To become fluent, you must start with a basic Spanish conversation.
That’s what I’ve learned over the last couple of years. Use the quick answer below to find the phrases most relevant to you.
Did you know Spanish is spoken by over 500 million people globally?
When I first started learning Spanish back in 2014, I knew nothing other than the Spanish basics such as: hola, adios, por favor, gracias.
Table of Contents
As I noted in my tips for learning Spanish faster recently. I’d read books but quickly realized how poor my confidence was when I dived into a basic Spanish conversation with locals I met backpacking.
Let me show you how you can improve your Spanish by starting with some basic Spanish phrases.
Over the years, I’ve found that most great conversations usually begin with a question. If you are new to learning Spanish, don’t worry.
Starting a basic Spanish Conversation
In this article, I’m going to cover some of the ways you can start with the most simple Spanish conversation ever.
For me, deciding to learn Spanish in Latin America planted seeds of interest in new and different cultures in my mind, not just the idea of saying thank you in Spanish.
It began with a small travel budget and me looking for some cheap Spanish speaking countries I could visit without breaking the bank.
Start a Conversation in Spanish Today
To start any conversation in any language, especially one that is not your own, you have to be interested.
You’ll find thousands of useful Spanish phrases out there, but if you’re not interested, you simply won’t use them.
I started with this book and two or three other exercise books.
These were mainly books filled with popular Spanish phrases, and I never used them properly.
I began hacking Spanish words and phrases to make new sentences.
Later, I came to the conclusion that I was more interested in talking about things I’d say daily in English. From there, I started speaking and memorizing those ‘everyday English words’ but in Spanish.
The practice makes perfect series I used was still very helpful.
Use everyday language
I decided I would use some of these everyday things “I say” as the basis of a basic Spanish conversation. For talking to locals on my travels.
Rather than searching for the most common Spanish phrases, I wrote down common phrases from my everyday conversation dialogue.
Instead of skimming exercise books and thinking, how do I say “I don’t know in Spanish?” Again; I’d pepper my own vocabulary into the mix.
From there on, I started building my own book of phrases, which became the blueprint for my own conversational Spanish.
As I got into building my library, I realized there were other benefits!
As a beginner, do you find yourself struggling with pronunciation? I’ve created a list of hard Spanish words that are quite basic in conversation but can be difficult to pronounce for most English speakers.
See these 5 benefits of studying and practicing Spanish daily:
5 reasons to practice Spanish daily
- Increase problem-solving skills and abilities.
- Improve your memory and mental sharpness.
- Learning new words in both languages.
- Experience Multiculturalism meeting new and interesting people.
- Travel and Discover new realms.
Those are just some of the benefits I’ve received personally from learning how to have a conversation in Spanish.
I never thought learning Spanish would lead to any of those points, but this is what happens when you ask more questions in Spanish.
Speaking with Natives and Locals
If you’re making dialogue with native speakers, which I recommend, be aware of where they come from. Which country or region.
Did you know I focus on Latin American Spanish?
Some regions in South America, such as Buenos Aires, call it Castellano, which is completely different from the Spanish spoken in Spain.
What I eventually did was to pick a region in which I liked the Spanish. It could be for practical or personal reasons, you can choose.
For example, I recommend you follow Colombian Spanish or Spanish from some regions of Peru if you’re an absolute beginner.
If you’re just looking for some essential Spanish phrases for travel – then maybe you don’t need to consider the country you learn from.
For me, this was a need to know.
I then started to pick up some Colombian slang phrases and learn more about dialect and cultural traits from specific regions .
You can pick up any Spanish you like. You can mix it – remix it and say any words you like. The Paisa accent ended up being my favorite.
The good news is, most basic Spanish phrases are the same. You’ll find slight discrepancies but don’t let those put you off.
This is the key to start learning conversational Spanish without fear.
That way, it’s more likely you’ll pick up the rhythm as you learn simple Spanish mannerisms as you engage in dialogue.
The Spanish I learned in the early days came from watching Mexican documentaries and my favorite Hollywood movies dubbed in Spanish.
Basic Spanish Conversation
The key thing to start with basic Spanish sentences, vocabulary, and phrases is to get talking and engaging in everyday conversation.
There are tons of Spanish Conversation textbooks, online tools and amazing apps. I mention some of the ones I use in my growth report; however, they don’t help with real-time Spanish conversation per se.
Apps are all good and well, but it’s investing in a decent travel journal that you can jot ideas that come to your mind that helped me.
Spanish Dialogue for Beginners
What you’ll also find is that a lot of the Spanish dialogue in those resources can be very formal or even unnatural.
The last thing you want is turning up to Plaza Bolivar Bogota sounding like a walking textbook. Or, a Gringo robot with a soundless soul.
Let’s be real… Bad Gringo Spanish will turn you into a target for street urchins to harass you for whatever peso they can get.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the basic phrases you might use in a Spanish conversation for beginners to get you thinking.
Spanish conversation starters
Here are some basic Spanish conversation starters that I’ve used to date during my travels in Central and South America.
¿En qué trabajas? – What is your profession?
¿De dónde eres? – Where are you from?
¿Cómo te llamas? – What’s your name?
¿Qué habriás hecho? – What would you have done?
Te avisaré – I will let you know
In the beginning, I was procrastinating in Spanish by not starting a basic conversation as I thought it sounded corny, but after a lot of practice – I found it really works.
The most common Spanish phrases
Below are some very basic phrases in Spanish you can easily use.
You’ll find that many of them are very universal, so try not to hold yourself back by not asking them.
I’ve found watching Spanish movies is also great for picking these type of phrases up. You can use the subtitles as a learning aid too.
- Latin American History Books
- Spanish Fluency Tips
- Backpacking Latin America
- How I Became Fluent using Verbling
Believe it or not, these are the types of basic Spanish conversation phrases that get used in everyday life.
It will be very likely that you’ll use these or be asked one of these questions at some point in Spanish conversation practice.
Common Spanish Phrases
¿Qué tal? – How’s it going?
¿Has estado en México? – Have you been to Mexico?
¿Me haces un favor? – Will you do me a favour?
No te preocupes – Don’t worry
Mañana nos vemos – See you tomorrow
No hay problema – No problem!
Common Spanish phrases I have used
Here are some basic conversational Spanish phrases I’ve used to date.
Me siento un poco cansado – I feel a little tired
Fui a cenar – I went for dinner
Te enviaré una foto – I will send you a photo
Me levanté muy temprano – I woke up very early
Estaba ocupado haciendo otras cosas – I was busy doing other things
Me voy a bañar – I’m going to get a shower
The above Spanish phrases are some of the most common I have used in any one day speaking in English that I have managed to implement into my Spanish conversations in realtime.
Spanish Conversation Tips
Below are some Spanish Conversation tips, including books to read to help you get your grammar up to speed and confidently engage in conversation.
Books to Read on Spanish Conversation
If you want to develop your vocabulary, these books may help you:
- Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Conversation – Helping one to become a much better speaker this remarkable workbook goes way beyond simple and correct grammar.
- Conversational Spanish Dialogues – Need help on what to say? This book which is recommended for advanced beginners is perfect for learning what to do in various situations.
- Cinema for Spanish Conversation – Interested in films? This book offers film synopses, specialized vocabulary, and even several types of follow-up exercises. A must for intermediate Spanish language students.
- Short Stories in Spanish for Beginners – A useful reading tool that will actually help you rather than frustrate you when it comes to building confidence in with Spanish conversation.
- First Spanish Reader: A Beginner’s Dual-Language Book – You’ll be surprised how much can understand in Spanish. This exercise book is filled with simple texts in the form of reading cute short stories.
Great if you wish to become a much better speaker in Spanish.
5 ways to become fluent in Spanish
Never underestimate the power of common phrases in Spanish.
I have found a little can go a long way.
There are times when I’ve thought about saying something more complex; I was missing that one simple beginner’s Spanish phrase.
Here are five ways to become fluent in Spanish:
- Build your own catalog of words, phrases and verbs
- Find future conversation partners
- Watch films (with subtitles) here are some Argentine movies to watch
- Listen to the Radio
- Test yourself daily, weekly, monthly, yearly
My Spanish Learning Journey
You can replicate these methods easily, but the critical factor to keep you improving is consistency. Being consistent, you can achieve fluency with any one of the above methods.
In my article, the best way to learn Spanish from home, I wrote three traits that you’ll need to succeed and become fluent in Spanish:
Without these three things, you’ll find it almost impossible to achieve fluency. If you lack consistency, you are likely to forget what you have learned as it will still be in your short-term memory.
The idea with these techniques is to be collecting words and phrases.
Avoid some of the Spanish curse words you may have heard in movies.
Think about the words you use daily in English, which you don’t know in Spanish. These are words you can re-use in Spanish conversation.
If you’re not already, I invite you to consider the possibility of learning Spanish as a second or third language.
Having a native teacher to track my progress, has helped me to retain the new vocabulary I learn by helping me to become fluent in Spanish.
Learn Spanish For Free
I’ve used platforms such as Verbling for learning Spanish, especially when I’m not in Latin America.
If you already speak a little Spanish, this is the perfect chance to practice. I do between 2-3 hours per week using Verbling.
How to get your free Spanish Lessons
Whether you’re serious about learning Spanish or just trying out the platform for fun, this is a great opportunity.
When I was Backpacking South America on a budget, I found a way to get free online Spanish lessons by taking trials with different teachers.
My intention wasn’t to get free lessons but to screen different teachers using the Verbling platform.
How I learn fluent Spanish free
My idea was to find a teacher that I felt was the right match for me, then go on to paying for lessons, which is how I found my teacher.
But what I realized was that some of the teachers were offering free trial lessons to newcomers. I’d managed to go a few weeks with free lessons and talk to different teachers in the process.
If you are low on money or skeptical about using platforms like Verbling, this is a great way to try it without investing any real cash.
I hope you learned something and now feel confident in engaging in a basic Spanish conversation with the tips I’ve shared.
Read even more inspiring tips for learning Spanish on this blog!
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