The R isn't always rolled?

The R’s my Spanish teacher never told me about

If you’ve been around this newsletter for long, you’ll have heard me tout the value of listening to Spanish from different regions.  A big part of that is exploring the pronunciation changes you get outside of textbook Spanish.  Why bother learning about this?  It’s simple: pronunciation changes aren’t limited to casual situations or “lazy” speech.  … Read More

image of holding headphones with face of not understanding

SS #82: Why can I understand this Spanish accent but not that one?

Just behind Mandarin Chinese, Spanish has the second-most native speakers of any language. It’s also spoken in a territory that ranges thousands of miles, on multiple continents, and across an ocean. So it’s no wonder that there’s such a variety in the way people speak. If you embrace it, it makes the language endlessly interesting. … Read More

New YouTube profile

SS #81: Immersed and organized in 5 steps

Today I want to walk you through a simple solution to two problems most learners face:  Here’s why: My suggestion today is easy to implement. Maybe 10 minutes max. Set it up once, then you can enter “Immersion Mode” in about 2 clicks anytime you want.  Got 7 minutes to learn between meetings? No problem.  3 minutes while the … Read More

A timeline showing 'hidden moments' for practicing Spanish throughout the day

SS #80: A snapshot of my own language learning

When I was around 15, I read a classic of the language learning genre: How to Learn Any Language by Barry Farber. Farber’s tales of learning Indonesian on a cargo ship and interpreting for Soviet refugees lit a fire under my nascent interest in languages. More than 15 years after reading it, there’s one main … Read More

Misspelled words in Spanish

SS #76: Spanish isn’t phonetic?

In classes, we often learn that Spanish is a phonetic language.  And it’s mostly true!  Especially compared to English, written Spanish is very close to spoken Spanish.  You can look at a word you’ve never seen and know with confidence how it’s pronounced.  But technically, it’s not 100% phonetic. Several common sounds can be represented by more than … Read More

Spanish comprehension challenges: wearing headphones with images of Spanish netflix in background

SS #75: Are you listening well?

I mentioned in a recent YouTube video that listening is the most important part of your learning process. But most of us — myself included — don’t do it very well most of the time. Listening well makes the difference between… ✓ Feeling noticeable progress ✗ Feeling like you’re blasting your ears with Spanish to no avail Today, I’ll … Read More

Prepare, speak, repeat

SS #52: An exercise that makes speaking Spanish easier

Have you ever been to a wedding where a toast goes on… and on… and on? Usually there’s one reason this happens: it wasn’t planned. They figured they could wing it. But it’s hard to speak off the cuff about something we’ve never talked about. I’m sure you’ve experienced this. The more you’ve spoken about … Read More

Confused man not understanding Spanish

SS #51: 17 journal prompts to build fluency

There’s a mistake most learners make that keeps them frustrated. It might be making you feel like your Spanish is worse than it is, and it’s something nearly everyone does. Let me explain: Picture Tom. Tom is from Canada and his wife is from Puerto Rico. He’s been learning Spanish for a while and has … Read More