The key to learning a language

boton por favor hablame en espanol

¡Hola a todo el mundo!

Welcome back to another entry of Pura Buena Onda’s blog! Last week I wrote about the importance of listening when we want to learn a language. Today, I’m going to talk about quite the opposite: speaking, the key to learning a language.

At Pura Buena Onda we always say that the key to learning Spanish is speaking. We have said it many times and we will keep saying it, because it is true. I always tell my students something that I heard Caro say one day: if you want to learn how to play tennis, you play tennis.

That makes sense, right? You wouldn’t just read tons of books about how to play tennis, you would start playing from the very beginning.

Remember that the same applies to languages. You need to start talking at level 0. Books and apps are great tools to help you in the process, but should be secondary.

Alright, let’s see what you can do to speak more!

1 – Something that you can do in order to speak more in Spanish is to talk to your pets. If this is a little embarrassing for you, do it when nobody else is around. Don’t we all talk to our dogs or cats? Just switch to Spanish!

2 – Another great exercise is talking to yourself out loud in Spanish. Tell yourself how you’re feeling, the things you have to do that day, or talk about your future plans. You can also talk about how yesterday or last weekend was, to practice the past tenses.

3 – There’s one thing I like to do to practice the languages I speak, which is reading out loud. Pick a book in Spanish and read two or three pages. It doesn’t need to be more than that, the rest of your reading can be silent. The key is to speak outloud when learning a language.

4 – Don’t be afraid of talking in class, on the street or to people you don’t know. You are going to make mistakes, we all make mistakes when we learn. Just acknowledge it and be ok with it. Mistakes help you grow and show that you are trying.

TIP: If you want to make sure that Spanish speakers will speak to you in Spanish instead of English, remember to wear your “Habláme en Español” pin!

These recommendations are for people who aren’t afraid of talking, but love to listen.

Being a good listener is an excellent skill, a very important skill, but when you learn Spanish, you also need to push yourself to talk, as speaking is the key to learning a language. Here are some recommendations:

  • At the beginning of the class, make sure you talk about how your day or your week has been. It doesn’t matter if you think that nothing very special happened, just participate and make sure to try to go into details. That will help you improve.

  • Tell yourself that part of your personal homework is participating in the conversations that take place in class. Make sure you give your opinion on the topic that’s being discussed as part of your practice to talk more. If you truly have no opinion, we recommend asking follow up questions to the speakers, so that you’re at least practicing some speaking.

  • Don’t wait for someone to ask you to share. When there’s a moment of silence, jump in and start saying what you want to say.

  • Don’t be afraid of talking for too long. People who like to listen usually keep their sentences very short. It’s ok to talk for a few minutes; you have as much right to share in class as other students do!


This is it, everyone. I just told you some of the tips I always share with my students, especially the ones that are shy or not particularly talkative. If you are one of those two kinds of people, I encourage you to try some of the things I explained in this blog. I’m sure it will make a difference :)

And if you’re a Chatty Cathy, maybe you can practice your listening skills.  At the same time you can encourage the quieter students to talk, by asking them direct questions, and then sitting back and listening.


Chicos y chicas, ¡buena semana y hasta pronto!


In case you missed last week’s blog post: Read last week’s blog here! 

Questions? Suggestions for a future blog post? Write us below!

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