (for a minute) while you focus on speaking with locals. Didn’t think I’d say that, did you? Worrying about grammar can hinder your confidence while trying to speak with fluidity. You may say something like “they goes to the store,” but the person you’re speaking with will understand you. Another trick is: If you haven’t learned past tenses yet, go ahead and speak about your day in present tense. You will be getting practice in the level you are currently learning and you won’t need to worry about being grammatically correct if it’s ahead of your Spanish level knowledge!

How to converse with locals? In Buenos Aires, Argentina, there are tons of language-exchange nights and lots of porteños who will love that you are trying to speak Spanish (and may ask for some help in English, too!).


Realize you will have to speak differently in Spanish

You may have something super smart and witty to say…but you only know how to say it in English. You don’t yet have the Spanish vocab. You must realize that while you are learning Spanish, you will need to do “work-arounds” in your mind, i.e. forming your answer in English and then translating it into Spanish using the words and phrases you do know. The answer may sound completely different in Spanish. As a language learner, for example, that may mean you are simplifying all of your replies and leaving out some detail. Oh well! Work with the Spanish words you know and figure out how to maneuver a conversation with those.


Watch movies and listen to music

This is not only a great tip for learning Spanish in general, but it is especially useful for those looking to improve their spoken Spanish. Through movies and music, you will hear exactly how people talk naturally. Use that time to pick-up cool phrases, slang and rhythm.


Make mistakes

If you aren’t making mistakes, you probably aren’t speaking enough. Trust me, I get it. I’m the type who wanted to speak perfectly after 2 weeks of Spanish lessons in Argentina, but that’s just not going to happen. Make mistakes and move on to the next step.


Take notes

If you’re having a Spanish conversation with someone, and you find yourself stumbling on a certain tense or a certain word, that is the perfect opportunity to understand where you are struggling. Was it the perfect tense? Was it the topic of government? Jot it down. Did someone correct you after you finished your thought? Make a mental note and practice it later.


Learn conversational connectors

I wish someone had taught me this tip while I was a Spanish learner! While I was formulating a response in my head, I would be dead silent. So, imagine the time is takes to translate the Spanish question to English then formulating a response and translating that reply to Spanish. As a newbie, it can be a full 5-second pause. In a conversation, this is considered awkward. So, to be more conversationally fluent, add in connectors which will help bridge that space between your mouth and your brain. Equivalent to an English “um,” “well,” or “so.”

In Buenos Aires, they use a lot of: es que…, a ver…, mira…, em….


Try out exclamatory expressions

Similar to the tip above, if you are in the midst of a conversation and don’t know how to reply or your Spanish language juice is running dry, you can always end with a simple exclamatory remark to acknowledge the speaker without actually formulating a full response to what they said. Some very common examples from Buenos Aires (and beyond) include: Mira! De verdad? En serio? Que bueno! Que grande! Que lindo!

Whether it’s to communicate with colleagues or chat with locals during a trip abroad, these tips should help you take your Spanish knowledge from textbook to street smart. Mucha suerte.

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Learn Spanish: Group Classes vs. Private Classes

Friday, August 25, 2017 6:58

Categories - Spanish, Spanish Classes - 0 Comments

With almost 442 million Spanish speakers across the globe, it’s no secret that learning Spanish can increase your job prospects and make communicating while traveling a whole lot simpler. And while signing up for Spanish classes in Argentina is a great way to connect with some 3 million of those native Spanish speakers in Buenos Aires alone, you now need to consider group classes versus private classes. Which are better for learning Spanish?

Expanish School 37 300x165 Learn Spanish: Group Classes vs. Private Classes

 Group Classes vs. Private Spanish Classes

It’s important to choose structure based on your learning style: Do you like personalized attention or do you benefit from learning with classmates? Do you need exercises to be repeated or do you enjoy listening to others speak while listening in? There is no standard answer as to which course is better, so here is a breakdown of pros and cons for these two common types of Spanish classes in Argentina.

Group Classes

A glimpse: You are in a classroom with, on average, 7 other students from other countries all united under the common goal of learning Spanish. The teacher explains some concepts, has interactive content, and engages the students in group activities. Some are shyer than others, but everyone has a chance to practice speaking. You even hear students making the same errors as you—so you relax, knowing making mistakes is okay.

Pros:

  • Frequent group interaction which rapidly improves spoken skills
  • Meeting and making international friends in the classroom
  • Being in a fun, interactive and supportive atmosphere

Cons:

  • Lessons can be too slow for students who learn very quickly. Alternatively, the class may be too fast for students who may struggle in the classroom or who have missed class time.
  • Group lessons have a fixed schedule which may not work for everyone

Best for: Travelers who want to make friends, those who want to learn general Spanish, those encouraged by group activities, those who want the best economic deal.

Private Classes

A glimpse: The teacher begins class with materials tailor-made to your Spanish level as well as your interests (e.g., medical, travel, general) and as the lessons continue, the teacher is able to adapt to your learning style. You have the full attention of the teacher and you are able to ask all the questions you’d like, have your grammar corrected when needed, and quickly achieve your language learning goals.

Pros:

  • Students generally learn faster in private classes because adaptive teaching is easy to achieve
  • Students can focus on materials that interest them specifically and enjoy a class schedule that fits their needs
  • Teacher and student can focus on the student’s language goals and areas that need strengthening

Cons:

  • Fewer chances to meet other students in the school (unless combined with group classes such as a Combination Course)
  • Staying focused throughout the entire lesson can be difficult at times

Best for: Business people, those who need a flexible class schedule, those who need to learn at a rapid pace, those who want individualized attention, students level B2 and higher.

When choosing Spanish classes in Argentina to suit your needs, there is a lot that goes into the decision making process. Either way, in the battle between group classes versus private classes, lessons will always be dynamic, effective and fun no matter which wins. Some people begin with group classes and tailor their learning with private lessons toward the end of their course while some stick to solely group or only private classes.

However, you should choose the method in which you feel will help you progress to joining the over 90 million Spanish as a foreign language speakers here in the cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, back in your home country and worldwide!

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Tips for Improving Your Spanish

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 10:13

Categories - Spanish - 0 Comments

Expanish Classes Tips for Improving Your Spanish
In addition to attending Spanish classes every day, or even just a couple of times a week, there are plenty of other ways to supplement your learning and quite honestly, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not doing more to improve your Spanish skills outside of the classroom.   I’m not just referring to doing some homework exercises every night – although that kind of repetition is a great way to really remember the material well – I’m talking about finding new and creative ways to soak up more of the language and quicken your learning as much as possible.  Here’s a list of some ideas we think can give your learning a little boost:

PRACTICE YOUR SPANISH OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM:  While this sounds incredibly obvious, it’s actually surprising how easy it is to slip back into comfortable conversations in your native language or seek out others that speak your language.  If someone wants to speak to you in your native tongue, make an effort to try and continue the conversation in Spanish.

LIVE WITH LOCALS:  This option is not only a great way to practice your Spanish with native speakers, but it’s a great way to immerse yourself further into the culture of wherever you may be.  For instance, in Buenos Aires, one can learn a lot living with natives about local customs, foods, and regional words that are unique to the area.   Even if they speak English, do your best to practice your Spanish with them whenever you can.

DATE A LOCAL:  Depending on your relationship status, this could potentially be one of the best ways to really get to know the language and the culture quickly and “intimately.”  Be adamant in asking your new squeeze to speak to you only in Spanish (even if they know English) so that you will be forced to learn in different situations, although you may eventually test their limits of patience.  This can really help speed up your process to become (more) fluent, and at the end of the day you get to sleep with the teacher.

Julia Volunteer 300x225 Tips for Improving Your Spanish
VOLUNTEER OR WORK:  This is another one of those options that allow you to gain a lot more from an overall experience that you can’t necessarily get in a typical class setting.  It’s always good to give back something to the community where you are living and working closely with the local people may not only be personally rewarding, but you may also find that you learn quite a bit of Spanish in the process.

WATCH MOVIES/LISTEN TO PODCASTS/READ THE PAPER:  What better way to learn another language than by lounging around watching movies?  There are many places one can find popular movies dubbed over in Spanish with sub-titles (or the reverse), which is a great way to kill some time if the weather is bad or you’re just wanting to relax.  It’s also quite helpful to watch the news and read the paper so that you can keep current with the events going on around you and discuss it with others.  If you have an iPod or smart phone, see what kind of podcasts in Spanish might be available to you as well.

KEEP A JOURNAL:  Most times you will typically already have some homework to go home with, but if you have some extra time while you’re doing your work, try to write down a few things in Spanish that you did that day, or wanted to do, or wish you would have done as a way to keep practicing.  In the end, looking back at your journal months from now, it might be interesting to see how your Spanish had progressed and remember what you were doing while you were living abroad.

LABEL ITEMS IN YOUR SURROUNDINGS:  This may seem a bit silly or tedious, but you might also be surprised at how much this can help with useful vocabulary.  Find some stickers or labels and place them on the things in your home in every room.  On your desk, chair, sink, pots and pans, forks, oven, lamp, mirror, floor, wall, etc.  Your house may look ridiculous, but you will soak up a lot more words a lot quicker this way.  This would be something easy to do before leaving for your trip abroad as well.

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