¿Cómo sonar más natural en español?

flor natural

¿Haz escuchado a un extranjero hablar tu idioma nativo? Es muy probable que si los has visto, notes que muchas veces su manera de hablar no es natural, e incluso aveces pueden sonar como robots.

Sin embargo, tú puedes hacer pequeñas y sencillas cosas para que esto no te ocurra a ti en español.

Pero… ¿Qué es un español más natural?

Cuando hablo de un español más natural, me refiero a que cuando hables, utilices expresiones que los nativos utilizan.

Fijarte en los pequeños detalles de la forma en que los nativos dicen las cosas, te puede resultar muy útil para desarrollar más naturalidad en tu español.

Por ejemplo, trata de identificar las expresiones faciales y los sonidos que los hispano-hablantes nativos utilizan, cuando expresan cosas como tristeza, felicidad, sorpresa, aburrimiento, interés, etc.

Pequeños detalles para sonar más natural en español

Imagínate que estás teniendo una conversación con alguien en español. Digamos que una persona te está contando algo y tu quieres demostrar que estás prestando atención a lo que la otra persona te está diciendo.

En la siguiente conversación, he subrayado, las expresiones que utilizarías para darle más naturalidad a tu español y sonar menos ‘robotico’.


—Imagínate que el viernes pasado estuve en un restaurante buenísimo.

¿Sí?

—Sí, hacen unas pastas excelentes.

Ahhh… ¿Mejores que las que hago yo?

—Jajaja… Pues… Están al mismo nivel, ¿Me entiendes?

¿En serio? … Creo que tienes que llevarme, quiero ver que tan buena es mi competencia.

Mmmm…. No sé, tal vez si son mejores que las tuyas.

Ahhh… ¿De verdad?

—Es que tienes que probar esas pastas, ¡Son deliciosas!  

¡Qué bien! Creo que me tienes que llevar entonces.

¿En serio? ¿Cuándo vamos entonces?

—¿Qué tal el jueves en la noche? 

¡Listo! Allá nos vemos.


¿Notaste las pequeñas expresiones que estaban resaltadas? Ten la seguridad que al utilizarlas, tu español sonará un poco más natural.

Por ejemplo, en inglés normalmente, las personas utilizan la expresión “Ohh”, pero en español usamos “Ahh”.

También, muchos hispano-hablantes nativos, utilizan la expresión “Listo” o “Esta bien”, para decir algo como “OK”.

Solo recuerda que los pequeños detalles hacen la diferencia, y que la clave está en imitar completamente la forma en que la gente latina se expresa en español.


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One technique for a more fluent Spanish

baseball player with a nice technique

A long time ago, one of my friends asked me to go with him to his little nephew’s baseball training. During the time the boy spent there, he practiced the same technique to improve his swing (hitting the ball with a bat).

I noticed that baseball players have to work on their technique so that their swing becomes smooth, strong and effective.

When the pitcher throws the ball, there’s just no time for the batter to stop and think, he has to bat quickly!

Just as in baseball, in real fluent Spanish conversations, there’s no time to think either. Words just come and go easily, automatically and effectively.

Unfortunately, Spanish students usually struggle with fluency.

It’s very common to see how they stop and take their time to answer simple questions in Spanish like:

—”¿Que vas a hacer mañana?”

—”Uhh, ¿Mañana? Uuuhmmm, voy a… uhhhh… Creo que voy a… uuhh…”

However, this is not what you want!

Your goal is to speak fluently, automatically, and effectively. You want to go ahead and answer questions quickly:

—”Mañana me voy de viaje hasta el 4 de Agosto del otro año

One technique for a more fluent Spanish

One of the best exercises that I know to improve your fluency is answering questions.

I learned this technique from AJ Hoge, my English teacher, and author of Effortless English: Learn to speak English like a native. 

AJ says that during traditional English lessons, the teacher often tries to practice speaking doing boring drills, and something happens in Spanish.

For instance, the teacher may say:

—”Repitan después de mí: ‘Hola, ¿Cómo estás?’ “

And then the students would repeat exactly what the teacher says:

—”Hola, ¿Cómo estás?”

This could keep happening for a couple of more sentences. It is totally different if you answer questions the way AJ Hoge teaches us.

How can you use this technique?

It’s very simple, and yet, very effective.

Imagine you are listening to an easy to understand Spanish story, and then you start to hear some questions about the story.

The questions must be designed to repeat the new vocabulary that you learned during the story and thus the new words will be recorded in your brain more easily.

Don’t worry if your answers are too short, all you need to do is to give an answer in Spanish. Over time and the more you improve, you could give longer replies.

The answers you give to these easy questions must be out loud, quick, and you can’t think, just like a baseball player when he hits a ball.

During the following video, I show you exactly how to do it:

Why does this work?

Answering questions is an active brain exercise, and because during the questions you hear the same vocabulary over and over, you can learn and remember new words, idioms, and expressions more easily.

Not only that but quickly answering questions in Spanish will train your brain to think in this new language. You’ll become used to answer questions so that in real life this doesn’t become such a huge challenge.

One of the things that AJ recommends for this technique is energy and psychology, things that play a big role when you learn a new language.

He suggests answering questions out loud, or even shout the answers. You could even yell every time something is supposed to shock you, no matter if it doesn’t make you feel this way.

Note: If you’re interested in improving your Spanish using this technique, then my premium lessons may come in handy for you. I base my lessons on funny stories and the questions and answers technique.

Does this really help you achieve fluency?

Yes, 100% guaranteed! I say this because it worked for me.

I took many of AJ Hoge’s lessons when I learned to speak English, using this very same technique and because of my experience, I got convinced of its power.

Now that I want to help you achieve fluency in Spanish I want to recommend the most powerful and effective methods to learn languages that I know.

NOTE: If you want to learn more of what you can do to learn Spanish and become fluent in the least time possible, I suggest you sign up for my 8-day free Email course in the form below.

3 Totally different ways to say sorry in Spanish

typewriter writing sorry

“I’m sorry!” These were the only words that my friend Mark pronounced right after an embarrassing situation: He accidentally opened the door of women’s restroom and saw someone peeing.

Poor Mark, every time I think about him, I picture that scene of him, suddenly closing his eyes, shutting the bathroom’s door and running away yelling the opening words of this post over and over.

Interestingly though, this lady didn’t speak English and when she went out of the bathroom she was like:

“¿Vieron ese gringo que me abrió la puerta y me gritó como un loco?”

The most uncomfortable part of this story is that this happened during a family reunion, and the woman who Mark saw was his wife’s aunt.

I still remember his face looking at her during dinner time… Yes, good old and funny days, hahaha!

The good news are: Mark is fine, he’s still sorry about that uncomfortable incident. Nonetheless, every time he recalls that day, he ends up laughing at the woman.

He is a very shy person, and he’s always thinking of what people think of him.

Imagine how frustrating and embarrassing it must’ have been for him, not being able to communicate and say sorry properly.

oy covering his face with shame

How do I say I’m sorry in Spanish?

During dinner, Mark asked me:

—”Pssstt… Diego, How do I say ‘I’m sorry’ in Spanish”.

—”Depends on how sorry you feel “— I reply, making a big effort not to laugh so the woman didn’t think we were making fun of her.

In English, there was only one option, all he could say was: I’m sorry for opening the door while you were peeing.

Now, in Spanish, we have more ways to express this idea.

Read the three different ways that we have in Spanish to say ‘sorry.’ Then, at the end of the article, make a comment telling me what the best option for my friend was.

Note: I don’t want you to be in Mark’s shoes, so read carefully the following ways of saying sorry in Spanish.

3 Different ways to say sorry in Spanish

1- Lo siento: This is often taught as the Spanish equivalent for ‘I’m sorry’, but it doesn’t sound natural if you use it in every situation.

When I see people saying ‘lo siento’ for everything they feel sorry about, it sounds like a robot repeating a pre-recorded audio, it just doesn’t sound natural!

In Spanish, we use ‘lo siento’ to express condolences, this has to be something that you REALLY, REALLY feel bad about. For instance, when there’s someone very sick you can say:

“Siento mucho que estés tan enfermo.

Perhaps, if you feel bad for not helping someone you can also say:

“Siento mucho no poder ayudarte” 

Most of the time, people use it when someone dies, you go to a deceased’s relative and say:

“Lo siento mucho”

Bottom line is that “Lo siento” is just for situations that you feel empathy for the other person.

Say sorry in Spanish: Check out the difference between 'lo siento', 'disculpe' and 'perdón'. Click To Tweet

2- Disculpe: This is a very formal way to ask for an apology, it usually goes along with the pronoun “Usted”. For example, if you are in a business meeting and you want to interrupt someone who is talking, you can say:

“Disculpe que lo interrumpa pero….”

Depending on how informal, or how close you feel to the person who you talk to, there’s a small variation: Disculpa, which goes along with the pronoun “Tú”.

Most Spanish countries use this informal talking with their family and friends. For instance:

“Mamá, disculpa por no lavar los platos”

Sometimes, Spanish speakers like specific talking and that’s why you can add “me”, to the apology:

1- “Discúlpeme que lo interrumpa pero…”

2- “Mamá, discúlpame por no lavar los platos”


3- Perdón: Again, with this word, you are asking for an apology.it’s basically the same meaning as disculpe, although this one is a bit more meaningful than disculpe.

Just as “disculpe”, you can make it more formal or informal:

 

  1. Perdone: sounds formal and goes along with the pronoun ‘usted’.
  2. Perdona: Sounds informal and goes along with the pronoun ‘tú’.

You can also add ‘me’ to specify that it’s you: perdoneme or perdoname.

How will you master these differences?

Pencil writing sorry on a paper

The difference between ‘lo siento’, ‘perdón’ and ‘disculpe’ is very simple:

  • Lo siento: Something you really feel sorry about.
  • Perdón: You ask for an apology.
  • Disculpe: You ask for an apology, sometimes it’s just a small apology.

Now, how can you master these differences?

What can you do to make them flow out of your mouth easily and spontaneously?

I ask these questions because, after getting a nice explanation about this topic, my students always get out of the classroom like:

“It’s pretty clear to me, thanks, bye Diego!”

Days later, they talk to me in Spanish and every time they make a mistake, they say “Lo siento”.

So, the question is: How can you master the context in which these words are used?

You will do it by achieving fluency in Spanish.

If you want to find the secret to speak Spanish fluently and master these words then you have to sign up for my 8-day free E-mail course at the end of this post.

Finally, after considering these three different ways to say sorry in Spanish, I have a question for you: what should Mark have said to express that he was sorry for interrupting the woman’s ritual in the W.C?

Leave your answer in the comments below!