Study Aids Slang Explained Understand Colombia

Why Your Spanish Textbook is Failing You

Most language books teach you only a very formal – and overly correct – version of Spanish. Problem is that, in real life, nobody actually talks like that.

Stick with this “textbook Spanish” and you’ll always sound like a beginner. But you don't have to. After years of studying and speaking Spanish in Colombia, I’ve discovered hundreds of little language tricks that'll get you speaking much more naturally.

Find out what you’ve been missing
study aids

Online Spanish Courses and Learning Apps: Which One is Right for You?

Online Spanish Courses and Learning Apps: Which One is Right for You?

When I first started learning Spanish, way back when in 2007, the tools and materials at a student's disposal were limited. To pick up another language you had to go to class or simply work your way through a physical textbook (and audio accompaniment, if you were feeling fancy). Nowadays, of course, the learning environment is much changed. In addition, to these traditional methods you can also make use of any one of an expanding number of online platforms, courses and apps to boost your linguistic skills.

You’ll have to try quite a few different tools and methods to get fluent

Indeed, in many ways, we are now spoiled for choice. In recently investigating just a few of the online Spanish learning tools available (many kindly suggested by members of the Learning Spanish in Colombia Facebook group) for my own project, I immediately encountered a bewildering number of options. Each of...

study aids

(Colombian) Spanish: From Zero to Hero

(Colombian) Spanish: From Zero to Hero

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you’ve been told that by moving to a Spanish speaking country, you’ll “just pick up” the language, then you’ve been lied to.

Unless you’re below the age of about 12, there is nothing passive about learning a foreign language. Much as we might wish it were so, having daily contact with these alien words and expressions does not mean that they will magically and effortlessly seep into your...

Slang explained Speak Naturally Understand Colombia

How to Speak Colombian Spanish

How to Speak Colombian Spanish

Latin America's friendliest inhabitants – the Colombians – have long claimed that theirs is the most 'neutral' Spanish on the planet. Ah, if only that were so.

Chat to the locals during your stay and you'll quick find that this beautiful sounding version of the language contains as many funny linguistic quirks as it does bits of local slang.

In the spirit of "when in Rome" and all that, you might like to imitate their way of...

Understand Colombia

What Does A 'Colombian Accent' Sound Like?

What Does A 'Colombian Accent' Sound Like?

In many ways, my choice of the name 'Colombian Spanish' for this blog was a bit silly. It’s difficult to talk about an entirely uniform sort of speech across the country when there are so many differences in language use between regions.

Nowhere is...

Slang explained

Describing Colombians: The “-ón” Crowd

Describing Colombians: The “-ón” Crowd

A classic area to study in Spanish class is how to describe people. The sad thing is that often the focus is very narrow. Rather than looking at interesting ways to talk of different character and personality traits, more often than not, tuition looks just...

Slang explained

Charting your Progress

Charting your Progress

The whole time you’re in Colombia -- studying, attending classes and practicing your Spanish out in the big wide world -- you should be constantly improving. At least, that's the hope.

But how best to sum up your ever-expanding linguistic prowess...

Slang explained

Top 10 Colombian Slang Terms

Top 10 Colombian Slang Terms

I’m never entirely sure of the source of this claim, but I’ve been told on many occasions that Colombian Spanish is the world’s most ‘neutral’ sort.

While I can certainly vouch for the fact that the Colombian accent (in most of the country) is...

Understand Colombia

Spanish with a Touch of the Divine

Spanish with a Touch of the Divine

Hang around with Colombians for any length of time and you're sure to notice that religion continues to play a large part in their lives. In fact, faith is so strong, and religious belief so widespread, that many Colombians often take it as read that most...

Slang explained

The Many Meanings of “Berraco”

The Many Meanings of “Berraco”

Of all the many Colombian slang terms explained on this blog, one of the trickier terms to get your head round is “berraco” (sometimes also spelt “verraco”). It is extremely easy to get confused with this one.

Technically, a “berraco” is a sort of...

Speak Naturally

English Words That Colombians Love

English Words That Colombians Love

Speaking natural-sounding Spanish is all about learning how to use the exact same words that locals do, in the exact same contexts. Your teacher or textbook might tell you the correct way to speak, but on the streets of Bogota or Cali, many of these...

Where to study

Is Colombian Spanish Really the World’s Best?

Is Colombian Spanish Really the World’s Best?

During my time in Colombia, I was frequently told by local friends and acquaintances that Colombian Spanish was the “best in the world”.

The way these statements were phrased – invariably expressed as: “yo no sé, pero dicen que el español...

Integrating

Quick Tips for More Natural Spanish

Quick Tips for More Natural Spanish

We’ve all seen those language courses which guarantee that you'll be speaking “fluent Spanish in 60 days”. Sound great don't they?

Yet -- in common with 'get rich quick' schemes or 'effortless' weight loss programmes -- these courses, more often...