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La Roja’s Gringa Guide to Spanish: 3 Tips for Fluent Español

by Amanda La Gringa
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Lesson 4: How To Be Fluent in Spanish.

I see it all too often, gringas with years of Spanish lessons under their belts, but they still speak like 5 year olds. I was there once, and after 10+ years of Spanish study, I can confirm there really is no easily solution to becoming fluent. However, I have come up with 3 tips that should help you along!

1. Immersion:

No surprise here. Nothing pushes you to fluency like good ole’ language immersion. However, to clarify, I’m not talking ordering margaritas during a trip to Cancun with your amigos…I’m saying full-on exchange program or immersion school. It’s not easy, but it’s the best way to take your Spanish to the next level.

2. Music (and lots of it):

While immersion in México gets most of the credit for my fluency, I must say, it was my love for musica latina that inspired me to continue my studies and really kept my passion for the Spanish language alive. Do this: Find music in Spanish that you love and absorb as much as you can…download songs, watch videos, print out lyrics, memorize phrases, sound out words you don’t know, and then sing along in your car. While you should probably avoid reggaeton, for obvious reasons, take some time to explore the different genres to find which artists you connect with…it really makes a difference, promise. Also, avoid Shakira if possible…even Latinos have a hard time figuring out what the hell she is singing.

3. Date a Latino

Hmm…I bet you are wondering if I’m joking or not. Well, I guess you will just have to try it to find out! The key element here is finding someone who speaks less English than you speak Spanish, if the reverse is true- your brain will give up and you will eventually switch to English, knowing the other person has an easier time understanding you.

So, gringas, get out there! Enroll yourself in a foreign exchange program in South America, OR if you are short on funds, download some new tunes en español and make it your new mission to flirt with (insert Latino dude’s name here). As long as you are having fun, it’s all bueno!

Want recommendations on an immersion school, Latin music you might like, or how to pick up Latino dudes? Send me an email porque La Roja is here to help! In the meantime, here’s your first music reco to get your started:

Juanes sings clear, grammatically correct Spanish. Try this one out, great for beginners:


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camilleceped February 1, 2012 - 9:27 am

Just for an added tip…watching novelas with the captioning on can help tremendously. My friends who have not been fluent have used this in addition to other things and it helped them a lot. And on the flip side for Latinos who need help learning English, they can do the same by watching English programming with captioning on. Just my two cents….not worth much. Jajaja.

Paul February 2, 2012 - 3:35 pm

i agree with all of them but you forgot alcohol… a critical component of any language learning program, imho. You’ve got to lubricate the mental gears to get em started. : )

La Roja February 2, 2012 - 3:51 pm

Paul, Estoy de acuerdo 100%!! I must give a shout-out to my friend, tequila, for helping me in my journey to fluency 🙂

Megan Conyers (@meganzin) March 16, 2012 - 11:08 am

You know, I learned Spanish from Shakira’s lyrics. While I learned some pretty…odd…ways of expressing myself, Shakira truly expanded my vocabulary like no other. Immersion and dating within the culture also are HUGE helps.


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