No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks.
Kidding! If you’re learning Spanish, you may have already made some incredible progress thanks to the help of a great teacher.
Still, most Spanish teachers are super busy and simply don’t have time to help you with everything.
Plus, speaking in a foreign language is a skill difficult to master in any environment, let alone in a classroom where there’s often hardly enough time for everyone to get a word in edgewise.
Add it all up and you’re left with the obvious:
You have to take responsibility for your own Spanish speaking.
Luckily for you, teaching yourself to speak Spanish like a pro is entirely possible, and you don’t need class to do it.
I repeat: You don’t have to go to class. You don’t have to leave your home. In fact, you don’t even have to leave your bed if you don’t want to. It’s true. You don’t have to venture far to learn to speak Spanish!
All you have to do is equip yourself with the right tools, find the right resources and make smart connections. By doing these things, you’ll be more than well on your way to engaging in productive Spanish speaking at home.
So read on for tips on how to get the most out of your self-taught Spanish speaking journey.
Keys to Successful Spanish Speaking Self-study
Before diving headfirst into the waters of Spanish speaking at home, let’s go over some general guidelines you can follow to get the most out of your studies.
Practice, practice, practice!
Surely you’ve heard the line “practice makes perfect.” Maybe you’ve been told this by a teacher while learning to play a musical instrument, or perhaps you’ve used the line yourself to motivate others. There’s a reason it’s become a cliché…it’s true! The more you actually practice speaking Spanish, which many swear is the most difficult aspect of mastering the language, the easier it will become.
Engage in listening activities that enhance your overall understanding of Spanish
There are a number of activities that, while they don’t directly require speaking skills, act as a complement to practicing your Spanish conversation skills.
Listening to Spanish via radio, podcasts or audiobooks, along with watching TV shows and movies in Spanish, can help you compare your own pronunciation to that of natives.
To listen to Spanish-language radio stations for free, check out Streema, Surf Music and listenlive.eu. Of course, there are many other resources out there, but these can familiarize your ear with the sounds of different dialects for you to mimic in your own conversation.
When you encounter obstacles and metaphorical speed bumps during your Spanish speaking endeavors at home, you may want to throw in the towel altogether. However, maintaining a “can do” attitude and constantly working toward your goal will help prevent your studies from stagnating.
Now, here are some easy ways you can learn to speak Spanish from the comfort of home.
Simple Techniques for Learning Spanish Speaking at Home
Repeat after the TV
You may feel a bit silly doing it, but repeating after Spanish speakers you hear on TV is a fantastic way to hone your own pronunciation skills.
One type of video you can use to repeat after is news videos. Thankfully, there are a number of places to find them online.
You can follow along with many television programs, podcasts and radio programs by reading the corresponding transcripts as you listen and then speaking along with them as well.
Audiria offers a number of podcasts and corresponding transcripts.
Howlearnspanish.com lists some Spanish television programs with transcripts available online.
Stuck wondering where to look for more of these resources? Or just don’t know where to start? You can always sit back, relax and let FluentU do the work for you.
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.
Find a conversation buddy
We tend to be more driven toward our goals and to succeed more easily when we have someone to cheer us on, or someone who is working toward the same goal.
Whether it be your roommate, your significant other, your child or a friend whom you can call and converse with, having someone you can practice speaking with regularly will help you quickly better your Spanish skills.
If you are unsure of whom you should reach out to for Spanish conversation practice, one option is to turn to the good ol’ Internet. There are a number of sites available that assist in the formation of conversation exchanges.
One option is Conversationexchange.com. This site enables you to input search criteria about exactly what you want to find in a conversation partner and voila! It will find you your ideal match with whom to practice without ever leaving your home.
These exchanges are generally done over Skype or another video conferencing tool. Another benefit of setting up an exchange is that you can find a conversation partner whose native language is Spanish. This means that he or she can provide you with constructive feedback on your pronunciation, leading you to sound more native than you ever thought possible!
If meeting with a conversation partner in person is preferable to you and helps you learn more effectively, there are ways to find partners with whom to practice even if you don’t have friends or family that speak or are learning Spanish.
One fabulous resource for this is Meetup.com. Sometimes, you can even find groups on the site composed of native and non-native speakers who get together to practice Spanish at restaurants, cafés or other venues. You can totally learn Spanish speaking at home, but getting out every once in a while is good for everyone!
Read out loud
Try to think back to your school days when you began to read and acquire increasingly difficult vocabulary in your native language. What was one of the main ways you picked up the new words? By reading them out loud and sounding them out, perhaps. Doing so with another language is a wonderful way to check on your pronunciation!
Again, you may need to squash down those feelings of embarrassment trying to scratch their way to the surface, but reading out loud is an ideal way to practice your pronunciation.
For reading material, you can subscribe to a Spanish-language paper (see a comprehensive list at MITLibraries) or pick up a Spanish book from your local library or bookstore.
Another study option that works well—if you have a convo buddy or know someone else trying to learn the language—is to practice reading different parts of a Spanish script together. SimplyScripts.com is a fabulous resource for finding theatrical works online.
Label your furniture
Out of sight, out of mind! Make your studies a part of your everyday life to see results in your speaking ability. One way to integrate Spanish speaking into your daily life at home is to label the objects within it.
Type up Spanish words for furniture, appliances and anything else you see around the house. Or just get yourself a Spanish Vocabulary Stickers set, which includes cool, color-coded labels for common household and office items. Then, begin taping the words to their corresponding objects.
While you do this, practice speaking by saying simple sentences (like “Esto es una cama” as you attach the word cama to your bed).
While you go about your daily routines after labeling, keep practicing by speaking sentences out loud about activities you do with the different objects. Even saying phrases corresponding to your actions quietly to yourself will benefit your speaking studies by reinforcing your speech.
Check out this post for ideas on what to label in your house and phrases you can use for speaking out loud at home.
Consider using a program with a speech recognition feature
Confused as to whether or not you are pronouncing certain words correctly? One benefit to Spanish in a classroom setting is that there is a teacher able to critique your pronunciation and give you tips. Don’t worry, though. Giving up the classroom to study at home doesn’t mean sacrificing getting the help you need with Spanish speaking skills!
Thanks to today’s technology, there are programs available for your smartphone, tablet, laptop or other technological device that you can implement in your self-study curriculum.
For example, surely you’ve heard of Rosetta Stone, which has a feature that critiques your pronunciation of Spanish words after you speak them. It’s a nice resource to use for this purpose, but may not be ideal for many due to its steep cost. That said, you can find cheaper packages on its official site, as well as a free demo.
Fret not, however, as there are many other options for similar and less pricy systems to help you better your Spanish speaking skills. One example is Duolingo, an app with exercises that evaluate speaking among other skills.
If you find apps to be a useful tool, check out these 12 phenomenal options to download to your smartphone.
With so many resources out there to help you learn how to speak Spanish from home, you may never need to venture out to class again!
Just keep studying and speaking and you’ll be fluent and sounding like a native in no time.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.