Nonverbal Spanish Strategies

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Nonverbal Spanish StrategiesHola!  I’ve added a new video to our lesson on Spanish comprehension and communication strategies.  This mini-lesson covers strategies and things you can say to facilitate nonverbal communication.  We all know how to grunt and point and play charades, but sometimes it’s handy to have just a few phrases to help us along.  That’s what this is about.

There are several sentences you might find useful to pair with gestures to communicate your meaning.  Here are 5 specific phrases you can add to your repertoire:

1.  Escríbalo aquí, por favor.  Some people remember this because “escríbalo” sounds like “scribble.” It means, Write it here please.  So if the Spanish speaker said something you can’t quite get, hand them a pen and paper and say, “Escríbalo aquí, por favor.”  Seeing the word(s) in writing may help.


Taking Control of the Spanish Conversation

Friday, June 21st, 2013

3.1 ControlThis video covers some strategies for Spanish Comprehension and Communication, and talks about how to take control of a conversation so that you’ll be able to understand when people speak to you.

An important rule when asking questions to Spanish speakers is to only ask questions you’ll understand the answer to. This video provides some helpful suggestions for what kinds of questions might be safe to ask.

You’ll also learn how to ask Spanish-speakers to “Speak more slowly, please,” (Hable más despacio, por favor) or “Repeat, please,” (Repita, por favor) how to say “I don’t speak much Spanish” (No hablo mucho español) and “I don’t understand,” (No entiendo) and how to ask them if they understand you (¿Me entiende?).  Watch for these and other strategies in the video–CLICK HERE.

5 Spanish Phrases for the Construction Site

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Spanish for ConstructionAre you a construction worker?  Do you want to communicate effectively with Spanish-speaking employees or co-workers on the construction site, but don’t have the time or talent to learn Spanish fluently?  If so, today’s post is just for you.

Today’s tip:

Learn phrases that you can use in many different situations.  It’s easier to remember one phrase that expresses many things, than twenty phrases that each only express one thing.  Here are five versatile Spanish phrases for the construction site:


Spanish Comprehension and Communication Strategies

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Intro to Lesson 3Learning to speak a new language can be challenging, but with a few strategies in your tool belt, it becomes a much easier task.  I’ve just started working on a new lesson on Spanish Comprehension and Communication Strategies.

I’ll teach students how to take control of a conversation so that they can be understood by the Spanish speaker and also help the Spanish speaker to talk in a way that the English speaker can understand them. I’ll show students how to ask the speaker to speak more slowly or repeat what they said.


Being Polite in Spanish

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

2.3 Being PoliteI’ve just completed another segment of Lesson 2 on Spanish Greetings and Pleasantries!  Being polite is an important part of being professional.  The phrases covered in this portion of the lesson include:

Por favor (Please).  This is one of my favorite phrases because of how versatile it is.  It’s actually a great communication strategy to say “Por favor” while you gesture to indicate what you’d like the person to do (sit down, hand you their coat, lend you a pen, etc.).


My Mind Goes Blank When I Try to Speak Spanish!

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Don’t you hate it when you’re learning a language and you’re all excited about it, and then you find yourself in a situation where you could actually use it and *poof!*  it’s gone?!  Does your mind ever go blank when you try to speak Spanish?

Here’s a tip: think of ONE (just one) sentence you will use in Spanish at the very next opportunity you have.  Don’t try to remember everything; just focus on that one phrase. Maybe it’s something as simple as hola (hello), or it could be a bit longer, like Sientese, por favor (Have a seat, please).

As they say, if you don’t use it, you lose it, so make a fail-proof way for yourself to use your Spanish as often as possible!  Once you’ve mastered saying one phrase, focus on another, and then another.  The more often you practice, the more comfortable you will become, and the less often you’ll find your mind going blank.  Try it!

Top 5 Tips for Understanding Spanish at Work

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

One of the greatest frustrations people have expressed is their difficulty with understanding Spanish speakers during their daily routines.   Even people who can already speak a little Spanish sometimes have trouble understanding when someone rattles off in Spanish.  If you learn a small amount of Spanish to communicate with them, sometimes it makes things even worse, because when you use your Spanish, they suddenly assume you speak the language fluently and rattle off, leaving you confused and speechless.  It doesn’t have to be this way!  If you already have a small amount of Spanish knowledge, here are my top 5 tips for improving your comprehension. (more…)