How To Learn To Speak Spanish Fluently is a common question that my readers ask me.
Another question I get is “what is the absolute quickest way to become ‘conversational’ in Spanish?”
The answer to both questions is the same.
I have known many people that have achieved fluency in Spanish. And one thing that they all have in common is that they have used a variety of methods to learn Spanish.
Most have used several self-study courses. Many of them have used all of the most popular Spanish courses.
But all of them have practiced their Spanish with native Spanish speakers. In fact, I have never met anyone that achieved fluency in Spanish without practicing their Spanish with native Spanish speakers.
And of course, the ones who were able to practice their Spanish one-on-one with “professional” native Spanish speakers really accelerated their progress. When I say “professionals” I am referring to Spanish professors or Spanish instructors — people who teach Spanish for a living.
There’s no way that you can compare the two. Learning Spanish with a native Spanish speaker that is not a professional instructor is NOT the same as learning Spanish with a native Spanish speaker that teaches Spanish for a living.
I know from personal experience.
When I had just reached an intermediate level of Spanish, I had a friend from Puerto Rico that was helping me learn. And I remember asking her “doesn’t a man have to say ‘me alegro’ because a male is masculine?”
Her answer was “no, a male can say either one: me alegro o me alegra'” So I asked when do I say “me alegro” and when do I say “me alegra” and her answer was “no te preocupes” (don’t worry about it). I guess that was her way of saying “I don’t know how to explain it to you.”
I can still remember the very first thought that entered my mind when she gave me that answer. I can still remember it because it was one of the most disappointing experiences I had learning Spanish.
I still remember thinking to myself: “I will never master this language. It is just too difficult.”
But if she had been a skilled Spanish instructor, she would have told me (in either English or Spanish):
“Patrick, the first one is reflexive in the context that you just used and the latter is to be used with the subjunctive.” And then she could have provided me with several examples:
Me alegro de volver a verte. I am glad to see you again.
Me alegra que estés bien It makes me happy that you are fine.
And that small piece of information would have helped build my confidence instead of discouraging me and making me believe that it would be impossible to master Spanish.
How To Learn To Speak Spanish Fluently
Without a doubt, besides relocating to a Spanish speaking country, the fastest way to learn Spanish is to use a self-study Spanish course and take one-on-one Spanish lessons with a private Spanish instructor.
It also helps to use some supplemental tools such as watching Spanish television and listening to audiobooks in Spanish.
Relocating to a Spanish speaking country is probably out of the question for most people learning Spanish. But you may consider taking private one-on-one lessons with a native Spanish instructor.