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How to Speak Spanish: Jared, You Speak So Well!

speaking Spanish Fluency

I have been speaking Spanish now for almost fifteen years, living in Spanish speaking countries most of that time. Some years I spoke almost no English in fact. My wife and I speak only Spanish at home. At this point you can say I have achieve Spanish fluency.

Then why do I get less compliments on my language fluency now then when I first stepped in-country. I mean, I don’t really want them at this point. In fact, for some reason I feel insulted when someone does compliment me. It just seems strange that I am more fluent now, yet less people comment about how well I speak Spanish.

I remember just starting out, getting to Chile and being complemented on how well I spoke. Now mind you, this came BEFORE 13 years of living in Spanish speaking countries, BEFORE my private classes learning phonetics and BEFORE I could follow conversations between natives.

I have seen the same experience with my brother who has spent the last five years in Puerto Rico. He arrived with your basic grade school Spanish and now daily conducts business in Spanish with non-English speakers (that’s an important distinction in Puerto Rico). You could call him fluent, although he still makes mistakes. Yet, in his first year of learning I would hear people complement him all the time. He could barely string together a sentence and people would complement his level.


Hmmm, so what gives?

This stumps me a bit. All I can come up with is that people are pleased when a foreigner makes an effort to learn their language and are looking to encourage them. For someone just beginning to learn, their struggles are much more obvious and so people look to encourage them. Perhaps once a certain Spanish fluency is reached, native speakers unconsciously realize that the learner is already motivated enough and does not require any outside encouragement. I dunno.

Have you ever complemented someone on how well they speak X language? What were your reasons for doing that?

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  • angeldedesierto

    When I say that to an English learner I mean it Usaually they are very advanced and I am surprised by what they know. I suspect that why Spanish speakers complement me on my Spanish although I am not as advanced.

  • Diana Caballero

    I think that you are so fluent in Spanish and you have reached the point that no one can tell that you learned it as your second language. It sounds like you are a native from somewhere in Latin America, but your brother still has the English accent when he speaks Spanish.

    If anyone is interested in listen to Jared speaking in Spanish, watch this TV interview on YouTube:

  • TravelatedRease

    First of all, love the photo of your brother. Perfect.

    I only compliment people on their languages when I want to encourage them. Like you, I think that once they are at a certain level they know they speak well and speak with confidence, thus do not need my encouragement.

    I definitely get complimented less now than before, with the exception of when people find out I am not a native speaker. It’s like Diana said, a lot of people just assume my accent is a different Spanish speaking country, so when they find out I’m from the US, I get compliments. I also speak ridiculously fast in English and Spanish so sometimes I get comments just on my speed.

    • angeldedesierto

      It goes back to what I was saying, they’re surprised that you can speak to such a good level. It also is góod that they say it a lot less because it will more.

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