How did you get over the last threshold to fluency in Spanish?

Fiscal

Registered
Any tips? I am perfectly fine making small talk with uber drivers, taxistas, waiters, etc... But what did you do to get to the point where you could speak with ease on a complex subject, like going into OSDE to deal with administrative stuff, speaking with co-workers in Spanish, etc...?
 

artisans

Just Joined
Any tips? I am perfectly fine making small talk with uber drivers, taxistas, waiters, etc... But what did you do to get to the point where you could speak with ease on a complex subject, like going into OSDE to deal with administrative stuff, speaking with co-workers in Spanish, etc...?
Get a teacher who holds one on one classes twice a week for as long as it takes
 

Tilda

Registered
I didn’t. I came to Argentina thinking that I was going to really immerse myself and that there was no bigger failure than making obvious mistakes.
But, I came with a three week old baby, got an English speaking job very quickly and decided to speak Swedish to my children....
There was no time or energy to polish my Spanish.
Now I’m just used to making myself understood in my flawed Spanish. Past tense is a pain! I can pronounce río platense just fine but still sound like a foreigner... luckily there wasn’t any language test for getting nationality.
Time to sign up with a teacher I think.
 

camel

Registered
He already has one -- his Argentine wife.
He should start talking with co-workers in Spanish.
If his Argentine wife won't speak Spanish with him, then he has no choice but to get an Argentina girlfriend who will.

Bonus: he will learn to discuss very complicated subjects (es muy complicado)
 

Ceviche

Registered
I speak highly flawed Spanish. One of my teachers once told me - If you know you are making mistakes when speaking, thats half the battle won! But i can talk anything with any native speaker with any South or Central American accent the whole damn day.

My grammar is terrible. But 95% times, the other party understands. When listening, my Spanish vocablary is very vast and I understand almost anything except technical/Business Spanish.

I found following rules which has helped me a lot with my journey in Spanish. Its a game of SELF-CONFIDENCE!

1. Many times some Native speakers try to put me down by "acting" as if they dont understand what I am saying. And I have lived here long enough and spoken enough Spanish to know that they are "acting". yes, they act. Its just a game of dominance. Sometimes, I say "If your English is better than my Spanish, lets talk in English". Most of the times, that puts them under immense pressure.

2. I found the best way to get over Spanish proficiency is to speak, speak and speak. Speak really bad grammar, speak to any one but speak. Ideally if you are a male, a non English speaking local girl friend is the answer.

3. I took all kind of Spanish classes and bought 100's of books to learn Spanish. But it did not help me at all. Only speaking on the road with cab drivers, bus drivers, grocery store workers, passer-bys on the street, really helped me.

4. Most of the time, if you speak to really sophsiticated, well educated locals who have a command over their Native language, even your very mediocre Spanish will be understood by them. Challenge is - always trying to communicate with the uneducated local people who themselves dont have a proper grasp over their own damn language.

5. Reading Spanish newspapers or watching Spanish movies especially Argentine movies ( I speak and focus on Argentine Spanish and am really proud of it) really help.

6. Another issue I found, was trying to speak Spanish with other expats. Some of them speak very strange Spanish with EXTREME/MINDBLOWING confidence!! . Maybe they learnt it in some fisherman village in Republica Dominicana, on a trip there or something and then combined it some some Spanish they learnt as a extra language in some god-forsaken elementary school. End result is terrible. I faced those conversations, in my initial years and it really ruined my confidence with Spanish. ( just as some Spanish language new-learner would not really benefit trying to learn from me who is a flawed speaker) pro -tip - Speak Spanish with only native speakers. NOT with fellow expats.

Hope this helps.
 
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anainsh

Registered
I'm a Spanish teacher working abroad. Reading helps a lot, unfortunately the press in Argentina isn't good. You can try BBC mundo in Spanish, there's a wide range of subjects. If you have studied some grammar, then it's important to master the past tenses. We are able to understand most problems concerning a lack of subjuntivo, but it's very difficult if you can't get a correct time line.
Other problems by English speakers are: tú/usted (including the possessive forms), feminine/ masculine and getting the right article (el, la, las, los).
 

sts7049

Registered
I'm in the same boat. i try to speak more with coworkers in Spanish but they often revert back to English when we talk in more depth. but I'm at the point where in meetings they ask if i want to talk in English and I tell them no. listening is good practice too although it converts pretty slowly to speaking abilities. it does help me learn new words or phrases though. trying to write emails and things also helps.
 
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