There are all kinds of language learners in the world. The kinds that “speak from day one”. The ones that study in schools for two or three years, then take a trip to Latin America or Spain and see if they can remember how to order some paella. There are those that become introverted (if they weren’t that way already) and study for hours per day until they get a substantial amount of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation practice under their belt to hold a decent conversation, before going out and trying out their skills with real people, whether in person or on Skype.
Regardless of what kind of student you may be, there is one thing that all of us will go through, and that’s trying to get over the mountain of beginner status and flipping over the top into intermediate status and ultimately, advanced status. The famed light at the end of the tunnel, except there is no end to this tunnel, because language learning never really ends, does it?
If you are someone that is studying Spanish, for example, there are certain things that you can do to get over the beginner hump. And that is to learn some real-life Spanish phrases, slang and idiomatic expressions to accomplish your goal.
So, you wanna sound like a native? Then learn the way natives speak, and speak like them.
Below are a few examples of what I am talking about. These (and about 2,000 other phrases) will be included in my current book project: “2,001 REAL SPANISH PHRASES”. Title subject to change. This is a very young (but very fun) project. 🙂
Accord — el acuerdo
of one’s own accord — por propia voluntad
She gave it to us of her own accord.
Nos lo dio de propia voluntad.
to be afraid — tener miedo, estar paniqueado (Ecuador)
Look at him. He’s all scared.
Míralo. Está todo paniqueado.
Míralo. Tiene mucho miedo.
to get along — llevarse bien (con alguien)
Pamela gets along with her mother-in-law.
Pamela se lleva bien con su suegra.
to not get along — no llevarse bien, llevarse como perro y gato (lit.) to carry like each other like dog and cat
Carlos and Rachel do not get along. (Carlos and Rachel fight like cats and dogs.)
Carlos and Rachel se llevan como perro y gato.
to go along — llevar/seguir la corriente
I always go along with my mom because I don’t like to argue with her.
Siempre le llevo la corriente a mi mamá porque no me gusta discutir con ella.
bean — el frijol
to spill the beans — descubrirlo todo
The little boy spilled the beans.
El niño lo descubrió todo.
to beat — batir
It beats me — no tengo ni idea
It beats me why they do that.
No tengo ni idea por qué hacen eso.
to be broke — en bancarrota, estar pelado, estar chiro (Ecuador), arruinado (Spain), sin blanca, no tener ni un duro, estar limpio (Spain)
I can’t pay. I’m broke.
No puedo pagar. Estoy chiro.
dude — vato (Mexican American slang)
What’s up, dude?
¿Qué pasó, vato?
guy — tipo, chavo (Mexico), tío (Spain)
Tell that guy to shut his mouth.
Dile a ese chavo que se calle la boca. (Mexico, informal)
I am a nice guy.
Yo soy un tío majo. (Spain, informal)
See also dude.
guys — (plural) la gente
Say hi to all the guys at the meeting.
Saluda a toda la gente de la reunión.
Keep studying, keep reading, keep listening, and keep speaking.