One phrase a day for more fluid Spanish

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There are so many parts to learning a language that it can feel overwhelming. 

But like many things in Spanish, it’s easy to underestimate how much our small daily efforts compound. 

When you improve one thing a day, it may not feel very ambitious. 

But it is sustainable. In most cases, that means it’s also more effective. 

Consider pronunciation, for example. 

A couple weeks ago, I was speaking with a coaching student in the Confident Spanish Pronunciation course. She had great pronunciation overall, but was struggling with the vowel E in certain words. 

Despite knowing in theory how it’s pronounced, she couldn’t reproduce it consistently. 

After revisiting how to produce the sound and practicing it together, I gave her a simple assignment: 

Choose a phrase that contains this sound several times, and make it your “phrase of the day”. 

In the hidden moments throughout her day, her task was to repeat the phrase to herself with a focus on the one target sound. 

Since we’d already pinpointed a simple way to remember how to reproduce it, she could self-correct as she went. 

The cool thing is, this idea applies to more than just pronunciation — but more on that in a minute. 

A phrase a day for more fluent pronunciation

  1. Find a recording of a Spanish speaker that you wouldn’t mind repeating to yourself today.
    • You can pull this from anywhere online: YouTube, a podcast, a song, Forvo, Tatoeba, YouGlish. If it’s longer, like from a video, pick a very short (10 seconds max) snippet. 
    • Sources like Forvo will let you download the clip. For others, just record the chosen snippet with your phone for easy access later. 
  1. Use your phone to record yourself reading it, doing your best to imitate what you hear. 
  1. Listen to the two audio clips. Pick one difference you notice and want to work on today.
    • If you’re unsure, pay attention to the letter E. It’s a challenge for almost every student I give feedback to. In a phrase like a veces or el elefante verde, each E should sound identical. If yours don’t, it’s a good sound to focus on. 
  1. Repeat it to yourself throughout the day, when you’re waiting at a stoplight or doing the dishes. Keep your focus on the one sound you’ve chosen.
  2. Finally, record yourself at the end of the day. See if you hear a difference in that chosen sound versus the beginning of the day.
    • You’ll make progress even without this step, but it can be a nice way to notice subtle changes. 

Trickle Down Spanish 

This phrase-a-day idea is something you can apply to other areas of Spanish — like grammar. 

Say there is a sentence structure you can’t wrap your mind around. 

For example, the ever-confusing “se lo”, as in:

Se lo di a un amigo or se lo pregunté a Miguel. 

[I gave it to a friend / I asked Miguel that] 

Choose a ‘phrase of the day’ that uses that structure. 

As you repeat it throughout the day, you’ll get very familiar with one way to use it. 

Now, one use might not seem like much. Especially when it feels like the mountain of things to learn is only getting bigger. 

But this narrow focus gives you a way to make small but noticeable progress in a short window. 

And whether you’re focused on the letter E, a tricky combination of pronouns, or something else… 

What you learn in one phrase trickles down into the rest of your Spanish. 

Your phrase of the day -> situations where you can apply what you learn

It’s like changing your diet. Changing too much at once is tough… But substituting foods one at a time minimizes the mental resistance we feel while still making a difference in the long run. 

After all, making progress in our Spanish doesn’t often look like big leaps forward. The small steps each day are what add up to the kind of progress that’ll surprise you a year from now. 

If you’re struggling to feel confident or fluid in certain parts of your Spanish, give today’s exercise a shot. Keep it simple by focusing on one thing at a time and building it into your day’s downtime. 

Want to apply today’s approach in a step-by-step, comprehensive way? The Confident Spanish Pronunciation course can help.

If building a clear, natural-sounding accent is a goal of yours, you can learn everything I know by joining 140+ students here.

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Hey there, I'm Connor. I help motivated learners speak Spanish without slogging through grammar books or tapping through every new app. I started Breakthrough Spanish to give more people the confidence and focus to learn effectively Spanish from home. Learn more about me here.

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