The idea of working on your Spanish by speaking it at work won’t apply to everyone, of course, but if it doesn’t apply to you maybe you can modify the concept so it does provide you with an opportunity, through other community groups, for example.
Today I’m suggesting that if you have a job where some of the employees are Hispanic, get up your nerve and try speaking a little Spanish with them. Even if you just try to say something very basic, chances are that — once they realize you are trying to speak Spanish — that they will be very pleased.
I’ve noticed this delighted reaction when traveling as well. A couple of years ago, my husband and I were vacationing in the Ozarks and we had dinner in a Mexican restaurant in a small town in Arkansas. There was a gray-haired Hispanic man running the place and when he walked by our table and said hello, I said “Vivimos en Jaliso.” (We live in the state of Jalisco.) His jaw dropped, and we had quite a long conversation.
The convenient thing about practicing your Spanish with co-workers is that you see them regularly. Once they realize you are serious about improving their Spanish, they are likely to help you. They may tease you about your pronunciation or other errors you make, but it will be in a light-hearted and friendly way. You will be able to ask them how to say something you want to learn.
This will give you a chance to pick up vocabulary that relates to work, or at least to the things around you. You can point to something, and they can tell you what it means. You can say a phrase that has to do with your work, and they can translate it for you. If you do this quite a bit, you will pick up useful words and phrases.
If you are doing this with people for whom English is a second language, you may be able to help them a bit with their English. At the very least, they will understand what you are feeling.
This practice is a great way to use words you may be learning in one of the programs I review here.
Filed under: Learn Spanish