Humans are social creatures.
Sometimes, that means hanging out together to pass the time.
Sometimes, that means comforting each other when we’re down.
And sometimes, that means posting pictures of what we’re eating all over social media.
The human species isn’t without its quirks.
But there’s one thing these social creatures do more than anything else: converse.
Regardless of where people are or what languages they speak, they’re definitely speaking… a lot.
As a Spanish student, though, it can be difficult to learn the skills necessary to hold real conversations.
You listen to all the sample dialogues you can, but when it comes to using this information, you’re at a loss.
That’s where conversational Spanish courses come in. They focus squarely on teaching real, applicable conversation skills that can help you actually communicate with others in Spanish.
So let’s talk about 10 tips for improving your conversational skills and 15 excellent conversational Spanish courses.
Why Take a Conversational Spanish Course?
First off, let’s define “Conversational Spanish.”
Simply put, conversational Spanish means you’re able to speak in Spanish by using full sentences.
Depending on your level of Spanish, these full sentences will be shorter or longer, and the vocabulary you’ll use will be simpler or more complex.
However, it’s safe to say that you need some language foundation in order to start expressing your thoughts in Spanish by using full sentences.
Because of this, B1 is the level most often regarded as the one during which learners start really being conversational.
One of the most appealing reasons to take a conversational Spanish course is so that you can start interacting in Spanish right away, which means you might not have to wait till you’re at the B1 level to start communicating in Spanish with full sentences.
Conversational courses are usually designed to teach you basic conversational Spanish skills you can use immediately, like greetings. And there’s nothing more motivating than immediate progress!
You might also take a conversational Spanish course if you prefer learning the essentials first. These courses usually focus on high-frequency vocabulary and common phrases to prepare you to discuss everyday conversation topics.
These words and phrases are also usually the most essential ones to know for communication, so if you want to start with some key vocabulary instead of diving right into the underlying structure and grammar, conversational courses might be the right choice for you.
Finally, a conversational course is perfect if you want to have a skill that you can use even if you don’t continue studying Spanish.
There are plenty of Spanish courses that can teach you the foundations of the language, but if you quit, you might not have many functional skills.
Since beginner conversational courses focus on building basic skills rather than creating a grammar foundation for further learning, you’ll still get something out of the course even if you don’t continue it.
10 Tips for Speaking Conversational Spanish
1. Practice Spanish shadowing
Shadowing is a language learning technique that’s becoming more and more popular as we speak (pun intended).
When using this technique, you have to listen to some native audio of the language you’re learning and repeat what you hear as close to the original as possible.
Shadowing is a fantastic way to improve your conversational Spanish skills because it teaches you how to pronounce words properly and improves your intonation and rhythm.
The best thing about using this technique is that it’ll also allow you to learn vocabulary and grammar structures while you practice it.
Try to introduce Spanish shadowing to your learning sessions at least twice a week to see better results.
2. Use FluentU
As you’ll see later, FluentU is a comprehensive language learning system that’s been created to help Spanish learners become fluent in the language with the help of video material.
Although FluentU wasn’t created as a conversational tool, it’ll certainly boost your Spanish conversational skills thanks to the wide array of features it includes, the main ones being:
- It uses mainly native videos created by and for native Spanish speakers.
- It uses the Spaced Repetition learning technique.
- It’ll allow you to practice all four major language skills.
- It’s perfect for microlearning study sessions.
- Its content can be used to practice the shadowing technique.
- It can be used by learners of every level.
3. Read out loud
You might think reading and conversing don’t have anything in common, but that statement couldn’t be farther from the truth.
When we read, we normally process words in our heads.
We all have that “inner voice” we can hear when we read something.
By reading out loud, we can start manipulating that voice to make it really sound native-like.
Reading out loud transforms a passive activity like reading into an active one. It allows us to improve our diction, pronunciation, rhythm and intonation, and it makes us more aware of the mistakes we make (which means we can work to correct them).
Pick a Spanish novel, short story, poem or whatever type of reading material you like and read a fragment out loud.
If you can, record yourself while reading so you can go back to the recording and establish what you need to work on.
4. Learn Spanish linking words (connectors) and filler words
Many learners think that if they learn a few key words, phrases and small-talk expressions, they’ll start speaking like a native right away.
What they might not know is that, in actuality, what you need to sound more native are linking (or transition) words and filler words.
Linking words do just that: They link.
Native users of every language use linking words to join utterances and thoughts while they speak. That’s what makes them native speakers!
Imagine a native English speaker saying:
Anna loves her dog Bruno. She loves her dog so much. She bought some treats for her dog. Her dog is very happy now. She needs to be careful. Her dog loves eating treats. Her dog can get sick.
Does this sound native to you? Not to me, for sure.
Now “listen” to the same person stating the same, but this time with the help of linking words (and a few other tricks):
Anna loves her dog Bruno so much that she bought some treats for him. Now he’s very happy, but she needs to be careful because her dog loves eating treats and might get sick.
Much better! Use linking words and you’ll be able to do the same in Spanish.
Once you’ve mastered linking words, add filler words to your convos to sound even more native-like.
Filler words are words we use to fill silences in a conversation. We use them to think, stall for time and let the other person(s) know we haven’t finished talking yet, among other uses.
Adding filler words to our conversations is the ultimate, most powerful weapon to sound natural and native-like… if we use them correctly.
Use them only when and where you know you can, and watch your native Spanish friends be proud of your conversational skills.
You can have a deeper look at Spanish filler words in this FluentU post. In the meantime, let me leave you a couple of examples here:
A ver… Dime qué te pasa. (Let’s see… Tell me what’s wrong/what the matter is.)
Pues… Es que creo que… Este… Me he enamorado de ti. (Well… It’s just that I think… um… I’ve fallen in love with you.)
5. Use conversation apps
Yup, there’s an app for that!
Conversation and speaking apps come in many shapes and forms, but they all have one thing in common: they’re a great way to practice conversational Spanish without feeling stressed.
Conversation apps include features that range from native audio and speaking exercises to speech recognition software and pronunciation practice, so just find one you like and start talking!
Granted, this may not be as effective as having a real conversation with a native Spanish speaker, but it’ll help you get invaluable speaking practice without all the stress of having to communicate with a human.
Besides, apps can be taken with you everywhere you go, so they’re perfect for filling those idle breaks or boring commutes you have.
6. Watch native Spanish content
Native content is one of the best tools you can use to improve your conversational Spanish.
When you watch Spanish series or movies, you’re having a look at how Spanish is actually used by its native speakers.
All the input you get is in the form of dialogues or narrations that contain correct Spanish.
Spanish movies and series show you how people use different registers depending on the situation they’re in and how the different varieties of Spanish sound.
You can then take what you learn from this type of content and use it during your conversations in Spanish!
Besides, native content also gives you access to Spanish culture, so you’ll learn much more than just conversational Spanish.
7. Listen more to speak better
Listening practice can be challenging, especially if you’re a beginner, but I recommend you introduce it to your study sessions as soon as you can if you want to get your speaking skills moving early on.
By listening to Spanish podcasts (especially those created for native speakers), Spanish radio and Spanish audiobooks, among others, you’ll also get your dose of native content, and that means you’ll later be able to put what you learn into practice.
Listening to Spanish native material will help you improve your conversational Spanish naturally, but for it to work, you need to practice listening often.
If you want to kill two birds with one stone, use the native material you listen to in order to practice shadowing from time to time.
It’ll be more difficult to shadow a Spanish radio newscaster or a Mexican podcaster talking about IT, but if you survive this, nothing will stop you during a real-life conversation.
8. Find a speaking partner
In speaking, the expression “practice makes perfect” is very true.
If you have a hobby or practice any kind of sport, you know that the more you practice, the better your outcome and the easier it gets for you to get the same results (or even better ones!).
When speaking, the more we practice conversing with native Spanish speakers, the more second nature these conversations will become.
Add to that practicing conversational Spanish with people from different Spanish-speaking countries, and you get yourself amazing conversational skills.
There are several places where you can find a Spanish language partner to practice with.
The internet has become a superb place to easily find people from all around the globe who want to learn your native language and teach you theirs, so don’t hesitate to implement this tip if you want “free” Spanish conversation practice.
9. Hire a conversation tutor
However, if you want the real deal—a person who has the necessary knowledge to teach you conversational Spanish in a professional way—maybe you should try hiring a language tutor.
This option isn’t readily available for everybody because it costs money, but if you can afford it, go for it.
Just as it happens with language partners, the internet is full of websites where you can find a perfect match for your conversational needs.
Having your own native Spanish conversation tutor is sure to make you succeed if you take advantage of the sessions to the fullest.
Just remember to pick a person who’s not only native but also experienced when it comes to Spanish conversation.
Not all tutors are equal, and you don’t want to waste your money on someone who won’t really help you speak Spanish better.
10. Take a conversational Spanish course online
The last tip on this list is actually the one I personally enjoy the most.
You can’t possibly imagine the huge number of conversational Spanish courses you can find online. You have to see it to really believe it.
Taking a conversational Spanish course online is comfortable, cheap and effective.
You get to choose what you want to learn, when and how. You’re the creator of your own learning adventure.
I’d say Google some conversational Spanish courses and I could call it a day, but I want to help you get the best of the best.
That’s why I’ve gathered 15 of the best conversational Spanish courses for you here.
Have a look at what each of them has to offer and take the ones you like the most.
I’m sure you’ll find many hours of conversation practice that’ll put you right on your way to becoming a fluent Spanish speaker.
15 Affordable Conversational Spanish Courses for Social Butterflies
Visual Link Spanish Level 1
This course teaches conversational skills to help you address your basic language needs.
Lessons focus on greetings, survival phrases, basic grammar, travel phrases and more.
Each section is broken down into smaller units that address key vocabulary, quiz you on what you’ve learned and provide additional practice in the form of fun, interactive games.
These units feature animated videos, audio in both English and Spanish and they frequently use English explanations for a beginner-friendly approach.
Taking the course is free, but if you like it, you can upgrade to unlock additional material and more levels.
Basic Spanish 1: Getting Started
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could learn conversational Spanish from a real Spanish institution?
Luckily, you can—and you don’t even have to travel abroad to do it.
La Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (The Polytechnic University of Valencia) offers this free online MOOC through edX.
Even better: While this introductory Spanish course teaches you conversation skills for free, you can receive a certificate of your accomplishment for $40.
This course teaches basic vocabulary, conjugations and conversation skills. It’s designed to take four to five hours of work per week for seven weeks, but is completely self-paced so you can complete it as quickly or slowly as you’d like.
Wish you could understand native-level conversations? FluentU’s innovative video system might help.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos topics, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used.
Plus, if you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re studying with the same video.
But that’s not all!
FluentU now also has its own Spanish YouTube channel!
The channel takes short videos and transforms them into Spanish language lessons that will help you improve your Spanish grammar, vocabulary and, most importantly, speaking skills.
For example, have a look at this video to learn some useful Mexican Spanish expressions:
Or check out the next one, which analyzes the Spanish trailer of the movie “Finding Nemo:”
If improving your Spanish conversation skills with engaging and effective videos is your jam, you’re going to love FluentU’s Spanish YouTube channel. Subscribe today and hit that notification bell so that you don’t miss out on any new content!
Spanish for Beginners: Learn Conversational Spanish Quickly
This course, priced at $199, is provided by SkillSuccess, a website that focuses on video-based courses.
It’s designed to teach beginner-level conversational Spanish skills.
While it bills itself as a “conversational” course, it aims to teach the full spectrum of skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. However, the main goal of the course is to enable students to hold a basic conversation in Spanish.
Along the way, the course covers several key topics, including common verbs, present tense conjugations, negation, questions, greetings and much more.
Learn Spanish — Conversational Spanish Rapid-learning Method
This Udemy course is designed to give complete beginners through intermediate-level students conversational Spanish skills that they can use in real-life situations.
You can find tons of other courses on Udemy covering a huge array of topics, with plenty on learning Spanish.
Through 88 video lectures, the course covers scenarios you’re likely to encounter if you ever travel abroad, like asking for directions, booking a hotel, meeting people, eating out and more.
Instead of teaching grammar, this course focuses on phrases you can use immediately.
In fact, the course boasts that it’s so quick, you’ll be speaking Spanish from day one!
To further reinforce your learning, the course also offers practice videos, quizzes and PDF printouts.
One Month Spanish
This online course is designed to teach conversational Spanish in just 30 days.
There are 30 total audio lessons. You can complete one a day, but if you miss a day, you can also just pick up where you left off. 30 days is a fun and motivating suggestion, but it certainly isn’t a requirement.
The program’s founder designed it after studying Spanish but struggling to use it conversationally in context.
That’s why this program focuses on speaking and listening rather than studying flashcards and grammar rules. The idea is that learners can pick up vocabulary and grammar naturally through authentic dialogues.
The topics covered include greetings and introductions, looking for an apartment, sightseeing and much more. The course also teaches important language lessons, like gender, common vocabulary and verb conjugations.
One Month Spanish is intended to help learners improve not only their conversational skills but also their confidence in speaking and understanding Spanish.
Conversational Spanish 1
The University of Phoenix, which is well-known for its online classes, offers this beginner-level, five-week-long conversational Spanish course.
To participate in this class, you’ll need a microphone and webcam to engage in the activities.
The course teaches vocabulary, grammar and culture, but the main focus is “meaningful use” of the language and effective communication in Spanish.
Specific themes addressed include family, home, weekends and school. Through these themes, the course also teaches common verbs, present tense conjugations, counting, the months of the year, the days of the week and other important topics.
Plus, you can even earn three credits for completing it. Contact the university to check when the next session for this course is and to see if credits will transfer.
If you want a cute, free, entertaining and effective way to practice Spanish conversation and dialogue, you’re in for a treat.
Created by 123 Teach Me, Spanish Dialogues is a collection of over 500 dialogues divided into three levels (Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced) featuring 13 different Spanish accents!
Each short dialogue includes both the audio and the transcription, together with an English translation.
They cover topics such as greetings, traveling, shopping, telling the time, restaurants and nationalities, just to name a few.
You’ll also find hundreds of dialogues covering specific grammar topics, from very basic (like the present tense or the verb gustar) to very advanced (like the imperfect subjunctive or the impersonal se).
There are also many dialogues in slow Spanish for all three levels, and short grammar explanations and quizzes/exercises scattered here and there.
SMS Spanish Conversation Courses
If you happen to live, study or vacation in Tenerife, and you want to take part in a quick conversation course, SMS Spanish has just what you’re looking for.
SMS offers conversation courses for small groups of learners (from three to eight) for levels from A2 to C2.
The courses have a minimum of eight classes of 90 minutes, with each group as a whole being able to decide if they want to buy more classes or not.
The classes can be started any time of the year as long as there are three students in the group, and learners get to choose the day and time of the classes and the topics they want to talk about.
Camino Barcelona Conversation Spanish Courses
There’s a lot to say about the Camino Barcelona Language School, so please, bear with me.
For starters, this school has the Instituto Cervantes accreditation, so you know you’ll be attending a high-quality course and have qualified native teachers.
You can take the courses either in person in Barcelona or online. If you go for the former option and you don’t have a place to stay, they even offer accommodation! Yes, they’re that extra!
If, on the other hand, you opt for taking the classes online, you’ll be connected live to the actual class of the course you’re taking, so you won’t be missing anything!
Well… You’ll be missing the extra cultural activities, the free access to the Afternoon Club, the movies, the Spanish cooking, the museums… But none of the conversation part of the course, don’t worry!
The courses are divided into several different levels of intensity that range from a simple conversation course (50 minutes a day, from Monday to Friday) to a Super-Intensive & Conversation course (up to 30 hours of Spanish per week plus lots of extra Spanish conversation during the cultural activities).
Classes start every Monday of the year for all levels and all courses. You just need to enroll and start practicing your Spanish conversational skills like a boss.
What I like the most about this school is that they have two different conversation topics for each day (Monday to Friday) for all 52 weeks of the year!
So whether you take a course for one, 24, 37 or 52 weeks, you’ll never get the same topic twice (yes, you get to choose the length of your course, too!).
BaseLang’s Real World Program
BaseLang’s Real World program introduces the concept of flat rate to language learning.
You subscribe for $149 a month and you get unlimited one-on-one online Spanish conversation tutoring!
And when I say unlimited, I really mean it.
You can even take six or seven hours of conversation classes every day if you feel like it!
Another advantage of this program is that you have over 100 tutors to choose from.
You can book your hours always with the same one or practice your Spanish conversation with several tutors to get used to different accents.
BaseLang promises to get you from zero to conversationally fluent fast and efficiently.
You choose the pace, the tutors, the time… And they even give you the class materials for free!
If you’re looking for a fast-paced, intensive and affordable private conversation program, BaseLang is for you.
Conversational Spanish 1: Master Spoken Spanish (Beginners)
Also available on Udemy, Conversational Spanish 1 is the perfect course for real beginners who have no previous knowledge of Spanish.
For less than $15 you get access to over 120 minutes of videos divided into different sections that will teach you the vocabulary you need to be able to talk in Spanish in situations such as introductions, descriptions of things and places, eating at a restaurant and asking for help, among others.
The course has quite a fast pace despite having been created for complete beginners, so I recommend you go through each unit twice to make sure you absorb all the info.
The creator states you’ll be able to have basic conversations with native Spanish speakers by the end of the course.
While that might be a very ambitious promise bearing in mind the curriculum of the course, what’s sure is that you’ll learn very basic conversational skills you’ll be able to use in the situations presented in the units.
Advanced Spanish Conversation
Created by Battersea Spanish, this conversation course is perfect for advanced Spanish learners who want to give their speaking skills a final push to fluency.
Although you can take the course at their school facilities in London, they’re now offering it online as well for £250.
The course lasts for 10 weeks, with one 90-minute class per week.
The lessons will help you consolidate your grammar and vocabulary thanks to the debates and native media used. And if you miss any class, you can access it on their online portal.
This specific course has been designed for advanced students of Spanish (levels C1 and C2), but they also offer conversation courses for intermediate and upper-intermediate students.
Spanish for Successful Communication in Healthcare Settings
Offered by Rice University, the Spanish for Successful Communication in Healthcare Settings is a conversation course catered to people in the healthcare sector.
The course is divided into four modules, each of them dealing with a different aspect of the patient-doctor interaction.
Even though the course can be completed at your own pace, be ready for a few weeks of hard work, because it’ll take you at least 168 hours to finish.
The whole course is in Spanish (intermediate level), and the videos will take you on a conversational ride from the moment you see a patient for the first time to the moment you see them leave.
The video material is supplemented with over 100 readings, and each student gets a handout with plenty of assignments they need to be completing as the course progresses.
At the end of each module, you have to complete a short test.
Conversational Spanish Dialogues
My last proposition is quite different from the rest because it comes in the form of an audiobook with an accompanying e-book.
If you have an Audible account, go ahead and download this entertaining conversational Spanish course full of real-life dialogues in both Spanish and English. (If you don’t have Audible, try it for free for 30 days and use that month to take this course.)
Each dialogue is first presented in Spanish, followed by its English translation, and you can use the free e-book that comes with the course to read along.
With a length of four hours and 32 minutes, this audio course is perfect for learners who want to make their commute more entertaining or enjoy filling their breaks with some Spanish conversation practice.
And that’s all for today, folks!
With these 10 excellent tips and 15 conversational Spanish courses, your Spanish skills might soon be the talk of the town!
Remember that conversational Spanish requires you to practice, practice and practice some more, so choose your favorite courses from this list and start boosting your Spanish speaking talent today!
Stay curious, my friends, and as always, happy speaking!
Francisco J. Vare loves teaching and writing about grammar. He’s a proud language nerd, and you’ll normally find him learning languages, teaching students or reading. He’s been writing for FluentU for many years and is one of their staff writers.
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