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Culture —– The Courage to Speak!

by Brandi

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July 9th, 2010

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This week’s Spanish Culture lesson we are going to discuss the importance of conversing with native speakers.  To accurately learn to speak Spanish well, a program like ours is one of the best tools available to get you started, but the most important thing you can do to improve your Spanish skills and really become fluent is to speak with native Spanish speakers.

Many of you are very anxious about striking up a conversation with a native speaker. They are worried that maybe they will perhaps say something wrong or that they won’t be understood. They are also worried about saying things incorrectly or maybe even getting embarrassed.

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

To really learn Spanish, you need to have the bravery to go up to a native Spanish speaker sometime in the near future and start-up a conversation with them. Once you get over the fear of the initial conversation, I think you will be amazed at how easy and relaxed it is to talk to them.

Essential Phrases

Here are a a small number of phrases that I recommend to help get you started.  First you could start by saying “Hola, Qué tal” [Oh-law, Kay tall] which means “Hi, how are you?”  Next, you could say “Me llamo Dave” [May yaw-moe Dave], or in English “My name is Dave”. Of course, you don’t want to say your name is “Dave” unless your name really is “Dave”. Finally, to spark some conversation, you could say “De dónde es usted” [Day doan-day es oo-stead] which means “Where are you from”.

Here are a few more supplemental phrases you can try out:

English   Spanish
What do you do?   ¿A qué se dedica? [ah kay say deh-dee-cah]
Where do you work?   ¿Dónde trabaja? [doan-day trah-bah-hah]
Are you married?   ¿Está casado/a? (“o”-if talking to male “a”-female) [es-tah cah-saw-though/thah]
Do you have children?   ¿Tiene hijos? [tyeh-nay ee-hohs]
How many children do you have?   ¿Cuántos hijos tiene? [cwahn-toes ee-hohs tyeh-nay]
How old are you?   ¿Cuántos años tiene? [cwahn-toes ahn-yohs tyeh-nay]
What do you like to do?   ¿Qué le gusta hacer? [kay lay goose-tah ah-sehr]

Here is my assignment to all of you newsletter readers. Are you ready? Practice the phrases above and set a goal of when you are going to approach a native speaker. Once you have done it and had a conversation in Spanish, send me an e-mail and let me know how it went. I’m eager to hear from you!

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

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