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Culture —– Practice Makes Perfect!

by Brandi

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May 18th, 2010

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This week’s Spanish culture lesson we will discuss how you can better learn to communicate effectively in Spanish.  There are two very  important keys to learning Spanish well and being an effective communicator. The first one is to gain a basic knowledge of the language and the second is to go out and practice with real people. One without the other can never get you as far as you could have gone with both. Our course is proven to be very successful for thousands of people all over the world; it will give you the base you need to succeed. However, it alone is not enough. You also have to be willing to break out of your comfort zone and speak with others in Spanish – especially native speakers. If possible, I recommend doing this at least once or twice per week. Here in our office, Blake is trying to learn Spanish; every Thursday we have “día de español” (Spanish day) where we only speak Spanish. Blake is improving his Spanish by leaps and bounds.

Many people are nervous about striking up a conversation with others in Spanish especially with a native speaker. They are worried that maybe they’ll say something wrong or that the native speaker won’t understand them. They are also worried about saying things incorrectly or possibly even getting embarrassed or “making a fool of themselves”. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When you start to speak another language, you actually gain compassion for all of the people trying to learn “your” language. You will be surprised at how nice people are when you try to speak their language – especially Latino people. This misconception is generally true, however, with some French people who may not be quite as patient with Americans who don’t know French well, but the Spanish experience is quite different.

Something you need to know about Spanish culture is that native Spanish speakers are some of the most friendly and genuine people in the world. It makes them feel good to see others trying to learn their language and they are very eager to help you.

To really learn Spanish, you need to have the courage to go up to a native Spanish speaker in the near future and start-up a conversation with them (in Spanish of course). Once you get over the fear of the initial conversation, I think you’ll be amazed at how easy and comfortable it is to talk to them.

Here are a few phrases that I recommend to get you started. First you could say, “Hola, ¿Qué tal?” [Oh-law, kay tall] which means “Hi, how are you?”. Then, you could say, “Estoy aprendiendo español, “¿Puede ayudarme?” [Es-toy ah-pren-dyen-do es-pan-yol, pweh-they ah-you-thar-may] – I’m learning Spanish, can you help me? Next, you could say “Me llamo Dave” [May yaw-moe Dave], or in English “My name is Dave”. O f course, you don’t want to say your name is “Dave” unless your name really is “Dave”. Finally, to spark some conversation, you could ask “¿De dónde es usted?” [Day doan-day es oo-stead] which means “Where are you from?”

To learn more about Spanish culture, please visit our website www.spanishprograms.com

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