How to speak FASTER Spanish

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Spanish speakers speak fast…

And if we’re trying to speak more like them…

We need to speak fast too.


Well, yes and no.

Yes, we want to speak at a pace that sounds natural.

But “speaking fast” is about as clear a goal as saying “I want to run fast”. It’s not concrete enough to act on.

We can’t just “try” to speak faster and magically have the words roll off the tongue.

Why not? Because fast speech is more of a result than an action.

It’s the byproduct of something else.

So to speak more quickly, we have to answer the question: what creates fast speech in the first place, and how do we practice that?

Stop and go

I used to try to speak really fast Spanish. You may have heard me say that I learned a lot of my Spanish in Chile, where I think they give out trophies for whoever can speak the fastest.

When I first arrived, I tried to keep up.

The problem was, I didn’t have the skills yet to do that. Trying to talk as fast as I do in English left me with no time to think.

As a result, my speech didn’t link or flow naturally, and I had to stop and search more often for words.

So the result was that I spoke more halted Spanish.

I was like those aggressive drivers who floor it when the stop light turns green, only to get stuck at the next light 30 seconds up the road.

Maybe you’ve experienced something similar.

In an effort to sound more natural in Spanish, we want to speak more quickly (i.e., at the pace natives speak).

But as a learner, you’re still building the skills that allow for faster speech.

So what are these skills, and how do we build them so we can speak Spanish without feeling like a robot?

Slow down

Paradoxically, to speak faster, it helps to slow down (for now). Let me explain. 

In a few weeks, the summer Olympics kick off in Paris. I used to swim competitively, so I love watching it because it’s the only time swimming gets much attention. 

Back in my swimming years, there was a drill my coaches used to make us do all the time. 

The drill was to take as long as possible to bring your arms up and over, with perfect technique… then lengthen each stroke as far as you could. 

The goal was to take fewer strokes per lap. Even though it looks slower, the result is a faster race.

If you watch the Olympics this July, you’ll notice that the best swimmers almost look like they’re warming up. They glide through the water effortlessly because they’ve trained their technique to be so good that they get more distance for each stroke than the others. 

In a similar way, fast Spanish a byproduct of fluid speech – your “technique”. 

If your goal is to speak faster Spanish in conversations, the drill for now is to slow down your speech. 

This will let you… 

  1. practice the things that make it flow
  2. have time to think of the words you need 

You might think speaking slowly will bore your conversation partner. But nerves (which run high in a new language) make us speak quickly, so in reality you’ll probably still be speaking at a decent pace. 

And when you have more time to think of the words you need, you’ll run into fewer 3-5 second pauses while you search your mental dictionary. 

If you’re unsure about doing this in conversation, at least slow down when practicing on your own. 

How does this look in practice?

One of the main things that helps Spanish flow is connected speech.

Connected speech is the reason yo he hecho sounds like yoeecho, and voy a hacer and voy a ser both sound like voyaser (outside of Spain).

If you don’t do this, your Spanish will always sound a little stilted.

A lot of learners I work with know this on a conscious level… but when I give feedback I still hear gaps and stops that that make it sound like yo | he | hecho or voy | a | hacer.

The way I often recommend practicing this is to slow the phrase way down and focus on that one element of their speech.

By slowing down, you notice things you otherwise wouldn’t.

So here’s a drill to help practice this:

  1. Take this phrase: “Voy a hacer algo más tarde, aunque ya he hecho mucho hoy.”
  2. Break it into two chunks (your goal will be to say each group of words as one connected phrase):
    • [voy a hacer algo más tarde] [aunque ya he hecho mucho hoy]
  3. Speak extremely slowly. Each word in the two chunks should connect — there should be no audible gaps. This is especially common where one word ends in a vowel and the next one starts with a vowel.
    • voy_a_(h)aceralgo_mástarde // aunque_ya_he(h)echo mucho_hoy

You can listen to me reading this phrase here:

By slowing down now (at least while practicing), you learn to give your speech more fluidity by connecting things.

Speaking quickly isn’t something you can force. With enough practice speaking, it’ll happen eventually.

But if you want the best chance of your Spanish feeling and sounding natural — a benefit of speaking with “good technique” — try slowing down.

It’ll let you notice things in your own speech that you’d have missed otherwise…

Give you more time to think…

And make your speech less choppy.

Of course, another big component of fluid speech is having the necessary words.

If you’re looking for a way to improve your active vocabulary, read (or re-read) Saturday Spanish #84 next.

And if you want to “train your technique” in a more comprehensive way, check out the Confident Spanish Pronunciation course. Over 150 students are already using it to build more polished Spanish and have conversations that feel more natural.

That’s all for today! 

Buen fin de semana,


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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.

1 thought on “How to speak FASTER Spanish”

  1. In français there is liason which is not easy.In español it is also hard to know when to break but at least you pronounce everythig.B and v are difficult as is c.C in italiano has several sounds.Muchas gracias por su trabajo, Connor.


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