Tag Archives: Spanish help

How not to live in dread of public speaking in Spanish

Ready for a public speaking in Spanish
“Microphones” flickr photo shared by Håkan Dahlström under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

Public speaking is a concern of people, particularly individuals involved in communication with other people or who want to argue on a specific topic. Frequently, professionals concerned with public speaking review psychological aspects of physical actions, such as eye contact, tone, posture, articulation, etc. However, even though the previously stated characteristics are of core importance, this post will provide some additional features, shaping it in an environment of using the Spanish language.

Firstly, a brief mentioning of the psychological features applied to any language, the so-called body language. Eye contact is definitely important, since looking at the listeners’ eyes shows determination as well as acknowledgement of the listeners’ attention. Posture should be considered as well, as being comfortable and showing authority will emphasize the meaning of what you are discussing.

Moving on, it is general knowledge that all languages have different intonation, which is why when foreigners speak English, one can often distinguish their nationality as they apply their native language intonation to the English one. In Spanish, as in English, normal statements end with a falling pitch. Questions however, differ, and in Spanish end in a falling pitch as well. Of course, one can distinguish if a sentence is a question or a statement by its context. When a person does public speaking in Spanish, it is much better if they use the right intonation and pitch. If they don’t, the listeners would be able to understand as well, but they could interpret it incorrectly, which may result in the language’s deterioration.

Another feature of a well-spoken public presentation is articulation. The more you articulate, the more influential you sound. Often, when one has to do a public speech, one is not aware of their articulation or speed of talking, being busy with what they say. But even if you’re not reinventing the wheel, your listeners will be bored if you sound like a washing machine. To improve this, there are many Spanish tongue twisters that could help you, such as the following one:

Tres tristes tigres tragaban trigo en un trigal en tres tristes trastos.
             En tres tristes trastos tragaban trigo tres tristes tigres.

Exhausting the psychological and grammatical features, we will investigate additional ways to prepare yourself for a public speech in Spanish. Firstly, listening to politicians, musicians, radio programs, etc. will better shape your view of the language. A good webpage to consult is TED Talks, in further searching for Spanish speakers, as well as this one . Even if you are not interested in the topic, you would be able to recognize the previously stated features as well as improve your vocabulary subconsciously. After you do that, you could prepare a pre-written speech yourself and try to present it from time to time while looking at your notes. It is highly recommended that you do this in front of a mirror, however odd it may sound. Also, recording yourself while talking, can illuminate some mistakes that you are not aware of. Later on, as you master giving a public speech using notes, try to do one improvising on a topic you previously have thought about.

Lastly, public speaking does not necessarily have to be official, even if the environment requires it to be. We are all people and love to have fun, hear jokes and be included in some way, as shown in the video that I included previously. Try to be as natural as you can, use a correct but simple way of speaking, include your listeners in an activity, articulate, give real-life situation examples, and have fun! Good luck

Common Spanish Phrases for Expressing Opinions

common spanish phrases to express opinion
Open Air Dining flickr photo shared by Anne Worner under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

One of the best Spanish practices is conversation, but you might feel stuck if you’re not sure how to express your opinion appropriately.

When expressing your opinion, remember the phrases below and you’ll be ready to tell anyone what you think using the Spanish language. When using these phrases remember to ensure gender and number agreement when forming the noun and adjective.

Yo pienso que: The typical “I think that…” phrase that can be used for almost any opinion-related topic. Usually Spanish learners start out with this one and with experience and practice learn to use other phrases to express their opinions. An example of how to use this phrase when talking about your friend’s great new cell phone would be “Yo pienso que el móvil es muy bonito y de buena calidad.”

Me ha parecido: This expression means “seems to me…” When talking about a product, for example tomato sauce, you could say “La salsa me ha parecido muy rica.” Remember that if you’re talking about shoes, which is plural, you need to change the phrase slightly: “Los zapatos me han parecido muy incómodos.” You can also begin a sentence with this phrase when responding to a question or if the subject is already obvious. For example when asked, “¿Qué tal el libro?, you could respond, “Me ha parecido interesante.”

Para mí: This expression means “For me…” This is an excellent opener so as not to offend anyone because this expression makes it very clear that what your about to say is your personal opinion. For example, when talking about the movie your friends all loved and you hated, you could say “Para mí no estuvo tan bien la película.” You can also end a phrase with this expression, “La película estuvo un poco aburrida para mi.”

Se me hace que: This phrase, typical from LATAM but not so common in Spain, indicates your impression or deduction about something. For example, when you see some cheap, bad-quality sun glasses for sale, you could say “Se me hace que no son de marca” (They don’t look like they’re brand-name). This expression is also great for speculating about situations and people’s emotions. For example “Se me hace que Pablo está algo enfadado” (Pablo seems like kind of an angry person.)

A mi me gusta/no me gusta :The verb “gustar” can be used to express what you like and don’t like. It’s usually a bit of a challenge for non-native speakers to use this verb correctly, but after some practice it can be very useful for expressing your opinion. To help you understand how to use the verb, you need to understand that it means that something is “pleasing to you.” For example, if you like a brand of soap, you can say “A mi me gusta el jabón Limpiol.” But, since the verb is dependent on the object, not the speaker, if you’re talking about something plural such as the flowers, you would say “A mi me gustan las flores rojas.” And of course to make it negative, you would change it to “A mi no me gustan las flores rojas.”

Other Spanish phrases for opinions

  1. Creo que
  2. En mi opinión
  3. Está claro que
  4. Lo mejor sería
  5. Me parece buena idea

Hope this helps. Feel free to ask or write your favourite expressions.

Catch it!

creative commons licensed ( BY-ND ) flickr photo shared by (Mick Baker)rooster
creative commons licensed ( BY-ND ) flickr photo shared by (Mick Baker)rooster

When writing in a language that is spoken in several countries, clients usually ask for “neutral language”. A neutral language is a way to express things that sounds more or less natural for all native speakers regardless of where the native speaker was born.

Due to good luck in Spanish we have the Real Academia de la Lengua Española that helps everybody to know what is correct and what is not.

However, there are some expressions that, though are well explained in Real Academia Española’s books, it is hard to imagine how weird they could sound if you use them in them for the wrong audience.

One of these expressions is the word “coger” to catch, which in Spain we use all the time in an innocent way. The problem for Spanish content writers comes when a user from Latin America read it, because in the full continent “coger” is a vulgar way to say have sex.

So Spaniards say “Vamos a coger un taxi” (let’s take a taxi) whilst Latin Americans laugh hard about the idea.

Of course this is great and fun between friends, but when it comes to your website content, it is better if you are aware of it.

So, be careful with this verb if your readers will be out of Spain. As a tip, you can use “tomar” instead of it.

This is one of the reasons for choosing to hire a native speaker when looking for a copywriter in Spanish.