Little details make a difference, a piece of art wouldn’t be a piece of art without those small things that make it unique. When you use Spanish, you can add small details to your speaking to make it sound more natural, keep reading if you want to know exactly what I mean.
Have you ever seen a foreigner trying to speak English or your native language? … If so, you probably know that even though they can communicate ideas, they sound a little strange, it’s even a bit forced. It would be something like this in English for a foreigner speaker:
-Hey, it’s nice to meet you I’m mike!
-Me Diego, I want play guitaRRR (Emphasis on that R, just like Latinos make it in Spanish xD).
Sometimes, Spanish learners fall into this kind of speaking too, but the big news is that you can avoid this by adjusting some small details in your speaking.
Of course, the best way to fix this problem is by using the small details that make Spanish sound natural.
How do I do I know what those details are?
Listening to Spanish! … It’s just as simple as taking an audio about a conversation or a story told in Spanish by a native speaker.
Notice how speakers fill those awkward moments when they don’t say anything meaningful, just as when in English you say thing like: “so…”, “Actually…”, “in fact…”, “Ummm…”, “Uuhhh”.
Yes, in Spanish people also have these filler words, and I know they don’t really matter because the objective of a language is mainly to communicate; if you don’t want to use these filler words, nothing happens, you still speak Spanish.
Now, if you use them, you will be putting an extra ingredient to your Spanish that will be more enjoyable for your listeners, it will sound more natural, and actually a little more native.
Five filler words that if you use them, your Spanish will sound more natural:
1- “Eeeehhhh…”: Remember I told you that in English people use “Uuhhh”? Well, in Spanish we do the same thing, but with the letter “E”, you use this weird sound when you are not sure about what to say next, for instance:
-¿Qué vas a pedir?
-Eehhh… creo que quiero pollo.
2- “Pues”: it doesn’t mean anything, it’s just a word full of air that goes at the beginning or the end of a sentence, and you can use it to say anything (which would be awesome because your Spanish would sound a little more natural).
The word “Pues”, remind me of an American friend who knew nothing of Spanish and came to Colombia for the first time a couple of years ago.
He asked me what “Pues” meant because, he heard that little word everywhere, I told him his empty meaning and he started using it in every sentence, it was something like this:
-¿Si vas a venir a comer hoy?
-Pues, creo que sí.
Or like this:
-pues, no me gusta.
Then, after he said any sentence, he asked me if “pues” was correct in that case, and when I said yes, he couldn’t believe his “level” of Spanish was so “high” after learning just one empty word.
3- “O sea..”: This one goes all the time in a conversation to give explanations about something, just like, when we say “I mean” in English, for example:
-Yo le dije a ella que si quería salir conmigo, osea, como amigos nada más.
Or something like:
-“Pues” no significa nada, o sea, tú lo dices y ya.
4- “¿Me entendés?” or “¿Me entiendes?”: It actually means: “do you understand what I’m saying?”, but sometimes people use it, just for the sake of saying something, usually when you give an explanation, here is an example:
-Yo estaba enfermo, con fiebre y toz ¿Me entendés?… Por eso fui a compra una pastilla.
Or maybe something like this:
– Tienes que buscar un mejor carro, ¿me entiendes?.. algo más nuevo.
5- Mirá: if you translate it, the dictionary says it means “to look”, but sometimes people use it to introduce explanations, for instance:
-Mirá que le dije a mi mamá que volviera temprano y no ha llegado.
Or something like this:
-Mirá, yo venía en el carro y se me atravesó un perro.
Languages are full of filler words, set a goal to listen to Spanish and identify the ones listed above.
Do it naturally, listen to lots of Spanish and pay attention to how native speakers express themselves, sometimes, they could even come out with funny stuff for you, but for them, it could be the most serious thing in the universe.
Imitate the way they express and you will become fluent in Spanish.